Faculty Resource for First Names and Pronouns
Currently the class lists you receive may have incomplete information concerning the names and pronouns students use to identify themselves. Reading names aloud or ascribing gender based on those lists risks an egregious form of disrespect.
Here are a few easy classroom best practices to help welcome all students to programs and courses:
- Send a quick email to all students in advance of the first day of class with more or less this message: "The list of names I receive from Registration may or may not indicate the name you prefer to be called, or the pronouns you use to identify yourself. I'm grateful to hear from you in advance if there is any clarification you can offer regarding your name and your pronoun use."
- On the first day of class, don't call names aloud from registration sheets. One alternative: ask students to introduce themselves, and make notes on the roll sheet. Or have students introduce themselves to each other, and then introduce each other to the entire program. Or ask students to write something about themselves, and collect names that way.
- Introduce yourself and indicate which pronouns you use to identify yourself. Mention that it is important to say this aloud because it is easy for people to make assumptions about gender that prove to be false, especially given the social context today in which we have in the same room people who have only ever thought of gender as binary, and other people who understand gender to be complex and non-binary. Many people identify with the gender-neutral pronoun "they" and use it in the first person, where others use the gendered pronouns "he" and "she." All are accepted uses at the College.
- Invite students to share their pronouns as well. Doing so on the first day of class can avoid confusion or disrespect later on. Doing so also sends a strong signal of welcome and support. Inviting is probably better than insisting, because it is possible that some students might not want to draw attention to their gender or pronoun use.
For those use it, Canvas is an important communication application between students and faculty in an academic program. As such faculty can control some of how this information is displayed within a course site.
- If a student is not interested in adding a preferred first name to Banner, they may still choose to change their display name in their Canvas profile to reflect how they wish to be identified. This will change what name is displayed on their discussion posts, messages and comments in Canvas. Here’s the link on how anyone can change their display name in Canvas; http://guides.instructure.com/m/4212/l/41957-how-do-i-change-my-user-settings
- It is also recommended that faculty hide the "People" tab in the course navigation. The faculty will still see this (it will be grayed out but accessible) and use the associated tools (like creating groups), but the tab will disappear for all registered students. Below is a link on how to do hide/show navigation elements in your course site; http://guides.instructure.com/m/4152/l/57079-how-do-i-reorder-and-hide-course-navigation-links
- Unfortunately there are a few additions to Canvas that do not use the display name properly. Faculty should be aware that if they use the conference or collaboration tools inside of Canvas that these, since they are 3rd party plugins, do not use the display name. We are working with Canvas to put this on the list of things to fix.
Evergreen username or alias is the default name used by WordPress. Like Greener Commons, students' first and last names are not imported from Banner. Students can edit their profile at any time to update their display name (the username is the default) and set this to any first and last named they desire. This is important because unlike some of the other applications that are not shared outside of Evergreen, blogs can be publicly visible so adjusting one's profile can be an important way to represent oneself.