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Pronoun Usage Tips

Tips on Personal Pronoun Usage From The Office of DEI

In the interest of inclusive excellence and creating a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff, the Office of DEI would like to share helpful resources reminding members of the community of techniques to share their personal pronouns and changed names with members of the college community.

The first step is to become more educated about the importance of personal pronouns and gender identity. The Office of DEI recommends faculty, staff and students review information from various resources, including websites like Pronouns Matter and a glossary of terms published by the Human Rights Campaign. In addition, please consult with leaders at the campus level working with student clubs that focus on LBTQIA+ topics.

Secondly, the Office of DEI would like to encourage all faculty and staff to review information about LGBTQIA rights as ascribed by the College's Title IX office. Please see the website for our Title IX Office for more information.

Finally, to create a more welcoming environment for all students by increasing gender identity and pronoun visibility, the Office of DEI would like to share the following resources and tools.

For Students

Students can change their names in SIS Self-Service. Please see the attached slides for a tutorial on Adding Preferred Names, or follow this link to read about Changing User Preferences in SIS.

Please note that VCCS will ensure that the changed name appears on grade rosters to encourage faculty to use a student's changed name when possible. In addition, SIS will integrate with CANVAS and Navigate so a student's changed name is displayed to the students themselves as well as others they may interact with in virtual environments (classmates, faculty, advisors).

Additionally, per correspondence with VCCS Director of Student Support Services, Dr. Heather Sorrell, VCCS is also actively working to change the online application so under the variable gender in addition to "male," "female," "unknown," or "other" additional options such as "nonbinary" and "none of the above" will soon appear.

Finally, students who have updated Zoom to version 5.7.0 can add their personal pronouns to their Zoom profile so they always appear to users, and a guide to Adding and Sharing Your Pronouns is available via Zoom support.

For Faculty and Staff

NOVA faculty and staff who would like to add pronouns to their e-mail signature can learn how through this link, including instructions on changing your e-mail signature and a short, how-to video. Please remember to follow and incorporate NOVA's guidelines when changing your signature.

In addition, faculty and staff are encouraged to add their personal pronouns to their Zoom profiles. A guide to Adding and Sharing Your Pronouns is available via Zoom support.

As NOVA's Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer noted during PUP 2022, "Using Personal Pronouns and changed names is important because it helps to affirm who students, faculty, and staff are and how they choose to share their identities when they wish. When people feel seen and affirmed, they feel like they belong, and that is so important to our commitment to inclusive excellence."

Additional efforts to help create a more welcoming environment across our campuses and buildings are ongoing.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of DEI, NOVA's CDEIO, or representatives from the DEI Council and/or your DEI Campus Committee. Finally, if you or a student experience discrimination of any kind regarding gender identity, please report these incidents to NOVA's Title IX Officer.

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