Personal Pronouns on Profiles

Submitted by Heather Wozniak on Sep 10, 2019 - 11:03am

The College of Arts & Sciences web team has added a new field to show personal pronouns on faculty, staff, and student profiles. This is an optional field on Department Web Framework sites. If filled out, the pronouns will display in small text following the person's name on their full profile page.

Why add personal pronouns?

Third person personal pronouns are used to describe a person when you are talking about them. Typical personal pronouns include she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs. It’s becoming more common for people to include their preferred personal pronouns in their email signatures, on social media, and in other prominent places on the web.

There are several benefits to adding personal pronouns to web profiles. Doing so:

  • Increases inclusivity and allyship with LGBTQ+ community by normalizing the practice
  • Improves awareness that gender is more complex than just “male” or “female”
  • Reduces the incidences where non-binary, trans, and gender nonconforming people are misgendered
  • Signifies an open-minded campus and workplace

According to a recent piece by NPR, it has become more common for universities to allow people to choose their names and pronouns. For example, the University of Michigan allows students to designate personal pronouns. Campus Pride keeps a list of all colleges and universities that allow students to change their name and gender on campus records. The list includes universities that allow people to indicate pronouns.

There are many helpful web resources about using personal pronouns. A good place to start is mypronouns.org. In a university context, Vanderbilt University provides helpful pronoun guidance, and the Purdue Online Writing Lab has a page about gendered pronouns.

Pronouns on UW websites

At this time, the UW registrar does not allow UW students or staff to add their preferred pronouns to their profiles. However, people do have the option to change their preferred names in the UW database and on their Husky Card.

We did not find any examples of personal pronouns being shown on website profile pages for any UW college or school. As far as we know, the College of Arts & Sciences is the first college at UW to add this capability to their websites. We hope this feature will help foster a diverse and inclusive campus community.

Encouraging participation

If you'd like to encourage your faculty and staff to add pronouns to their profiles, send a message like the following:

Subject: Personal pronouns on your website profile

Dear colleagues,

The College of Arts & Sciences web team has added a new feature to our department website. You can now add personal pronouns on your profile. The pronouns will display in small text following your name on your full profile page.

If you'd like to share your pronouns, please visit our department site at <example.washington.edu> to log in and add them to your profile. Alternatively, you may email your desired pronouns to <email-of-a-profile-manager>.

Adding your pronouns will help to foster a diverse and inclusive campus community. For more background on pronoun usage, please visit https://dwf.artsci.washington.edu/2019/09/10/personal-pronouns-profiles

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