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Preferred Name and Pronouns

Diversity plays an important role on the VWU campus as it allows all of us in the Marlin Community to grow and learn from its differences. VWU has started many programs and initiatives to make the campus community more diverse, equitable and inclusive.  As part of this work, VWU launched the Preferred Name Program. 

Students may utilize a different name than their legal name. They may opt to use a shortened version of their name, their middle name, or a name that is not associated with their legal name as the name they wish to use on the campus. 

Starting in 2020, students were able to inform the Chief Diversity Officer of their preferred name via the Preferred Name and Pronoun Form. The information provided by the student was sent to the faculty of the courses in which the student was enrolled, letting the faculty know about the student's preferred name prior to the first day of classes. 

VWU's Preferred Name program is overseen by the Chief Diversity Officer. While students may enter their preferred name on their VWU enrollment application and in their housing application, VWU also requests that students fill out the Preferred Name and Pronoun Form

One may not be able to tell one's gender merely by looking at them. In order to create a respectful and inclusive environment on the campus, it is important to use someone's correct personal pronouns.  Some individuals may not identify as strictly as a woman or a man, like individuals who identify as non-binary, those individuals may use gender-neutral pronouns. The Preferred Name and Prounoun Form is also used for students to identify the pronouns that they wish to use within the classroom. Students may opt to go by gender-neutral pronouns.

Students can use the Preferred Name and Pronoun Form to let the Chief Diversity Officer know of your preferred pronouns, which will also be sent to the faculty of your classes. Below are some examples of pronouns that binary and non-binary individuals use. Please note that this list is not inclusive of all possible pronouns.

Gender BinarySheHerHersAs it looks
HeHimHisAs it looks

Gender NeutralThey (Sing.)ThemTheirsAs it looks
ZeHirHirsZhee, Here, Heres
ZeZirZirsZhee, Zhere, Zheres
XeXemXyrZhee, Zhym, Zhyre


What do you mean by "preferred name?"
Students may opt to go by a different name outside of their legal name. A student may go by a shortened version of their first name (Michael goes by Mike), go by their middle name, a nickname, or by a different first name.

Why can't I change my student ID to have my preferred name on it? 
While you can have your preferred name used by faculty in the classroom, VWU ID's are considered as legal identification, which may be used for voting. Because of this, one's legal name must appear on them.

Is there a way to change my name in Blackboard?
Yes! Students may change their legal name to their preferred name in Blackboard. When you enter Blackboard, you will open on the My Institution homepage. On the left-side of that page, you will see a section entitled TOOLS. Under TOOLS, please click on Personal Information. You will then click on EDIT PERSONAL INFORMATION. You may then edit your Blackboard site to your preferred name on the EDIT PERSONAL INFORMATION screen.

Do I need to enter my preferred name if it is the same as my legal name? 
No. That information is already shared with the faculty so you do not have to re-enter your preferred name if it is the same as your legal name.

I have legally changed my name. How do I update my information at VWU? 
To update your information at VWU after you have done a legal name change, you need to email a copy of the official court document showing the legal name change to and the Office of the Registrar will handle the name change in our systems.