Faculty & Staff Frequently Asked Questions

Chosen Name and Identity Practice: FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Virginia Tech recognizes that some members of our community use a name other than their legal name, and that all of us have and use gender pronouns to refer to ourselves and others. A person’s name and pronouns represent very important and salient parts of their identity, making it essential for the university’s records system to manage this information as inclusively and accurately as possible.

Chosen Name and Identity is an example of inclusive practices that are shown to increase students’ sense of belonging and improve their perception of the university. By implementing a Chosen Name and Identity practice, Virginia Tech joins over 258 universities that enable students to list their chosen name on campus records and documents. (Source: Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse

  • Students can indicate their gender pronouns and/or chosen names through HokieSPA.
  • Students voluntarily indicate their gender pronoun from a drop-down menu of pre-determined pronoun options. Once they choose a pronoun, it displays on the class rosters that faculty receive.
  • No pronoun information will display on faculty class rosters unless the student took action to indicate their pronouns in HokieSPA.
  • Chosen Names will display in HokieSPA and university directories, including email.
  • Legal name (labeled First Name in university record systems) will continue to display on pay statements and W-2s.
  • Gender pronouns will not display publicly for employees.

Students’ chosen names will display in Guest Access areas such as grades and Canvas. Only those people to whom they granted access can see their chosen name.

The decision to list pronouns or chosen name in HokieSPA is completely voluntary and not a requirement.

If you mistakenly refer to someone using the wrong gender pronoun, correct yourself. Going on as if it didn’t happen is actually less respectful than admitting the error. If someone points out that you misgendered them, thank them for noting this and restate with the correct pronouns.

We believe that all VT students deserve to be addressed in congruence with their identities. While this may be uncomfortable at first, the university encourages practicing the use of pronouns such as the singular “they” prior to the start of classes. The student’s name is also an acceptable replacement for an individual’s personal pronouns. If a student has reason to believe they are being intentionally misgendered, they may seek out the assistance of the Dean of Students, which will serve as an advocate for the student.

The LBTQ+ Resource Center offers space and advising to student-led LGBTQ+ organizations on campus, as well as provides advocacy and education through programs such as LGBTQ+ History Month in October, Transgender Day of Remembrance in November, and Pride Week in April.

LGBT Faculty and Staff Caucus advances equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified people and their families through educational programming, social activities, public service, and outreach.

The Office for Inclusion and Diversity administers Safe Zone Trainings that are open to all students, faculty, and staff at Virginia Tech. Its Inclusive Pedagogy sessions and InclusiveVT Insights videos also address topics related to LGBTQ+ inclusion.

A full list of LGBTQ+ organizations at Virginia Tech, as well as other campus and community resources are available on the LBTQ+ Resource Center website.

  • Yes, employees can also indicate their gender pronouns and/or chosen names through HokieSPA.
  • Employees have previously been able to provide chosen name, which was then manually updated in university record systems. Now employees will be able to update their chosen name themselves.
  • Employees can also voluntarily indicate their personal pronoun from a drop-down menu of pre-determined pronoun options.

The focus at the moment is to make the Chosen Name and Identity practice available for students. Considerations for faculty and staff will be made after this has been implemented.