By Molly Hovden, Information Technology Services
University of Iowa students can now designate their own identifiers—including preferred first name, sex, gender, and pronouns of reference—through admissions applications and the MyUI portal.
The Inclusive Student Records Initiative, launched this fall, builds on UI’s history of LGBTQ+ inclusivity by expanding personal identity data options to support a safe, welcoming environment for all.
UI is one of the first schools in the nation to implement an inclusive student record system and application process. The initiative was a joint project of the UI Chief Diversity Office, Information Technology Services (ITS), Admissions, and the Office of the Registrar.
“In recognizing gender as an aspect of identity separate from sex, UI is better able to connect students with resources,” says Jill Robinson, program coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and chair of the Inclusive Student Records Subcommittee of the recently launched UI Trans Inclusivity Taskforce.
“Students’ preferred first names and pronouns of reference will be available to academic advisors, faculty, and instructors through the course-management and record systems (ICON and MAUI), taking the burden off students to provide correct names and pronouns repeatedly and on an individual basis.”
Robinson notes that name options support all students who elect to use a name different than their given one, including international students who choose to adopt an alternative name. For preferred pronouns, many individuals use he/him/his or she/her/hers, while others opt for they/their/theirs or ze/zem/zir.
ITS’ role in the project involved extending the student record database to store new fields, modifying the admissions application to allow applicants to enter and select new options, and creating new screens in MyUI to select their preferences.
“We started development in June and deployed the solution to the production environment in early August,” says Mike Noel, senior director of Administrative Information Systems at ITS. “The process was very collaborative and iterative, and we were happy to be involved with this important initiative.”
To date, 921 students have selected a pronoun of preference and 1,841 have chosen a preferred name on MyUI. So far, 229 students have identified as transgender, 2,422 selected woman, 1,659 man, 226 cisgender, 40 non-binary, 19 agender and 11 another gender.
Instructions for changing gender and pronoun preferences
Instructions for changing preferred name, sex, gender, and pronouns of reference, are available at https://uiowa.edu/ui-trans-resources/changing-university-iowa-records. To learn about the importance of using correct pronouns, check out the "Using preferred names and gender pronouns at the University of Iowa" video.