Current Students and Staff

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Preferred names in IT systems

As part of the University’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity, we wish to make all members of our community feel welcomed by using the preferred names by which they choose to be known.

Preferred names may be different to legal names for a variety of reasons: they may, for instance, be a shortened version of a forename, one of many middle names, multiple forenames or a different name entirely. 

In particular, we want to ensure that the identities of transgender and non-binary members of our community are respected and affirmed. This includes avoiding the use of names by which a person no longer wishes to be known, sometimes called “deadnaming", whether or not a formal legal name change has been made.  

In recognition of this, the University undertook a development in 2020 to ensure that all students’ preferred names were being collected as part of registration and to enable students to make updates themselves at any time. These preferred names, however, are currently only visible in limited places outside of the core student record, such as Microsoft Teams and student email. We therefore have much work to do here.  

With this in mind, the University is now planning to develop student systems and processes to use preferred names as the default name throughout, except in some limited cases where legal name is required (eg degree certificates) or where it is desired through student choice. 

The first phase of this work begins with changes to a wide range of systems including Learn, Turnitin, Panopto, WebPA, and Co-tutor, amongst others. These changes will take place in week commencing 27 February 2023. This will address a large proportion of the systems that are regularly used by students and where academic staff in particular view student information, so that preferred name is shown to them by default.  

Further information and guidance on the use of preferred and legal names is available in the Student Handbook and an updated version of this webpage will also be launched in week commencing 27 February 2023 to coincide with the system changes.  

Further changes to remaining student systems will follow in 2023 and 2024 and we will update you on plans as they develop.   

If you are a member of staff, you can update your preferred forename through my.HR. This will automatically flow through to some University systems overnight and we are developing plans to enable this for other systems. Changes can also be manually made to systems outside of this process, such as if you have a preferred surname – please contact to arrange this. 

You can find more information on the University’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity on the dedicated University strategy webpages