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New pronoun policy, community conversation Sept. 6

We are pleased to share that all students, staff, and faculty may now self-select a pronoun from the list provided on the Personal Information page in Self Service. If a pronoun is selected it will be viewable by members of the University community in Starfish, Blackboard, Zoom, and class lists. Other details about replacing pronouns and review of the list can be found at:

The Office of Equity and Inclusion will host a community conversation for any member of the Drake community who has questions about the policy and/or who wants more support identifying best practices for respecting the use of pronouns Sept. 6 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Sussman Theater. Associate Provost Jen Harvey and Registrar Jenny Tran-Johnson will both be in attendance.

The goal of the pronoun policy is to create an environment in which we do not assume how people want to be referred to when referenced in the third person. It helps us proactively ensure people are given the opportunity to self-identify and reduce instances of misgendering (i.e., incorrectly referring to a person’s gender by assuming their gender identity). The policy aligns with Drake University’s commitment to cultivating equity and inclusion as it recognizes each individual’s sense of self and affirms the humanity of all members of our community, including transgender, gender non- conforming, non-binary, gender questioning, and other gender diverse members of our community.

The pronoun policy does not require that anyone discloses their pronouns. It is also important no one is ever pressured to disclose their pronouns.

Faculty members are encouraged to consider with intention practices for ensuring students in courses are referred to with the pronouns they use by both themselves and student peers. Best practices can include modeling sharing one’s own pronouns when introducing oneself and inviting—but not requiring—students to share theirs when they introduce themselves in class. Faculty are expected, according to the policy, to use the pronouns students indicate for themselves and to facilitate use of the correct pronouns by student peers in classrooms. Such practices are critical to create an effective and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Similarly, students and staff are expected to use the pronouns any member of the Drake community indicates are appropriate. We want each and every member of our community to experience their pronouns being respected as a shared community practice.

We warmly invite you to bring any questions or concerns, including about matters such as how to self-correct if/when you inadvertently use the wrong pronoun or otherwise grow one’s ability to use pronouns that might be new to us as part of our discussion during the Sept. 6 community conversations.

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