Currently, the class lists you receive may have incomplete information concerning the names and pronouns students use to identify themselves. Reading names aloud or ascribing gender based on those lists risks an egregious form of disrespect.
Here are a few easy classroom best practices to help welcome all students to programs and courses:
- Send a quick email to all students in advance of the first day of class with more or less this message: "The list of names I receive from the Registrar may or may not indicate the name you prefer to be called, or the pronouns you use to identify yourself. I'm grateful to hear from you in advance if there is any clarification you can offer regarding your name and your pronoun use."
- On the first day of class, don't call names aloud from registration sheets. One alternative: pass around a sign-in sheet that lists only LIN numbers copied from the course roster. Tip: list LIN numbers in ascending order and remind students to double-check that the LIN is correct. You might also ask students to complete an informational notecard where, in addition to other information, they write the name and pronouns they'd like to use in class.
- Introduce yourself and indicate which pronouns you use to identify yourself. Mention that it is important to say this aloud because it is easy for people to make assumptions about gender that prove to be false, especially given the social context today in which we have in the same room people who have only ever thought of gender as binary, and other people who understand gender to be complex and non-binary. Many people identify with the gender-neutral pronoun "they" and use it in the first person, where others use the gendered pronouns "he" and "she." All are accepted uses at the University.
- Invite students to share their pronouns as well. Doing so on the first day of class can avoid confusion or disrespect later on. Doing so also sends a strong signal of welcome and support. Inviting is probably better than insisting, because it is possible that some students might not want to draw attention to their gender or pronoun use.
Adapted from Evergreen College
Additional Classroom Resources
Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs
University Center, B008c
Assistant Professor of German
She researches and teaches all things related to contemporary German culture, including queer and trans film and theater.
Williams Hall Room 485
Pride Faculty Council
We recognize the importance of Lehigh's mission to create a culture of inclusive excellence, creative expression & innovation. In order to do this, we aim to promote a culture at Lehigh that celebrates the complexity of the LGBTQ+ identities and gender- & sexuality-related inquiry by supporting the Pride Center's work through advocacy, research, on-campus & off-campus community partnerships and curricular connections.
Ann Fink, Sirry Alang, Mary Foltz, Jeffrey Heflin, Nic Johnson, Olivia Landry, Monica Najar, Steven Sametz, Steven Savino, Emily Weissbourd