Canvas - Pronoun Use in Canvas - Overview [UW-Madison]

This document details how pronouns are used in Canvas, and includes frequently asked questions about pronoun use in Canvas.

Pronouns in Canvas

There is now a gender pronouns selection option in Canvas. This option can be used to indicate how you would like to be referred to in class, in online discussions, and anywhere else Canvas displays your name. 

If you opt in to this system, your name will now show up as Name (pronouns) wherever your name displays - e.g. Bucky Badger (he/him).

How do I change my pronouns in Canvas?

To choose, change, or remove your pronouns:

  1. Log in to Canvas.
  2. Select Account (your profile icon)→ Settings.
  3. Select Edit
  4. Choose an option from the drop-down menu.
  5. Select Update Settings to save.

For more detailed instructions, please see How do I select personal pronouns in my user account as a student?, or How do I select personal pronouns in my user account as an instructor? from Canvas Community.

Where can I find more information about pronoun use at UW-Madison?

Gender and Sexuality Campus Center’s Pronouns Matter website provides valuable information and resources for using inclusive language. For concerns or questions regarding the use guidelines, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where else will my pronouns display?

The Canvas pronouns function will display anywhere your name displays in Canvas. This includes previous semesters’ online discussion posts, and screenshots of Canvas content, which may still be visible to your previous instructors and classmates. Remember that disclosing in digital space works a lot like outness in physical space- people may share your pronouns in ways you don’t expect. Your pronouns will auto-update in every Canvas location whenever you change your pronouns in the system.

Where will my pronouns NOT display?

The pronouns you select to display in Canvas, will only display in Canvas. Campus is exploring options for how to enable pronoun information across other primary university systems in the future. This means, as of now, your pronouns will not display in your Directory entry (through which you can change your display first name at, WisCard, library account, and UHS account. Please make the right choice for you.

What pronouns can I choose from?

You can use any pronouns for yourself that feel good to you! Regarding the limited Canvas system, the current list is as follows, in alphabetical order (Canvas currently does not offer a write-in option):

  • He/him
  • He or they
  • She/her
  • She or they
  • They/them
  • Ze/hir
  • Ze/zir
  • Any pronouns
  • Use my name
  • Ask me privately

Why are some pronouns on the list and not others?

The pronouns listed are the most common binary and nonbinary pronouns in use at UW-Madison. (That we know of!) Other schools with pronoun options in their systems, such as New York University, use very similar lists (including our additional options, such as Ask Me Privately), which helps us feel confident in these options. 

We would prefer to have many more options listed, as well as a write-in option, but given the restraints of the digital system and the usability of screen readers with drop-down lists, we have restricted the list to its current form. If you have ideas as to how we can improve the list within the 10-item drop-down option, please contact the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center:


Phone: 608-265-3344

Going forward, the university expects to revisit the list of available pronouns offered in Canvas based on feedback from users.

How will my name, birthdate, and gender appear in UW-Madison academic records?

The Office of the Registrar’s personal info site provides some information about how this information will appear in UW records.

Where can I find the campus policy for name and pronoun use?

Please refer to Use Guidelines for Name and Pronouns in Use, on the Student Affairs website.

Where can I get technical support for the Canvas pronouns tool?

If you would like technical assistance with Canvas, please contact the DoIT Help Desk

Keywordslearn@UW learn pronouns GSCC preferred set select choose gender course class FAQ frequently asked questions   Doc ID108069
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2020-12-23 15:25:57Updated2024-04-11 11:58:35
SitesCenter for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring, DoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison, Office of the Registrar
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