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Name Change Working Group

About the working group

The Name Change Working Group seeks to identify the key issues impacting students, faculty, and staff around name changes (legal or otherwise) at Dalhousie.

We are working to ensure alignment between various university systems and the technology that drives them, policies, procedures, and the culture of Dal. The first priority for the Working Group is to address name changes in the university's primary systems, such as Banner and email, although our end goal is to make sure your name is accurately reflected everywhere, including in places such as class lists, Teams, Brightspace, your DalCard, transcripts, and more.

The working group is comprised of representatives from a multitude of departments and units within the university, such as Student Affairs, Registrar’s Office, Humans Resources, ITS, and more. We are consulting with various stakeholders to gather information and insights in order to make the best recommendations to changes in the name change process to make sure the process is straightforward and efficient.

One thing to note is the process of implementing these changes is slow and fluid and may take time. Society often changes faster than systems. However, the Working Group is open to feedback and will strive to make incremental improvements along the way.

Terminology: Chosen vs. Preferred Name

In our work, we often will use an adjective such as chosen or preferred to distinguish between the name a person uses and their legal name as listed in official records, including, but not limited to birth certificate, immigration documents, court-issued name change documents, passport, etc. We will, when we can, use the term “chosen name” or “name used,” although “preferred name” also occurs in some existing Dalhousie systems and policies.

Gender Affirmation Policy

The Gender Affirmation Policy guides the work of the Dalhousie Name Change Working group. This policy is aimed at promoting a safe and welcoming environment that supports all members of the university community in expressing and affirming their gender identity. At Dalhousie, this is part of our shared responsibility to provide an inclusive and respectful living, learning, and working environments for all.

Dalhousie’s Gender Affirmation policy recognizes that names are one way that people express and affirm their gender. They are core to our identity and hold meaning that signify where we came from, whether in terms of our family, traditions, religion, or culture. Names are especially important to Two Spirit, trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and other gender-diverse people as a way to communicate their gender identities.

Update your first name in Banner

Use Dal Online ( to update your first name, which appears in some Dalhousie systems. To update, follow these steps:

  • Go to, and sign in with your Dalhousie credentials.

  • Navigate to the Personal Information tab and click the “View/Update Personal Information link.”

  • In the “Personal Details” section, click Edit.

  • Enter your name in the “First Name Used” field and press the Update button.

Going through this process will change how your name appears in Brightspace, in most, but not all, Microsoft Office 365 products (e.g., will update how your name is displayed in email and Teams but not in Forms), and may update your first name in other Dalhousie systems, too. It may take a few days for the new name to appear.

Students: Did you know?

As a student (whether current or former), name change requests go through the Registrar’s Office. There are a variety of ways of getting in touch with them, including an online chat when they are open. 

For students who are changing their first name as part of a gender transition, once you’ve updated your “First Name Used” in Banner, you can a new DalCard for free. (When you contact the Dalcard office, be sure to note gender transition as the reason for needing a new card.)

In fact, there are many places where your name can be updated. These include:

  • University websites, including Dal Online and myDal

  • Brightspace and class lists

  • Student Residence documentation

  • Convocation programs, the online list of graduates, and name cards used during graduation ceremonies

  • Organizational charts and directories, business cards, phone lists, mailing lists, etc.

  • Door, desk, cubicle, or workstation name plates

  • And more!

As there is not yet straightforward process for making these changes, we recommend you reach out to us at for assistance or with any questions. We are happy to help!