Name Change Working Group
About the Working Group and Our Work
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 First Name in Banner
Use Dal Online (https://dalonline.dal.ca) to update your first name, which appears in some Dalhousie systems. To update, follow these steps:
- Go to https://dalonline.dal.ca, 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.
As there is not yet straightforward process for making these changes, we recommend you reach out to us at NameChanges@dal.ca for assistance or with any questions. We are happy to help!
Informal Name Changes
While we continue to work on the policies and procedures for changing your name in various Dalhousie systems, there are things you can do now (in addition to updating your first name in Banner). Ideas include:
- Use your chosen name in your email signature
- Introduce yourself or fill out an ID tag with your chosen name
- Communicate your name to your professors, co-workers, family, and friends
Legal Name Changes
Here are some resources outside of Dalhousie that you may find useful if you are considering a legal name change. Note that for students, faculty, or staff from other provinces or countries, the process will be different. Once you have updated your legal name, you will have to let Dalhousie know, starting with Registrar’s Office for students and Human Resources for staff and faculty.
Nova Scotia Vital Statistics – Change Your Name
This website lists details on eligibility, how to apply, associated fees, and other useful information.
Nova Scotia Health Authority – Legal Transition
This website contains information on applying for a Certificate of Change of Name, as well as suggestions for other legal documents you may need to update after a legal name change.