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Inclusive Attendance-Taking

The CoLab asked Dr. Herzig for permission to publish the text of this email, which she sent to our faculty at the beginning of the semester. If you need more ideas about inclusive attendance-taking, reach out to us anytime and we can assist!

Dear colleagues,

As we fast approach the start of the semester and the mandate to take attendance,please remember to use a method of attendance taking that is inclusive to all students and doesn’t accidentally further marginalized trans and nonbinary students.

What does this mean? Please don’t read full names off the class roster aloud in class.  

What could you do instead?

  • If you feel you must read names off the roster, read only last names.
  • Send a Qualtrics survey prior to class or give a paper one in class. See my example: here.
  • Ask students to write the name listed on the roster and the name they go by on an index card in class.

See the bold text below for language from Faculty Focus regarding taking attendance in a way that is inclusive and affirming for transgender and gender non-conforming students. 

Consider your plan for pronouns. Gathering info on pronouns ensures you are using the correct pronouns for each student (rather than assuming them) and increases belonging which research shows s is associated with academic achievement and retention. Model sharing your pronouns when introducing yourself and list them where appropriate (email signatures, zoom, Canvas). Don’t require students to go around and state their pronouns, as this can inadvertently ask trans and nonbinary students to out themselves. For more information on pronouns see this helpful guide from GLSN.

For more info and resources on why using our students’ actual names and pronouns matter, see the recording of the university days workshop on this here or see the workshop slides (with lots of links for resources) here. Instructions to list your pronouns on Zoom and Canvas are included.

I know we all want to ensure students can thrive in our classes, and these are some quick ways to help them be ready to engage with your courses.

Take care and thanks,

Katie

Headshot of white woman in glasses, smiling

Katie Herzig (she/her) is a clinical psychologist and lifelong LGBTQ+ advocate and educator. She is currently an Associate Professor of psychology and advises the student organizations PSU Pride and Stamping Out Stigma.

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