March 5, 2013

The UW's new "Preferred Name Policy" — so "when the teacher is calling role you don’t have to out yourself."

Announced by the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee. Do you see what problem this is a solution to?
In the pilot program that will begin in August, students will be able to specify the name they would like to be identified by on class lists. The policy is geared toward groups such as international students that go by an English name and certain members of the LGBTQ community.

“If your name is legally Jane but you go by James, then on a class roster it would have your legal name, but then also your preferred name,” [Diversity Committee Secretary Madison] Tully said. “Then when the teacher is calling role you don’t have to out yourself.”
Actually, this is a helpful policy. I rely on the roster in class, and it can get complicated. I'm already putting the students on the spot by calling on them, and I don't want to embarrass anyone. I want to use the name that's the name they go by.

There have been times when I've called on a student who looks male with a name that's obviously female — e.g. Amy. But that was because I was using a seating chart and the student was sitting in Amy's seat. I repeated the "Amy" more than once, with the student giving me some very strange looks. But what could I do? Who am I to judge what an "Amy" should look like? What if that was Amy? How retrograde would I have seemed if I'd said "You can't be Amy"?

100 comments:

MayBee said...

Is it roll call?

MayBee said...

Use last names.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, I would have found this helpful.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm not Lisa, my name is Julie.

TomHynes said...

"My role today is transexual student with an attitude."

Methadras said...

Stupid. You know what will happen, they will be numbered instead. No names will be called, but they will be given numbers. Just the way leftists like it.

tiger said...

Pandering and yeah use last names.

Like in 'Alien'

Calypso Facto said...

Beware Mike Hunt.

Patrick said...

Calling "role?" Seriously, I hope that the person writing that was educated elsewhere, and just slipped by the UW's hiring process.

Erika said...

Hrm, in my kids' public school registration paperwork there has always been a space to answer, "How does your child like to be addressed?" Sometimes people have nicknames or go by middle names or whatever without any Crusaders for Transgender Justice!! attachments. Stop patting yourselves on the back for your noble enlightenedness, UW Diversity Committee.

Sorun said...

Assigned seating? My preferred name is Zack so I can sit in the back.

EMD said...

Why bother with attendance?

The students are there of their own free will. If they don't show, who cares?

I never had assigned seats nor attendance at Carnegie Mellon, and it didn't affect a thing.

Patrick said...

Who am I to judge what an "Amy" should look like? What if that was Amy?

If you seek Amy...

Levi Starks said...

I recommend numbers, preferably tattooed somewhere on their hand.
Kids love tattoos.

Shouting Thomas said...

A pre-cursor to the ultimate triumph of online education, once the college scam game collapses.

Anybody ever heard of an "avatar?"

The glorious days of $150,000 Diversity apparatchiks can't go on forever. Somebody has to pay for that scam.

Namely, taxpayers.

The scam artists know their days are numbered and that the con game will ultimate be found out. See earlier post about Oberlin.

edutcher said...

My God, this is truly letting the inmates run the asylum.

And then you want to play games with the LGBTQIUSA2PHO (M-O-U-S-E) crowd?

The only guy who should be allowed to call himself Shirley should be Leslie Nielsen.

PS Try it at a place like Villanova with some truly unpronounceable Polish, Italian, German, or Slavic names.

And then there were the exchange students.

From Africa.

Or the Middle East.

With 6 consonants.

All together.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

I know a man named 'Teddy', who's real name first or middle isn't Theodore. It took years to actually learn that. Teddy was a nick name from high school apparently, that he kept.

I'm afraid some immature students may take advantage of this.

sonicfrog said...

Use last names.

And then you get into trouble when the first name is Jodi or Chris. Do you call out Mr or Miss? :-)

Ann, when I sub, I get this quite a bit. A student will ask to be referred to as ___________ instead of their given name. Last week I did a 4 day sub'ing stint for an English class. One of the students in the 3rd period class preferred to go by the name Max, which was fine with me as he has a very long Indian first name.

vza said...

Calling on someone by name in a class they voluntarily signed on to is putting them on the spot?


Just use last names and first initial.

Or:

http://www.wikihow.com/Change-Your-Name

Jeff Teal said...

Jones 2154...Here Colour Sergeant.Worked at Rorke's Drift.Why not at Madison?Oops,sorry no need for the diversity zampolits.

sonicfrog said...

I'm afraid some immature students may take advantage of this.

Generally no, the immature ones aren't clever enough to think of it. And if you teach, you 'd better be good enough to catch it and nip it in the bud, or else you're going to have problems throughout your career.

2LS2TS said...

Throughout my life, I've often been on the receiving end of a similar "Amy"-type scenario. Being shy, the added attention brought on by the predictable pregnant pause, then mangling of my name, followed by repeated corrections, was beyond frustrating. Hat's off to the first teacher (7th grade)to not stumble right out of the gate. I like your approach - I can't tell you how many times others have thought I've spelled my own name wrong...

Alex Ignatiev said...

Today I am Stanley Kowalski. Tomorrow, I am Ratso Rizzo. Next week, I am Gladiator!

sonicfrog said...

Calling on someone by name in a class they voluntarily signed on to is putting them on the spot?

Because, you know, the students haven't been subjected to roll calls in the 12 years it took to get through regular school...

Oh, wait.

betamax3000 said...

First and last initial followed by grade point average.

sonicfrog said...

Today I am Stanley Kowalski. Tomorrow, I am Ratso Rizzo. Next week, I am Gladiator!

I would give extra credit to the first kid who says they're Spartacus"!

Original Mike said...

"Why bother with attendance?

The students are there of their own free will. If they don't show, who cares?"


I never took roll; I agree they're adults and it's up to them to learn. But you still have to know their names.

Shanna said...

A guy in high school somehow managed to get the official name that went out to teachers to change from Michael to Mikael.

On this, its still not going to tell you how to pronounce a name.

Balfegor said...

There have been times when I've called on a student who looks male with a name that's obviously female — e.g. Amy. But that was because I was using a seating chart and the student was sitting in Amy's seat. I repeated the "Amy" more than once, with the student giving me some very strange looks. But what could I do? Who am I to judge what an "Amy" should look like? What if that was Amy? How retrograde would I have seemed if I'd said "You can't be Amy"?

Well, he could have been English. Or a WASP or something. You know -- "Evelyn," "Courtney," "Aubrey," etc.

sonicfrog said...

Hey 2LS2TS? How DO you pronounce that? :-)

TosaGuy said...

"I want to be a Diversity Committee Secretary when I grow up!"

Said no one ever.

Does a tiny sliver of remorse over lost childhood dreams reside in these people.

sonicfrog said...

Amy Darling!

Balfegor said...

Hey 2LS2TS? How DO you pronounce that? :-)

Isn't it just Twellis Tutius?

Shanna said...

I don't remember people calling roll in college. A few classes passed around a sign in sheet.

MayBee said...

I'm actually surprised the university doesn't have something like this already. I've never gone by my full first name, which is a bit of a confusing jumble of letters. Many people go by shortened names or nicknames.

If a university actually has a policy of calling roll (role!). This probably should have been done long ago.

phx said...

"Anybody who'd make a big deal over a person's name will make a big deal over anything."
- Bob Dylan

Ignorance is Bliss said...

EDM-

When were you at CMU, and what were you in for?

I was Applied Math, class of '89-ish

betamax3000 said...

Maybe we can have the Multicultural Diversity Committee assign names to all incoming students.

"Freckled Oppressor Amy" would be easy to remember.

MayBee said...

Sonic- say neither Mr nor Ms. Just say "Smith". Like a football coach would.

sean said...

When I was in law school, the professors never called us by first names. Of course, they had to guess whether to use "Mr." or "Ms.," which I guess Prof. Althouse would find challenging, but most of them navigated the minefield without too much trouble. Obviously, Boalt profs are too insensitive for UW.

Ann Althouse said...

"Calling on someone by name in a class they voluntarily signed on to is putting them on the spot?"

In a law school class with 50 students, it's surprising to find you are the one getting called on. If they knew they were going to be called on, they'd prepare differently. They assume it's unlikely, and sometimes they aren't prepared at all.

Bob Boyd said...

"My name is Sue
How do you do
Now you gonna die"

bgates said...

Use last names.

No, it's spelled "Raymond Luxury Yacht", but it's pronounced "Throatwarbler Mangrove".

Renee said...

"They assume it's unlikely, and sometimes they aren't prepared at all."

How do people who aren't prepared end up in law school?

phx said...

"The only thing we knew for sure about Henry Porter is that his name wasn't Henry Porter"

betamax3000 said...

If your Preferred Name was "Anal Probe" would you have a lower or higher risk of being called upon?

Balfegor said...

Re: Renee:

How do people who aren't prepared end up in law school?

Law school isn't like med school or grad school. there isn't actually any preparation necessary to enter law school. You just take the LSAT and apply is all.

acm said...

This definitely makes sense. Lots of people go by middle names, too. On my son's school forms there's a space for preferred name, and it works well. I've even heard that some parents use it to phonetically spell their child's unusual or foreign first name.

The "just use last names" idea makes sense til you get people with the same last name. I'm from a heavily Hispanic area and routinely had classes with people who were unrelated but had the same last name. Ms. Maria Leticia Garci, Ms. Maria Magdalena Garcia and especially Mr. Maria Jesus Garcia would probably like this policy very much, and so would their teachers.

Astro said...

"JayQUELLin? Where's JayQUELLin at?

Taking roll,
Key and Peele
Hilarious

vza said...

sonicfrog said...

"I would give extra credit to the first kid who says they're Spartacus"!


LOL!

EMD said...

EDM-

When were you at CMU, and what were you in for?

I was Applied Math, class of '89-ish,


Graduated 1994. BS in Industrial Management, Minor in Film Production.

Industrial Management was basically marketing for me.

Rockport Conservative said...

This can be a help in more than one way. My husband has a southern tradition name of three last names. He is called the derivative of the middle one, but because his first name IS his first name he has been called it by computer generated letters and lists such as they have in schools, he is used to it. But after 54 years of marriage I am not. His last name is always mispronounced so they know to never try to say it and go with the first name.

Craig said...

My guide to the tomb of Confucius said his name was Kevin Garnett. My guide to the Forbidden Palace said her name was Red.

sonicfrog said...

The "just use last names" idea makes sense til you get people with the same last name. I'm from a heavily Hispanic area and routinely had classes with people who were unrelated but had the same last name. Ms. Maria Leticia Garci, Ms. Maria Magdalena Garcia and especially Mr. Maria Jesus Garcia would probably like this policy very much, and so would their teachers.

That. And on a roll sheet, they will all be bunched together. I teach in a district that is heavily Hispanic. There may be two or three Jose's in the room, but they are preceded by a Mark and followed by an Ellen, so they get to know which one the teacher is calling pretty quickly.

Renee said...

But you have to read the cases BEFORE class!

Do students really go into class, completely clueless without reading and outlining the cases?

If you can't read a case and explain it back to the professor in a few sentences, how can they speak in front of a judge that maybe questioning the person as an attorney?

edutcher said...

Why not go with SSNs?

Of course, you'd end up with the guy from Hawaya with an SSN issued in Connectthedots.

acm said...

This definitely makes sense. Lots of people go by middle names, too. On my son's school forms there's a space for preferred name, and it works well. I've even heard that some parents use it to phonetically spell their child's unusual or foreign first name.

At Villanova, the priests remembered who you were. Better system.

But, in some classes, you were actually asked if you wanted to be called something other than Mr Galackiewicz.

Bruce Hayden said...

In the professor's defense, law school is weird in terms of being called upon. It is maybe part of the ritual, the initiation. Prof calls on you, hopefully somewhat randomly, and puts you on the spot. And, as she points out, if a lot of the kids don't think that they will be called upon, they won't prepare. Won't brief the assigned cases.

One of my favorite stories is about someone who taught too long - over 50 years, and his big subject was future interests. It isn't what it sounds like to non-lawyers, but rather, is an arcane part of real property law, much of which dates back to Magna Carta days, and so doesn't change much year to year, or maybe even century to century. He had a policy of randomly questioning the students in his class, and taking off from their grades if they didn't perform adequately. Fine so far. BUT, he wouldn't take off if you weren't there. Which meant by maybe the 3rd day of class, everyone was ditching, since by then you would get called upon if you did show, etc. So, thereafter, he would walk into class, open his book to his bookmark. Stand there for maybe 20 minutes, move the bookmark, and leave. As I said, he had taught too long. My father liked him, back before his sell-by date. My brother and I missed him, but got his daughter, who also taught real property type classes.

I think that the answer is to do as several of my LS profs did - everyone put their name on a playing card at the beginning. The prof would pick a card or two a day, randomly, shuffling on occasion. If you were prepared, then fine. If not, then you were docked, and if you weren't there, that was considered not prepared. That way, you could move around to your heart's delight, and not worry about trying to remember exactly what seat you sat in the first day, etc. And, you could typically use whatever name you wanted (by putting it in quotes on the card).

Balfegor said...

Re: Renee:

Do students really go into class, completely clueless without reading and outlining the cases?

Yeah.

SteveR said...

Heywood Jablome

SJ said...

There have been times when I've called on a student who looks male with a name that's obviously female — e.g. Amy. But that was because I was using a seating chart and the student was sitting in Amy's seat. I repeated the "Amy" more than once, with the student giving me some very strange looks. But what could I do? Who am I to judge what an "Amy" should look like? What if that was Amy? How retrograde would I have seemed if I'd said "You can't be Amy"?

You mean you can't lift your sheet of assigned-seats, look at the student in Amy's chair, and intone

"Resident of the Chair of Amy, can you tell me your thoughts on the subject?"

The students will be reminded of the assigned seat, and you will be obviously speaking to the student sitting in the chair assigned to Amy.

Problem solved.

sonicfrog said...

Astro... I was going to post that! Those guys are awesome!

Then there's the "Fronthand Backhand" game.

Henry said...

Bobby Tables

edutcher said...

OK, what do you do with an English guy whose first name is Beverley or Evelyn or Hilary, who contends their all masculine names (and they are), Hollyweird notwithstanding?

BarrySanders20 said...

I remember the new Chinese kid in 4th grade whose name was Dong Shin. Hard enough being new and Chinese in midwestern suburban schools, but actually being named Dong really sucked for him.

The next year, he was Don.

Kelly said...

I was subbing a first grade class and taking attendance. I came to the name Jesus and paused, the kids knew why I'd paused and they all said simultaneously, we just call him Joe! So Joe it was.

phx said...

I was a kid and went to see the San Francisco Giants in spring training. Jesus Alou came up to bat.

I yelled at the top of my lungs "Go get him Jesus". Pronouncing the j of course.

n.n said...
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n.n said...
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n.n said...

Naming an object (or human) is undeniable discriminatory. Each name evinces a particular resonance in our brain, which is perceived with unequal favor. Is there a solution to the naming crisis? Perhaps a directional reference would suffice.

jr565 said...

I'd like to be named He Who Can't Be Named (or Lord Voldemort).

jr565 said...

Also, He Who Must not Be Named, or The One Who can't be Named would also suffice.
IF you do call me Lord Voldemort some death Eaters will be all over your ass.
Are you sure you want to call on me in class?

TMink said...

"In the pilot program that will begin in August, students will be able to specify the name they would like to be identified by on class lists."

Finally, a policy that understands my needs. I prefer to be reffered to as "Your Highness."

Trey

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'd go with the student formerly known as Eric...

Kelly said...

LOL. I know it's odd because I'm not at all religious, but I just have a hard time calling a first grader Jesus. I ran across the craziest names, the pronuciation wouldn't match the spelling. Of course, those are the kids that always had their hands raised to answer questions. It couldn't be the Ryan's or the Emily's.

jr565 said...

I'd also go by Mike Hunt or Erik Shun. Or Oliver Kloseoff.
If I were a girl I would go by Eileen Dover, or Ophelia Dick.

jr565 said...

you could go by a symbol like prince. I'll go by a crosss between an ampersand and an at sign.

jr565 said...

For HIMYM fans - Cook Pu.

kimsch said...

Teddys can be Edwards as well as Theodores. Edwards can be Eds, Neds, Teds or Wards.

The Little Guy goes by a diminutive of his middle name. I just let the teachers and admin at the school know and they call on him appropriately.

I made him little name tags for the first weeks of Kindergarten and First grade as they were in separate school buildings. Name tags weren't necessary by Second Grade because the staff all knew him by then. Working with PTO at the school I was also known by all the kids and staff. I am Mrs. *****'s Mom. Especially with a 12 letter German last name that is mispronounced ALL the time.

jr565 said...

I remember the new Chinese kid in 4th grade whose name was Dong Shin. Hard enough being new and Chinese in midwestern suburban schools, but actually being named Dong really sucked for him.

The next year, he was Don.


That reminds me of Sixteen candle's Long Duk Dong!:
Whats your name?
Dong.
WHat's your first name?
Long.
What's your middle name?
Duk.

phx said...

I would go by NiggerhaterFagKiller, Jr.

I think Nurse Ratchet will have a different idea for you when you get there, chump.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeez- it's too bad so many students and teachers are innumerate or we could just assign everyone a number.

kimsch said...

Some named Jesus are called Chuy (pronounced chewy)...

Bob_R said...

I wish we had rolls with preferred names and phonetic pronunciations. Some kids are too shy to correct me when I hand back homework. Then it comes time for graduation and I have to read off the names of the math majors and I find I've been mispronouncing their name for a year.

Bob_R said...

Whatever you think of the UW Diversity Committee, if you spend your time in the sciences deciphering the names of international students, this is a good policy.

edutcher said...

Can't wait to see the reaction to the English guy who insists that his first name of Beverley (or Evelyn or Hilary) is so a man's name.

(largely because it is)

Chip S. said...

All the students should just be called Ishmael.

Then each teacher would have to number them ("Uh, Ishmael 37, what do Bartleby's successive refusals say about the anomie inherent in post-agrarian society?"), thereby achieving sex, race, and cultural neutrality effortlessly.

Alex said...

I need to go watch "Goodbye Mr Chips" again to cleanse myself of this wishy washy bullshit. College used to be for molding young men to become upstanding citizens.

Any man would give his only begotten son for democracy.

Alex said...

Yet another reason for kids to avoid the liberal PC factories known as "universities".

Alex said...

Notice how Ann is 100% on board with this!

David said...

"In a law school class with 50 students, it's surprising to find you are the one getting called on. If they knew they were going to be called on, they'd prepare differently. They assume it's unlikely, and sometimes they aren't prepared at all."

That attitude is not going to help them as lawyers. Great lawyers do great preparation, every time. It's essential.

I also question the math skills. If you have 50 students, and call on 4 each class, that's an 8% chance of being called in a particular class. In any three class periods, the odds that you will be called are 24%. If you have 20 class periods in a semester, the odds that you will be called are 100%.

So if you don't prepare like you will be required to perform, you will be embarrassed at some point.

That's if you find being unready an embarrassment, I suppose. Sounds like many of your students do not.

Big Mike said...

I would have liked that, since my real name is not "Big Mike." Or even "Mike," without the size qualifier.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


David said...

I also question the math skills. If you have 50 students, and call on 4 each class, that's an 8% chance of being called in a particular class. In any three class periods, the odds that you will be called are 24%. If you have 20 class periods in a semester, the odds that you will be called are 100%.

In terms of questioning math skills, your math only works if you assume that the professor is avoiding calling the same student twice, at least until all students have been called.

Big Mike said...

@David, your analysis is faulty. If there are 50 students and the professor randomly calls on 4 different students during a class period then the probability you will not be called on is 0.92. The probability you will never be called upon in 20 class periods is 0.92 raised to the 20th power. If I haven't screwed up using the calculator, the odds that you will never be called upon is surprisingly large: just a tick under 19%.

Again that assumes that the professor calls on students randomly, which is probably not true in real life. Some professors might enjoy one particular student's interesting take on things and preferentially call on that student. More likely the professor will think, you know, I don't recall ever calling on the guy named "Amy."

Bender said...

It is not the roll of a supposed professor -- who is supposed to be instilling professionalism -- to call someone by their first name.

Problem solved.

Of course, then there is the problem that academics don't know the difference between roll and role!

Bender said...

Virgil? Virgil? Is that you boy?

They call me Mr. Tibbs, girl.

Alex Ignatiev said...

I'm Brian, and so is my wife!

Steven said...

I taught a class last summer. One of my students had the given name "Adolph," which was listed on the class roster. He went by Chris.

I meant to ask him some time when I was alone with him why an American under 70 would have been named "Adolph" -- my top guess was that it was a family name -- but I never did.

Broomhandle said...

Actually role is the original spelling. "Roll call" is a modern bastardization.

kentuckyliz said...

Don't use SSNs. FERPA doesn't allow us to even ask for them any more. No one knows their student ID number. It's just a huge waste of time.