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Submitting A Chosen Name

Rutgers University recognizes that members of the university community use names other than their legal names. Employees can determine the chosen first name that you want to be known by within Rutgers’ systems. Rutgers reserves the right to remove a name that does not meet our standards. Inappropriate use of the chosen name policy (including but not limited to avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation) may be cause for removal. The university will not accept a preferred first name that is vulgar or offensive, obscene, contains profanity, discriminatory language, or sexually suggestive words, or creates confusion with another person.

Beginning September 2022, employees may submit a chosen name by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Navigate and login to myRutgers Portal with your NetID and password.
  2. Select the “Employee Resources” tab.
  3. Click, "Directory Listing Update" which is located under HR Tools within the section for Faculty & Staff Resources.
  4. Click “Directory Listing” and make the desired updates.
  5. Once complete, select “Save Directory Listing Settings.” You will see displayed a confirmation of the changes. Please note, changes may take 24-48 hours to take effect in the Directory.

At this time, the directory display will provide your legal name and your nickname (i.e., if your first name is Robert, but your nickname is Bob, and your last name is Smith, your directory display will show Robert Smith (Bob Smith). After September 2022, if you set a chosen name, your chosen name will be displayed in place of your legal name.

The university is engaging in a comprehensive review of downstream systems that pull and display employees’ legal names. University Human Resources is partnering with the Office of University Equity & Inclusion and the Office of Information Technology to develop a phased-in update of all Rutgers systems to ensure that chosen name is utilized in as many places as feasible. Additional details regarding this project will be announced during the Fall 2022 semester.

Chosen Name Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chosen or Preferred name?

A preferred or chosen name is a name an employee wishes to be known by in the university community that is different from the employee’s legal name on file with the university.

Can a chosen name be used for both my first and last name?

University business and systems require that your last name is your legal last name. Accordingly, the name change process is limited to first name only and not surnames or family names.

What can I use as my chosen name?

Although employees are generally free to determine the names they wish to be known by, inappropriate use of the name change process (including but not limited to avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation) may be cause for removal. Your preferred first name must be a name you truly use to identify yourself. The university will not accept a preferred first name that is vulgar or offensive, obscene, contains profanity, discriminatory language, or sexually suggestive words, or creates confusion with another person.

What is an allowable chosen name format?

Many members of the university community use a first name that differs from their legal first name. Allowable name formats include (but are not limited to):

  • A shortened derivative of a name (e.g, “Peggy” for “Margaret”)
  • A middle name instead of a first name
  • First and middle initials (e.g., “A.J.” for “Andrew Joseph”)
  • An anglicized name (e.g, “Robert” instead of “Xiangu”)
  • A name that better represents the individual’s gender identity
  • A name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing

The university will not accept a preferred first name that is vulgar or offensive, obscene, fanciful, contains profanity, discriminatory language, or sexually suggestive words, or creates confusion with another person.

Can my chosen name contain characters?

Yes. The chosen first name is limited to at least one alphabetical character (A-Z or a-z), and can include the following special characters: apostrophe, hyphen, and periods.

Can I request to change my chosen name multiple times?

The chosen name process is not intended to entertain repeated requests for a chosen name change. Additional requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can I use my chosen name for everything at Rutgers?

We make every effort to work with our technology vendors to use the preferred/chosen name, but it’s not always possible as our software systems and services are not centralized. Your legal name will continue to be used in business processes that require the use of the legal name. Those who are utilizing a preferred/chosen name should always be prepared to reference their legal name as well as provide their university identification when necessary.

What system(s) will be updated when I follow the process for setting a chosen name?

At this time, only the Rutgers search directory will be updated.  In rare cases where an employee was a former Rutgers student and submitted a name change as a student, the chosen name will be displayed in other student systems. Because many systems at Rutgers are decentralized, the university is engaging in a comprehensive review of downstream systems that pull and display employees’ legal names. University Human Resources is partnering with the Office of University Equity & Inclusion and the Office of Information Technology to develop a phased-in update of all Rutgers systems to ensure that chosen name is utilized in as many places as feasible.

Our goal is to utilize an employee’s chosen name in all systems except where the use of the legal name is required. For example, once the project is complete, your chosen name will appear on: 

  • Rutgers Search Directory
  • Canvas
  • REGIS
  • Diploma/Degree
  • My Rutgers Portal
  • Zoom
  • WebEx
  • ID Cards
  • Email
  • Commencement Programs
Will my chosen name be viewable in the directory?

Yes. Once a chosen name is submitted, it will appear in the directory. At this time, the directory display will provide your legal name and your chosen name (i.e. if your first name is Robert, but you prefer Bob, and your last name is Smith, your directory display will show Robert Smith (Bob Smith). The university is actively working to display chosen name only as a replacement of the legal name in the search directory and will be making this feature available by September 2022.

How long will it take for my chosen name to change?

Changes may take 24-48 hours to take effect in the directory.

Who do I contact at Rutgers if I have additional questions about the name change process?

If you have additional questions or need further guidance through the name change process, please contact Liz Cronce at namechange@rutgers.edu.

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