2013 IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

What's in a Name? - "Preferred Name" Auto Grab

Proposal Status: 


UCSF advertises itself as a LGBT-friendly employer and supports that claim with a diversity center, LGBT-inclusive healthcare benefits, and more. The University even has a "preferred name" column in the electronic HR files, which is great for transgender members who do not have the ability or readiness to change their first legal name, and also serves useful for when there are more than 2 University members with the same name, as well as when University members known by nicknames.

However, there are numerous University systems who map to members' legal first name instead of the preferred name, causing those transgender-identified, double names, and chosen names to get ignored and confused.

This proposal is a simple mapping project to ensure that University members are referred to and listed by their preferred name instead of their legal first name. This will ensure emails, phone calls, and auto-generated system messages are addressing the correct individuals by their correct name, as well as help others reinforce that name and eliminate confusion for finding and communicating with that individual.


University systems (LMS, BearBuy, ID Badges, etc.) will automatically pull from University members' HR "Preferred Name" listing instead of their legal "First Name" listing. 

Related system administrators may receive an email, a quick reference guide, or a job aid, depending on the need for acclimating systems to this small change (team meetings will determine if there is a need for this).


1) More inclusive space for transgender University members who may be unable or unprepared to change their first name legally.

2) Less confusion and lost communications in the case of having more than 2 University members with the same first and last name -- e.g. "Mike's not here? Oops, I must have sent the meeting invite to the wrong Michael Smith again."

3) Less confusion, time, and lost messages for staff members who are known by a nickname instead of their first legal name -- e.g. "I can't find your name in the Outlook address book, DJ, because there are 30 people with your last name," "oh, sorry, I'm the one listed under Jones, Dean."

4) Less discomfort, time, and errors spent on communications with names that University members have difficulty spelling or pronouncing, for those who opt into being referred to by a nickname toward that purpose.

5) More consistency and compatibility between University systems -- e.g. "Sorry, I cannot register you for MyAccess, CJ, because your email address does not sync up with your University Directory listing."

This affects not only those University members with preferred names that are different than their legal first name, but also those who need to communicate with them, as well as all who are affected by those members' productivity and happiness. It is a system that is easy to set in place and has no future maintenance needed to last indefinitely. In short, it is an incredibly low-involvement project with high-impact, sustainable results that have a realistically high probability of success.

Team Members & Roles:

1) Project Coordinator, Subject Matter Expert, and Test User - CJ Frosch

2) HR Administrator/Expert- ?

3) ITS Administrator/Expert- ?

Estimated time would be no more than 1 hour in weekly team meetings and 1.5 hours of implementation time spent weekly for 4-6 weeks, for a total of 10-15 hours.

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