Add updating Pronouns field to the Users API or SIS Imports API

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please see 2020-11-18 in the 2020 API Change Log Archive


Pronouns are now a configurable part of the user profile that users can set themselves. When users are provisioned from data using the Users API or SIS Imports API and that data includes pronouns there is a need to be able to update the pronouns field via the API.

Community Member

The SIS Imports API should support this as well (in the users file) since that's how we tend to do our systems integration.

Community Explorer

While I'm delighted to have more gender pronoun options than just two or even three, the drop-down menu approach reproduces gender as a limited set of statuses. Replacing this with radio buttons would allow gender-fluid users to click multiple pronoun sets (some of us use more than one on any given day!), and a write-in option would allow for the rapidly expanding terminology regarding even single statuses. Kudos to Canvas for going past the gender binary; now let's think about how to really infuse Canvas with the insights of gender scholarship of the past 20 years!

Community Contributor

Here is a feature request for the multi-select functionality: 

Community Member

According to the 2020-05-23 release notes, the SIS Import now supports pronouns:

SIS Import Format Documentation

  • Added pronoun parameter


Community Contributor

Since the SIS Uploads are the single source of information about a student in many institutions, rather than throwing an error for pronouns that are not included on the Canvas 'list', could Canvas add the pronoun to the list automatically? Or better yet, hide the picklist altogether and accept what is sent via SIS Upload without validation against any predefined list?

If an institution feels it needs a pre-defined list while others feel this is absolutely the wrong approach then this should be enforced at the SIS level and not within Canvas. 

The only thing Canvas should be enforcing here is the character length. Beyond that, an SIS-driven system gives institutions the flexibility to treat student and faculty pronouns consistently and in line with our institutional values across all our systems. 

Thanks in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter!


Community Member

We are desperate to comply with new legislation for students to be able to display their pronouns in Canvas, and I was very surprised to learn pronoun data cannot be updated using the Canvas APIs, but can only be updated through CSV uploads. We do not use CSV uploads. Canvas developers, please, please, please expose the pronoun functionality to the Canvas APIs the way it can be updated using a CSV upload.

Community Member

It appears that the SIS Import process does not allow for removing a pronoun after its been set.  The use case for our organization would be that a student can select a pronoun of "DECLINE" in the system of record.  Using only automated methods we are currently limited to either leaving the old pronoun in place or putting in a placeholder, e.g. "First Last (N/A)".  We have a workaround to resolve this but it does require a Canvas administrator* to manually remove the pronoun through the UI.  This only effects a small population as the student would have had to first set their pronoun and then later decide to opt out, but it would be nice to not have to worry about it.

*We have disabled the ability for Students to adjust their pronouns directly in Canvas and instead have a link pointing them to the system of record.

Community Coach
Community Coach

@Troy_Butolph, We just discovered the same issue with the users.csv file not having a way to remove pronouns.  Instructure should definitely improve this somehow (perhaps let us use the <deleted> or just empty quotes "" to denote that an existing pronoun should be removed).  I agree this would likely not affect a huge number of users, but it should still be supported nonetheless.


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: On Beta
Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through the 2020-11-18 Change Log Archive


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Completed