Why does a person's name appear differently in Canvas vs. Student Center and Faculty Center?

Quick Links: | Background | Solution | Root Cause |

Students and faculty members may notice a discrepancy in the names displayed in Canvas compared to those shown in Student Center or Faculty Center. This issue manifests as follows:

  • A student's or faculty member's name in Canvas does not match the name listed in the Student Center/Faculty Center.
  • A student in Canvas does not seem to appear on the official course roster in Faculty Center, or a student listed on the official roster doesn't appear to be enrolled in Canvas.
  • Someone's name appears correctly in Canvas but is incorrect in Student Center or Faculty Center.


Chico State utilizes three primary systems for managing student information and educational resources:

  • PeopleSoft: An administrative system used for managing student records, including personal information, enrollment, grades, and other critical administrative tasks. This system provides the Student Center and Faculty Center.
  • Account Center: An administrative system for managing a user's accounts across the campus's various computer systems
  • Canvas: A Learning Management System (LMS) used by students and faculty for coursework, assignments, grades, and communication.

At Chico State, individuals have the ability to manage their identities in these systems to some extent. Specifically, the Account Center allows people to set a display name that may differ from their name in PeopleSoft (legal or lived name). This flexibility accommodates preferences for showing particular names under certain circumstances—such as a legal name on transcripts, a lived (or preferred) name on rosters, and a shorter name in Canvas—among the campus community. For example, someone may use a shortened version of their name in Canvas, Microsoft, and other systems which use the display name from Account Center while their full legal (or lived/preferred) name shows in Faculty Center and Student Center.


To resolve discrepancies between names displayed in PeopleSoft and Canvas, individuals have two options:

  • Update Display Name: If the discrepancy arises from a preferred display name set in the Account Center, users can align their Canvas display name with their PeopleSoft name by updating their preferences in the Account Center. This change ensures consistency across platforms but does not alter the official records in PeopleSoft. For more information, see How to change your display name in Account Center.

  • Official Name Change: For changes to be reflected in PeopleSoft and, by extension, in all official university records, students must submit a name change request to the registrar’s office, and employees must do the same through Human Resources (HR). This process is more formal and may require legal documentation, especially for changes to legal names. Once processed, these changes will typically synchronize across all university systems, including Canvas, to reflect the new name.

    • Students: See Student Names on the Registrar's website for help updating your legal or lived (preferred) name with the university.
    • Faculty and Staff: See the HR and Payroll website for help updating your legal or lived (preferred) name with the university.

Root Cause

The root cause of the name discrepancies between Canvas and PeopleSoft at Chico State is the functionality provided by the Account Center, which permits users to select a display name that diverges from their name in PeopleSoft. This display name is then reflected in Canvas, aligning with the user's preference for how they wish to be identified within the LMS.

However, PeopleSoft operates differently. It retains the student's legal name or the lived name (preferred name) as submitted through formal processes. For a name to be updated in PeopleSoft-CS (Campus Solutions), students are required to submit a formal name change request to the registrar's office. Similarly, employees must submit such requests through Human Resources (HR).

This divergence in name management protocols between the Account Center (and consequently Canvas) and PeopleSoft results in the observed discrepancies. While Canvas will display the user's chosen display name, PeopleSoft continues to display the legal or preferred name as officially recorded until a formal change is processed through the appropriate administrative channels.

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Article ID: 113715
Mon 2/5/24 4:54 PM
Mon 2/19/24 10:50 AM