Editorial style

Adviser or advisor? Website or Web site? Residence hall or dorm?

People are often introduced to the University through the written word, either in our publications or on our website. We want them to concentrate on our messages and not be distracted by inconsistencies in style, spelling, or even punctuation. This editorial style guide provides a set of standards to help you produce materials for our external audiences that are consistent, accurate and reflect well upon the University.

The University of Akron Style Guide is to be used as a reference for names, terms and information specific to the University. It also includes guidelines for general terminology and points of style. For additional information, the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2010 edition, is the primary reference work for questions of style. The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, is a secondary reference.

[Links to come:] The guide can be searched in the alphabetical directory listed here, or by topic in these three sections: University Style, Electronic Terminology and Points of Style.

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academic adviser — “er” is the preferred spelling

academic degrees — Degree names are capitalized when the full title is used. Examples: Bachelor of Science in Biology or Master of Arts in Music. With informal usage, such as bachelor's degree in psychology, there is no capitalization because it is not the proper name of the degree. The general usage for most degrees when abbreviating is to capitalize and use periods. For example: B.A. in Music. (MBA and RN are exceptions.)

addresses — the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., and St., may be used with a numbered address. Alley, drive, road and terrace are spelled out in all instances.

alumna — one female graduate

alumnae — more than one female graduate

alumnus — one male graduate

alumni — more than one graduate

Akron — UA's alumni magazine, published three times a year.

Akron Global Polymer Academy — AGPA on second reference.

Ambassadors — The student organization that represents the University on behalf of the Office of the President at events and functions.

ampersand — the symbol “&” is not used in the names of UA departments or programs (unless Board-approved). The symbol is only used in publications when it is part of the official name of a business or organization.

athletics facilities — Here is a list of the official names of Department of Athletics facilities:

InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field — On first and subsequent references to UA's on-campus stadium, the full name should be used. When appropriate, at The University of Akron should be included. Here are the official names of locations within the stadium:

  • FirstMerit Foundation Club Level, fifth floor
  • D. Eugene Waddell Presidential Suite, sixth floor
  • Polymer Valley Chemicals Director of Athletics Suite, sixth floor
  • Towpath Credit Union Press Level, seventh floor

James A. Rhodes Arena

  • Tommy Evans Lounge

Lee R. Jackson Baseball Field

Lee R. Jackson Practice Field

Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field

Lee R. Jackson Softball Field

Lee R. Jackson Track (track and field complex)

Louis and Freda Stile Athletics Field House

Oliver J. Ocasek Natatorium

Robert A. Pinn Shooting Range

Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron —  The University of Akron is a founding partner in this unique collaboration of complementary research, education and health institutions.


Board of Trustees — Always capitalize all references to The University of Akron Board of Trustees, Board or Trustees.

Buchtel Common — main walkway through campus.


campus addresses — U.S. mail that is addressed to the University's primary ZIP code, 44325, could be returned to the sender if it contains a street address other than 302 Buchtel Common. Only the recipient's name or department name, the city, state, ZIP code and the ZIP+4 number, if known, should be included. (A list of all ZIP+4 numbers is at www.uakron.edu/aux/mail/zip4.php.)

campus buildings — Refer to the Faculty/Staff Directory, which includes a complete list of campus building names and correct abbreviations.

capitalization — titles used before a name are capitalized and lowercased after a name. Official names of colleges or campus units are capitalized on first reference. Shortened or generic names on subsequent references are not capitalized. Examples:

  • The Center for Film Study offers a variety of classes.
  • The center offers classes in the study of film.

colleges — UA’s colleges do not include the word “the” as part of their formal name.

  • Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Creative and Professional Arts*
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Health Sciences and Human Services*
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering
  • Honors College
  • Summit College
  • University College
  • Wayne College
  • School of Law

*In 2008, UA sharpened the focus on programs within the former College of Fine and Applied Arts by creating these distinct new units.

cocurricular — no hyphen

cooperative education — co-op is acceptable on second reference.

corequisite — no hyphen

course load — two words

courseware — educational software; one word

coursework — one word

curriculum — singular (curricula or curriculums in the plural)


days of the week — abbreviate only for tabular formats — these three-letter forms are used without a period: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat and Sun.

Dean’s List — capitalize

degrees — associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, Juris Doctor

degrees with distinction — Lowercase cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

Dr. — For those who hold a Ph.D., the use of Dr. can be used as a courtesy title on first reference for University of Akron publications. On second and subsequent references, the person’s last name is used.


E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall — Thomas Hall, or hall, on second and subsequent references.

e-mail — correspondence sent electronically

e-mail addresses — lowercase, with hyphen

e-business or e-commerce — should be lowercase, with hyphen

emeritus — Use with care. At UA, this is an honorary title conferred by the Board of Trustees. Not every faculty or contract professional retiree has emeritus status — consult the Emeritus Faculty Directory in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Other forms: emeriti (plural), emerita (singular female), emeritae (plural female).

entitled/titled — These terms not interchangeable. Title means “to name.” Entitled means “to designate rights or benefits.”


Faculty Senate — The legislative body of the University, as delegated by the Trustees.

Fiat Lux — UA motto meaning “Let there be light.”

Founders Day — On the first Friday in May (also the last day of spring semester) the University celebrates its founding and honors new and past retirees at a luncheon.


grade point average — No hyphens; GPA on second reference.


home page — two words


InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field — On first and subsequent references to UA's on-campus stadium, the full name should be used. When appropriate, at The University of Akron should be included. Here are the official names of locations within the stadium:

  • FirstMerit Foundation Club Level, fifth floor
  • D. Eugene Waddell Presidential Suite, sixth floor
  • Polymer Valley Chemicals Director of Athletics Suite, sixth floor
  • Towpath Credit Union Press Level (press box), seventh floor

intercollegiate athletics — On all references (not sports or intercollegiate sports).

interdisciplinary — no hyphen

Internet — always capitalize


Juris Doctor — This law degree is capitalized and can be abbreviated as J.D.



Lists of words or short phrases — End your sentence with a colon, and unless your words are proper nouns or the titles of departments, do not use caps. Do not use semicolons, periods or other punctuation after each item. Example:

The Department of Film Study offers:

  • scholarships
  • internships
  • practicums
  • cooperative education
  • work-study

Lists of sentence fragments — End your sentence with a colon, and capitalize sentence fragments after the bullet point. Conclude each with a semicolon, except for the second to last, which should use “and” after the semicolon, and the final item, which takes a period. Think of these lists as extended paragraphs, with capitalization used to make the items easier for the reader. Example:

Film study majors will:

  • Learn the fundamentals of filmmaking;
  • Develop effective oral and written communication skills; and
  • Become analytical thinkers, problem solvers and decision-makers.

Lists of sentences — Similar to the sentence fragment, except the introductory sentence and individual points should be constructed to use periods, rather than a colon and semicolons. Example:

The Department of Film Study offers students many benefits.

  • Students have access to career-specific scholarships.
  • Student-to-faculty ratios are 10:1.
  • Students receive hands-on training with the latest in filmmaking equipment.


meal plan — not board, as in “room and board”

Medina County University Center — UA's campus in Medina County.

Mid-American Conference — Formal name of the athletic conference of which UA is a member. MAC is acceptable on second reference.

months — The following months are abbreviated when used with a specific date:

  • Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out the month when using alone or with a year — no comma is needed between the month and year. In a tabular format, these three-letter forms are used without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec.(The only exception is in a formal invitation, where the month may be spelled out with the date and year: January 1, 2010.)
  • When editorial copy includes a month, day and year, set off the year with commas: On Jan. 1, 2008, UA's mascot, Zippy, won the Capital One Bowl Mascot of the Year Challenge.

more than vs. over — More than specifies an amount; over refers to spatial relationships. Examples:

  • UA was founded more than 135 years ago.
  • The Goodyear Blimp often flies over campus.


NCAA — National Collegiate Athletic Association

National Polymer Innovation Center — State-of-the-art research facility on the UA campus.

New Landscape for Learning — An ongoing, major campus renovation campaign that began in 2000. To date, UA has added 15 new buildings, 17 major additions and renovations to existing facilities and 34 acres of new green space. (For specific details, go to: www.uakron.edu/nll.)

New Landscape for Living — An initiative launched by The University of Akron and its partners in the University Park Alliance to enhance the 50-block, mixed-use neighborhood adjacent to campus. (For specific details, go to:http://www.uakron.edu/about_ua/akron_community/university_park_alliance.dot.)

Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) — This state medical school, located in Rootstown, was created in 1973 through a consortium of The University of Akron, Kent State University and Youngstown State University (Cleveland State University joined in 2008).

numerals — Spell out numerals used at the beginning of a sentence. In text, numerals one through nine are spelled out; use numerals for 10 and above. In a sentence where a series of numerals is used, follow the same guidelines.

  • Example: You can take four classes and earn 16 credits.
  • Exceptions: Always use numerals in text for ages, credit hours, page numbers, percentages, dates and addresses.


online — one word


PC — personal computer

percent — This is one word. In most uses, including text, spell out the word. Use the symbol (%) only in a table of figures.

postbaccalaureate — no hyphen

postdoctoral — no hyphen

postgraduate — no hyphen

postsecondary — no hyphen



residence hall — not dorm or dormitory


seasons — fall or spring semester (References to seasons as well as academic semesters should be lowercase.)

state-assisted — UA is a state-assisted institution, one of 14 four-year public universities in Ohio’s higher education system.

STEMM — The acronym for science, technology, engineering, mathematics/medicine programs. The University uses STEMM in all instances, except when referring to the STEM Middle School in Akron.

student-athlete — hyphenated


Tel-Buch — student yearbook

telephone numbers — include the area code; use hyphens. Example: 330-972-7100.

theatre — The preferred spelling for entertainment venues on campus — Paul A. Daum Theatre in Kolbe Hall, Student Union Theatre and Sandefur Theatre in Guzzetta Hall.

The Buchtelite — student newspaper; “The” is part of its name.

time — use numerals in all cases, except for noon and midnight. Always lowercase a.m. and p.m. and use periods. Do not use zeros with on-the-hour times.

titled/entitled — These terms are not interchangeable. Title means “to name.” Entitled means “to designate rights or benefits.”

titles of works — Use quotation marks around titles of the following: books, movies and plays; short stories and poems; magazine and newspaper articles; musical compositions; lectures and speeches; art exhibits or individual paintings; television and radio show titles; and titles of individual episodes of a show.

The names of magazines, newspapers, reference works and journals are used in editorial text without quotation marks around them.


UA Network ID (UAnet ID)

The University of Akron — On first reference, the full name of The University of Akron should always be used, with “The” capitalized.

University or UA (no periods) — On second or subsequent references to The University of Akron, University is preferred; UA may be used sparingly. (University is always capitalized when it refers specifically to The University of Akron.)

The University of Akron Alumni Association — alumni association or association on subsequent references.

The University of Akron Foundation — foundation on subsequent references.

The University of Akron Bookstore — University Bookstore, or UA Bookstore, on second reference.

University Park Alliance — The University of Akron is a founding partner in the UPA, which was established through a major grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to revitalize the diverse neighborhood in a 50-block area immediately surrounding campus.

URL — All caps; acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, which is the term for World Wide Web addresses.

URLs — World Wide Web addresses should be lowercase, with no spaces between the characters. At present, include the “http://” or other server designation at the beginning of the URL. Not all WWW browsers automatically insert this information, and not all WWW servers are http servers.



Web — Capitalize when used as an alternate term for Internet.

website — one word, lowercase

WZIP-FM — Student-operated radio station on campus (88 FM).





Zippy — UA mascot, a kangaroo

Zips — The official name used for all of UA’s men’s and women’s sports teams. Note: Do not use the term “Lady Zips.”