Editorial Style Guide
UCCS Editorial Style Guide
This editorial style guide is for UCCS faculty and staff, especially those who write for an external or general audience in print and electronic materials designed to promote UCCS, its departments and its programs, and materials providing information about or accountability for UCCS and its activities.
The editorial style guide aims to to ensure our communication style is consistent across the campus, whether we’re writing news releases for the media, content for the web, or copy for print publications. We’ve adopted The Associated Press Stylebook as our official style guide. There are a few cases where we depart from AP style, however. Please check our list of those exceptions.
Where conflicts exist between this guide and other guides, this style guide takes precedence. For other general rules, use a primary style guide that pertains to the publication you are writing or editing. This guide is not intended to replace other writing style guides used for specific purposes or for publications such as scholarly journals.
For external audiences, spell out the complete name of a campus the first time you refer to it, unless the context and nature of the document require an abbreviation (for example, in an advertisement). Using the approved university abbreviation on first reference is acceptable for internal audiences when the context allows.
Full name: University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Do not use: CU-Colorado Springs, CUCS, UC-Colorado Springs
No commas, hyphens or dashes are allowed in the full names of campuses. Approved names and abbreviations for the other University of Colorado campuses follow:
- University of Colorado
CU (no periods)
- University of Colorado Boulder
CU Boulder (not UCB in material for external audiences, except in campus box numbers)
- University of Colorado Denver
CU Denver (not UCD in material for external audiences, except in campus box numbers)
- University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
CU Anschutz (not FTZ in material for external audiences, except in campus box numbers)
Capitalize only the complete and official names of colleges, schools and programs. Lowercase informal and shortened versions of all such names.
- College of Business
- College of Business and Administration (formal references)
- College of Education
- College of Engineering and Applied Science
- EAS (internal references only)
- College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
- Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- College of Public Service
- Previously School of Public Affairs / SPA
- Graduate School
See also: Capitalization
The UCCS style is to prefer spelling out the degrees, lowercase bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate; but capitalize Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, etc.
In headlines, omit periods from abbreviations of academic degrees (BA, BS, MA, PhD, MBA, JD).
In running copy, as per AP, all degree abbreviations take periods.
B.A., B.S. (no space after first period) bachelor of arts, bachelor of science
M.A., M.S. master of arts, master of science
Ed.D., Ph.D. doctor of education, doctor of philosophy
M.B.A. master of business administration
Do not add the word "degree" after an abbreviation of the degree.
Below are the acceptable use of names and key rooms on the UCCS campus. Take note of capitalizations and symbols in the list. Do not use the four-letter abbreviations found on the campus map outside of references to the campus map.
Academic Office Building
Alpine Garage and Field
- Alpine Garage or Alpine Field acceptable on second reference when referring to specific location in the facility
- Gallogly Events Center (basketball, volleyball)
- Mountain Lion Field (softball)
- Mountain Lion Fieldhouse (track and field)
- Mountain Lion Park (baseball)
- Mountain Lion Stadium (soccer, lacrosse)
Campus Services Building
El Pomar Center
- Never use “The El Pomar Center”
El Pomar Plaza
- Never use “The El Pomar Plaza”
Engineering & Applied Science Building
- Engineering Building acceptable on second reference
Ent Center for the Arts
- Never "ENT" with all three letters capitalized, unless the full name is set in all capital letters
- "Ent Center for the Arts at UCCS" is helpful when the context does not otherwise make the association with the university clear
- "Ent Center" is acceptable on second reference
- Shockley-Zalabak Theater
- Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater
- Chapman Foundations Recital Hall
- Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art
Family Development Center
Galleries of Contemporary Art
- GOCA is acceptable on second reference – use plural when referring to the overall galleries, use singular when referring to a single gallery
- Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art – GOCA @ Ent Center is acceptable for second reference
- Gallery of Contemporary Art Downtown – GOCA Downtown is acceptable for second reference
Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center
- Recreation Center or Wellness Center acceptable on second reference when referring to individual services
- Herbst-McCord Student Veterans Center – Herbst-McCord Center acceptable on second reference
Heller Center for Arts and Humanities
- Heller Center acceptable on second reference
Hybl Center (See William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center)
Kraemer Family Library
Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences
- Lane Center is acceptable on second reference
Osborne Center for Science and Engineering
- Osborne Center acceptable on second reference
- Summit Village
- Aspen House
- Breckenridge House
- Copper House
- Crestone House
- Eldora House
- Housing Quad
- Keystone House
- La Plata House
- Monarch House
- Steamboat House
- Telluride House
- The Lodge
- Upper Lodge
- Vail House
- Village at Alpine Valley
- Antero House
- Cucharas House
- Roaring Fork Dining Hall
- San Juan House
- Shavano House
UCCS at Fort Carson
- Berger Hall
- Café 65
- “Cafe 65” is also appropriate
- Clyde’s Gastropub – Clyde’s acceptable on second reference
Gallogly Events Center
University Office Park
William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center
- spell out "and" – do not use an ampersand
- Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center – on second reference
- Hybl Center – shortened second reference when necessary
Abbreviations should be restricted to situations where they enhance comprehension, that is, when your copy refers repeatedly to a lengthy name or term that has a commonly accepted abbreviation.
Use abbreviations sparingly unless your readership is familiar with them. Spell out the full entity or term on its first occurrence and follow with the abbreviation in parentheses to prepare readers for your subsequent use of only the abbreviation. Avoid using periods in abbreviations, unless confusion might result (e.g., write VP rather than V.P.)
Acronyms and Initialisms
Acronyms are abbreviations that are pronounced as a word, such as NASA, CIRES and INSTAAR. Initialisms are abbreviations that are pronounced as a series of letters, such as ATM, DNA and UMC.
Articles (a, an, and the) With Abbreviations
Use the appropriate article (a, an, or the) with abbreviations when you would use that article in speech. The choice between using a or an is determined by how the abbreviation is pronounced. You generally do not need an article when an abbreviation is used as a noun.
- She is enrolled in an MBA program.
- They may be eligible for a HUD grant.
- LASP researchers designed and built an $88 million satellite for NASA.
Abbreviations That Stand Alone
GPA and SAT are not spelled out. In fact, SAT is no longer an abbreviation; it is a trademark.
Do not use the ampersand (&) as an abbreviation for and. Use the ampersand only when it is part of an official name of a company, product or other proper noun or on covers and display matter, at the discretion of the designer.
Do not use accreditation abbreviations (Examples: CFA, CRRA, CPA, AIA) after names in news releases or general university publications.
The names of the 50 U.S. states should be spelled out when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. Note the third example below needs semicolons between entries because individual items in the list include commas. Use the U.S. Postal Service format (two letters, no periods) only when you list a full address including the ZIP code. Do not put a comma between the state name and the ZIP code.
- The class of 12 included students from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Montana and Minnesota.
- The scientists gathered in Mesa, Arizona, to conduct their research.
- Those responding to the call for special funds included alumni from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fargo, North Dakota; and Miami, Florida.
- Please mail your form to University Communications, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918.
Use periods with the two-letter abbreviation for United States. Do not use periods with the three-letter abbreviation for United States of America.
- The U.S. government is one of the nation’s largest employers.
- Most of their products were made in the USA.
See also: Names and Titles
Official names and proper nouns are capitalized. In subsequent references, any common nouns or shortened forms of official names are lowercased. Use the full, official name the first time it appears in a document or section of a document.
- The Colorado Collection contains more than 5,000 works of art. The collection was started in 1939 as a teaching tool for students.
Academic and Nonacademic Units and Bodies
Capitalize only the complete and official names of colleges, schools, divisions, departments, offices and official bodies (such as Board of Regents, Faculty Assembly, United Government of Graduate Students). Lowercase informal and shortened versions of all such names. (See also the department names section on this page.)
- The College of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers nearly 50 undergraduate majors. The arts and sciences departments are housed in several different buildings on campus.
- All of the regents were in attendance at the Board of Regents meeting last week.
- Exceptions: the College of Business and Administration is commonly called the College of Business.
Capitalize the names of degrees unless they're referred to generically, as in the second example.
- Julie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at UCCS.
- Larry earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering last year.
See also: Academic Degrees
Capitalize all words in a street name unless you are referring to more than one street, as in the second example.
- Austin Bluffs, Nevada Avenue
- First and Third streets
Committee, Center, Group, Program and Initiative Names
Unless a committee, center, group, program or initiative is officially recognized and formally named, avoid capitalizing. An ad hoc committee’s name, for example, would not typically be capitalized. Do capitalize the official, proper names of long-standing committees and groups and formally developed programs and initiatives.
- The Mountaineering Collection in Kraemer Family Library contains a wealth of intriguing materials. The collection is located on the library’s third level.
- The Honors Program is designed to provide special educational opportunities for highly motivated students.
- The Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity was formed to review University of Colorado diversity programs.
- The university’s presidential search committee met in executive session Tuesday.
In titles, capitalize the first word; the last word; the first word after a colon; and all nouns, verbs (including short verbs, such as is, are, be), pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions of four or more letters (with, before, through) and conjunctions of four or more letters (that, because).
Unless they fall into one of the previously listed categories, do not capitalize articles (a, an, the) unless they are part of a proper noun; conjunctions of fewer than four letters (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet); nor prepositions of fewer than four letters (on, of, to, by).
- Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years is a popular guide for parents.
- The library recently received three copies of Educating Minds Through Active Learning.
Style official course titles with initial capitals but without quotation marks, italics or any other formatting.
- Students should consider taking Practicum in Human Services as well as Group Dynamics & Group Process.
Capitalize official department names and office names in running text. References using shortened or unofficial names should be lowercase. See also the ampersand (&) section under Abbreviations.
- The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is nationally known for its teaching and research.
- Mary Moore of economics has been promoted to associate professor.
- Faculty members from the geography, anthropology and ethnic studies departments are cooperating on this project.
Geographical and Related Terms
Capitalize geographical terms commonly accepted as proper names. In general, capitalize words that designate regions, but lowercase words that indicate compass directions.
- Pikes Peak, the Front Range, the Rocky Mountain region
- the West, the Midwest, the West Coast, a Southern accent, the Western culture, the Eastern influence
- The storm is moving east.
Following the general rules of capitalization, full formal or accepted titles of plans, policies, laws and similar documents or agreements, together with names of programs resulting from them, are usually capitalized. Incomplete names are lowercased.
- In connection with the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, Section 7 (b), when disclosure of the Social Security number . . .
Capitalize grade letters and use an apostrophe when plural. Use one or two decimal places as necessary when writing GPAs.
- She got an A and three B's, which brought her overall GPA to 3.5.
- He has a 4.0 GPA, and his roommate has a 3.93.
Job and Position Titles
Capitalize the first letter of formal titles when they precede an individual's name or when using the full title.
- It’s common knowledge that President Barack Obama loves to play basketball.
- The president, Barack Obama, took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009.
- The president of the United States serves a four-year term of office.
- Have you taken a course from Professor Sherman?
- Sherman, a music professor, does not teach in the summer.
- John Sherman, Professor of Music, does not teach in the summer.
- Venkat Reddy is the 10th Chancellor of the UCCS campus.
- In his commencement speech, Chancellor Venkat Reddy quoted Alfred Lord Tennyson, saying, “I am part of all that I have met.”
- The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs uses a variety of means to improve students’ lives on the UCCS campus.
- Jane Doe of economics has been promoted to Associate Professor of Economics.
When a person has a very long title, put the title after the name to avoid clumsy syntax and too much capitalization.
- Jane Bear, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Special University Projects, is moving her office to the new administration building.
Use lowercase at all times for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles.
- Former astronaut John Herrington studied mathematics at UCCS.
Titles in Addresses and Display Format
When a title appears in an address or other display format (such as list of administrators in an annual report), as opposed to running text, the title can be capitalized even if it appears after the name.
- Jean Warren, Director
- John Smith, Associate Director
Seasons and Semesters
Seasons, semesters and terms should all be lowercase.
- spring semester
- fall 2020
- summer 2021 term (no commas)
- summer session
- spring break
The symbols ® and ™, which often appear on product packaging and advertisements, need not be used in running text.
There is still considerable confusion about whether to capitalize university when the word refers to the University of Colorado. We recommend a foolproof solution: no capitalization unless you are spelling the full name of the university. In most cases, context will clearly indicate when university refers to the University of Colorado. In cases where there may be ambiguity, writers can easily substitute the university or UCCS.
- The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is committed to diversity. To that end, the university sponsors several programs and offices that encourage diversity and provide support to university faculty, staff and students of diverse backgrounds. Developing campuswide understanding of diversity is important at every university in the country.
See also: Capitalization
Names With Degrees
Use a comma between a person’s name and degree.
- Jan Lewis, PhD, is a Research Associate.
Names With Initials
No space between initials. If an entire name is abbreviated, spaces and periods are omitted.
- G.P. “Bud” Peterson presented the strategic plan to the Board of Regents.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to as FDR, is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms.
Names With Jr., Sr.
Omit commas before and after Jr., Sr., and the designations I, II, III and IV.
- Fred Jones Jr. was introduced by Cedric Waltham III.
Names With Titles
Capitalize formal titles. Use lowercase for titles that serve as occupational descriptions (see third example). Avoid using Dr. and courtesy titles such as Mr. and Ms.
- Professor John Doe, biology; or John Doe, Professor of Biology
- Chancellor Venkat Reddy; or Venkat Reddy, Chancellor of UCCS
- Features Editor Jane Smith; or Jane Smith, Features Editor
- Writing Instructor Glen Moore; or Glen Moore, Writing Instructor
Use of First Names
Use people's first and last names on initial reference (following AP Style), and use only a last name in subsequent references. In stories featuring two people with the same last name, use first and last names. Features and campus community content can be more flexible depending on the tone.
Alumni, alumnus, alumnae
Alum is the informal, gender-neutral term referring to one graduate of UCCS. Use alumni when referring to a group of UCCS graduates. You may choose to use alumna when referring to a woman who has attended UCCS; alumnus when referring to a man who has attended UCCS; or alumnae when referring to a group of women only.
Proper usage is as follows:
- alum — individual; informal, gender-neutral
- alumni — more than one male or a mixture of male and female
- alumna — one female
- alumnus — one male
- alumnae — more than one female
Class years are used anytime a name appears in print, including the names of UCCS faculty and staff. Include a class year the first time a name appears. Class years appear in two-digit form. Use a backward apostrophe before the class year to indicate the omitted “19” or “20.” When referring to alumni with multiple degrees from UCCS, present all class years chronologically, separated by commas.
- Alex Smith ’00 is a UCCS alum.
- Tom Saponas ’72 and Margot Lane ’82 are alumni of UCCS.
More detailed guidance is available in the UCCS Alumni Style Guide (PDF).
- Advisor—use this spelling in all instances.
- No periods in degree abbreviations (PhD, BA, BS, MA).
- Capitalize professor before the person’s name (Professor John Jones).
- Capitalize formal titles that follow a name.
- Capitalize full, formal department names (Department of Economics) and lowercase shortened or informal titles (economics department).
- No space before or after an em or en dash.
- Use people's first and last names on initial reference (following AP Style), and use only a last name in subsequent references. In stories featuring two people with the same last name, use first and last names. Features and campus community content can be more flexible depending on the tone.
- OK to follow an organization’s full name with its abbreviation in parentheses or set off by dashes.
- Always use the full state name unless writing out full address with zip code, then use the appropriate two-letter postal abbreviation.
- African American, Asian American—no hyphen when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as a modifier (Asian-American community).
- Omit http:// or https:// or http://www. at the start of a URL, unless needed for clarity or function.
- Room numbers—lowercase “room” (The lecture will be held in room 305).
- Use appropriate diacritical and accent marks for print and web publications whenever possible. Avoid using these characters for content sent to the media.
Web Reading Habits
Keep in mind the ways in which webpages differ from printed documents:
- When people read copy on a computer screen, especially if they are browsing the web, they tend to skim rather than read more carefully, line for line and word for word, as they might if reading a printed piece.
- Readers tend to skip from one webpage to another, from one link to another, rather than reading a page from top to bottom.
Writing for the Web
Copy written for the web is most effective if it follows these general guidelines:
- Visitors to your site should know exactly whose site it is and what its purpose is when they view your page.
- Outline, organize, subordinate: Use links to take readers into deeper levels of a topic. Think of upper-level pages as summaries or abstracts to whet the reader’s appetite. Then use your links as a map of where they can go from there.
- Use subheads when your copy runs more than one screen in length, or break copy into more pages.
- Write short paragraphs and sentences (avoid complex sentence structures and jargon).
- Speak directly to the reader, where appropriate (the web is more personal and informal than a book or printed magazine).
- Spell out abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them on each page, even if you’ve spelled them out on the home page. Think of each page as self-contained. Does it make sense if this is the one and only page on your website that someone reads?
- Use bold subheads, illustrations, lists and other (quick-loading) visual elements to help communicate your main points.
- Because of the increasing familiarity people have with the web, it is now acceptable to use more informal language when referring to your website. Instead of visit our website at www.uccs.edu or visit us on the web at www.uccs.edu, try visit us at www.uccs.edu.
Capitalization in Websites
We use title case in all headings that function as headlines. If it’s styled as a heading, it’s in title case.
- Events Calendar
- Social Media Guidelines
- Notes on AP Style
If the heading functions as a sentence, use sentence case, as in this example from Admissions:
- Come to UCCS and discover your passion.
Use title case with words in the main and section navigation menus, and call-to-action and information buttons:
- Campus Life
- Learn More
- Apply Now
- Next Steps
Style notes: Always capitalize the first and last words of a heading, and capitalize all words of four letters or more:
- Be Mountain Lions With Us
The following words should be styled as you see here:
- login (noun), log in (verb)
- log off
- World Wide Web
"The College of Engineering and Applied Science homepage and the alumni page are used frequently."
"Since its inception in 1989, the web has spawned a revolution in communications, commerce and worldwide research capabilities."
Copyright on the Web
Just because something appears on the web doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s part of the public domain. Assume, therefore, that anything and everything is copyrighted by someone. Since 1989, published material—printed matter or web-based, including photographs—is considered copyrighted whether it has a copyright notice or not. A copyright is, simply put, the legal right of authors, photographers, etc., to control the use of their own creative works..
URLs and Email Addresses
Although some confusion is possible when a URL ends a sentence and the writer adds the necessary period, most people who use the web will not be confused by this because web addresses are not allowed to end with a period or comma. Follow these guidelines for presenting URLs:
- Do not add punctuation to an email or internet address. If an email or web address won’t fit on one line, we recommend breaking the address after a forward slash, @, or a dot that is part of the address, without inserting a hyphen.
- You can begin your exploration of UCCS at www.uccs.edu/about.
- To see a list of colleges and schools, go to www.uccs.edu/degreesandprograms/
- Avoid URLs that are particularly lengthy and complicated.
- Unless your website URL is case-sensitive, always use lowercase.
- "www" is not required, though confirm the URL will work without it.
- Visit uccs.edu for more information.
- It usually is not necessary to use boldface or italic type for URLs (although these are acceptable options). Treat them as you would phone numbers.
- If the URL seems awkwardly stuck in the middle of a sentence, try rewriting the sentence to allow for placement at the end.
- It is not necessary to include the http:// at the beginning of URLs or the forward slashes at the end. Most browsers automatically insert these for you. For URLs that start with something other than www, use your judgment as to whether your audience will understand the absence of http://.
- Avoid unnecessary extra language such as "click here" before links, as a matter of style and accessibility. Link text should be succinct and descriptive.
Our brand voice is intelligent, relatable, credible and inspiring. These words should inform the voice and tone used when crafting content to promote the university. They are the distillation of our brand essence. Keep these words in mind when creating communications to maintain a distinct voice and ensure the UCCS personality shines through.
Our voice is how we communicate, the language we use, the way we convey information and the values we portray. Read more in the Brand Voice document (PDF).