University Writing Style Guide — S-Z


Although SAT still officially stands for Scholastic Assessment Test, the abbreviation is sufficient even on first reference: SAT, no periods. Score totals are written without a comma: 1300. As with GPAs, federal law prohibits releasing individual student scores without the explicit written permission of the student.
Lowercase except for named awards: He received an athletic scholarship. She received a National Merit Scholarship.
schools and colleges
Also see academic units.
Always lowercase, even when naming an issue of a publication: the fall 2003 issue of Northern Vision.
Academic semesters are lowercase with no comma preceding a year: fall semester 2006.
Semicolons may be used to separate the elements of a series when the elements themselves include commas. He has a daughter, Jane Doe of Greeley; three sons, Jim Doe of Denver, Jack Doe of Greeley and Joe Doe of Loveland; and a sister, Mary Smith of Topeka. Do not use semicolons in a series if commas will work.
When semicolons are used, include one before the conjunction at the end of the series.
state names
In text, always spell out state names when they stand alone: She visited Colorado for the first time to go skiing.
When used in conjunction with a city or town, abbreviate per AP style and set off with commas: Greeley, Colo., is the site of the Independence Day Stampede.
Do not abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah, unless as part of an address with a ZIP code.
Avoid racial and sexual references or mention of debilitating physical conditions if they are not germane to the topic of your writing. The phrase people with disabilities is preferable to the disabled; the term disabled is preferable to handicapped.
Don't say afflicted with or the victim of; instead: She has a spinal injury.
Don't use a disease as a descriptive: He has diabetes. NOT He is a diabetic.
EXCEPTION: Survivor of is acceptable, as in He is a survivor of cancer.
Student Senate
Formerly the Student Representative Council, Student Senate is always written out. Never abbreviate.
summa cum laude
With greatest distinction; italicize and lowercase: summa cum laude


telephone numbers
The preferred form is to set off the area code with a dash. This is a departure from the AP Style Guide. People are now accustomed to
CORRECT: 970-555-1212
INCORRECT: (970) 555-1212; 970.555.1212
Do not use the numeral 1 before area codes, including 800 numbers.
that, which, who, whom
Use that and which in reference to inanimate objects and to animals without a name. Use who and whom in referring to people and to animals that have a name.

Use commas with which. No commas with that. The lawn mower, which is broken, is in the garage. (Adds a fact about the only mower in question). The lawn mower that is broken is in the garage. (Tells which one).
theater, theatre
Use theater unless theatre is part of the official name. The School of Theatre Arts and Dance offers numerous theater classes. At Northern Colorado, officially it's Langworthy Theatre, Little Theatre of the Rockies, Norton Theatre and Garden Theatre.
Don't use 0s to designate hours and lowercase with periods: 8 a.m.; 11 p.m.  Noon is 12 p.m.; midnight is 12 a.m.  Both times are better expressed without the number as simply noon or midnight. Do not use A.M. or P.M. or am or pm.
Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning.
Avoid constructions using o'clock.

In general, capitalize formal or courtesy titles - president, dean, professor, senator, coach - before names of individuals and lowercase when they follow names. President George Bush; She is the president of the university.
Lowercase descriptive or occupational titles except for professor: editor John Doe; Professor Sue Smith.
Use full names on first reference. On second and subsequent references, use only last names, without courtesy titles, for both men and women regardless of marital status.
EXCEPTION: To distinguish between a husband and wife quoted in the same story, confusion often can be avoided by using first names: John and Jane Smith collaborated on the study. We reported our findings at the next conference, Jane says. It was an interesting session, John adds.
As a general rule, titles containing more than four words should be placed after the name.
TITLES OF EVENTS: Capitalize, in quotation marks, the full, formal titles of workshops, conferences, seminars, speeches and similar events: A workshop titled The Use of the Library will be held next week. Use lowercase for subject matter: Michener Library will offer a workshop on library use.
Also see academic titles, composition titles


Acronym for the University of Northern Colorado. UNC is acceptable upon second reference.
Note: National and state media started referring to UNC's intercollegiate athletics teams as Northern Colorado teams to avoid confusion when referring to University of North Carolina teams. UNC's Athletics program has adopted the practice to be consistent, and use of Northern Colorado as a shortened form of the university's full name by those outside of Athletics is discouraged.
Capitalize only when used as part of a complete formal name or title; lowercase otherwise. She attends the University of Northern Colorado. The university is providing her with an excellent education.
university community
A collective term used for UNC students, faculty, staff, alumni who may be on or off campus.
See also campus community


vice president
Do not hyphenate. Do not capitalize in text unless the title precedes a person's name: Vice President Dan Hall; Dan Hall, vice president for university relations.
Visitors Center
No apostrophe; capitalized. The center isn't a possession of our visitors. 


website, web page
Do not use www as an abbreviation within a sentence; instead, use the web.
Also see URL
work study
Of or relating to any of various programs that enable students to engage in part-time employment while continuing their studies.

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