Editorial Style Guide

The Marketing and Communications Office staff generally follows editorial guidelines from the Associated Press Stylebook, available in the University Store. Some common usages may be found below:

Abbreviations: If the reader may not understand an abbreviation, spell out the full name on first reference, followed with the abbreviation in parentheses. The abbreviation alone may be used in subsequent references.

Academic degrees: If mentioning degrees to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use a phrase such as Louis Miller, who holds a doctoral degree in political science. Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc.

Use abbreviations as B.A., M.A., LL.D., Ed.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference makes the preferred form awkward. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, never after a last name only. When used after a name, set off an academic abbreviation with commas: Lorraine Morris, Ph.D., was the featured speaker. “Dr.” refers only to someone in the medical profession. For related information see titles.

Adviser: Not advisor.

Affect/effect: Affect, a verb, means to influence. Effect, as a verb, means to cause; effect, as a noun, means result.

Alumni Association: Always capitalized when referring to the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association, including second reference to the Alumni Association.

Alumnus (a) (ae) (i): Use alumnus when referring to a male graduate; alumna when referring to a female graduate; alumni when referring to two or more graduates — males or males and females — and alumnae when referring to two or more female graduates.

Ampersand: Do not use the ampersand (&) in place of “and.” Use only when it is part of a company’s or organization’s formal name.

Biannual/biennial: Biannual means twice a year; biennial means every two years.

Bimonthly:  Means every other month.

Biweekly: Means every other week.

Capitalization: Avoid unnecessary capital letters. Capitalize nouns that constitute the unique identification for a specific person, place or thing and common nouns that are an integral part of a full name: Jill, Bloomsburg, Carver Hall, Susquehanna River. Capitalize official names; unofficial, informal, shortened or generic names are not capitalized. This applies to offices, buildings, schools, departments, programs, institutes, centers and related entities; phrases such as the university, the center, the institute or the gallery are not capitalized. Examples: the Office of Admissions, the admissions office; the College of Business, the business college; the Department of Mass Communications, the mass communications department.

Capitalize the principal words in the names of books, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and TV programs and works of art. Capitalize official names of forms, conferences and symposia, such as Health Sciences Symposium, the Reading Conference. Capitalize the letters used for grades, as well as official grade names; do not put quotation marks around grades: A, B, C, and Incomplete. Names of official policies, such as Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, should be capitalized; if the concept rather than the official name is being discussed, lowercase is appropriate. Names of holidays, other than recurring celebrations, usually are capitalized; names of seasons, academic periods and onetime celebrations generally are not: Thanksgiving, commencement, fall semester, spring break. Do not capitalize fields of study, academic programs, major areas and major subjects, unless they contain proper nouns, such as English or Spanish. Do not capitalize the following words or abbreviations: a.m., p.m., baccalaureate, master’s degree, federal, state, government, and page.

Catalog: Not catalogue.

Centuries: Spell out numbers of centuries from first through ninth and lower case (the third century, the ninth century), but use numerals, beginning with the 10th century (the 12th century, the 20th century).

Chair/chairperson: Use the same term for both males and females, rather than distinguishing between chairmen and chairwomen or between chairmen and chairpersons.

Comma: Do not use a comma before and or or in a series of three or more.

Compare: Two or more items are compared with each other (not “to”).

Council of Trustees: Always capitalize Council of Trustees in reference to the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees, including second reference to the Council of Trustees.

Dates: Place a comma between the day and the year. When the date is used as part of a sentence also place a comma after the year. Do not place a comma between the month and year when the day is not mentioned. For example: On July 4, 1976, the nation celebrated its 200th birthday. July 2000.

Days of the month: Use figures for days of the month, but omit rd, th, st, nd following the numerals. Example: April 6 or June 1.

Days of the week: Never abbreviate the names of the days of the week.

Degrees: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees should always be written with an ’s. Never write masters’ degrees.

Dorm: Use residence hall, rather than dorm. Avoid dormitory.

Electronic addresses: E-mail and World Wide Web ad- dresses, also known as URLs, are generally all lowercase; however, there are exceptions. When referring to World Wide Web addresses in text, it is not necessary to use the http://. Example: www.bloomu.edu, abcd@bloomu.edu.

e-mail: Use hyphen. Lowercase within a sentence.

Emerita/emeritus: Added to formal titles, as approved by the Council of Trustees, to denote individuals who have retained their rank after retirement. Emerita designates female retirees; emeritus designates male retirees.

Ensure/insure: Ensure means guarantee; insure refers to insurance.

Faculty: Used alone, faculty connotes a group. Refer to an individual as a faculty member.

Fewer than/less than: Use fewer for individual items, less for quantity. Example: He had less than $50. She had fewer than 50 one-dollar bills.

FTE: Full-time equivalent.

Gender: Use the correct gender or neutralize the context with words that incorporate both genders. Example: The best person (or candidate) for the job is Jon Jones.

GPA: Grade point average.

Graduation year: Omit the comma between an alumnus’ name and graduation year; be sure to use an apostrophe, not a single opening quotation mark. Example: Joseph Smith ’98.

Headings: Use upper and lower case, not all capitals, for headings. Do not underline.

Irregardless: “Irregardless” is a double negative; regardless is correct.

-ly: Do not use a hyphen between adverbs ending in -ly and the adjectives they modify. Examples: an easily remembered rule, a poorly behaved child.

Month names: Abbreviate names of months when used with specific dates. Do not abbreviate March, April, May, June and July. Correct abbreviations are: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. Examples: Sept. 1 or April 15.

More than/Over: More than designates an amount; over means physically above.

Numbers: Use figures for number 10 and above, including ordinal numbers such as 14th, 21st. Use numerals, even if the number is below 10, when indicating ages, credits (as in 3-credit course), figures with decimals, statistics, percentages, sums of money, times of day, days of month, latitude and longitude, degrees of temperature, dimensions, measurements and proportions.

Online: One word in all cases for the computer connection term.

Percent sign: Use the percent sign (%) only in scientific, technical and statistical copy. In text, spell out word percent.

Phonathon: The name and preferred spelling of alumni and parent fundraisers at Bloomsburg University.

Preventive: Not “preventative.”

Staff: Staff applies to all employees who are not faculty.

State names: Use state abbreviations found on page 8 within text, following Associated Press style; consider the audience to determine whether Pennsylvania’s abbreviation, Pa., is required. Several state names and Washington, D.C. are not abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

State-of-the-art: Avoid this overused cliché, especially in reference to computers and computer labs. Depending on usage, one of the following may be a suitable alternative: modern, new, advanced, futuristic, enhanced, unparalleled, and inimitable.

Theatre: Use this spelling only when referring to Bloomsburg University’s Theatre Arts program in the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts or a similar entity. In other references, use the traditional spelling, theater.

Titles: Use complete, accurate titles of campus buildings, per- sons, positions and official units in first references. Subsequent references may be informal. The Faculty and Staff Telephone Directory, updated each fall by the communications office, provides individuals’ current titles. See listings on pages 27 through 30 of this editorial guide for names of facilities and campus units.

Refer to the chief administrator of an academic department as the department chair or chairperson and the chief administrator of a non-academic unit as the director. “Dr.” refers only

to someone in the medical profession. In general, capitalize formal or courtesy titles immediately preceding a name and lowercase titles following a name. Lowercase descriptive or occupational titles, such as history professor, department chair, math teacher. Do not capitalize titles standing alone or in apposition, such as: The dean of the College of Professional Studies; Mark Mason, professor of math. Do not capitalize unofficial titles preceding a name, like poet Karl Shapiro. For related information see academic degrees.

Trademarks: Words that are registered trademarks should be capitalized. The symbols that often appear on product packaging and in advertisements, ® and ™, are not needed in running text. Examples: Dixie cup, Dumpster, Styrofoam, Xerox.

T-shirt: Not tee-shirt.

university: Do not capitalize when used alone, even in reference to Bloomsburg University:

Vice president: Not vice-president.

Campus Divisions

Bloomsburg University has five internal colleges. In print, they should all be referred to as “College of” with the exception of The Terry and JoAnn Zeigler College of Business. The two schools should be referred to as “School of”. Generally areas are referred to as “Department of” and all non-academic offices are referred to as “Office of”. There may, however, be some exceptions to this rule. A good reference would be the Faculty/Staff Directory.

The university has five institutes:

  • Frederick Douglass Institute
  • Institute for Environmental Statistics
  • Institute for Interactive Technologies
  • Corporate Institute
  • McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence in Positive Behavior Support
  • Zeigler Institute for Professional Development

These state abbreviations should be used in text:
















































New Hampshire


New Jersey


New Mexico


New York


North Carolina


North Dakota








Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota










West Virginia