Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Writing Style Guide

 
Introduction

The Arkansas State University Office of University Communications generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook for written materials. This guide serves as a supplement with references specific to Arkansas State and includes some exceptions to AP. This document is maintained by the A-State Office of University Communications. Additions, corrections and other updates should be posted to the centralized version on the office computer network data drive.




A

A-State

Most common reference for the Jonesboro campus of Arkansas State University.  This usage is preferred as second reference after the full institution name, rather than the acronym “ASU.”  A-State is represented graphically by the “block A-State” logo.

academic degrees

When using abbreviations to describe the academic degrees a person holds, use: B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.

If the academic degree is spelled out, which is preferred by AP, an apostrophe is used: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.

A person receives a doctorate (as a noun) and holds a doctoral degree (as an adjective, not doctorial).

academic departments

Capitalize the formal names of academic departments: Department of Chemistry, Department of English.
Do not capitalize names of academic departments (except language departments) that begin with the subject: chemistry department, English department.

academic majors

Lowercase academic majors except proper nouns: history, East Asian studies, English, international relations.

academic titles

Arkansas State uses Dr. as a courtesy title for a person holding any doctoral degree whether Ph.D., Ed.D. or juris doctorate.
Do not use: “Dr. John Smith, Ph.D.” It is either Dr. John Smith or John Smith, Ph.D.

acronyms

Acronyms are acceptable on first reference only when the acronym is common knowledge such as FBI. Do not use SGA or SAB without first spelling out the Student Government Association or Student Activities Board.

Spell out names on first reference, use acronym on second reference: He received a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is one of the world’s foremost research centers. Or: He received a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

acting, former

Don’t capitalize in a formal name as part of a title. She said acting Dean John Doe would be there. He introduced former A-State President John Doe.

adviser, not advisor

African-American

Preferred term for referring to an American black person of African descent.

All-, All-

In the generic, use all-state, all-district, all-Arkansas, all-American. When used in proper names of teams, capitalize Sun Belt All-Conference, AP All-America, etc.

alma mater

Use lowercase when describing the college one attended.
Uppercase is reserved for the song and is placed in quotes: "Alma Mater."

alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus

alumna - singular, female
alumnae - plural, women only
alumni - plural, men only or men and women
alumnus - singular, male
alum - singular, male or female; appropriate only in informal contexts

apartments

Collegiate Park Apartments (for upper level students)

Red Wolf Den Apartments (for upper level students)

Village Apartments (for graduate and non-traditional students, married students and single parents)

Arch—see Memorial Arch.

Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State University
(proper name)

Arkansas General Assembly

The proper name of the legislative branch for the state government of Arkansas. (There is no such entity as the Arkansas Legislature.) The General Assembly consists of an upper branch, the Arkansas State Senate (with 35 members), and a lower branch, the Arkansas House of Representatives (with 100 members).

Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University

The department that develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta, which provide educational resources for formal and informal learning, including—

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center (at Piggott, Ark.)

Southern Tenant Farmers Museum (at Tyronza, Ark.)

Lakeport Plantation (at Lake Village, Ark.)

Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash (at Dyess, Ark.) Note: the town’s name is pronounced “dice” not “dye-ess.”

ASU

See A-State

ASU-TV (proper name)

award, fellowship, scholarship

Capitalize when used with a formal name. Lowercase when referring to more than one formally named award, scholarship or fellowship.

athletics

A-State is NCAA Division I in the Sun Belt Conference with 16 intercollegiate sports. In football only, A‑State is Bowl Championship Subdivision; BCS on first reference is acceptable.

B

baccalaureate

bachelor of arts, bachelor of science

See academic degrees for guidelines.

Black

Not preferred; see entry for African-American.

Board of Trustees

Capitalize, use board after first reference.

Building names and Major Facilities and abbreviations

Always uppercase. (May be abbreviated in campus announcements.)

ASU Display Gardens
ASU Museum
ASU Regional Farmers Market
Administration Building
Agriculture Building
Arkansas Hall
Arkansas Biosciences Institute
Baptist Collegiate Ministry
Baseball Complex (Kell Field/Tomlinson Stadium)
Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo
Business Building
Chancellor’s Residence
Childhood Services
Church of Christ Center
Collegiate Park
Communications/Education Building
Computer Science/Mathematics Building
Convocation Center
Cooper Alumni Center
Dean B. Ellis Library
Delta Center for Economic Development
Environmental Research, Safety & Training
Engineering/Lab Sciences West
Equine Center (Garry Meadows Arena)
Eugene W. Smith Hall
Fine Arts Center
Fine Arts Annex
Fowler Center
Health, Physical Education & Sports Sciences Complex (HPESS)
Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC)
Information Technology Services
International English Studies Building
International Student Center
Judd Hill Center, home of the ASU Foundation, Inc.
Kays Hall
Kays House
Laboratory Sciences Center, East Wing
Laboratory Sciences Center, West Wing
Liberty Bank Stadium
Memorial Arch
Military Science Building
Northpark Quads
Nursing & Health Professions Building
Pavilion
Red W.O.L.F. (Wellness Opportunities and Life Fitness) Center
Red Wolves Sports Park (includes track, tennis, intramural softball, rugby)
Carl R. Reng Student Union
Reserve Officers Training Corps Living Learning Community (ROTC LLC)
Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences
Soccer Field
St. Bernards-FirstCare
Science, Technology, Education, Mathematics Den Living Learning Community (STEM Den LLC)
Student Health Center
University Hall
University Police
Village Apartments
Wesley Foundation
Wilson Hall
Wilson Advising Center
Wolflife Campus Ministry

C

campus-wide

Preferred adjective is campus-wide, as in “The campus-wide event will be observed Thursday.”  However, “Campus wide, the idea is popular.

campuses

Use campus or “sister campus” (not “branches”). 

The Arkansas State University System has seven campuses and one instructional site (ASU-Jonesboro, ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home, ASU-Newport, ASU-Heber Springs, ASU-Searcy, ASU-Marked Tree and the instructional site is Paragould).

If needed for clarity, specify the campus to which the information refers, such as Arkansas State University-Jonesboro or Arkansas State University-Newport on first reference, then ASU-Jonesboro or ASU-Newport for second reference.  Otherwise, stay with Arkansas State University.

Chancellor

The chief executive of each campus in the Arkansas State University System is the chancellor.  The president is chief executive officer of the Arkansas State University System.

college, academic colleges at A-State

There are 11 altogether, including: 

  • College of Agriculture and Technology
  • College of Business
  • College of Media and Communication (effective July 1, 2013)
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • College of Sciences and Mathematics
  • Honors College
  • University College
  • Department of Military Science (It is not a college, but should be added to any listings of colleges.)

(official) colors

Scarlet and black (not red and black)

Commencement

Fall Commencement is in December, Spring Commencement is in May, and Summer Commencement is in August

D

dates

Always list dates with day of the week first, followed by a comma then month and day with comma and/or period. Use as follows:
Faculty honors will be Tuesday, June 11, in Fowler Center.
The Faculty Reception will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 5.
Note: See days of week and months of the year for correct style.

days of the week

Always spell out and never abbreviate any of the seven days of the week.

Dean’s List or Chancellor’s List

Uppercase in all uses: She is on the Dean’s List.

Dean B. Ellis Library

Use Dean B. Ellis Library on first reference, use library on second reference. Or, the library lawn.
Ellis Library is acceptable for clarity.

degrees

See academic degrees.

degrees with distinction

Lowercase: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.

department

See academic departments.

doctoral, doctorate

See academic degrees or academic titles.

dorm, dormitory

Do not use; use residence hall.

E

Equine Center (see buildings for complete names)

Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program (proper name)

F

Faculty Senate (proper name)

fall semester

See semester.

Fowler Center

In most cases, it is Fowler Center – not "The" or "the Fowler Center." Never use “performing arts” as part of title. Fowler Center contains: (proper names)

Black Box Theatre

Bradbury Gallery

Grand Hall

The ASU Theatre

Riceland Hall

The Fowler Center Series and the Liberty Bank Distinguished Lecture Series are annual events at Fowler Center.  Some presentations in the series are designated as a Riceland Distinguished PerformanceDelta National Small Prints Exhibition is an annual event in the Bradbury Gallery of Fowler Center.

fraternities, sororities

The full, formal name should be used on first reference: Tau Kappa Epsilon. Abbreviations are acceptable on second reference, but avoid nicknames like Pike. A member is referred to as a member.

In reference to a fraternity’s or sorority’s building, the word house should be capitalized when it follows the name of the organization: Tau Kappa Epsilon House; fraternity house.

fund raising (n.), fund-raising (adj.), fund-raiser (n.)

Follow the examples:
Fund raising is difficult.
They planned a fund-raising campaign.
A fund-raiser was hired.

G

grade point average

Use GPA on second reference, but do not use periods in the abbreviation.

H

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center

A program of Arkansas State, the center is the family home of Ernest Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. Also located on the grounds is a barn-studio where Hemingway penned portions of one of his most famous novels, “A Farewell to Arms.”

The Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Foundation Museum opened in May 2004 across the street from Hemingway-Pfeiffer. Although related historically, it is not an ASU program.

Heritage Studies Ph.D. Program (proper name) 

Historic Dyess Colony:  Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash

A program of A-State’s Arkansas Heritage Sites since 2009, the Historic Dyess Colony:  Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash is under restoration at present. The complex includes the Dyess Administration Building, a Theatre/Community Shell and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. Working with the community, Arkansas Heritage Sites' goal is to make this site an international tourism destination. (Note: Note: the town’s name is pronounced “dice” not “dye-ess.”)

I

interim

Lowercase in all cases. An interim job title in academia is a position to which a person is appointed between the times an incumbent to a position steps down until a new person is hired to fill that position permanently.

K

KASU (proper name)

KASU is the oldest non-commercial radio station in Arkansas.  KASU-FM is not correct.  KASU, 91.9 FM, is acceptable.

L

Lakeport Museum

A program of A-State’s Arkansas Heritage Sites, Lakeport Plantation is the only remaining Arkansas antebellum plantation home on the Mississippi River. Built in 1859 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Greek Revival structure was gifted to ASU in 2001 by the Sam Epstein Angel family. After a five-year restoration period, the museum opened to the public.

library

(see Dean B. Ellis Library)

Lecture~Concert Series

A yearly series of performances and guest lectures on the Jonesboro campus.

Lettermen’s Club is the proper name for the booster organization (not Letterman’s).

M

majors

See academic majors.

mascot

Red Wolves is the nickname for athletic teams.

Memorial Arch

The Memorial Arch is the official name of the iconic historic arch located on the Jonesboro campus. In their will, the members of the Training School Class of 1927 referred to the arch by that name for the concrete structure they had gifted to the institution as a tribute to those who would follow them. Other references to arch or historic arch are lowercase.

months

Abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. 
The other months are not abbreviated.

N

Nursing and Health Professions, College of.  The college facilities include the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences. (See buildings for complete names.)

O

off-campus (adj.), off campus (adv.)

Hyphenate when used as an adjective: The university is looking at off-campus housing as an option.
Write two words, without hyphenation when used as an adverb: The student moved off campus.
Guidelines are the same for on-campus and on campus.

office

Capitalize when part of a proper name: She submitted her story to the Office of Communications
Use lowercase in all other uses: He visited the dean’s office.

P

p.m. and a.m., not PM or AM

see times

postbaccalaureate

One word. However, the preference is to state the name of the postbaccalaureate degree.

police, ASU

It is University Police, not ASU Police or Police Department.

president

Capitalize president only as a formal title before a name: ASU System President Chuck Welch. Capitalize president in its various forms when part of the formal title of an event, such as: The President’s Reception will be held in the Cooper Center.  Do not capitalize president in general usage or second reference, such as: The president directs the planning process.
See titles of people.

professor

Basic academic ranks are four, in this order: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor.
Capitalize these titles as a formal title before a name. Assistant Professor Joe Fred is teaching that class.
Lowercase in all other cases: Jane Doe, associate professor of art, has many students.

Publication titles

Publications, such as newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, are capitalized only (not italicized or in quotes).  The Herald reported on the theft of Newsweek magazines, then The Jonesboro Sun repeated the story.

R

residence hall

Not dorm or dormitory.

residence hall and apartment names

Always uppercase and never abbreviated.

  • Arkansas Hall
  • Collegiate Park
  • Honors Living Learning Community
  • Kays Hall
  • Northpark Quads
  • Red Wolf Den
  • ROTC Living Learning Community
  • STEM Den Living Learning Community
  • University Hall

Carl R. Reng Student Union

Formerly called the Reng Center.  This includes the combined original Reng facility and newer Student Union.  Additional style references will be added for specific spaces.  See also, Student Union.

S

seasons

Lowercase, unless part of a formal name: summer, spring, Winter Olympics, ASU Spring Fling

semesters

Lowercase: spring semester, fall semester, first summer semester, second summer semester

senior citizens

Usually reserved for those 65 and older. Avoid using seniors, because of possible confusion with the student classification.

sororities

See fraternities, sororities.

Southern Tenant Farmers Museum

A program of A-State’s Arkansas Heritage Sites, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza, Ark., is the birthplace of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. Located in the historic H.L. Mitchell-Clay East building, the restoration of the dry cleaning business, filling station and the adjacent Tyronza Bank was completed in 2006. The Citizens of Tyronza gave the museum complex to Arkansas State University in 2000. 

spring semester

See semesters.

staff

Usually considered singular unit (comprised of many people): The staff has reviewed the president's document.

Staff Senate (proper name)

Streets and Roads (major)

  • A Street
  • Aggie Road
  • Alumni Boulevard
  • Caraway Road
  • Honors Avenue
  • Johnson Avenue
  • Marion Berry Parkway
  • Olympic Drive
  • Red Wolf Trail
  • University Loop

Student Activities Board

All uppercase. May use abbreviation, SAB, after first reference.

Student Government Association

All uppercase. May use abbreviation, SGA, after first reference.

Student Union

See also, Carl R. Reng Student Union.

Student Union Auditorium

This is a sufficient reference for this space.  However, in communications to off-campus audiences, it is appropriate to call it the Auditorium in the Carl R. Reng Student Union.

summer semester

See semesters.

T

theater, theatre

The Arkansas State University Theatre uses theatre in references: The Theatre in Fowler Center, the Department of Theatre, etc.
Note: See Fowler Center.

time, references to

use: 7-9 a.m., 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., 8:30 a.m. until noon, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
DO NOT USE THESE: 7:00 until 9:00 AM, 8:30 AM until 12:00 PM
lowercase with periods - a.m. or p.m.; never use 12:00 PM or 12:00 AM, it is  noon or midnight; never use 10:00 AM, it is 10 a.m. or 10 – 11 a.m.; the same is with references to p.m.
i.e. The meeting is 7-9 p.m. Do not use: The meeting is 7:00 – 9:00 PM tonight or the meeting is at 7:00 tonight. 
When listing times along with dates -- always list the time first. Use as follows:
The event will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, in Riceland Hall.

titles of events

Capitalize, in quotation marks, the full, formal titles of workshops, conferences, seminars, speeches, art exhibitions, and similar events: A workshop titled "Technology in the Classroom" will be held on Wednesday.

titles of people

The general rule is to only capitalize a person’s title when you list it before the person’s name. When the title comes after the name (preferred), the title should be lowercase.  If the title includes an organizational unit, that portion is capitalized; a function is not capitalized.
Dean Kathy Cole or Dr. Kathy Cole, dean of the College of Business or Gina Bowman, director of media relations.

titles of works

Treat words like "the" and "magazine" as part of the title (capping, italicizing, including in quotes, as appropriate) only when so treated by the publication in question; check the masthead to be sure.

Italicize:

  • book titles
  • play and film titles
  • television or radio series titles
  • art exhibition titles
  • titles of paintings and other artworks
  • titles of operas and other long musical compositions

Use quotation marks to set off the titles of shorter works:

  • academic papers and presentations
  • short stories, magazine or newspaper articles, poems
  • individual episodes of television or radio series
  • songs and short musical compositions
  • lectures, speeches and presentations

trustees

Capitalize Board of Trustees, but not trustee, unless it comes before a person’s name as a formal title.

U

United States (n.), U.S. (adj.)

University Police

It is University Police, not ASU Police, not A-State Police, or Police Department.

university

Capitalize only as part of a formal name.
Lowercase when referring to A-State as "the university."

University Honors Scholarship

It is the highest institutional award a student can achieve at Arkansas State. Selection is based on a competitive process with ACT/SAT scores and grade point average.

V

vice chancellor, vice president

Each campus has one or more vice chancellors who report to the chancellor of that campus.  Those individuals who have responsibilities at the A-State System level and report to the system president are vice presidents.

W

website and social media

The goal of our online presence is to make Arkansas State a university that is easy to locate and with which to interact.  For the growing impact of search engines, having a unique identifier is important.  At the start of the internet era, Arkansas State took the domain name of “astate” as Arizona State claimed “asu.”  While we recognize that within the Arkansas State family we always will be ASU, in a global world it becomes important to emphasize the difference between us and our similarly named western colleague.

To be consistent with the guidelines for A-State, we ask that when referring to our main university website that we write AState.edu.  This is in prose or in design work.

According to the Associated Press Stylebook:  “Website addresses are also known as Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs. Follow the spelling and capitalization of the website owner.” (our emphasis added).  As we have now expressed as the website owner that AState.edu is our form of spelling and capitalization, we ask that media as well as our university community utilize our style.

Since URLs and most social media services do not recognize a dash, do not add a dash as this will cause end users to be unable to locate the address (A-State.edu is NOT correct).  While capitalization will not matter to browsers, we also do not allow astAte.edu, ASTATE.EDU, ASTATE.edu or AState.EDU.

In variation from AP style, all website addresses in prose or design will not utilize “http://” or “www.”  These are legacy items from a time where they were necessary to locate the URL, and we want to put the focus on the location of our institution.  This is also for brevity.  Consider that “http://www.” is as many characters (11) as the domain level name of “AState.edu” (11).

For purposes of visual clarity, all social media should include similar constructions.  Since the majority of online services are not case sensitive, making our handles, hashtags and unique identifiers easier to read will increase the ability of our followers to remember us and differentiate from similar names.

Facebook.com/ASUJonesboro
Twitter.com/AStateRedWolves
Instagram/AState
YouTube.com/user/ArkansasState

The ability to help “visual search” is particularly apparent in longer social labels and those for individuals.

Twitter.com/CoachSCaldwell
Facebook.com/BryanHarsin

When written in prose, the social network’s preferred name and capitalization is followed by a slash and our designation.

When expressed visually, the preference is for the icon logo of the service followed by a slash and our designation.

As an institution, our default hash tag is:  #AState

All advertising and marketing materials for the university include social media references to promote our social media accounts.

weekdays

Spell out days of the week. Do NOT abbreviate.

winter semester

Do not use.  See semesters.

Y

year

There is rarely a need to use the year in campus publication texts, as long as the document is dated. (One exception would be those instances where several events that encompass both the current year and the next year are listed.)