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Editing Style Consistency

With rare exception, projects that filter through UW-Green Bay’s Office of Marketing and University Communication will be edited in “AP Style.” This refers to the guidelines from the Associated Press Stylebook, considered the standard reference for news writing and increasingly, web writing. The following “common use” guidelines are recommended to promote uniformity, ease of reading and common understanding. It is also the style more easily converted (and often cut and pasted) into media coverage. As more UW-Green Bay divisions and units have autonomy for marketing pieces, web pages and other communication tools, University personnel can make a solid impression with consistency in writing style.

Campus-Specific Practice Quick Guide


Avoid alphabet soup. “NAS” is in-house shorthand, but use the “Natural and Applied Sciences program” on first reference in external publications. On second reference, a descriptor such as “the program” can often be substituted.

Academic Degrees, Working Titles

Examples: Use a phrase such as: “Jane Doe, who holds a doctorate in psychology.” In a listing, use: “Jane Doe, Ph.D., psychology, ABC University.”

If mention of degrees is necessary to establish credentials, the preferred form in a general-interest publication is to say a person holds a doctorate and to name the area of specialty. (The general public tends to assume that the honorific "Dr." means physician.)

The correct forms are bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree. Or simply use “bachelor’s,” “master’s” or “doctorate” in any reference. A two-year degree is an associate degree (no apostrophe).

Do not capitalize tiles appearing after names.
First name, Last name, the vice chancellor for business and finance
Do capitalize if the title precedes the name

Do not capitalize titles used alone in place of names
chancellor, the dean, the director
First name, Last name, director of …
Do not capitalize proper names of administrative entities

Academic Programs, Units

In a departure from AP style, UW-Green Bay will capitalize the names of some of its academic units: the interdisciplinary academic units. Example: The student majors in Humanistic Studies with a minor in history.

That’s a nod to the importance of these programs in UW-Green Bay history and organizational structure. It also reflects the fact that faculty members are technically not hired or retained by the disciplinary majors but, rather, by the larger, interdisciplinary units.

Capitalize titles such as professor and assistant chancellor when part of a title preceding the name, but lowercase elsewhere and when following a name. Use of “Prof. Smith” is an acceptable abbreviation.

Alum, Alumni, etc.

Alum – Informal
Alumna – Singular female
Alumnus – Singular male
Alumnae – Plural female
Alumni – Plural male
Alumni – Mixed group

Boilerplate Description

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving 8,970 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and 79,604 continuing education enrollees each year across all campus locations. We educate students from pre-college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2020, UW-Green Bay was the fastest growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit

Building Names

References to buildings by acronym or other shorthand should be limited to intra-campus mail and some internal usage. Remember that even on campus there are new students, new employees and visitors for whom IS and WH may be confusing. On first reference in external communication, avoid acronyms. Use Mary Ann Cofrin Hall instead of MAC Hall in such instances.

Bulleted or Numerated Lists

Be consistent in use of end punctuation. Either use it, or don’t. Never center justify bulleted or numerated lists.


When listing degrees, emphases, majors and minors, capitalize when it is a proper noun, name of the program.
Example: Emphasis in Emergency Management vs. Your area of emphasis is complete!


The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents voted December 11, 2015 to approve a UW-Green Bay request for the first major restructuring of academic administration at the University in two decades. Effective Fall 2016, UW-Green Bay moved away from a two-colleges model (Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professional and Graduate Studies) previously in place to one in which academic majors, faculty, staff and resources are aligned in four distinct colleges (or schools).

The four divisions are:

  • The College of Health, Education and Social Welfare
    (formerly the College of Professional Studies)
  • The Austin E. Cofrin School of Business
    (formerly housed in the College of Professional Studies)
  • The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
    (created from the former College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)
  • The College of Science and Technology
    (created from the former College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Commas and Oxford Commas

Do not use commas before a conjunction in a simple series. Example: In art class, they learned that red, yellow and blue are primary colors. His brothers are Tom, Joe, Frank and Pete. UW-Green Bay does not utilize an Oxford comma (comma before and in a series) unless the comma provides clarification. Instead of using a comma in these situations, consider rewriting the sentence to provide clarification.


Given the distinctive, interdisciplinary academic structure at UW-Green Bay, the use of terms such as “academic units” or “programs” has long been favored in place of “departments.”

Format for Editorial By-lines

—Story by name, title, office. Example: —Story by Sue Bodilly, Director of Content, Office of Marketing and University Communication.

The ‘Fourth Estate,’ SUFAC, etc.

Names and acronyms that are commonly understood on campus can confuse off-campus audiences. It is best to elaborate on certain campus-specific references. For clarity, say “The Fourth Estate, our student newspaper,...” or “The Segregated University Fee Allocations Committee, known as SUFAC, ....” or “SUFAC, the student-fee allocations committee.”

Headlines and Subheads

Capitalize all “principal words” in titles, which include “prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.” Capitalize the articles — a, an, and the — or words of fewer than four letters if they are the first or last word in a title or subtitle.


Avoid using non-descript linking text like “click here” when writing copy. Instead, simply insert your hyperlink.

Hyphenate Compound Modifiers Before the Noun

If it’s an adjective, it’s hyphenated, if it’s a noun, it’s not. Use hyphens to link all the words in a compound adjective: “The five-volume report called for cleaning up the area over a 10-year period.” Do not use a hyphen if the construction includes very or an adverb ending in –ly: a very big project, barely legal procedures. Example: decision-making process vs. land use decision making

Kress Events Center

While the Kress Events Center is the formal name for the entire complex… for quick identification, on campus, the Office of Marketing and University Communication has adopted the following hierarchy for use with local audiences.

Facility Referred to
“Kress Events Center”
the entire complex
“the Events Center”
the 4,000-seat seating area
“Fitness Center”
fitness facilities (used interchangeably)
“Schreiber Foods Fitness Center”

Other Universities in the UW System/the UW System

In practice, we use UW- in school names but no hyphen in UW System. Oshkosh is the outlier. Examples: UW-River Falls, UW System, UW Oshkosh


Avoid using parentheses when possible. If parentheses are required the rules are: If the parenthetical is a complete, independent sentence, place the period inside the closing parenthesis; if not, the period goes outside.

Phoenix Room

The proper reference for the large hall on the second floor of the University Union is Phoenix Room (not Phoenix Rooms). When the dividers are in place, the resulting spaces are known as Phoenix Room A (or Phoenix A), B and C. It would be correct, in describing an event in which each of the three separate spaces are in use, to say “exhibits are set up in the Phoenix rooms.”

Phoenix Teams

References to the University teams should be capitalized and singular in printed material. “The Phoenix is on a winning streak” is correct.

Phone Numbers

000-000-0000 or 000.000.0000 is allowed. (000) 000-0000 is not.


Use a single space after a period. Commas and periods go within quotation marks. Example: “I want to go to a movie,” he said. She said, “I heard you won an award for your research.”


If a state’s name is standing alone or in conjunction with a city or town in your text, spell out the entire state’s name. This goes for all 50 states. There are eight states that are never abbreviated in datelines or text. Those states are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. List of 50 AP Style state abbreviations (postal code abbreviations are in parentheses),

Technological Terms

Email or email Internet


If you can omit the word that without changing the meaning of the sentence, leave it out…less is more.
Example: You will learn simple steps that governments can take to safeguard their systems and prepare for a cyber-incident.

Theatre vs. Theater

The formal name is Theatre Hall. Similarly, the University Theatre is located in that building. The theatre program stages many of its productions there.

Time, Day, Date

For clarity and consistency:

time, day, date order7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12
zero minutes not necessary2 p.m. vs. 4:30 p.m. Do not include a colon and two zeros when referring to an even hour.
lowercase with perioda.m. and p.m.


Titles of books, movies, recordings, television shows and similar works are set off in quotation marks, with all principal words capitalized: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Memory Almost Full,” “Grey’s Anatomy.” Titles of magazines, newspapers and reference works get no special treatment: Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The Associated Press Stylebook.

Underlining Text

Reserve for indicating a hyperlink.

University vs. university

Capitalize when a proper noun.

University of Wisconsin-Extension

When a co-sponsorship exists, whether a program is sponsored primarily by UW-Green Bay or by UW-Extension, both institutions should be prominently identified in program materials, advertisements and publications. Placement and type styles should be similar. The names are hyphenated.

University of Wisconsin System

In general, it is University of Wisconsin System on first reference and UW System thereafter. However, if the full name of any member institution (e.g., University of Wisconsin-Green Bay) precedes the first reference, the shortened version (UW System) is correct. Use no hyphen.

Web Addresses

http:// or www. is not needed or required if it is clearly a web address. Some sites only recognize one or both parts of the URL, so it’s a good idea to test it first. Example: is acceptable.


Use ZIP, not Zip or zip, because it’s an acronym (Zone Improvement Plan).