Is it alumnus or alumna? Dr. John Doe or John Doe, Ph.D.? The 1980’s or 1980s? Every day (or is it everyday?) those who write or edit university communications encounter style questions such as these. Editorial style guides, which suggest consistent treatment of dates, names, capitalization and abbreviations as well as preferred usage, offer answers to such questions.
But a university’s editorial style is more than answers. It is the way the university presents itself to the public through written words, whether in a brochure, magazine, newspaper ad or Web site. Having a common style helps project a consistent, professional image to the public.
This style guide was written for anyone who writes, edits or proofreads Texas State communications, including brochures, booklets, posters, postcards, Web pages, invitations, etc. (Academic papers and publications will need to follow field-specific style guides.) The intent of this guide is to build Texas State’s brand by achieving a consistent style university-wide.
The Texas State guide draws from the Associated Press (AP) style because it is familiar to readers and easy to use. But the university’s needs are not the same as those of the news media, so some exceptions to AP style are made. In those instances, the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, is referenced. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, is the preferred dictionary and should be consulted for questions that are not addressed in this guide.
For style questions that can’t be resolved using this guide or to suggest revisions, contact the Office of University Marketing.