The Wayne State University style guide below sets standards for words, phrases and information frequently used in WSU communications. Consult the latest Associated Press Stylebook or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) for style points not covered here.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or suggestions for additions to this guide.
A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall
The abbreviation AAB may be used on subsequent references.
Do not list academic degrees after names.
Only individuals holding M.D.s should be referred to as doctor.
There is no need to use the word degree after bachelor's, master's or doctorate.
In text, it is preferable to spell out the degree rather than use the acronym.
- He earned his master's in 2005.
Use periods in academic degree acronyms. Popular acronyms include:
- B.A. bachelor of arts
- B.F.A. bachelor of fine arts
- B.S. bachelor of science
- B.S.N. bachelor of science in nursing
- B.S.W. bachelor of social work
- Ed.D. doctor of education
- Ed.S. education specialist
- J.D. juris doctor
- LL.M. master of laws
- M.A. master of arts
- M.A.T. master of arts in teaching
- M.B.A. master of business administration
- M.D. doctor of medicine
- M.Ed. master of education
- M.F.A. master of fine arts
- M.S. master of science
- M.S.W. master of social work
- Pharm.D. doctor of pharmacy
- Ph.D. doctor of philosophy
- RN (no periods) - registered nurse
Note: Use associate degree, not associate's.
Hyphenate, dropping the repeated digits: 2011-12.
Always spell out on first reference. Follow spelled-out version with abbreviation in parentheses only if acronym will be used in same document.
- The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA) offers programs for creative students. Musicians, dancers, actors and writers take classes through the CFPCA.
Spell out Avenue, Drive, Street, etc.
Use traditional state abbreviations (e.g., Mich., Conn., N.H.) in running copy. No state is required with Detroit.
- He was a resident of Royal Oak, Mich.
- The package came from Detroit.
Use postal state abbreviations (e.g., MI, CT, NH) in full address blocks.
- Marketing and Communications
3100 Academic/Administrative Building
5700 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Although adviser was WSU style for many years, we've given in to the more popular spelling for the sake of consistency.
African American (n., adj.)
Contrary to current AP style, do not hyphenate.
All-American (n.), All-America (adj.)
alumna, alumnus, alumnae, alumni
Alumna refers to a female graduate.
Alumnus refers to a male graduate.
Alumnae refers to a group of all female graduates.
Alumni refers to a group of mixed sex or all male graduates.
Designate alumni with abbreviated class year following name (no comma). Be sure the apostrophe is pointing in the correct direction (away from the number).
- Peter Gibbons '67
For undergraduate degrees, school or college may be abbreviated before the year.
- Mary Contrary, CFPCA '99
For graduate degrees, degree type may be included before the year.
- John MacElder, Ph.D. '04
If an individual earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from WSU, use degree type (not school/college) before years.
- Mary Contrary, B.A. '99, Ph.D. '05
Always spell out and. Use the ampersand only if it is part of an organization's official name.
Do not put parentheses around area codes. Use hyphens, not periods
Use the following constructions to reference the Wayne State University Department of Athletics:
- Department of Athletics
- Athletic Department
- WSU (or Wayne State) Athletics
Hyphenate school names when describing a game.
- this Saturday's WSU-Findlay game
On first reference, include Wayne State University.
- Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre
- The Hilberry Theatre at Wayne State University
Board of Governors
- Sandra Hughes O'Brien, chair
- David A. Nicholson, vice chair
- Michael Busuito
- Diane L. Dunaskiss
- Mark Gaffney
- Marilyn Kelly
- Dana Thompson
- Kim Trent
- M. Roy Wilson, ex officio
- EEO statement: Wayne State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
- Disability statement: People with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this program should contact (insert department name and phone number).
- General WSU boilerplate: Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.
- Mike Ilitch School of Business: The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business prepares students for challenging and rewarding careers, advances the boundaries of scholarly and practitioner knowledge, and enhances the economic vitality of the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond through its programs, research and community engagement. Established in 1946, the business school was renamed in 2015 in recognition of a $40 million gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch. Thanks to this lead investment, the school moved to a new state-of-the-art building in the heart of the District Detroit in 2018, and academic programming and collaboration with city businesses are expanding. For more information, visit ilitchbusiness.wayne.edu.
- Research: Wayne State University is one of the nation's preeminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.
- Research/Carnegie: Wayne State University is one of only three universities in Michigan to receive the Carnegie Classification of Institution of Higher Education's classification of doctoral university: highest research activity.
- Pharmacy: The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, one of the founding colleges of Wayne State University, is committed to advancing the health and well-being of society through the preparation of highly skilled health care practitioners, and through research to improve health care practices and treatment from urban to global arenas.
- the Wayne State University Bookstore
- the WSU Bookstore
- Wayne State's bookstore
- the bookstore
Wayne State has received the classification of doctoral university: highest research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Wayne State has also received Carnegie's Community Engagement classification.
centers and institutes
Refer to the official list: http://research.wayne.edu/ci/directory.php
City of Detroit
Capitalize City only when referring to the government entity.
College of Education
Dean: R. Douglas Whitman
College of Engineering
Dean: Farshad Fotouhi
College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
Dean: Matthew W. Seeger
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Dean: Stephanie Hartwell
College of Nursing
Dean: Laurie M. Lauzon Clabo
In a list, do not use a comma before the final item, unless that item contains a conjunction.
- Our flag is red, white and blue.
- The barbeque is sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, the Office of the President, and the Office of Special Events and Services.
Capitalize course titles. Do not use italics or quotation marks.
- I signed up for Introduction to Microbiology.
Do not use credit hours.
Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights
David Adamany Undergraduate Library
Undergraduate Library can be used on second reference.
- Sheryl Kubiak, School of Social Work
- Richard A. Bierschbach, Law School
- Farshad Fotouhi, College of Engineering
- John Corvino, Irvin D. Reid Honors College
- Jack Sobel, School of Medicine
- Stephanie Hartwell, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Ambika Mathur, Graduate School
- Laurie M. Lauzon Clabo, College of Nursing
- Matthew W. Seeger, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
- R. Douglas Whitman, College of Education
- Robert Forsythe, Mike Ilitch School of Business
- Jon E. Cawthorne, University Library System, including the School of Information Sciences
- Catherine Lysack, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (interim)
Note: Unless otherwise directed, we don't refer to interim deans as such in major external documents, only in internal communications.
Do not use an apostrophe before the s when referring to decades:
- the 1960s
- the '60s
(1960's refers to something belonging to the year 1960.)
Capitalize official names of departments. Lowercase department when not part of the official name.
- Department of History
- history department
- I joined the department in 1997.
In running copy, Detroit can stand alone without denoting its location in Michigan. When calling it downtown Detroit or when downtown stands alown, lowercase downtown.
do's and don'ts
People with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this program should contact (insert department name and phone number).
WSU divisions include:
Executive Office of the President
Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Schools and Colleges
Office of the General Counsel
Office of Government and Community Affairs
Marketing and Communications
Chief of Staff
Development and Alumni Affairs
Finance and Business Operations
Division of Research
University Library System
Medical doctors are the only individuals with their degree listed following their name (e.g., Roberto Romero, M.D.). On second reference, the abbreviation Dr. may precede the name (e.g., Dr. Romero). Only M.D.s (not Ph.D.s) may take the title Dr. in publications.
Do not use both Dr. and M.D. in the same construction (Dr. Roberto Romero, M.D., is redundant).
Equal Opportunity statement
Wayne State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Dean: Catherine Lysack (interim)
Eugene Applebaum may be omitted on second reference.
Italicize and place after a name following a comma.
- M. Roy Wilson, ex officio
Facilities Planning and Management
Faculty is a collective noun referring to a group of faculty members and takes singular verbs.
- The faculty has assembled.
When writing about an individual, use faculty member.
The abbreviation FAB may be used on subsequent references.
Lowercase the names of forms:
- registration form
- transfer request form
This is the official name of the program, however grammatically awkward it may appear.
One word, no hyphen, in all cases.
Gold 'n' Greens
Please note: Both apostrophes around the n should curve toward Gold. They represent the missing letters in and.
Gordon H. Scott Hall of Basic Medical Science
Scott Hall is acceptable on subsequent references.
grade point average (GPA)
It is fine to use GPA on first reference.
Dean: Ambika Mathur
Capitalize when referring to WSU's official Graduate School.
The generic term is lowercased: He decided to go to graduate school.
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)
Most WSU teams belong to this conference. In contexts where the athletic emphasis is understood, use GLIAC.
handheld (n.), hand-held (adj.)
If a quote is included in a headline, use single quote marks (not double).
Use numerals in all cases, even if less than 10 and even if it begins the headline.
Use sentence-style capitalization (i.e., do not capitalize every word). Present tense is always preferable to the infinitive in headlines.
- 4 professors win service awards
- Wayne State hosts lecture by Thomas Friedman – not "to host"
Unless it is part of a proper name, health care is always two words, even as an adjective (e.g., health care workers).
Henry Ford College (HFC)
Do not precede Inc. with a comma unless you know the source prefers it.
Integrative Biosciences Center
Abbreviate as IBio.
Irvin D. Reid Honors College
Dean: John Corvino
On second reference, the Honors College is acceptable.
Do not precede Jr. with a comma unless you know the source prefers it.
This is AP's preferred spelling of the Indian city Calcutta.
Dean: Richard A. Bierschbach
Always capitalize Law School when referring WSU's Law School. On second reference, Wayne Law is also acceptable.
Speakers stand on a podium and at a lectern.
Do not italicize or place in quotation marks.
- She earned three As and one B.
log off (v.)
log on (v.), log-on (n., adj.)
Macomb Community College
On second use, Macomb is acceptable. Do not use MCC.
Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center
Matthaei Physical Education Center
Do not use Athletics Complex.
McGregor Memorial Conference Center
Use McGregor Center or the center on subsequent references. Do not use McGregor alone.
Media is the plural form of medium and should be used with plural verbs.
- The media are attending the event.
Never use 12 a.m.
Midtown, Midtown Detroit
Mike Ilitch School of Business
Dean: Robert Forsythe
On first reference, Mike Ilitch School of Business, The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business and The Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University are acceptable. Ilitch School of Business or the Ilitch School are acceptable on subsequent reference. Do not use acronyms or abbreviations.
Use $12, not $12.00. Use $12 million, not $12,000,000.
Abbreviate the month in dates.
- Dec. 10, 2011
Use the full month name when it stands alone or with only a year.
- My favorite month is October.
- We met in December 2011.
Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center (RFC)
On second reference, the fitness center or the RFC are appropriate.
Use full name (first and last) on first reference. Use last name for subsequent references.
- James H. Rigby is chair of the Department of Chemistry. Rigby's specialty is organic chemistry.
Use Jr., III, Sr., etc. only with the full name. Precede/follow with a comma only if the individual prefers it.
- Edward Ewell Jr. is a member of the Alumni Board. Ewell is a circuit court judge.
Use middle initial only if the individual prefers it.
Do not follow names with degrees (e.g., Ph.D.), except for M.D.
If a nickname is used following a person's name, place it in quotation marks. Nicknames used in place of a first name do not need quotation marks.
- Mandell "Bill" Berman
- Bill Berman
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
In contexts where the athletic emphasis is understood, use NCAA.
New Student Days
New Student Orientation
On second reference, orientation.
Never use 12 p.m.
Spell out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 and greater.
Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence.
Always use numerals with percentages.
- Our enrollment increased 5 percent.
Oakland Community College (OCC)
Capitalize official names of offices. Lowercase office when not part of official name.
- Office of the Registrar
- the Registrar's office
- Dean of Students Office
- The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Do not use superscript.
Use numerals when the ordinal is 10th or higher.
- This is the fourth time I've called.
- Welcome to the 21st century.
parking lots and structures
Capitalize Structure and Lot when followed by the number of the parking area. Lowercase if used generically.
Do not include Parking in the name of the parking area unless the name of the lot stands alone (e.g., on a map).
Do not use the pound sign (#) before the number of the parking area.
Do not spell out numerals designating parking areas, even if they are less than 10.
- Parking is available in Structure 1.
- Please park in Lot 32.
- Wayne State has eight parking structures.
Always use numerals with percentages.
Spell out the word percent. Use the percent sign (%) only in technical material.
Do not put parentheses around area codes. Use hyphens, not periods.
Captions may be complete sentences or fragments.
Spot directions should be in parentheses. If two people are in a photo, it is only necessary to use one spot direction. A caption should never begin with spot directions.
- Company founders (from left) Miller, Davis and Cantor meet once each year.
- Allan Gilmour (left) and Rick Nork examine complicated financial documents.
When used, photo credits should be set vertically along the top right edge of the photograph.
Speakers stand on a podium and at a lectern.
Following are the names and titles of members of the President's Cabinet:
- M. Roy Wilson, president
- Keith Whitfield, provost
- Susan E. Burns, vice president for development and alumni affairs
- Marquita T. Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer
- William R. Decatur, vice president for finance and business operations, treasurer, and chief financial officer
- Ahmad M. Ezzeddine, associate vice president for educational outreach and international programs
- David S. Hefner, M.P.A., vice president for health affairs
- Stephen M. Lanier, vice president for research
- Louis Lessem, vice president and general counsel
- Patrick O. Lindsey, vice president for government and community affairs
- Julie H. Miller, vice president and secretary to the Board of Governors
- Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development
- Michael Wright, vice president of marketing and communications and chief of staff
Please note that the president and provost are listed first. Following that, the list is alphabetical.
Quotation marks should always appear curved ("smart"), never straight.
All punctuation should appear inside the quotation marks.
- You should read Denise Levertov's poem "Clouds."
Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons
RN (registered nurse)
Do not use periods in this abbreviation.
Road Warrior Tour
Saint Clair County Community College (SC4)
On second use, Schoolcraft is acceptable.
School of Information Sciences
Dean: Jon E. Cawthorne
School of Medicine
Dean: Jack Sobel
School of Social Work
Dean: Jerrold Brandell (interim)
schools and colleges
The official names are:
- College of Education
- College of Engineering
- College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA)
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
- College of Nursing
- Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Eugene Applebaum may be omitted on second reference)
- Irvin D. Reid Honors College (on second reference, the Honors College is acceptable)
- Graduate School
- Law School (always with initial caps; on second reference, Wayne Law is acceptable)
- Mike Ilitch School of Business (on second reference, Ilitch School of Business or the Ilitch School are acceptable)
- School of Information Sciences
- School of Medicine (SOM)
- School of Social Work
Spell out on first reference, and then use the school, the college or abbreviations on subsequent references.
If context is required, include Wayne State University in one of two ways:
- The Wayne State University School of Medicine
- Wayne State University's School of Medicine
Lowercase the school or the college when not part of full name.
The official list: http://wayne.edu/academics/programs.php
Use instead of term.
Always lowercase both semester and seasonal words.
- Register now for fall 2011.
- the spring 2012 semester
But western Michigan, southwest Detroit, Detroit's east side
Wayne State sponsors 18 varsity sports teams, including two that compete at the NCAA Division I level (men's and women's fencing). The additional 16 sports are baseball, football, men's and women's golf, softball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming/diving, men's and women's tennis, women's volleyball, and women's indoor/outdoor track.
Staff is a collective noun referring to a group of staff members and takes singular verbs.
- The office staff leaves at 5:30 p.m.
When writing about an individual, use staff member.
Use traditional state abbreviations (e.g., Mich., Conn., N.H.) in running copy. Use postal state abbreviations (e.g., MI, CT, NH) in full address blocks. Abbreviate state names when they appear with a city. Do not abbreviate them when they appear alone.
- I've always wanted to travel to New Bedford, Mass.
- Would you like to take a road trip to Massachusetts?
State of Michigan
Capitalize State only when referring to the governmental entity. Otherwise, avoid using state, or lowercase if state is necessary:
- I live in Michigan.
- I live in the state of New York.
- I live in Washington state. (Washington State is the name of a university.)
Per AP, using the abbreviation on first reference for science, technology, engineering and math is acceptable as long as the full phrase is spelled out shortly thereafter (no need to put it in parentheses immediately following the abbreviation).
Student Center Building
Student Center or SCB are acceptable on subsequent references.
Do not put parentheses around area codes. Use hyphens, not periods.
The preferred spelling is theatre.
Always check the formal name, however, and use the official spelling for each venue.
the District Detroit
The South End
Use a.m. and p.m., lowercase with periods.
Times on the hour should not include :00.
Use noon and midnight (never 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.)
For spans, use the word to rather than a dash in running copy. Dashes may be used in posters or on time spans that stand alone. Example:
- The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m.
State the time of an event in the following order: time, day, date.
- 8 a.m. Saturday, June 18, 2011
Do not use Dr. unless except for medical doctors (M.D.s).
Capitalize titles if they appear directly before the name. Otherwise, lowercase.
- Professor of History David Weinberg
- David Weinberg, professor of history
- Dean of the College of Engineering Farshad Fotouhi
- Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering
Do not use courtesy titles (e.g., Mr., Mrs., etc.).
Italicize the titles of the following:
- magazines (including scholarly and research journals)
- long musical compositions (e.g. symphonies, operas)
- television series
Place the following titles in quotation marks:
- short stories
- chapter titles
Official titles of courses should be capitalized.
- I'm taking Biology 101.
- I'm taking a biology class.
Titles of offices should be capitalized only in official construction.
- the Department of Chemistry; the chemistry department
- He was majoring in chemistry.
Titles of courses should simply be capitalized.
Do not italicize titles of newspapers.
United States (n.), U.S. (adj.)
Lowercase in all instances.
University of Michigan (U-M)
Do not include http:// or www unless those prefixes are required when the URL is typed into browser. URLs should always be lowercase.
Washtenaw Community College (WCC)
Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD)
Refers to Law School.
Wayne State Libraries
- Purdy/Kresge Library
- David Adamany Undergraduate Library
- Shiffman Medical Library
- Arthur Neef Law Library
- Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs
Wayne State also offers library service desks at its Oakland and Macomb extension centers in Farmington Hills and Clinton Township.
Wayne State University
Never use Wayne by itself when referring to the university. Acceptable in any instance: Wayne State University, Wayne State, WSU.
Wayne State University Alumni Association
Use WSUAA or alumni association on second reference.
Wayne State University Police Department (WSUPD)
Use WDET on subsequent references.
When referring to the internet.
Hyphenate, dropping the repeated digits: 2011-12.