Style guide

The Wayne State University style guide sets standards for words, phrases and information frequently used in Wayne State communications. Please consult the the latest Associated Press Stylebook or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) for style points that are not addressed here.

You are always welcome to email Meg Mathis with any questions or suggestions for additions to this guide.

A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall

Academic/Administrative Building

The abbreviation AAB may be used on subsequent references.

academic degrees

Only list academic degrees after a name if they are doctoral degrees, such as Ph.D. or DNP. Degrees do not need to be listed if someone has a doctorate, but are allowed if desired based on context.
Only individuals holding M.D.s should be referred to as doctor.
There is no need to use the word degree after bachelor'smaster's or doctorate.
In text, it is preferable to spell out the degree rather than use the acronym.

  • She earned her master's in 2008.

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
  • MLIS (no periods) master of library and information science
  • 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

Please note: Use associate degree, not associate's

academic year

Hyphenate, dropping the repeated digits: 2023-24.


A six-character alphanumeric username assigned to each member of the Wayne State community.


Always spell out on first reference. Follow spelled-out version with abbreviation in parentheses only if acronym will be used in same document.

  • The School of Information Sciences (SIS) is one of the oldest archival education programs in the country. SIS offers a range of graduate-level degree and certificate programs.

Adams Field


Spell out AvenueDriveStreet, etc.
Use full state name, per AP, in running copy. No state is required with Detroit or other dateline cities (see AP Stylebook). 

  • He is a resident of Southfield, Michigan.
  • 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 conceded to the more popular spelling for consistency's sake.

African American (n., adj.)

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.

alumni designation

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, CLAS '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.

  • Colleen Hayes, B.A. '99, Ph.D. '05


ampersand (&)

Always spell out and. Use the ampersand only if it is part of an organization's official name.

area codes

Do not put parentheses around area codes. Use hyphens, not periods

  • 313-577-8155


Use the following constructions to reference the Wayne State University Department of Athletics:

  • Department of Athletics
  • Athletics Department
  • WSU (or Wayne State) Athletics

Hyphenate school names when describing a game.

  • Friday's WSU-Purdue Northwest game

associate degree

Not associate's


On first reference, include Wayne State University.

  • Wayne State University's STEM Innovation Learning Center 
  • The STEM Innovation Learning Center at Wayne State University

Banner ID

A nine-character personal identification number assigned to every member of the Wayne State community.

Board of Governors

  • Shirley Stancato, chair
  • Bryan C. Barnhill II, vice chair
  • Danielle Atkinson
  • Michael Busuito
  • Mark Gaffney
  • Marilyn Kelly
  • Anil Kumar
  • Terri Lynn Land
  • Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., 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 approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 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
  • 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/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: very high 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.

Bonstelle Theatre


  • the Wayne State University Bookstore
  • the WSU Bookstore
  • Wayne State's bookstore
  • the bookstore

Carnegie classification

Wayne State has earned the classification of doctoral university: very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Wayne State has also received Carnegie's Community Engagement classification.  


centers and institutes

Please refer to the official list:

City of Detroit

Capitalize City only when referring to the government entity.

class years

Capitalize when referring to a specific graduating class (e.g., the Class of 2024). 


College of Education

Dean: Denise Taliaferro Baszile

College of Engineering

Dean: Ali Abolmaali

College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

Dean: Hasan Elahi

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dean: Stephanie Hartwell 

College of Nursing

Interim dean: Ramona Benkert


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 Commencement when used on its own; lowercase commencement ceremonies and similar activities. 



course titles

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 or UGL may be used on second reference.


  • Richard A. Bierschbach, Law School
  • Paul Bracke, University Library System, including the School of Information Sciences
  • Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Graduate School 
  • Elena Past, Irvin D. Reid Honors College (acting dean)
  • Brian Cummings, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Virginia Franke Kleist, Mike Ilitch School of Business
  • Ali Abolmaali, College of Engineering
  • Denise Taliaferro Baszile, College of Education
  • Stephanie Hartwell, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Sheryl Kubiak, School of Social Work 
  • Ramona Benkert, College of Nursing (interim dean)
  • Wael Sakr, School of Medicine 
  • Hasan Elahi, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

Please 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 alone, lowercase downtown.

Detroit Medical College 

The founding college of Wayne State University, established in 1868. Do not use Detroit College of Medicine when referring to our founding school, as that was formed in 1885 with the merger between Detroit Medical College and Michigan College of Medicine. 

do's and don'ts

Disability statement

People with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this program should contact (insert department name and phone number).


WSU divisions include:

  • Executive Administration

  • 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


Doctoral degrees are the only ones to be listed following a name (e.g., Roberto Romero, M.D.). Degrees do not need to be listed if someone has a doctorate but are allowed if desired based on context. Only M.D.s (not Ph.D.s) may take the title Dr. in publications.

On second reference, the abbreviation Dr. may precede the name (e.g., Dr. Romero). Do not use both Dr. and M.D. in the same construction (Dr. Roberto Romero, M.D., is redundant).



en route 


Equal Opportunity statement

Wayne State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


No hyphen. Use Esports if beginning a sentence. 

Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Dean: Brian Cummings
WSU Applebaum may be used on second reference..


Not FAQs

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.

Faculty/Administration Building

The abbreviation FAB may be used on subsequent references. 

Fall Opening

The official name for 2023 events including FestiFall and New Student Convocation. 

file name


first-year student(s)

A first-year student has never attended any college for credit. Even if a student completed college courses during high school, they are still considered a first-year student. This term is preferred over "freshman" and "freshmen."



We follow AP's lead in using flyer as the term for handbills. 


Lowercase the names of forms:

  • registration form
  • transfer request form


Freshmen Quests

This is the official name of the program, however grammatically awkward it may appear.

fundraising, fundraiser

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.

Graduate School

Dean: Amanda Bryant-Friedrich
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.

green space

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 (e.g., do not capitalize every word), and follow this style for website titles and menu items. Present tense is always preferable to the infinitive in headlines.

  • 4 professors win service awards
  • Wayne State hosts lecture by Gloria Steinem (not to host)

health care

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)

Hilberry Gateway

Honors WayneDirect


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

Acting dean: Elena Past

On second reference, the Honors College is acceptable.

Jackson College

John R


Do not precede Jr. with a comma unless you know the source prefers it.

Kimberly Andrews Espy

When referencing the president's name and title in printed communications, use stacked lines as follows:

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

In first reference of a press release or other internal communications, use Wayne State University President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. or Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., president of Wayne State University for lead sentences. After the university has been referenced, use President Kimberly Andrews Espy. On second reference, use President Espy or Dr. Espy. Avoid using Espy in second references.

In a photo cutline or video lower thirds, use stacked lines: 

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.
President, Wayne State University


This is AP's preferred spelling of the Indian city Calcutta.


Law School

Dean: Richard A. Bierschbach
Always capitalize Law School when referring WSU's Law School. On second reference, Wayne Law is also acceptable.

letter grades

Do not italicize or place in quotation marks.

  • She earned three As and one B.

Living Learning Communities


login (n.), log in (v.) 

log off (v.)

log on (v.), log-on (n., adj.)


M. Roy Wilson State Hall

State Hall may be used on second reference.

Macomb Community College

On second use, Macomb is acceptable. Do not use MCC. 

Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center

master class

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.

metro Detroit



Never use 12 a.m.

Midtown, Midtown Detroit


Mike Ilitch School of Business

Dean: Virginia Franke Kleist

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.

  • Oct. 23, 2018

Use the full month name when it stands alone or with only a year.

  • My favorite month is August.
  • We met in November 2021.

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, unless they are doctoral degrees. Degrees do not need to be listed if someone has a doctorate, but are allowed if desired based on context. 
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 is acceptable. 



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%.

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. 
Use % after the numeral. 


Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.

phone numbers

Do not put parentheses around area codes. Use hyphens, not periods.

  • 313-577-8155

photo captions

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.
  • Lily Tomlin (left) and Jane Fonda discuss economic inequality and how Michiganders can take action.

photo credits

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.



post-master's certificate


University leadership

  • Kimberly Andrews Espy, president 
  • Laurie Lauzon Clabo, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs
  • Amr Abdel-Azim, interim associate vice president of facilities planning and management
  • Boris Baltes, senior associate provost for faculty affairs and associate vice president of academic personnel
  • Linda Beale, president of the Academic Senate
  • Ahmad M. Ezzeddine, vice president for academic student affairs and global engagement
  • Bethany Gielczyk, chief financial officer and interim senior vice president for business affairs and treasurer
  • Carolyn P. Hafner, associate vice president and chief human resources officer
  • Patrick O. Lindsey, vice president for government and community affairs 
  • Julie H. Miller, university secretary and executive officer to the Board of Governors
  • Ezemenari Obasi, vice president for research
  • Donyale Padgett, interim associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer
  • Michael Poterala, vice president and general counsel
  • David Ripple, vice president for development and alumni affairs, and president of the Wayne State University Foundation
  • Mark Schweitzer, M.D., vice president for health affairs
  • Melissa Smiley, chief of staff and university relations officer
  • Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development
  • Rob Thompson, chief information officer and associate vice president for computing and information technology
  • Erika Wallace, director of athletics

Please visit to view the full list of University Leadership Council members. 

professor emeritus

Purdy/Kresge Library


quotation marks

Quotation marks should always appear curved ("smart"), never straight.
All punctuation should appear inside the quotation marks.

  • You should read Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise."

Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons

RN (registered nurse)

Do not use periods in this abbreviation.

Saint Clair County Community College (SC4)

satellite campuses 

Wayne State has three satellite campuses:

  • Advanced Technology Education Center (ATEC)
  • Schoolcraft Center
  • University Center - Macomb

Schoolcraft College

On second use, Schoolcraft is acceptable.

School of Information Sciences

Dean: Paul Bracke

School of Medicine

Dean: Wael Sakr, M.D.

School of Social Work

Dean: Sheryl Kubiak

schools and colleges

The official names are:

  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
  • College of Nursing
  • Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (WSU Applebaum may be used 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 
  • School of Social Work

Spell out on first reference, and then use the schoolthe 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:


Use instead of term.
Always lowercase both semester and seasonal words.

  • Register now for fall 2024
  • the spring 2024 semester


Southeast Michigan

But western Michigansouthwest DetroitDetroit'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 it takes singular verbs.

  • The office staff leaves at 5 p.m.

When writing about an individual, use staff member.

St. Andrew's


state names

Spell out in running copy, per AP Style. 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 Palm Springs, California.
  • Would you like to take a road trip to Vermont?

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).

String Project@Wayne

Student Center Building

Student Center or SCB are acceptable on subsequent references.



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

Although this was italicized for several years, we are no longer italicizing it in accordance with how we style other newspapers.


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.

  • 1 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2024

titles, professional

Do not use Dr. 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 Ali Abolmaali 
  • Ali Abolmaali, dean of the College of Engineering

Do not use courtesy titles (e.g., Mr., Mrs., etc.).

titles, things

Italicize the titles of the following:

  • books
  • magazines (including scholarly and research journals)
  • movies
  • long musical compositions (e.g., symphonies, operas)
  • plays
  • podcast series
  • television series

Place the following titles in quotation marks:

  • articles
  • chapter titles
  • podcast episode titles
  • poems
  • short stories
  • songs

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 Chemistrythe chemistry department
  • They are majoring in chemistry.

Titles of courses should be capitalized. 

Do not italicize titles of newspapers.


Not towards.


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


Lowercase in all instances.

University of Michigan (U-M)


Upper Peninsula


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)

Wayne Law

Refers to the Law School.

Wayne State Fieldhouse

Wayne State Libraries

  • Purdy/Kresge Library
  • David Adamany Undergraduate Library
  • Shiffman Medical Library
  • Arthur Neef Law Library
  • Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs 

Wayne State University

Use Wayne State University on first reference. Wayne State can be used on second reference, along with WSU (though please be mindful of this for SEO purposes). Never use Wayne by itself when referring to the university. 

Wayne State University Alumni Association

Use WSUAA or alumni association on second reference.

Wayne State University Police Department (WSUPD)

WDET-FM 101.9

Use WDET on subsequent references.


When referring to the internet.


work flow


year spans

Hyphenate, dropping the repeated digits: 2023-24.

ZIP code