Writing Style Guide
To ensure all University communications are on-brand and consistent, Idaho State maintains and regularly updates our writing style guide. This guide is a companion to the University’s visual brand standards, and the goal is to improve the consistency of written communications across all documents and publications. Unless specifically indicated otherwise in this guide, follow the Associated Press Stylebook.
Browse by letter
Abbreviations and acronyms: Spell out the full name and put the acronym in parentheses on first reference.
- The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) is an important part of the University’s research mission.
Academic degrees: In most cases, use bachelor's degree rather than B.A. or B.S.; master's degree rather than M.A. or M.S.; doctoral degree or doctorate rather than Ph.D. or Ed.D. If the publication’s audience is more formal, it is acceptable to use Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, etc.
- She has a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in translation, and a doctorate in comparative literature.
Academic programs: Capitalize the names of formal programs of study; lowercase informal and generic references to programs and courses of study.
- He was enrolled in the geology program.
- He was enrolled in courses offered by the Department of Geology.
Addresses: 921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop ####, Pocatello, ID 83209-####.
Albion Hall: Part of the College of Education complex. Use “Albion Hall” on first and second references.
Alumni: Use alumni when referring to a group. Use of the term “alum” is generally discouraged. A woman is an alumna, and a man is an alumnus.
Alumni Association: Use the full name of Idaho State University Alumni Association on first reference. ISU Alumni Association is acceptable on second reference.
Alumni Center: See Idaho Central Credit Union Bengal Alumni Center.
Ampersand: Do not use an ampersand (&) in bodies of text. The University does not generally use ampersands in headlines, names, or on signage.
ASISU: On first reference, use Associated Students of Idaho State University, or, if Idaho State University has already been written in the piece, Associated Students of ISU.
Associate degree: not associates or associate’s degree.
- The student earned an associate degree from Idaho State University.
Bachelor’s degree: Use bachelor’s degree instead of B.A. or B.S. Do not capitalize.
Barbara J. Marshall Rotunda: On first reference, use full name. In subsequent references, “Marshall Rotunda” or “rotunda” are acceptable.
Bengal, Bengals: always capitalize when referencing members of the campus community.
- She is a proud Bengal of Idaho State.
Bengal (Athletics): Athletes of all genders should be referred to as Bengals. Do not use the term “Lady Bengals.”
Bengal Pharmacy: Bengal Pharmacy is operated by the Skaggs College of Pharmacy. Bengal Pharmacy employees include technicians, pharmacy students, and pharmacists. In addition to the on-campus location in Pocatello, additional pharmacies are in Arco and Challis.
BengalWeb: one word, both capitalized.
Bennion Student Union: This multi-use facility is located in Idaho Falls.
Benny Bengal: Official name of ISU’s mascot. “Benny” is acceptable on first reference if it is understood that it is in reference to the mascot.
Bilyeu Theatre: This theater is located in Frazier Hall. On first reference it should be the Diane and Chick Bilyeu Theatre.
Bistline Theatre: Beverly B. Bistline Thrust Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center on first reference.
Black Box Theatre: Black Box Theatre in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center on first reference.
Building names: For commonly used building names not listed here, refer to ISU Directory for proper spellings.
Business and Technology Center: Idaho State University's Business and Technology Center is located in the ISU Research and Business Park on Alvin Ricken Drive.
Campuswide: one word.
- The campuswide task force will focus on employee and student engagement.
Campus community: refers to all faculty, staff, and/or students at Idaho State University. This is inclusive of all campus locations.
Campus and outreach center locations: Idaho State University operates and maintains campuses and outreach centers across Idaho and in Alaska. To best support a clear understanding of the different locations, it is important to also reference the city only when it is outside Pocatello. It is important to note that location-specific logos do not exist for campuses or outreach centers.
- Idaho Falls: For decades, the University branded, promoted, and referred to the Idaho Falls campus location, which is a joint partnership with University of Idaho, as University Place. To better recognize the commitment of both institutions, “University Place” has been phased out of use. In written content, “Idaho State University-Idaho Falls” is the preferred way of referencing the location. On second reference, “ISU-Idaho Falls” is acceptable.
- Meridian: Use Idaho State University-Meridian on first reference and ISU-Meridian on subsequent references. Additionally, when referencing the facility, use Sam and Aline Skaggs Health Science Center.
- Idaho State University-Meridian invites the community to an open house in the Sam and Aline Skaggs Health Science Center.
- Twin Falls: Located on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho, use Idaho State University-Twin Falls on first reference and ISU-Twin Falls on subsequent references.
- University of Alaska Anchorage/Idaho State University Doctor of Pharmacy program: Idaho State has a partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage to provide pharmacy education. In the first reference, use “University of Alaska Anchorage/Idaho State University.” In secondary references, UAA/ISU is acceptable. The key is to be consistent and provide clarity.
- Other locations: To reference all other locations, use “Idaho State University’s location/presence in…” or use the hyphenated naming option.
- Capitalize “room” and formal building names.
- The committee will meet in Room 213 of the Pond Student Union Ballroom.
- Capitalize full formal names of committees, commissions, task forces, and advisory boards. Lowercase shortened, informal, or descriptive names of committees. Strive for consistency within stories.
- The Campus Safety Advisory Board meets quarterly.
- The department's finance committee met last week.
- Capitalize all words except "of" in titles of named and distinguished professors.
- Ronald T. Borchardt, the Summerfield Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, will be recognized at a special ceremony.
- Valentino Stella, a University Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, retired last month.
- On second reference or if the entire proper name of the professorship is not used, do not capitalize.
- She was named a distinguished professor in 1994.
- He also holds a distinguished professorship in nuclear engineering.
- Always capitalize the formal names of schools, academic departments, and divisions of the University. Lowercase names that are flopped or shortened.
- College of Business, business school
- Department of Chemistry, chemistry department
- Office of the President, president’s office
- University Registrar, registrar's office
- Always capitalize units that don't normally use "Office of" or "Department of" in their formal titles.
- Continuing Education
- Facilities Services
- Capitalize “University” on second reference as a shortened version of Idaho State University.
- The University will recognize seven students next month at the event.
- Capitalize "College" on second reference to avoid confusion with the general meaning.
- Faculty from the College honored scholarship recipients at the event.
- In plural constructions, lowercase department, school, program, office, and other descriptive titles.
- I have friends in the colleges of business and education.
- Capitalize titles appearing before a name and lowercase those appearing after a name.
- Joan Jones, director of the Center of Latin American Studies
- Chancellor Robert Hemenway
- William Tuttle, professor of history
- Professor William Tuttle of the Department of History
Center for Advanced Energy Studies: CAES on second reference.
Center for Archeology, Materials, and Applied Spectrometry: CAMAS on second reference
Center for Higher Education: This is a classroom building located in Idaho Falls.
Chapter: Lowercase chapter in names of local branches of national organizations. Also, chapter is the preferred term over house for sororities and fraternities.
- Capitalize formal references to college names. If referring to a specific college on a second reference, capitalize “College.” Lowercase non-specific references to the word.
- He studies at the College of Business. The College is home to finance and marketing programs.
- I plan to go to college after high school.
- In the first reference to a college’s name, the preference is “the Idaho State University College of…” instead of “Idaho State University’s College of…”
- The Idaho State University College of Education will recognize ten alumni on Friday.
- Idaho State University has seven colleges:
- College of Arts and Letters
- College of Business
- College of Education
- College of Science and Engineering
- College of Technology
- College of Health
- College of Pharmacy
Commencement: When generally referring to the event, use lowercase. Capitalize commencement when referring to the specific event. Describe graduates using the semester (not the month) in which they graduated.
- Students are excited to participate in commencement when they graduate.
- Join us for Spring Commencement on May 7, 2022.
- Bob Smith is a Fall 2005 graduate (not a December 2005 graduate).
Course Work: two words
Courtesy titles: Dr. may be used on first reference, but is not necessary on later references. Use Rev. on first reference when referring to members of the clergy. Be consistent throughout your publication.
Credentials: Dr. is preferable to listing credentials after a name for simplicity. In internal department publications, where other credentials might be necessary, it is acceptable to use them. Be consistent throughout your publication.
CW HOG: On first reference it is the Idaho State University Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group, and then can be abbreviated CW HOG, without any periods.
- Omit the comma between month or season and year if no day is included. The word “of” is not needed in these constructions.
- The symposium was in summer 2009.
- Set off the date with commas when it follows a day of the week and is in apposition to it. Omit the comma when only day or date is used with the time.
- The event is at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Pond Student Union
- The event is at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Pond Student Union
- Use hyphen or from/to, not through, in giving inclusive dates.
- The class runs from May 13 to 26; the seminar is May 13-26.
- In body copy, hyphenate when giving fiscal or academic years.
- The 2000-01 academic year.
- In news releases, references to upcoming events should include day and date as a double check for editors. References to events in the past or in the distant future are expressed by date only. Include the year only if different from the present. When in doubt, make it understandable for readers.
Davis Field: Outdoor venue for women’s soccer and track and field events that underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2020. It was named for William “Bud” Davis and is officially referred to as Davis Field.
Dean, dean's list: dean (uppercase only before a dean's name), dean's list uses an apostrophe.
Degrees: Use bachelor's degree or bachelor's rather than B.A. or B.S.; master's degree or master's rather than M.A. or M.S.; doctoral degree or doctorate rather than Ph.D. or Ed.D.
- She has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in translation and a doctorate in comparative literature.
Department: Uppercase in official titles (Department of History); lowercase in other instances (history department, departments of mathematics and history).
Disaster Response Complex: Full name on first reference, and DRC on second reference.
Division of Health Sciences: See Kasiska Division of Health Sciences.
Doctor, Dr.: In news releases, reserve the title for people with medical degrees. Use the abbreviation Dr. with the name in first reference; drop it in subsequent references. See Credentials for more information.
Doctoral degree, doctorate: Doctoral is the adjective, doctorate the noun. Doctoral degrees and doctorate are interchangeable. Do not use a doctorate degree.
Dormitories: Do not use dorms or dormitories. Refer to on-campus housing as residence halls.
Eli M. Oboler Library: This refers to the building in Pocatello. On first reference, use the full name. In subsequent references, Oboler Library is approved. In reference to the libraries in Idaho Falls and Meridian, use of the collective term "University Libraries.”
Emerita, emeritus, emeriti: Use emeriti when referring to a group of men and women. Emerita and emeritus are the singular versions of the word.
Email: one word, no hyphen.
Eugene O Leonard Hall: This is where most Pocatello College of Pharmacy activities take place. Please note: there is no period after the "O" in the formal name.
Fall semester: When generally referencing fall semesters, lowercase both words. If referencing a specific semester with a year, capitalize Fall.
- Students need to register for the fall semester before leaving for summer break.
- Students need to register for the Fall 2023 semester prior to leaving for summer break.
Fellowships, fellows: Capitalize only proper names when referring to fellowships and their recipients.
Foreign students: use international students.
Frazier Hall: Oldest building on the Pocatello campus traditionally used for theater.
Fulbright program, Fulbright grants, Fulbright scholars: Fulbright grants are awarded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State under guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Gale Life Sciences Building:
Garrison Hall: A former residence hall that is now used for faculty offices and academic departments.
Girls: Use women for all female students.
Goranson Hall: This performance venue is located in the Fine Arts Building.
Grade-point average, GPA: Use GPA on first reference when used with figures.
- A 2.5 GPA is required.
Grades: Capitalize but don't add quotes around the singular letters. Use an apostrophe for plurals.
- A grade of B or better is required in this course.
- I earned all A's and B's in school.
Grayson Costume Design Studio: Kathryn Grayson Costume Design Studio in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center on first reference.
Health Care: Always write it as two words, including as a modifier.
- Health care costs are on the rise in Idaho.
Holt Arena: Idaho State’s dome-shaped indoor arena that is home to football, commencement, and an assortment of community events.
Homecoming: Lowercase homecoming, homecoming steering committee, homecoming parade and homecoming game. Uppercase Homecoming Week as the formal title that includes all events.
Hutchinson Quadrangle: In official correspondence and invitations, use the full name on first reference; Quad is acceptable on second reference.
- Hyphenate inclusive times and dates.
- The workshop hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 13-26.
- S. Skaggs Pharmacy Complex: This is located in the Idaho State University Meridian Health Science Center.
- Hyphenate terms such as editor-in-residence and artist-in-residence in all cases, whether the term is before or after the person’s name.
- Hyphenate such terms as first-year and second-year when referring to students.
ICCU Practice Field: Located on the southside of Holt Arena; ICCU Practice Field is acceptable on first and second references.
Idaho Central Credit Union Bengal Alumni Center: On first reference, use the full name. In subsequent references, “ICCU Bengal Alumni Center” is acceptable.
Idaho Accelerator Center: The Idaho Accelerator Center is an on-campus nuclear research facility. On second reference, IAC is acceptable.
Idaho Falls: See Campus and outreach center locations.
Idaho National Laboratory: INL on second reference.
Idaho State Board of Education: The University’s board of trustees. State Board, SBOE, or board is acceptable on second reference.
International students: Do not use foreign students.
ISU: ISU is the approved abbreviation of Idaho State University. However, use the full name on first reference. Additionally, it is preferred to use Idaho State or University on subsequent references to avoid confusion with other higher education institutions that are abbreviated ISU. When referring to an official University department’s full name, it is acceptable to use ISU before the name.
- The ISU Office of Marketing and Communications will host the event.
Janet C. Anderson Gender Resource Center: Full name on first reference, Anderson Center is acceptable on second reference.
Jensen Grand Concert Hall: Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall in the L.E. and Thelma
Stephens Performing Arts Center on first reference. Jensen Grand Concert Hall is acceptable on second reference.
Kasiska Division of Health Sciences: Use the full name when referencing the division.
Lectures, lecture series: Capitalize when using the whole title of the lecture or lecture series. Capitalize only proper names when shortening.
Library: See University Libraries.
Login, Log in: Two words as a verb, one word as a noun.
- Please log in to your BengalWeb account to register.
- Your login information should be memorized.
Magnuson Alumni House: Location for the Office of Alumni Relations and Advancement Communications staff, and Alumni House can be used on second reference. The Alumni House is located at 554 S. 7th Ave.
Marshall Rotunda: Barbara J. Marshall Rotunda in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center on first reference.
Master’s degree: Use master’s degree rather than M.A. or M.S. The main priority is to provide clarity, so use your best judgment. For some degrees, it may make sense to write out the entire degree and then use an abbreviation in secondary reference.
- The student is working on a master’s degree at Idaho State University.
- The alumna earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Idaho State in 2018. She says her MBA was the reason for her professional successes.
Memorandum of Agreement: MOA on second reference.
Memorandum of Understanding: MOU on second reference.
Meridian: See campus and outreach center locations.
Miller Ranch Stadium: Home of Idaho State Softball.
Molecular Research Core Facility: This is located in the Gale Life Sciences building. Routine activities include automated DNA sequencing and microsatellite analysis (Genotyping), PCR, electrophoresis, and gel documentation and analysis. MRCF on second reference.
Months: Follow AP Style when a month is used with a specific date; abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
- The committee will meet on Jan. 7 to determine the scholarship recipient.
Museum: Use Idaho Museum of Natural History on first reference. On subsequent references IMNH is acceptable.
Non-traditional student: While the U.S. Department of Education uses the term “non-traditional,” many higher education institutions prefer to use the term “post-traditional.” Post-traditional recognizes the additional experience of this category of students. At Idaho State, we typically use “post-traditional” in written form.
Notice of Intent: Abbreviation to NOI is acceptable on second reference.
- Spell out whole numbers one through nine; use numerals for 10 and above. Fractions standing alone are spelled out. For fractions with whole numbers, use numerals.
- She has eight cats and 11 dogs.
- About one-fifth of her salary goes to buy 2 1/2 tons of pet food each year.
- Use numerals for ages and dimensions.
- The boy was 2 years old. She is 6 feet tall. The football player weighs 350 pounds.
- Spell out the word "percent." Do not repeat the word in a range. Do not spell out the numbers in percentages.
- Fewer than 5 percent of students attended the training.
- Always use Arabic figures without st, nd, rd or th.
- The football game will be played on Oct. 8.
Oxford comma: The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. AP Style does not use an Oxford comma, but it is preferable at Idaho State to add clarity in written communications.
Parentheses: 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 parentheses.
- If not, the period goes outside.
- D.: Use doctoral degree or doctorate if possible
- School of Nursing
- School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
- School of Performing Arts
Phone numbers: Use (208) 282-2222. Do not use 208-282-2222 or 208.282.2222. For internal publications, ext. 2222 is acceptable.
Pond Student Union: On official documents and invitations, use Earl R. Pond Student Union. On second reference use Pond Student Union. Do not include building in the title.
Postdoctoral: Do not hyphenate.
Programs: Always capitalize the official names of programs. See Departments for more information.
Quotation marks: Put titles (books, movies, lectures, etc.) in quotes. Do not add quotes to special titles or recognitions for people, such as Best Teacher of the Year.
Reed Gymnasium: It is preferred to spell out gymnasium on first reference, but Reed Gym is also acceptable.
Rendezvous Center: On first reference, use Richard L. and Connie S. Bowen Rendezvous Center. On subsequent references, use Rendezvous Center. Do not use Rendezvous Complex.
RFC Complex: The Roy F. Christensen Complex. This houses the main administration for the College of Technology.
Roarange: Refers to the official shade of Idaho State’s orange color.
Room: Capitalize "room" when referring to a room in a building.
- The class will be held in Room 213 of the Business Administration Building.
RSVP: Write RSVP without using period between the letters. Do not add “please” before RSVP, since that request is already part of the abbreviation. There are many ways to ask for a response on invitations.
- RSVP by the Twentieth of June.
- The favor of a reply is requested by Tuesday, June 20.
- Please respond by Tuesday, June 20.
Scholarships: Uppercase when used with the full name of a scholarship only. On second reference or if the entire proper name of the scholarship is not used, do not capitalize.
School: Capitalize only as part of a formal name; lowercase informal and incomplete references.
- She attends the School of Nursing. Classes will begin in the nursing school.
Idaho State University has three schools:
- School of Nursing
- School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
- School of Performing Arts
Semesters: When referring to a specific semester with a year, capitalize the semester. Without a year, lowercase (spring semester, Spring Semester 2023)
- Undergraduate enrollment increased in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023.
Servel House: Name of the President's residence on Seventh Avenue.
Spacing: Use only one space between sentences.
Spring semester: When generally referencing spring semesters, lowercase both words. If referencing a specific semester with a year, capitalize Spring.
- Students need to register for the spring semester before leaving for winter break.
- Students need to register for the Spring 2023 semester prior to leaving for winter break.
Southeast Idaho: Capitalize Southeast Idaho, lowercase southeastern Idaho. East Idaho is also an option that is capitalized and refers to the area inclusive of Idaho Falls.
Stephens Performing Arts Center: On first reference, L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, Stephens Performing Arts Center on second reference. Stephens Center is also an acceptable second reference.
Student Activities Board: Funded through ASISU, the Student Activities Board plans campus events for students. On second reference, SAB is acceptable.
Student Groups: Capitalize formal names of officially organized groups.
- The Nepalese Student Association will host a guest speaker on Friday.
Times: Use noon and midnight. Omit the colon and two zeros when writing hours. Use lowercase “a.m.” and “p.m.” with periods. In text content on graphics or print materials, it may make sense to use “AM” or “PM” as part of the design. Consistency is the most important factor.
- The event starts at 8 p.m. and will end at midnight.
- Join us at noon in the Pond Student Union for the appreciation luncheon.
Titles: In press releases, follow Associated Press (AP) Style and avoid the use of Dr. except in cases of medical doctors. In publications such as newsletters, Dr. is acceptable, but make sure titles are consistent. Capitalize titles in front of names, and lowercase if the title is after the name.
Tingey Administration Building: Located in Idaho Falls. Always use the full name to avoid confusion with the Administration Building in Pocatello.
TRIO Student Services: Please note it is all capitalized.
Turner House: Turner House is a co-ed residence hall for students.
Twin Falls: See Campus and outreach center locations.
University: Use Idaho State University on first reference. In subsequent references, Idaho State or University (capitalized) are both acceptable. ISU is also acceptable in secondary or recurring references, but Idaho State or University are preferred. Use your best judgment to provide clarity in the content.
University Libraries: Use “University Libraries” when referring to library administration and/or to all library services offered at ISU. Use Eli M. Oboler Library when referring to the building in Pocatello.
Universitywide: Always write as one word.
URLs: Always bold URLs in printed materials. The http:// and www. are not necessary when writing URLs in publications or on promotional materials.