Style Guide - University Marketing and Communications
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Style Guide

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh style guide is a general resource for consistency in writing across all University communications.

A style guide is a tool to help UW Oshkosh communicators. It’s a list of choices that have been made to ensure consistency. Consistent style helps solidify the University’s brand platform and content strategy.

The style guide outlines specific rules and usages followed by the writers and editors of the University Marketing and Communications team. UW Oshkosh defers to The Associated Press Stylebook when conflicting information exists.

The guidelines are for general use.

Campus Names

Full name, first reference: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Preferred second reference: UW Oshkosh
Preferred abbreviation: UWO

Fox Valley
Full campus name, first reference: UW-Fox Valley, a UW Oshkosh campus
Second reference: UW-Fox Valley
Preferred abbreviation: UWFOX

Fond du Lac
Full campus name, first reference: UW-Fond du Lac, a UW Oshkosh campus
Second reference: UW-Fond du Lac
Preferred abbreviation: UWFDL

Usage suggestions: Three campus locations – Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley. Instead of “meeting will be held at UW Oshkosh,” preference is “meeting will be held at the Oshkosh campus.”

Other notes:

  • While UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Fox Valley use a hyphen, UW Oshkosh does not use a hyphen.
  • Internally, the abbreviations  OSH, FDL and FOX are used (following UW System three letter abbreviations).
  • UWFOX and UWFDL will be referred to as “access campuses.” They should not be referred to as centers, colleges, extensions or satellite campuses. These are outdated terms.
  • UW-Fond du Lac – should not be referred to as UW-Fondy or Fondy.
  • UW-Fox Valley – should not be referred to as UW-FV.

UW Oshkosh Style Guide


Use instead of advisor.


Alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae

  • Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended school.
  • Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman.
  • Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.
  • Include graduating year with all alumni names (first reference only).
  • Use comma after year. (Example: Milton Baerwald ’52, is the foremost expert on sleep psychology.) See Class Notes for exceptions.
  • In the case of multiple degrees, indicate abbreviated degree name with master’s degrees only. (Example: Zhou Na ’97 and ’99 MSE)
  • Make sure the apostrophes are, in fact, apostrophes, as opposed to single quote mark. ( use ‘ not ‘)
  • Do not include expected year of graduation for current students, unless it is part of a student writer’s byline.



  • Use the ampersand when it is part of a company’s formal name or composition title.
  • Substitute “and” for ampersands in University college and departments. (Example: College of Education and Human Services)



Use bold type face to highlight the first and last names of UW Oshkosh alumni, faculty, staff and students, and other major story sources on first reference in each story of Engage. Also, bold key program names and buildings as needed for emphasis.



Attribution of authorship for text and photos varies from section to section.

  • Use the name of the person being attributed before the word “said,” except when using their title. (Example: “I went to the store,” John Smith said. With title: “I went to the store,” said Dean John Smith.)
  • In the Letter from the editor, Letters to the editor and Over coffee sections of Engage, the byline is placed at the end and is written in all capital letters. (Example: EBEN SKELTON, MBA STUDENT)
  • In a guest column the name is placed under the headline and written in all capital letters. (Example: BY JEREMIAN WEIS). Additional information should be included at the end of the column. (Example: WEIS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, JOINED THE UW OSHKOSH PHILOSOPHY FACULLTY IN 2000. HIS PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE INCLUDES WORK WITH THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE SANITATION DEPARTMENT.)
  • On Campus briefs in Engage generally do not include a byline. An exception can be made if an IMC intern wrote the copy. The byline would then appear at the end of the section. (Example: —KINCAID ALEXANDER ’10)
  • The Athletics briefs and Student Athlete profiles, Philanthropy briefs, Alumni briefs, Class Notes and Passings sections inEngage do not include bylines.
  • Features in Engage include bylines. IMC staff bylines are placed under the headline. (Example: BY CHRIS STEPHANY). For University staff from other departments, also include job title and other pertinent information after byline.
  • In From The Archives, place the byline at the end. (Example: MAY 1952. PHOTO BY PATIENCE MCFADDEN, UW OSHKOSH ARCHIVES. LEARN MORE AT
  • Other photos: No credits are needed for staff photographers. If the photo is submitted, indicate under photo. (Example: PHOTO BY TARA MULLINGS or PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OSHKOSH PUBLIC MUSEUM, OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED).


Class Notes

Treatment of graduation year and degree earned differs in this section in order to highlight the graduation year. See Colleges and Degrees for abbreviations.



  • Names of colleges should be spelled out and capitalized. (Example: College of Business)
  • Avoid abbreviations, such as CON an COEHS, in articles and briefs. Instead, use “the college” in subsequent references.
  • In Class Notes, put colleges in parenthesis and abbreviate according to the standing boxed key
    • Business: B
    • Education and Human Services: EHS
    • Letters and Science: LS
    • Nursing: N



  • Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the final conjunction in a series, unless another conjunction in one of the final two items would confound the meaning. (Example: Faculty, staff and students attend the inaugural all-campus piñata party; attendees attacked the piñata with sticks, hatchets and bows and arrows.)
  • For alumni, use comma after year. (Example: Milton Baerwald ’52, is the foremost expert on sleep psychology.)
  • Always use a comma before a conjunction separating two independent clauses (compound sentences), but not before a conjunction separating dependent clauses. (Example: “I allow my students to text and surf the Web in class, but I can’t tolerate daydreaming. NOT: “A new nationwide initiative, LAMO aims to enrich student’s experiences in the classroom, and to building collaborations within the community.”)
  • Use a comma before the coordinating conjunction “so,” but not before the correlating conjunction “so that.”
  • Use a comma in “not only, but also” constructions. (Example: “Not only did the grammar professor hate excessive commas, but also she loathed the improper use of semicolons.”)


Composition titles

Apply composition title guidelines to book titles, magazine and article titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, album and song titles, titles of lectures, speeches, journals and works of art.

  • Italicize the title. NOTE: This rule differs from AP Style. 
  • Do not put quotation marks around a title. NOTE: This rule differs from AP Style. 
  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.



  • Em dash: Use and em dash (―) for abrupt changes in thought. (Example: The editor ―usually a calm individual ―became infuriated whenever an em dash was misused.) A space should be left before and after.
    • To insert an em dash, click Insert, Symbol, Special Characters
  • En dash: Use an en dash ( – ) for a span of time. No spaces should be included. And en dash should be used when writing UW school names besides UW Oshkosh (Example: 1–2 p.m., Dec. 3–5, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee)
    • To insert an en dash, click Insert, Symbol, Special Characters
  • Hyphen: Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words. Hyphens are also used in school years. (Example: The 2011-2012 academic year.)



  • Leave general degrees in lower case, including associate degree, bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degree, doctoral degree and doctorate.
  • Avoid official names of degrees, if possible. When using them, however, capitalize the degree. (Example: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Business Administration)
  • Do not include Ph.D. after names of faculty members within text. In more formal invitations and programs, it is acceptable to use the Dr. title for Ph.D.-holding faculty members on first reference only.
  • Avoid unnecessary prepositions. (Example: Use “English department,” not “department of English”)
  • In Class Notes, put graduate degrees in parentheses and abbreviate.
    • Master of Arts: MA
    • Master of Science: MS
    • Master of Business Administration: MBA
    • Master of Science Education: MSE
    • Master of Science in Nursing: MSN
    • Master of Public Administration: MPA
    • Master of Science in Teaching: MST



  • Names of academic departments should be kept in lower case, except for proper nouns. (Example: English department)
  • Avoid unnecessary prepositions. (Example: Use “English department,” not “department of English”)
  • Capitalize names of nonacademic departments. (Example: Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC), Instructional Resource Center (IRC))



Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents.

  • In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces. (space…space)



Acceptable in all references for electronic mail.

  • Avoid using email as a verb, instead use “contact.” (Example: For more information, contact the Alumni Relations Office at Not: For more information, email
  • Use a hyphen when referencing other e-terms, such as e-book, e-business, e-commerce, etc.


J. J. Keller

J. J. Keller Field is located at Titan Stadium and should be mentioned whenever the Oshkosh Sports Complex is referenced.

  • A space must be placed between the Js.


Maiden names

  • Maiden names should be included whenever possible when referencing an alumna.
  • Place the maiden name in parenthesis between the first and last name.



Treatment of degree earned differs in the Passings section. (See Colleges and Degrees for abbreviations.)

Here are some sample entries; the first two are alumni while the third one is for a former faculty member:

  • Louis Gustafson (N) ’86, Athens, Ga., Sept. 30, 2007
  • Grace Greene (COEH) ’01 and MST ’03, Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 12, 2010
  • Zaina (Chedid) Silverstein, 1990-1998, Reeve Memorial Union guest services director, died April 8, 2008


Phone numbers

  • Always include area code in parenthesis. (Example: (920) 555-5555, including (800) numbers.
  • For Alumni Relations Office, use (877) UWO-ALUM (not the numerical (877) 896-2586).



  • Follow the updated AP style and spell out state names.
  • Use ZIP code abbreviations for full mailing addresses only.
  • Use “Wisconsin” after the names of Wisconsin cities that are obscure or are more recognizable as locations in other states.



Major, year in school and hometown should be included when using student sources. (Example: “This is the best place in the world,” said Vincent Cruz, a freshman political science student from West Allis at UW Oshkosh.”)



  • Capitalize titles when they precede the individual’s name. (Example: Dean Earl Boden)
  • Avoid unnecessary prepositions (Example: Leah Chedid, psychology professor, not Leah Chedid, professor of psychology)
  • Do not include Ph.D. after names of faculty members within text.


University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

  • Use University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (no hyphen) on first reference. (The hyphen is only acceptable in athletic marketing materials).
  • Use UW Oshkosh upon second reference.
  • Use The University and UWO interchangeably in future references.
  • When referencing UW Oshkosh, capitalize University. When referencing other universities, do not.



Website is now one word, which isn’t capitalized, according to AP Style.

  • Webcam, webcast and webmaster are not capitalized.
  • URLs should not end with a slash (/).
  • There is not need to use http://  or www with web addresses.