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Style Guide

The Office of Marketing and Communications mostly follows the guidelines in the Chicago Manual of Style.

The marketing office and most publishing companies defer to the most recent edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. You can access it online:


academic degrees: Use title case when you state the full name of the degree (e.g., Bachelor of Science degree) and lower case when it’s more generic (e.g., bachelor’s degree). Same with master’s and associate degrees.

courses names: Capitalize the name of courses: History of the United States, English Composition.

Class of 2017: Capitalize when referring to a specific graduating class.

grades: Capitalize but don’t quote (e.g., Students must earn a grade of B or better to be qualified). Don’t use an apostrophe for plurals (e.g., I earned As and Bs in school).

specific Baker University events: Capitalize Commencement, Convocation, Homecoming, Pinning Ceremony, and so on when referring to specific Baker events.

time: Use a.m. and p.m. Don’t include :00 for even hours (e.g., 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).

Web address: Please note that only the U is capitalized. (We cap the U to make sure people see it. takes you to someone else’s website.)

WOWzer: Note spelling.

ZIP code: ZIP is an acronym for zone improvement plan.

Schools & Departments in the University

Capitalize the formal names of schools, academic departments and university offices. Lowercase names that are reversed or shortened:

  • School of Nursing, nursing 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.

  • Student Academic Success
  • Continuing Education

In plural constructions, lowercase department, school, program, office and other descriptive titles (e.g., I have friends in the departments of business and music).

job titles: Capitalize titles appearing before a name and lowercase those appearing after a name.

  • Susan Wade, director of Career Services
  • President Lynne Murray
  • Alan Grant, associate professor of business and economics
  • Professor George Wiley of the Department of Religion
Alphabetical List of Style Rules & Reminders

academic degrees:

  • Associate of Arts, associate degree (not associate’s)
  • Bachelor of Science, bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Arts, master’s degree
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, doctoral degree, doctorate

advisor not adviser

ampersand: In bodies of text, do not use. The ampersand is acceptable in headings and subheadings.

Baker email addresses should be lowercase except the u in bakerU (e.g.,

course work (two words)

credit hours: Use numerals for credit hours, even those less than 10 (e.g., 3 credit hours).

dates: Don’t use ordinals in dates: May 8 not May 8th.

email: lowercase, no hyphen

etc.: Avoid using etc. Instead use something like and so on. If you’re presenting a list of examples, etc. usually is not needed.

health care (noun and adjective before a noun)

headings and subheadings: Use title case for headings and subheadings (i.e., the first letter of each word is capitalized except for articles and prepositions of four letters or fewer). Do not use a colon at the end of a heading or subhead.

hyphenated compound adjectives: Hyphenate compound adjectives before a noun, (e.g., team-building exercise, decision-making skills). When these terms are used as predicate adjectives or as nouns, they don’t require a hyphen (e.g., exercises in team building, decision making).

hyphenated prefixes: Most prefixes are closed instead of hyphenated. (Spellcheck on MS Word will try to tell you otherwise. Don’t be fooled!) If you are not sure whether or not to hyphenate, check

main campus: Avoid referring to any campus as the main campus. Refer either to the name of the school or its location (e.g., the Baldwin City campus, Wichita campus, School of Nursing, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Professional and Graduate Studies).

New York Times best seller; New York Times best-selling author

numbers: Spell out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 and higher.

on-ground: Hyphenate when it’s used as an adjective before a noun (e.g., The on-ground course begins at 6 p.m).

on ground: Two words when used as predicate adjective (e.g., Courses are taught online or on ground).

online: Always one word (e.g., The course is taught online. He’s taking an online course.).

on-site: Always hyphenated

phone numbers: Use periods as the separators in phone numbers (e.g., 785.594.6451).

pre-: hyphenate pre-law and pre-medicine. Close up in all other cases (e.g., preprofessional).

states: In running text, spell out state names (e.g., The College of Arts and Sciences is located in Baldwin City, Kansas.) U.S. postal abbreviations are OK in an address blocks.

simple words: In general, use a short and simple word when you can (e.g., before instead of prior to, use instead of utilize). This creates stronger more concise sentences.

time: Use a.m. and p.m. Don’t include :00 for even hours (e.g., 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).

University President: Capitalize only when it precedes the name. President is capped only when it is used before the name. Do not combine President and Dr. in front of the president’s name.

  • Baker University President Lynne Murray
  • Dr. Lynne Murray, Baker University president
  • Dr. Murray on second reference

Web address: Please note that only the U is capitalized. (We cap the U to make sure people see it. takes you to someone else’s website.)

Wetlands: Capitalize when referring to the Baker University Wetlands on second reference.

ZIP code: ZIP is an acronym for zone improvement plan.


bulleted lists:

  • Items in the list should be grammatically the same (e.g., all commands or all phrases or all complete sentences).
  • If the bullet is a complete sentence, end it with a period.
  • If the bullet is a phrase, it does not end with a period.

colons: In a sentence, a colon should be used only at the end of an independent clause (contains a subject and predicate; it makes sense by itself and therefore expresses a complete thought.) (e.g., You will learn the following: A, B and C. Not You will learn: A, B and C.) A colon is not necessary after “to” in this example: Mail your application to: PO Box 16, Baldwin City, KS 66006. Do not put colons at the end of headings and subheadings.

commas: Use a comma before a conjunction in a simple series. Example: Courses may be taken concurrently with the BBA, BSM, or BBL.

periods: Use just one space after periods. Word processing programs add the proper amount of space after a period.

quotation marks: Periods and commas always go inside the quote marks, even when just one word is in quotes at the end of a sentence.

semicolons: Use semicolons to separate two independent clauses (e.g., I am going home; I intend to stay there.) Only use semicolons to separate elements in a  series if one of the elements uses commas. For example: You will learn how to communicate, manage, collaborate, and lead. You will learn how to communicate in writing, with groups, and one on one; to manage; to collaborate; and to lead.

slashes: Avoid slashes. They are imprecise; it’s not always clear whether they mean and or or. Avoid and/or. Usually one or the other is all that’s needed. Or revise to something like Choose A or B or both.

Web-Specific & Email Concerns

click here: Avoid using “click here” as a text link. Because web users scan, link to text that explains the content when read out of context (e.g., Choose from more than 40 areas of study).

underline: Do not underline text on a website or email to add emphasis. That makes the text look like a hyperlink and will confuse readers.

Web address: Please note that only the U is capitalized. (We cap the U to make sure people see it. takes you to someone else’s website.)

Questions or Comments

If you have questions or comments, please email

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