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Writing Guidelines

The style of writing incorporated in University publications is crucial to Indiana State University’s branding efforts. Writing should be active, friendly, and in first- and second-person narrative points of view (we, you). For example, "You will participate...." and "We will give you...." as opposed to "The student will be expected...."

Your manuscript copy should be clear and concise. Remember who your audience is and ask yourself one question: "Can the reader understand my message easily and quickly?"

Additionally, University Marketing has implemented certain branded language and themes that reflect our most recent branding update. Depending on your content’s purpose and audience, Marketing may incorporate some of this branded language into your submitted text. Any updates made to submitted text will be shared back with the submitting department for review and approval.

When keyboarding the copy, please follow these suggestions:

  • Type all copy, including headlines, flush left. Do not use justified or centered type. We will do this formatting when we place the copy in a page-layout file.

  • Type all copy in upper and lower case. Do not type any copy, including headlines, in all caps.

  • Indent paragraphs by using the tab command. Do not use spaces.

  • Do not set body copy in columns and do not place boxes around highlighted copy or rules between paragraphs.

  • When typing tabular copy (columns of figures, for example) enter one tab between each column. Do not space over to the next column so that it appears lined up on your screen. When we format the copy, we will specify tab settings so that all copy lines up properly.

  • Enter only one space after a period at the end of the sentence.

  • Do not enter a return command except at the end of a paragraph or where a hard return is required.

Following these style guidelines will help provide consistency in all Indiana State University publications.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the preferred reference for University publications.


  • Do not abbreviate titles.
    Wrong: Pres. Michael Godard
    Right: President Michael Godard

  • Do not abbreviate Indiana State University.
    Wrong: Ind. St. Univ., Indiana State Univ., IN State University.

    • ISU (no periods) may be used after the first reference.

    • ISU should be reserved for an audience fully aware of what institution you are writing about.

    • It is particularly important not to confuse anyone who might be more familiar with, for example, Illinois State University.

  • Do not abbreviate the names of states or the months of the year.

  • Do not abbreviate streets and directions.
    Right: 217 North Seventh Street, 817 Sycamore Street.
    (Abbreviations should be reserved for mailing addresses.)

Academic Degrees

  • Lowercase and use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc. Lowercase master of arts, master of science, master of business administration, etc.

    • She earned a doctorate in English, and her husband has a master's degree in psychology.

  • If it is necessary to mention the degree in order to establish credentials, the preferred form is to avoid abbreviation and use a phrase such as: John Doe has a doctorate in psychology. If this form is cumbersome, use abbreviations only after a full name: John Doe, Ph.D., spoke.

  • Do not precede a name with a courtesy title and follow it with the abbreviation.
    Wrong: Dr. Jane Doe, Ph.D.
    Right: Dr. John Doe, a chemist.

Academic Units and Administrative Offices

  • In the first reference, use the official name and capitalize.

  • In the second reference, shortened forms, uppercased, are acceptable:

    • The Department of English and the Office of Admissions have worked together on many projects.

    • The Admissions Office and the English Department have worked together on many projects.

    • The department also offers many extracurricular activities.

  • The colleges and the school are capitalized when the full name is used:

    • The Bayh College of Education

    • The College of Arts and Sciences

    • The College of Graduate and Professional Studies

    • The College of Health and Human Services

    • The Bailey College of Engineering and Technology

    • The Donald W. Scott College of Business

    • Honors College

    • University College

  • When referring to the Bayh College of Education, always include the entire name. Do not use the College of Education.

  • When referring to the Scott College of Business, include the full name in the first reference: the Donald W. Scott College of Business. In the second reference, use the Scott College of Business. Never use the College of Business.

  • When referring to the Bailey College of Engineering and Technology, always include the entire name. Do not use the College of Technology.


Not adviser.

Alumna, Alumnae, Alumni, Alumnus.

  • Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) to refer to a woman who has graduated.

  • Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

  • Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) to refer to a man who has graduated.

Ampersand (&)

  • Use the ampersand only when it is part of the formal name of a company or organization.

Building and Facility Names

It is recommended that the following names be used in the first reference to campus facilities:

  • 500 Wabash

  • Academic Enrichment Center

  • Arena (use only in reference to the south gymnasium in the Health and Human Services Building)

  • Art Annex

  • Athletics Annex West

  • Blumberg Hall

  • Bob Warn Field

  • Bookstore

  • Burford Hall

  • Butterfly Habitat

  • Career Center

  • Center for Multimedia Services

  • Central Chilled Water Plant

  • Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center

  • Cherry Street Parking Garage

  • Commons, the

  • Community Garden

  • Condit House

  • Cromwell Hall

  • Cunningham Memorial Library

  • Dede Activity Center (also, Dede I, Dede II, and Dede III)

  • Dede Plaza

  • Dreiser Hall

  • Erickson Hall

  • Facilities Management and Purchasing Building

  • Fairbanks Hall

  • Federal Hall

  • Field Campus

  • Fine Arts Building

  • Gibson Track and Field

  • Gillum Hall

  • Grounds Maintenance Building

  • Health and Human Services Building

  • Heritage Ballroom

  • Heritage Lounge

  • Hines Hall

  • Holmstedt Hall

  • Hulman Center

  • Hulman Memorial Student Union

  • ISU Tree Farm

  • Indiana State University Foundation

  • Indiana University School of Medicine — Terre Haute

  • John T. Myers Technology Center

  • John W. Moore Welcome Center

  • Jones Hall

  • Kennedy Field

  • Kieweg Wood

  • Kleuh Tennis Complex

  • Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts

  • Landsbaum Center for Health Education

  • Little Blue Stem Prairie

  • Memorial Stadium

  • Michael Simmons Student Activity Center

  • Mills Hall

  • New Theater

  • Normal Hall

  • Nursing Building

  • Oakley Place

  • Oakley Plaza

  • Parsons Hall

  • Pickerl Hall

  • Power Plant

  • Price Field

  • Rankin Hall

  • Recreation East

  • Recycling Center

  • Reeve Hall

  • Rhoads Hall

  • Root Hall

  • Sandison Hall

  • Satellite Chilled Water Plant

  • Science Building

  • Soccer Field

  • St. John Softball Complex

  • Stalker Hall

  • State Room

  • Student Recreation Center

  • Student Services Building

  • Sycamore Center for Wellness and Applied Medicines

  • Sycamore Stadium

  • Sycamore Towers

  • Tilson Music Hall

  • Tirey Hall

  • University Apartments (Maehling Terrace 1, 2, and 3)

  • University Hall

  • University Pavilion

  • University Suite

  • Wildflower and Prairie Habitat

  • Wolf Field

Common or shortened forms of building and facility names may be used in the second reference: the union, the library, etc.

Abbreviations of buildings and facilities should not be used in textual matter.


See Academic Degrees, Academic Units and Administrative Offices, Buildings and Facility Names, Centers and Programs, Chairperson, and Titles.

Centers and Programs

·   Capitalize only the full, formal name of programs and centers:

o   The Rowe Center for Communicative Disorders is affiliated with the Bayh College of Education.

o   The center is part of the Department of Communication Disorders and Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology.


  • Do not use chair, chairman, and chairwoman.

  • Capitalize when used as a formal title:

    • Chairperson Smith is the advisor. Dr. Smith, Chairperson, is your advisor.

Courtesy Titles

  • Avoid courtesy titles (Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.) except in correspondence.

  • In textual matter, use the first and last name of the individual in the first reference and the last name in subsequent references:

    •  John Smith presented a paper at our conference.

    • Smith's findings were based on many years of research.


Do not confuse with a hyphen. A long dash is keyboarded by entering two hyphens with no space before, between, or after.


Use Arabic numerals without st, nd, rd, th.

Wrong: April 15th, 2001.

Right: April 15, 2001.


See Academic Degrees.


An ellipsis is used to indicate the deletion of words. Do not use an ellipsis to indicate a pause in thought.

Wrong: The University is concerned about all students ... not just a few.

Right: The University is concerned about all students — not just a few.

Right: "I came to this University because ... I found a very friendly atmosphere."

  • Ellipses are keyboarded with one space before, one after, and one space between periods ( . . . ).

  • If an ellipsis is used between sentences, four periods are keyboarded, with no space before the first period.


  • lowercase, no hyphen

  • Email and website addresses may be set off in brackets to eliminate confusion.

Ensure, Insure

  • Use ensure to mean guarantee.

  • Use insure when referring to insurance.


Fax. Not FAX.

First Annual

An event is not considered to be an annual event until it has been held for at least two successive years.


  • Spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens: two-thirds, four-fifths, seven-sixteenths, etc.

  • Use figures for precise amounts larger than one: 2 1/2, 8 15/16.


See Sexist Language.


  • Use a hyphen with numerals used as adjectives:

    • A 435-acre campus.

  • Use a hyphen to link compound modifiers — two or more words that express a single concept preceding a noun:

    • A well-known fact, a full-time student.

  • Do not use a hyphen following very or a word ending in "ly" in a compound modifier:

    • A newly acquired job.

Indiana State Advantage

  • Always include the full “Indiana State Advantage” title on first reference in any paragraph. “Advantage” may be used as a standalone signifier on second reference within the same paragraph.

  • When writing about the Indiana State Advantage’s “tuition-free” offer, “tuition-free” must always be hyphenated.

  • When writing about the Indiana State Advantage experience opportunity, it must always be described as a “one-time grant” valued at “up to $3,000.”

  • When writing about the Indiana State Advantage’s “four-year graduation guarantee,” always hyphenate “four-year” and always use “graduation guarantee” on first reference. “Grad guarantee” is acceptable on second reference.  

  • Disclaimers – The following language must always be used in disclaimers for the Indiana State Advantage pillars. Language must be used exactly, with no deviations.

    • Four years’ in-state tuition available to students in Indiana and Illinois who are Pell-eligible and who have at least a 3.0 GPA in high school. Annual tuition coverage contingent on continued academic performance. 

    • The Experience Grant supports an out-of-classroom learning opportunity. This can be an internship, service trip, undergraduate research, creative activity, or study-abroad experience. The one-time grant will be available beginning the second year at Indiana State.

    • The Graduation Guarantee is contingent upon student adhering to the graduation guarantee responsibilities.

 Indiana State University.

  • It is recommended that the University be referred to as Indiana State University in the first reference.

  • Indiana State and the University (uppercase U) may be used in subsequent reference.

  • It is no longer considered appropriate to use “State” as a standalone signifier for Indiana State University.

  • ISU (no periods) should be avoided and only used for an audience fully aware of what institution you are writing about. It is particularly important not to confuse anyone who might be more familiar with, for example, Illinois State University.


Uppercase initial letter only if starting a sentence.



  • A minor in psychology and a major in English.


  • Spell out the whole numbers one through nine and use figures for 10 and above:

    • The program has 16 students, three of whom are graduate assistants.

  • Use a comma in large numbers: 3,000.

  • Spell out casual expressions:

    • You are one in a million!


  • Capitalize the full, formal names of boards and organizations:

    • Indiana State University Board of Trustees.

  • Lowercase informal use of these names:

    • The trustees met recently.

    • The board met recently.


  • One word, used with numerals: 60 percent.

  • The symbol for percent (%) is used only in charts and graphs.

Programs and Centers

  • Capitalize only the full, formal name of programs and centers:

    • The Rowe Center for Communicative Disorders is affiliated with the Bayh College of Education.

    • The center is part of the Department of Communication Disorders and Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology.

Room Locations

  • List the building first, followed by room (lowercased) and the number:

    • The lecture will be in Holmstedt Hall, room 102.

Quotation Marks

  • The period and the comma always go within quotation marks.

  • The dash, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point go within quotation marks when they apply only to the quoted matter. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.



  • Register now for the spring semester.


  • Use commas to separate elements in a series.

  • Use a comma before the conjunction in the series:

    • The campus is attractive, convenient, and compact.

  • If commas are used in individual elements of the series, use semicolons to separate the elements:

    • The officers are Jane Doe, President; John Smith, Past President; and Jane Smith, Vice President.

Sexist Language

  • Do not use male forms of words when referring to both genders; however, the use of his or her is awkward, and when possible a slight revision of the sentence is the better choice.
    Wrong: A student spends many hours preparing for his or her finals.
    Right: Students spend many hours preparing for their finals.

  • People of either gender receive equal consideration in University writing.

  • Physical descriptions, sexist references, demeaning stereotypes, and condescending phrases are to be eliminated.

  • Terms such as chairperson (instead of chairman) and humanity (instead of mankind) are more inclusive.


Spell out. The two-letter uppercase state abbreviations devised by the post office are for use in addresses only.


  • Capitalize the full name of the time zone:

    • Eastern Standard Time. If an event is likely to affect people in another time zone, use the appropriate abbreviation: 9:00 a.m. EST.

  • Avoid Indiana time and Illinois time. Be specific.

  • Lowercase a.m. and p.m., using periods.


  • Capitalize a formal title:

    • Chairperson John Doe. Jane Smith, Professor of History. Michael Godard, President.
      Wrong: President Dr. Michael Godard.

  • Use lowercase at all times for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles:

    • Dr. Smith is director of the program.


Not towards.


One word, lowercase.

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Gillum Hall 102
Terre Haute, IN 47809

Phone: (812) 237-3773

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.