Editorial Style Guide

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Acronyms that appear as main entries in the dictionary can generally be used without first spelling them out (e.g., HTML, IQ, NASA). Other acronyms that are used more than once in a given piece of writing — such as a Web or magazine article, a brochure, a letter, etc. — should be spelled out the first time they are used, with the acronym given in parentheses immediately afterward (a departure from AP style). Use the acronym on second and subsequent references.

Correct:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released its final report. In it, the NSF makes several timely recommendations.
Incorrect:
The NSF has released its final report. In it, the NSF makes several timely recommendations.

Many writers think they should use an acronym just because it exists, but that is not the case. In the example above, if the National Science Foundation is only mentioned once in the piece, the acronym should not be used:

Correct:
The National Science Foundation has released its final report, which makes several timely recommendations.
Incorrect:
The NSF has released its final report, which makes several timely recommendations.

Avoid overuse of acronyms. When acronyms appear too often in a piece of writing, the resulting “alphabet soup” can impede comprehension and make the prose awkward. Also, when an acronym only means something to those within a specific organization, it should be used sparingly (if at all) when communicating with the outside world. In such instances, use a generic noun or nouns to replace the acronym.

Awkward:
The Grand Rapids United Elections League (GRUEL) has announced their support for a slate of candidates. GRUEL members say they hope to change the city come November.
Better:
The Grand Rapids United Elections League (GRUEL) has announced their support for a slate of candidates. League members say they hope to change the city come November.

The personal titles Dr., Mr., Ms., and the like are always abbreviated when used with a name:

Correct:
Dr. Mackay has received funding to study the genetics of glaucoma.
Incorrect:
Doctor Mackay has received funding to study the genetics of glaucoma.

Academic and Student Affairs Terminology

advisor
In effort to align ourselves with the standards of the National Academic Advising Association, all DASA advising programs have adopted the spelling of this word with an “o” instead of with an “e”  in titling academic advisors.

AGROMECK
The AGROMECK is the university’s student-published yearbook. Use all uppercase letters.

ASPSA
This acronym stands for Academic Support Program for Student Athletes. Pronounced “ASPA” (ignore the second “S”). This unit works closely with the Athletics department, but is separate from them.

Chaplains’ Cooperative Ministry
“Chaplains'” is plural possessive.

The Crafts Center
“The” is capitalized when used singularly as a heading, and generally not capitalized when embedded in text.

CSLEPS
This acronym stands for Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service.
DASA
This acronym stands for Division of Academic and Student Affairs. Rhymes with “NASA”. Always capitalize all four letters of this acronym.
Dorm
Never use this “4 letter word” — always use residence hall.
DSO
This acronym stands for Disability Services Office.

First-Year Students
Hyphenate the phrase “first-year” when referring to students enrolled in their first year.

Health and Exercise Studies
This is the current name of the academic department formerly knowns as Physical Education.

James H. Woodward Student Involvement Center
The formal name of the Student Involvement Center on the 4th floor of Talley Student Union. It may be shortened to Woodward Student Involvement Center.

Naval ROTC
Use “Naval” instead of “Navy” as this unit includes both Navy and Marine programs.

New Students
This umbrella term refers collectively to any incoming students, including first-year students and transfer students.

OUCC
This acronym stands for Office of Undergraduate Courses & Curricula. The full name of the department is Office of Undergraduate Courses & Curricula and University Academic Standards.
OVCD
This acronym stands for the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Dean.

Pavilions Dining & Lounge
The space housing the four pavilions dining units, Talley Market, the gaming area and lounge. It can also include the 3 small outdoor patios.

residence hall
Use this term rather than dormitory or dorm.

State Ballroom
The formal name of the ballroom composing the 3 smaller ballrooms (Coastal, Piedmont, & Mountains). Proper use for advertisements would be State Ballroom at Talley Student Union.

student-athlete
This term is hyphenated.

 

Student Health Center
This refers to the building that collectively houses three departments: the Counseling Center, Disability Services Office, and Student Health Services. Do not use it as a substitute unit name for Student Health Services.

Student Health Services
This is the department. Not to be used interchangeably with the building name of Student Health Center.

Talley Student Union
The official name of the building. Never shorten by dropping Student (ex: Talley Union”). Do not use ‘New Talley’.

TH!NK
This is not an acronym, but rather a specially formatted treatment of the “Think” program.

Thomas H. Stafford Jr. Commons
The green space on the north side of Talley Student Union. This may be shortened to Stafford Commons.

TRIO Programs
The name “TRIO Programs” comes from the Federal outreach and student services programs. The name was coined in reference to the establishment of the first three of the current eight programs. Many colleges and universities across the country may have one or more TRIO programs.

  • NC State University is home to three of these programs, Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, and Student Support Services. The three are referred to collectively as the “TRIO Programs” and would continue to use this name whether there are more than or less than three programs.
  • “TRIO” should be in all upper case letters.
  • The use of the lower case “i” in “TRiO” is limited to graphics only, which emanates from a long-established logo used across the country.

ROTC: Military Organization and Protocols

  • Military personnel serving in the ROTC units are referred to collectively as the “cadre” while students participating in ROTC programs are referred to as “cadets.”
  • Each branch of the service has its own method of abbreviating rank. For example, even thought Air Force and Army both have Lieutenants Colonels, it is abbreviated differently in writing for each branch. Here is the proper form for the commanding officers of the three ROTC units at NC State University:
    • Lt Col  – Air Force ROTC
    • LTC – Army ROTC
    • CAPT – Naval ROTC
  • Although the ranks are different, the generic title for the three officers heading each of the three ROTC units is “Commander” as in “Commanding Officer.” Thus, one refers to “the ROTC Commanders” in the collective, and “the Army (or Naval or Air Force) Commander” in the singular.
  • Marines are a part of Naval ROTC. The senior Marine in the cadre is the Executive Officer (XO) and is second in command of Naval ROTC. This is significant because the Naval ROTC Commander is responsible for the Naval ROTC programs at NC State, UNC and Duke; thus, the XO is very involved in the leadership for Naval ROTC  at NC State.
  • Other Military Abbreviations
    • V/R = Very Respectfully (used in email or memos)
    • FOUO = For Official Use Only

Vice Chancellor and Dean
The full title for DASA’s executive officer is Vice Chancellor and Dean. Always use the full title, never just “Vice Chancellor” or “Dean.”

WKNC
These are the call letters of our student-run radio station.