Style Guide

Ivy Tech Style Guide

The Ivy Tech Editorial Style Guide was created as a reference tool to maintain consistency and clarity in writing for internal and external audiences. The guide largely follows The Associated Press Stylebook with some changes included based on Ivy Tech Community College preference. Unless otherwise noted, AP style should be followed. Included in this Ivy Tech Style Guide is an alphabetical listing of words and phrases with guidelines for usage, followed by a punctuation guide.

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Academic Degrees
If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: Max Green, who has a doctorate in psychology.
  • DO NOT capitalize academic degrees when spelled out.

    • Example: associate, bachelor's
  • Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, master's, etc., but not with associate (no "s"). Remove possession if used formally.

    • Example: Master of Science, Bachelor of Arts

  • Use such abbreviations as B.A., M.A., LL.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use these abbreviations only after a full name, never after just a last name. When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas.

    • Example: Max Green, Ph.D., spoke to the class.

  • If you are using the formal name of a degree, it is capitalized.

    • Example: He earned a Master of Science degree from Indiana University.

  • Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.

    • Wrong: Dr. Max Green, Ph.D.

    • Right: Dr. Max Green, a chemist.

  • If two doctors are being referenced that are married, it should be: Drs. [Last Name]. Example: The Drs. Pejic donate to Ivy Tech.

Academic Departments
  • Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives.
    • Example: the department of history, the English department.

  • Capitalize the formal names of schools and departments, but use the informal names whenever possible.

    • Examples: Ivy Tech Department of Communications (or: communications department)  Ivy Tech Financial Aid Office (or: financial aid office)

  • DO NOT capitalize "student board" or "board of trustees" or other widely used internal elements of an organization unless used as part of the formal title.

    • Example: board of trustees, Ivy Tech Board of Trustees

Academic Subjects
  • Avoid capitalizing an academic subject when it is used as a general field of study. Capitalize academic subjects when they are part of the official title of a university entity, when they are the name of a language, and when they are the official title of a course or a short title that includes the course number.
    • Examples: The College of Sciences offers programs in agriculture, biology, and physics.   He's taking The Philosophy of Rhetoric with Professor Whitley.

  • Don't capitalize majors, like physics, that are not proper nouns, but do capitalize ones that are, like English.

    • Example: She majored in communications and minored in Spanish.

Academic Titles
  • Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chairman, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Abbreviate and capitalize common titles when used before a name.
    • Examples: Prof. Max Green

    • Asst. Prof. Max Green

    • Assoc. Prof. Max Green

  • DO NOT abbreviate titles if they follow a name or if they stand alone.

  • DO NOT abbreviate president, secretary, treasurer, principal, director, attorney, manager, one-syllable titles or any title that is not generally recognized in its abbreviated form.

  • Use Dr. only for physicians, dentists, members of the paramedical professions and clergymen who hold earned or honorary doctorates.
  • DO NOT capitalize an occupation or descriptive adjectives and nouns used before a name.

    • Example: author Max Green

  • Capitalize titles preceding and attached to a name, but use lowercase if the title follows a name or stands by itself. Long titles should follow the name.

    • Examples: President Max Green

    • Max Green, president of Ivy Tech Community College

Spell out words such as avenue, boulevard and street. Spell out numbered street names of one hundred or less. Use the abbreviations NW, NE, SW, and SE in city addresses after the street name.
  • News style: Spell out ages nine and under, use figures for all else. When used as a modifier or a noun, use hyphens.
    • Example: The 55-year-old student enjoys the four-year-old building.

Alumnus is a male graduate, alumni is its plural form. Alumna is for a female graduate and its plural form is alumnae. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women. A student who attended but did not graduate should be referred to as a former student, not an alumnus or alumna.
Capitalize when part of the official name of an award.
Lowercase unless part of a formal name.
One word, no hyphen. Also applies to all compound words ending in wide (statewide, countywide, etc.).
Lowercase unless preceding a name.
  • Always capitalize when referencing Ivy Tech Community College.
    • Example: Enrollment rates are up throughout the College.

  • Lowercase when referencing college in general.

    • Example: Max Green enjoys going to college.

Course Titles
  • Capitalize official course titles in running text. No italics or quotation marks are necessary.  When listing a course number with the department abbreviation, put a space between the abbreviation, the course number and the course name.
    • Example: Max Green is taking COM 102 Intro to Interpersonal Communication.

Course Work
Two words.
Courtesy Titles
  • Never use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor and use only on first reference (see Academic Titles).
    • Exception: if a story subject requests a courtesy title be used, or when referring to an elderly/retired couple.

Credit Hours
Use numerals to refer to credit hours.
  • Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th when used in a full sentence. Exception is when used in logos, headlines, or graphics.
  • When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, commas are required before and after the year.
    • Example: Graduation will take place May 6, 2011, at the Patrick Center Building.
  • When including a day of the week with the date, use a comma after the day and after the date.
    • Example: The award ceremony is Wednesday, June 6, 2011, at the Patrick Center Building.
  • When including just a month and year, do not include a comma.
    • Example: The center will open in March 2013.
  • Do not use an apostrophe when referring to a full decade: 1960s.
  • Do use an apostrophe to designate missing numbers: '50s.
Academic departments should be lowercase.
Disabled, Disability
  • Preferred terms, rather than handicapped. Use "people first language" that describes what a person has, not who the person is.
    • Example: Rather than writing "she is autistic," instead write "she has autism."
    • Avoid: victim of, suffers with, afflicted by, wheelchair-bound, etc. Instead use: people with disabilities, he has a physical disability, people with mental illness, accessible seating, the disabled community, etc.
  • Lowercase, no hyphen.
  • When listing an email, uppercase IvyTech only.
    • Example:
Emeritus, Emerita
Set off by commas. If before the name, uppercase. If after, lowercase.
Spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens: two-thirds, three-fifths, etc. Use figure for precise amounts more than one, and use decimals whenever practical: 1.5 miles, not 1 1/2 miles.
Full-time (Adj.)
  • Only hyphenate when used as an adjective before a noun.
    • Example: Max Green is a full-time student.
No periods and all capitals, including when used as a first reference.
One word in all uses.
Refrain from using masculine pronouns for generic references that are not gender-specific. Pluralize the reference or eliminate the pronoun whenever possible.
One word
Always capitalized
Always lowercase
Legislative Titles
On first reference, use Rep. and Sen. before the name. Spell out lowercase representative and senator in other uses. When including party and state designations, set off with commas, not parentheses, and use AP abbreviation for the state. (See States)
Login (Adj.), Log in (v.)
Use your Ivy ID to log in. Your Ivy ID is your login information.
Majors, minors
Do not capitalize academic majors or minors unless they include a proper noun.
No periods. Use with an, not a.
  • News Style: Months with more than six letters are abbreviated.
    • Abbreviated: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
    • Not abbreviated: March, April, May, June, July
  • Use full first and last name and title upon first reference. (See also courtesy title.) Refer to subjects by last name after first reference.
    • Exceptions: children under 12 years of age, people who share the last name, and the elderly.
Newspaper or periodical names
Italicize names, include location in parentheses if necessary for proper identification. Capitalize "The" if included in the publication name.
  • News style: spell out whole numbers below 10 or at the beginning of a sentence. Spell out first through ninth. For percentages, dimensions and ages, use figures for all.
  • Non-news style: Spell out whole numbers from one to ninety-nine and any of these followed by hundred, thousand, million, etc. For percentages use figures but spell out percentage.
One word
Part-time (Adj.)
  • Hyphenate as an adjective when used before the noun.
    • Example: Max Green is a part-time student.
Spell out the word percent; do not use the symbol unless in tables, footnotes, captions, and headlines.
Phone number
  • When in body of text or when spoken (i.e. radio advertisement) no numbers, just 888-IVY-LINE.
  • When used with logo, 888-IVY-LINE (888-589-5463).
Capitalize before a name, lowercase elsewhere.
  • Uppercase formal names of academic programs, but do not capitalize the word program. When referring to a program as a major or minor, do not capitalize.
    • Examples: The Nursing program is growing.
    • She was studying nursing.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the region if used as a region title. Do not hyphenate.
    • Examples: Ivy Tech Central Indiana (not Ivy Tech-Central Indiana)
    • Ivy Tech's northeast campus
  • Use lowercase when referencing a geographic location.
    • Example: Ivy Tech Central Indiana will partner with companies in southern Indiana this fall.
Use following a name, offset with commas.
Capitalize before a room number.
Use uppercase letters with periods.
Capitalize the full names of schools: School of Applied Science & Engineering Technology, School of Business, School of Education, School of Fine Arts & Design, School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Public & Social Services, School of Technology.
  • Do not capitalize when used as part of an academic period.
    • Example: Ivy Tech will make changes during the fall of 2012.
  • Do capitalize when referencing a specific semester.
    • Example: We are getting ready for the Fall 2012 semester.
Always lowercase.
One word.
  • When used alone, spell out. When used with a city, follow with a comma.
  • News Style: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.C., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.
  • Do not abbreviate: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
  • The state, not The State, unless referring to the State of Indiana.
One word, no hyphen.
Spell out unless used with a numbered address.
Use figures except for noon and midnight. Remove :00 whenever possible. Use lowercase and periods to denote time of day (a.m. and p.m.).
United States
Spell out whenever possible. When abbreviating, include periods: U.S.
Website Caps on letters when two or more words are part of the website. Use if redirect is established.
Zip code
Use all uppercase for ZIP and all lowercase for code.

Abbreviations and acronyms

  • In most cases, spell out in first reference and abbreviate any following references.
    • Example: Students in the Associate Accelerated Program are encouraged by their professors. As an ASAP student, you will learn tools to help you succeed.


  • Spell out and unless the ampersand is part of a proper name.

Bulleted lists

  • Do not finish items in bulleted lists with a period unless multiple complete sentences are included in the bullet.


  • The serial comma should always be used in a series of three or more.
    • Example: Ivy Tech offers classes in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute.


  • Space before and after three periods.


  • Italicize the names of books, newspapers, magazines, named blogs, albums, movies, plays, operas, etc.
  • Italicize unfamiliar foreign words.


  • Alphabetize all items in a list unless order or hierarchy demands otherwise.


  • Always set quotes off in separate paragraphs and give attribution within the quote. Attribute quotes in the present tense:
    • Example: Jones says, NOT Jones said.
  • Exceptions apply, such as instances where quote is from the distant past.
  • Attribute quotes using last names, unless more than one person shares the same last name. In that case, the full name should be used.


  • Remove all double spaces at the end of each sentence.

Quick Facts
Total number of students served annually

Degree-granting locations


Main campus location
50 W Fall Creek Pkwy N Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46208-5752

888-IVY-LINE (888-589-5463)

31 degree-granting locations

  • Anderson
  • Batesville
  • Bloomington
  • Columbus
  • Connersville
  • Crawfordsville
  • East Chicago
  • Elkhart
  • Evansville
  • Fort Wayne
  • Franklin
  • Gary
  • Greencastle
  • Indianapolis
  • Kokomo
  • Lafayette
  • Lawrenceburg
  • Logansport
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Michigan City
  • Muncie
  • New Castle
  • Noblesville
  • Richmond
  • Sellersburg
  • South Bend
  • Tell City
  • Terre Haute
  • Valparaiso
  • Wabash
  • Warsaw