A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | YSensitive Terms

This style manual has been created as a tool to help Nebraska communicators present a unified, cohesive approach in the details of the written products we create for the public, from news releases to magazines, newsletters, brochures, and more.

Ever wonder what Herbie Husker's middle name is? Well, we have too; so tell us if you find out. If we knew, we'd let you know here. Other than that, these are the sorts of questions this stylebook addresses. This guide presents correct spellings and guides for use of unique university entities, such as colleges, buildings, titles and more, and places emphasis on language that encourages an inclusive atmosphere.

This style guide is not meant to replace specific stylebooks that might be applicable to specific units on campus. (For example, this guide will not address how to present mathematical equations in printed documents.) Also, this guide will touch on some grammar and punctuation issues, but other guides, such as the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style, might be more appropriate for these uses.

The main source for this guide was the Associated Press Stylebook, which is used by virtually every newspaper and most other news organizations. By following the guides here, we provide the university with a writing style that increases our consistency, credibility and professionalism.

University building names are included in an addendum.

This guide will continue to evolve as new programs are added, names change and additions are made; please refer to this online publication as the authoritative, up-to-date source for content style information.

a.m., p.m.

Note lowercase and punctuation. Avoid redundancies like 10 a.m. in the morning.


The full, official name of a company, association or organization should be used on first reference. On second reference, an abbreviation or acronym may be used if its meaning will be clear to the reader.

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska elected new leaders on Tuesday. Bob Smith will be the next president of ASUN.

Do not insert an abbreviation in parentheses after the full name.

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska elected ...


The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN) elected ...

Avoid “alphabet soup” or using long, awkward acronyms. This may depend on the audience.

For example, the university community is familiar with CASNR as an acronym for the university’s College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources. Other audiences, however, will trip over this long acronym, so avoid using CASNR in other publications (such as news releases). In those cases, refer to CASNR as “the college” on second reference.

academic degrees

Do not use "Dr." before the names of individuals with non-medical doctoral degrees. Reserve the title, on first reference only, for individuals who hold a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine, or doctor of veterinary medicine.

When necessary or appropriate, cite those with other types of doctoral degrees as follows:

Eileen Hebets, who holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology...

academic departments/majors

Capitalize the names of all of our colleges and departments when using the proper name:

Department of History

College of Architecture

Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts

Department of Human Resources

Landscape Services

Lowercase when using informal names, except those with proper nouns:

history department

educational psychology department

English department

human resources department

communications department

Bob Andrews is majoring in Chicano studies. Paul Petrovich is a textiles and clothing major. Smith works for the university’s communications department. Landscape Services takes care of many perennials on campus.

One exception: Some departments are known with their more informal names, such as Academic Affairs, although the formal name is Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Keep ‘Academic Affairs’ capitalized when used in this way. Same goes for Landscape Services, International Affairs and Graduate Studies. In short, if the shortened version of the name only drops Office of or Department of, then leave the rest of the name capitalized. Academic departments are left lower case.

Academic Titles

The choice of whether to capitalize and include formal named titles is dependent on audience and the formality of the document, but remember to be consistent within each publication.

See AP Stylebook for news writing. See Chicago Manual of Style for other purposes.

Capitalize formal titles used directly before an individual’s name. Lower case all titles if they fall after the person’s name.

Ronnie Green, chancellor. Introduce Chancellor Ronnie Green. Meet food scientist Steve Taylor. Meet Steve Taylor, professor of food science. I know Scarlet editor Troy Fedderson.

There are an ever-increasing number of named professorships from professorships named for donors, named chairs and University professorships like Regents professorships and Willa Cather and Charles Bessey professorships. In general, it is thought that as a matter of respect for the professor earning a named professorship that his/her full, named professorship be listed as an identifier for the professor. An exception should be considered in brochures or other copy where a long title will appear awkward or tedious. Writers should consider using the named professorship/title on a second or subsequent reference to avoid a cumbersome identifier.

Biology professor emeritus Paul Johnsgard was honored at a wildlife federation meeting Thursday.

Johnsgard, foundation professor of biological sciences emeritus at Nebraska ...

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Adele Hall Professor of English

Edmund W. Kitch is the Harvey and Susan Perlman Alumni Visiting Professor of Law

If you intend to name professorships and chairs for faculty, double-check to see if others included also have a named professorship. In general, faculty themselves are the most informed source about their official, proper university title.


These guidelines follow the Associated Press stylebook. More formal address styles may be used in more formal publications, such as announcements and invitations, as deemed necessary. Never use superscripts.

1.) Use the abbreviations “St.,” “Ave.,” “Blvd.” only with a numbered address.

1400 R St.

2.) Spell out street designations (street, avenue, boulevard, etc.) when used with a street name and not a specific address.
R Street will be closed for construction. I used to live on First Avenue. The store is at 15th Street and Sheridan Boulevard.

3.) Lowercase “streets” when used with more than one street name.
The bus stops at the corner of 14th and R streets.

4.) Other street designations (alley, place, drive, road, etc.) should always be spelled out. Capitalize them when part of a formal name without a specific number. Leave them lowercase when used alone or with two street names.

His house is at the corner Buena Vista Way and Park Place.

5.) Always use numbers in specific addresses (don’t spell out street numbers):

1400 R St. NOT: Fourteen hundred R Street.

6.) Numbered street names (such as 14th Street): Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth. Use numerals for 10th and above.

One of Lincoln’s post offices is near Eighth and R streets.

7.) Directions: Abbreviate compass-point directions when used in addresses. Do not abbreviate compass points when exact number isn’t given.

2810 S. 42nd St.

She lives on South 42nd Street.

Remember to provide addresses to campus locations in news releases, on websites, in brochures, wherever appropriate and to not assume that your audience knows where particular buildings are on campus. Give addresses as necessary.


Office of Admissions. Not Department of Admissions. Just Admissions is acceptable.


Not “advisor.”

Affirmative Action/equity access

This term has become outdated in light of recent challenges, however, the term may still be used by some, or in a historic reference, to describe a desire or movement to enhance diversity or access. “Affirmative action” generally means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. All entities with federal contracts are required to have an affirmative action plan.

African American

Preferred term is black when referring to a person’s race, according to Associated Press. Before using an indication of race, be sure that to do so is pertinent to the story and issue at hand. Because the reference and use of racial descriptions is very personal, self-identification or the choice of terms should be left up to the individual subject in the story.

Agricultural Research and Development Center

Former name for the university's research center near Mead; now called the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center. "ENREC" or "the center" is preferred on second reference.

Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of

Official name of the agricultural college. A division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


singular vs. plural:

One man is an alumnus.

One woman is an alumna.

Several men, or a group of men and women, are alumni.

Several women are alumnae.

Avoid the casual reference to "alum."

New names: Alumni who have changed their names since graduating, such as alumnae who assumed the last names of their husbands, will be listed by their older name, then their newer name. (Example: Jane Smith Johnson)

Class years: In alumni publications, graduation years are abbreviated and listed after the person’s name and set off by commas. Try to keep the year from breaking onto a separate line from the name. Be sure the apostrophe before the year is facing the correct way. If necessary, use full years to keep years clear.

Kate Snyder (B.A. 1986) has been named president of Coca Cola Inc. Bob Smith (B.S. 1902) gave a $35 million gift to the foundation. Bob Smith (B.J. 2000) gave $35 to the alumni association last year.

alumni association

Official name is the Nebraska Alumni Association. It represents only alumni of Nebraska, UNMC College of Dentistry and UNMC College of Nursing or graduates of the Lincoln campus in 1968 or before. Headquartered in the Wick Alumni Center.

Alumni Masters Week

Sponsored by the chancellor and Alumni, nominated and invited graduates present to students. Note no apostrophe.

Alumni Masters Week is a week during each fall semester when outstanding alumni who have shown great promise, success and leadership in their chosen life's work are recognized as "Masters." Masters return to campus for the week to interact with students and University officials. During their visit, Masters help students realize ways to build successful careers. Masters also update faculty on developments in their fields. Alumni Masters Week began at the University of Nebraska in the 1963-64 academic year. Today, it's sponsored by Innocents and Mortar Board, the Chancellor's Office and the Alumni Association.

Candidates for an Alumni Masters Week award must be Nebraska graduates with a number of years of outstanding service, have information and experience that are valuable to the entire academic community and currently be active in their professions. Each winter, faculty submit nominations. In the spring, a pre-screening committee consisting of students and representatives from the faculty and administration make recommendations to the chancellor. The chancellor then chooses the participants for the program.

American Indian/Native American

An exception to Associated Press’s preferred term for Native American, the university will use “Native.” When possible use specific name of a tribe: He is a member of the Omaha Indian tribe. As always, be sure a reference to ethnicity is pertinent to the story. Be sensitive to individual’s preference.


Note capital C: National service program that allows people of all ages and backgrounds help pay for education in exchange for a year of service.


Use the ampersand (&) only when it is part of a formal name; it should not otherwise be used in the place of or as an abbreviation for “and.”


Not archeology

Architecture, College of

The official name of the college at the university. Can call it the architecture college (note the lowercase) in more informal uses.


Acronym for the university's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Neb.

Arts and Sciences, College of

The official name of one of the university’s colleges. Can call it the arts and sciences college (note the lowercase) in more informal uses.

Assistant, associate

Do not abbreviate; capitalize only when part of a formal title before a name. Assistant and associate as relating to academic titles are not interchangeable. In some materials it may not be necessary to designate a professor as assistant or associate; the writer may choose to identify a faculty member in relation to their specialty: biologist, agronomist, etc. See entry on identities.

Association of Students of the University of Nebraska

Student government representing students at Nebraska. ASUN on second reference. The elected president of ASUN is a non-voting member of the NU Board of Regents.

"At sign" @

Avoid using the "at sign" (@) in body copy whenever possible. Symbols like the "at sign" are not, and never have been, intended for use in public relations and news copy. Removing symbols makes it easier for media outlets to use news releases. Another reason to avoid using the "at sign" is that some websites automatically read the symbol as an email address, converting the word before and after the @ to an email link. An exception to using the "at sign" is when presenting an email address as a contact within body copy.

athletic department

Use this form, lowercase: “athletic department.” Officially: University of Nebraska Athletic Department.

Bob Devaney was the director of athletics.