Writing Style Guide

This style guide has been developed by the Office of College Relations as a reference Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College faculty and staff, especially those who write documents for external audiences. Such documents include print and electronic materials designed to promote Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, its departments, and its programs.

The goal is to present a consistent and high-quality standard of writing that appropriately reflects Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s standard of excellence. The style guide addresses college-related style issues including when to capitalize professional titles, the official names of the departments and offices, etc.. We strongly encourage university faculty and staff to become familiar with these guidelines and to use them whenever possible.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College follows the Associate Press Style Guide.  The following is a list of specific references to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, which in some instances differs from the Associated Press Style Guide.

When Referring to the College

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Name

College: Always capitalize college when making reference to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

The Woods: Always capitalize the when making reference to SMWC as The Woods.

Common Phrases and Word Usage

Ages (also see numbers): Always use figures. Do not use half ages; round them off.  Hyphenate an age if it is being used as an adjective.  If an age is the first word of a sentence, it should be spelled out.

Apostrophes: Use a closed apostrophe (’) with the names of alumnae/i and their class years. For example, Mary Elizabeth Jones ’80 attends Reunion each year.

The Avenue: Always capitalize the when making reference to the main entrance to campus.

Aurora: The biannual literary magazine published by students under the direction of a faculty member.

Boards: Capitalize Board of Trustees and Alumnae Board.  Use “the board” lowercase on second reference.

Bridges: The quarterly publication published by the Office of College Relation in conjunction with the Woods External Degree (WED) program to communicate to WED students.

College: Always capitalize college when making reference to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Composition Titles: The titles of books, plays, movies, television shows, poems, computer games, radio shows, operas, albums, songs, lectures, speeches and works of art should be written between quotes. Do not put these titles in italics. Do not put newspaper or magazine titles in quotes or italics. Do not capitalize newspaper or magazine unless it is in the title.

Chair: Use chair with regard to College employees or trustees. Jane Doe, chair of the financial aid committee.

Dates: Do not use st, nd, rd or th when referring to a date. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Spell out the rest of the months. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas. Spell out each month when used alone or only with a year.

Degrees: Do not refer to an academic degree with a courtesy title, such as referring to a Ph.D. as Dr. Use an apostrophe and lowercase bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, but capitalize and remove the apostrophe when writing Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. There is no apostrophe in associate degree. Always use periods and set off with commas after a name.

Le Fer: Must include a space. Not LeFer.

Mary Fendrich Hulman Hall for the Arts and Sciences: Always use the full name on the first reference. Hulman Hall is appropriate for subsequent references. 

Mary O. Goodwin Guesthouse: Always use the full name on the first reference. Guesthouse is appropriate for subsequent references.

Master of Art in Art Therapy: MAAT appropriate for a second reference if parenthetically indicated following the first reference.

Master of Education: Always use the full name on the first reference. MED appropriate for a second reference if parenthetically indicated following the first reference.

Master of Leadership Development: Always use the full name on the first reference. MLD appropriate for a second reference if parenthetically indicated following the first reference.

Mary Hulman George School of Equine Studies: Always use the full name on the first reference. School of Equine Studies is appropriate for subsequent references.

Names: Names are always written in the following order: first, nickname, maiden name, married name, religious affiliation, academic title and the year of SMWC graduation. For example, Rosemary Nudd, SP, Ph.D., ’69 is an associate professor of English at SMWC.

Saint: Saint is never abbreviated. For example, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Sister of Providence: Abbreviated SP (no periods) as the congregation mandates.

Telephone numbers: For general use, follow AP guidelines. Printed publications will use the format (812) 535- 5212.

theatre: Use the spelling theatre not theater when making reference to the academic program at The Woods.

WED: WED is the acronym for the Wood’s External Degree Program. WED was transitioned into the Woods Online program in October 2011. Discontinue use of WED and Wood's External Degree Program in all material.

The Woods: Always capitalize the when making reference to SMWC as The Woods.

The Woods Conference Center: The Woods Conference Center is the official name for the conference center located in Mary Fendrich Hulman Hall for the Arts and Sciences.

The Woods Newspaper: The Woods Newspaper is the monthly newspaper published by SMWC students. The newspaper is distributed across campus.

Woods Online: Always capitalized and separate both words with a space when referring to the Woods Online program.

Departments and Individuals

Names of Departments and Offices: Always capitalize departments and offices. Always refer to each as the “Department of” or “Office of.”

Administrative and Professional Titles: Capitalize formal administrative and professional titles before names.

Example: President Jane Doe, Dean Jane Doe, Associate Professor John Doe, Trustee John Doe, Coach Doe.

EXCEPTIONS – lowercase

Example: The department presented the award to dean, Jane Doe.

EXCEPTION – capitalize

Lowercase titles when a name is not used - the president, the dean, the director of annual fund.


When appropriate, use academic degrees after a name on first reference only  John Doe, Ph.D., teaches chemistry. Doe is our favorite professor). Titles that serve as occupational descriptions rather than proper titles are lowercase (e.g., chemistry professor John Doe, coach Jane Smith).

When a title applies to only one person in an organization, use the word the in a construction that uses commas (e.g., John Smith, the deputy vice president, spoke). Don’t combine administrative titles with academic titles before a name (i.e., do not use Dean Professor Jane Doe).


Use whatever title the group uses for its leader. Example chairman, chairwoman, chair, chairperson, chair holder and vice chair are not hyphenated.

director of athletics

The formal title is director of athletics. Do not capitalize athletics director in any instance.

emeritus, emerita, emeriti

The title of emeritus is not synonymous with retired; it is an honor bestowed on a small number of retired faculty and should be included in the title. Feminine, emerita; plural for both, emeriti. The word may precede or follow professor. Example: John Doe is an emeritus professor of business; Jane Doe, professor emerita at the College).

modifiers to titles

Do not capitalize qualifying words in the title (e.g., former President Bush, acting Mayor John Doe, interim Dean Jane Doe).


The basic academic titles include assistant professor, associate professor, professor, visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor and visiting professor.