Style guide

This guide supersedes other style guides. For items not listed here, please refer first to the Associated Press Stylebook and then to the to the Webster's New World Collegiate Dictionary.



AACC: American Association of Community Colleges

abbreviations and acronyms: Do not use an abbreviation or acronym on first reference. Do not put the acronym in parentheses after the name. If the reader would not recognize the acronym on second reference without the parentheses, do not use it. Instead, use the full name or a reference to it. (Ex. First reference: The Hospital Association of Rhode Island. Second reference: the association.) Acronyms often used at CCRI are listed alphabetically.

academic degrees: Avoid using abbreviations and use a phrase instead. (Ex. Jane Doe, who has a doctorate in physics) Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree and master's degree. There is no apostrophe in associate degree.
The types of degrees offered at CCRI are:

  • A.A. or associate in arts
  • A.S. or associate in science
  • A.A.S. or associate in applied science
  • A.F.A. or associate in fine arts
  • A.A.S.-T.S. or associate in applied science in technical studies

academic departments: Capitalize the name of the department and the word 'department' only when using the official name. (Ex. the Department of Allied Health, or the allied health department.)
The academic departments at CCRI are:

Department of

  • Administrative Office Technology
  • Allied Health
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Studies
  • Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
  • Dental Health
  • Engineering and Technology
  • English
  • Fire Science
  • Foreign Languages
  • Human Services
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitative Health
  • Retail Management
  • Social Sciences

administrative departments/offices: Capitalize the name of the department and the word "department" or "office" only when using the official name. 
The administrative departments at CCRI are:

  • Office of Institutional Advancement
  • Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
  • Office of Minority Affairs and Affirmative Action
  • Office of the President
    • Department of Marketing and Communications
    • Division of Workforce Partnerships
  • Division of Academic Affairs
    • Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Office of the Dean of Business, Science, Technology and Math
    • Office of the Dean of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences
    • Office of the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
    • Office of the Dean of Learning Resources
  • Division of Business Affairs
    • Office of the Controller
    • Department of Information Technology
    • Office of Human Resources
    • Business Office
    • Office of the Dean of Administration
  • Division of Student Services
    • Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Outcomes Officer
    • Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Services
    • Department of Athletics
    • Office of Enrollment Services
    • Office of Advising and Counseling
    • Office of Student Life and Service Learning
    • Office of Opportunity and Outreach
      • Access/TRIO Student Support Services
      • Connect to College
      • Disability Services for Students
      • Early College Readiness Activities
      • Rhode Island Educational Opportunity Center (TRIO)
      • Rhode Island Educational Talent Search (TRIO)
      • REACH (Realizing Educational and Career Hopes)


alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae: Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for a woman. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.


BASA: Black American Student Association


campuses: Capitalize the formal name of the campus and include the location (except Newport) on first reference: Knight Campus in Warwick; Flanagan Campus in Lincoln; Liston Campus in Providence; Newport County Campus. But: Flanagan and Knight campuses. Satellite campuses are the Westerly Satellite at Westerly High School, 23 Ward Ave., Westerly, and Shepard Building Providence, 80 Washington St., Providence.

campuswide: one word

CCRI: All capital letters. Use only after identifying the college by the full name, except in titles or headlines. Never include periods, such as C.C.R.I.

CDL: commercial driver's license

chair: use in all cases to indicate the head of an academic department or committee leader (exception to AP Style)

classes, courses: lowercase when referring to courses in general, such as a biology course, but capitalize when referring to a specific course, such as Computer Basics or COMI 1000

classroom: one word

CLEP: College Level Examination Program

CLT: clinical laboratory technology

CNA: certified nursing assistant

college and community college: Lowercase unless part of the formal title. Community College of Rhode Island, but the college.

commas: see punctuation


Workforce Partnerships: The Workforce Partnerships, the college's noncredit arm. Spell out on first reference and use "the Center" or Workforce Partnerships on second reference.


database: one word

dates: Spell out days of the week. Spell out months without days, such as October 2015. Abbreviate months with days, such as Aug. 12, 2015, except for March, April, May, June and July. Do not use a comma between a month and a year when the day is not mentioned. Never express dates such as 14th, 22nd or 31st.

dean's list: lowercase in all uses

degrees: see academic degrees

DSS: Disability Services for Students


email (but e-newsletter, e-book, e-commerce, e-reader)

ensure vs. insure: use "ensure" unless referring to a paid insurance policy

EOC: Educational Opportunity Center

ESL: English as a second language (note lowercase)

ETS: Educational Talent Search

exhibit/exhibition: Use the noun form, exhibition, to refer to a gallery show or display



FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

full time, full-time, part time, part-time: Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. She attends college full time. She is a full-time student. Use suspensive hyphenation in cases such as "both full- and part-time students."

Fundraising, fundraiser


GED®: Stands for general educational development; GED® is acceptable on first reference but it is an adjective and must be followed by "credential" or "diploma" and be used with the registered trademark symbol.


health care: two words

home page: two words, no caps; see webpage


IAAP: International Association of Administrative Professionals

inner city, inner-city: hyphenate when used as an adjective (an inner-city school)

instructor: always lowercase

insure: see ensure


IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; IPEDS acceptable on first reference





LASO: Latin American Student Organization



NEASC: New England Association of Schools and Colleges



numbers: Spell out numbers one through nine, use numerals for numbers 10 and higher whenever preceding a unit of measure, distances, fractions, percents or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Do not use "th," "st," "nd," etc. for dates. (May 10, not May 10th). Use "s" without apostrophe when referring to decades (the 1960s). Use apostrophe when referring to graduating class (Class of '09; Jane Smith '84). For ordinals, spell out first through ninth (fourth floor, second place) and use figures starting with 10th.


OES: Office of Enrollment Services


Phone numbers: Use area code for anything that may be circulated out of state: 401-825-1000




president: capitalize only with full name, such as President Meghan Hughes

punctuation: use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma (Oxford comma) before the conjunction in a simple series (He is studying math, Spanish and biology this semester.) However, do use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series if an integral element requires a conjunction (The departments include English, Performing Arts, and Engineering and Technology.)



re-: a hyphen is used when a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel (re-elect, re-enroll, re-establish) and when a word might cause confusion (resign [quit] and re-sign [sign again], recreation [activity] and re-creation [to create again]).

room: capitalize with a number (Room 4090) but lowercase in other uses (The instructor was in the room before class.)


semester: use caps when using the term as a title (Fall 2015 semester or Spring 2016); do not capitalize names of seasons when referring to a semester without a year.



that/which: use "that" for essential clauses important to the meaning of a sentence ("Emma" is the book that we are reading this semester.) Use "which" for nonessential clauses, where the pronoun is less necessary, and use commas (We are reading "Emma," which was written by Jane Austen, this semester.)

time and date references: List events in order of time, date, place (The forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, in the Bobby Hackett Theater at the CCRI Knight Campus in Warwick. [Note comma after 18.]) Use the word "to" instead of a hyphen when describing times (The clinic will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15.) Also, times are expressed as a.m. and p.m., lowercase with periods. For times on the hour, use only the numeral (1 p.m., not 1:00 p.m.) Use "noon" and "midnight," not 12 p.m. and 12 a.m. Evening begins at 6 p.m.

titles: Capitalize job titles if immediately preceding the name of the office holder. 
(Professor Jane Smith but Jane Smith, professor) Capitalize "Acting" when part of a title preceding the name.


URLs in text: Do not use http:// and do not break a line on a hyphen in the URL.


vice president: no hyphen. Capitalize only when used before a name, such as Vice President John Doe.


Web: Capitalize in all cases when referring to the World Wide Web

website, webpage

workforce: one word in all uses




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Last Updated: 6/13/18