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Glenn College Stylebook

News Type College News

The Glenn College and The Ohio State University follow the Associated Press stylebook for non-academic, external-facing communications such as news releases, emails and newsletter and website content. Exceptions to AP style are noted in the university style guide and our Glenn College Stylebook.

The university editorial style guide, via Associated Press, is available online. A university sign-in is required.

This Glenn College Stylebook outlines editorial style specific to our college, with a few commonly used AP entries added. The Glenn College Stylebook is not meant to be exhaustive and will be expanded and updated when necessary. Have a question? Need guidance added? Contact Joan Wall.

GRAMMAR AND STYLE (see punctuation rules at end of this list)

academic degrees, majors and minors

Capitalize the formal name of the degree as listed in the registrar’s official degree list; lowercase other uses.

Abbreviation of the general degree name (i.e. BA, MS) is acceptable on first reference. Do not use periods in abbreviations of degrees. Do not capitalize names of college studies, fields of study, curricula, majors, minors or programs unless you need to use the formal name of these (say, as the title of a web page) or if using names of countries, nationalities, historical periods and languages.

Jane Doe is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis with a specialization in nonprofit management. Jane Doe, a public policy analysis student, will receive her bachelor’s degree in May. John Doe is majoring in public management, leadership and policy with a minor in women, gender and public policy. Steve Student graduated with an MPA.

In all of these listings, the examples are acceptable on first reference except where certain usages are noted for second reference only. 

  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Management, Leadership and Policy (BA in Public Management, Leadership and Policy; bachelor’s degree, or bachelor of arts degree, in public management, leadership and policy)
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis (BS in Public Policy Analysis; bachelor’s degree, or bachelor of science degree, in public policy analysis)
  • Master of Public Administration (master’s degree in public administration; MPA is acceptable only when the audience is familiar with the degree)
  • Master of Public Administration, Washington, D.C. (MPA-DC acceptable on second reference only.)
  • Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management (MA in Public Policy and Management; master’s degree, or master of arts degree, in public policy and management) On second reference: in-career MA is acceptable.
  • Master of Public Administration and Leadership (online MPAL acceptable on second reference)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Management (PhD in Public Policy and Management; doctorate in public policy and management; doctoral degree in public policy and management) Note that “doctorate” is used alone; if “degree” is added, use “doctoral.”
  • Undergraduate minors:
    • Minor in Women, Gender and Public Policy; women, gender and public policy minor
    • Minor in Science and Engineering in the Public Interest (Avoid use of the acronym, SEPI. Use “the minor” on second reference.); science and engineering in the public interest minor
    • Minor in Civic Engagement; civic engagement minor
    • Minor in Nonprofit Management; nonprofit management minor
    • Minor in Public Policy; public policy minor
  • Graduate minors:
    • Minor in Public Policy and Management; public policy and management minor
    • Minor in Nonprofit Management; nonprofit management minor
    • Minor in Federal Policy and Management; federal policy and management minor
  • Graduate certificate programs
    • Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration
    • Certificate in Public Management
    • Certificate in Federal Policy and Management

academic titles for faculty and staff Follow AP style here: Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chair, dean, professor, director, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Associate Dean for Curriculum Rob Greenbaum; Rob Greenbaum, associate dean for curriculum


  • Do not use “Dr.” in front of the name unless the person is in the medical profession. Do not use academic credentials after a person’s name.
  • Where appropriate, add “John Glenn College of Public Affairs” in front of the title. Use the full college name on first reference in one communication; Glenn College is acceptable on second reference.
  • Add joint appointments if it makes sense to do so in the context of the message. Professor Ned Hill, joint faculty with City and Regional Planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture
  • Honorific titles: Capitalize these permanent titles before and after the person's name.
  • Clinical professor of practice: Use the academic title, as this term is not familiar to a lay audience. Associate Professor John Doe. BUT Associate Professor and Enarson Fellow Jim Landers Exception: In messages to peer academic audiences, add “of practice”: Associate Professor of Practice John Doe
  • Affiliated, courtesy or associated faculty: A lay audience will not understand these terms. Use the person’s academic title before their name and their department after the name: Associate Professor Vladimir Kogan, political science. Do not include them in core faculty listings.
  • Include senior lecturers with core faculty listings and capitalize the title before the name. Senior Lecturer Todd Suddeth; Todd Suddeth, senior lecturer
  • Instructors and lecturers: Refer to all simply as “instructor”; do not capitalize the title before the name. Do not include them in core faculty listings.
  • If someone has a named appointment, use the academic title before the name and the full title after the name:
    • Associate Professor Jim Landers, Enarson Fellow (in peer academic audience communications: Associate Professor of Practice Jim Landers, Enarson Fellow)
    • Professor Russell Hassan, Ambassador Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Chair in Public and International Affairs
    • Professor John Horack, Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and the College of Engineering
  • Exceptions:
    • Capitalize titles whether they are before or after names and use PhD or other academic abbreviations where applicable after the person’s name in formal event speaker listings (not running text).

advisor Not adviser. This is an Ohio State exception to AP style.

alumni Alumnus is the singular, masculine form. For references to women, use alumna (singular) or alumnae (plural). Alumni is plural for a group of both men and women. Glenn College AP exception: Wherever possible, use “graduate” instead of the singular “alumna” or “alumnus.”

ampersand Spell out the word “and” unless the “&” symbol is officially the part of the name. NOTE: There is a current issue on the website — using the ampersand in a title will not relate to the front end and will translate as “&.” So even if the ampersand is part of the title of something, we need to be careful when placing it on the website to make sure it shows correctly until this error is fixed. Check to ensure it's correct, if not type out “and.”

Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy Always use the full name on first reference to avoid confusion with Battelle, the scientific research organization located south of Ohio State’s main campus. “Battelle Center” or “the center” are acceptable on second reference.

Buckeyes Always capitalize when you’re referring to the Ohio State community. Lowercase when you’re simply talking about the nut.

capitol, capital Capitol is the narrow term, referring to a building, including Capitol Hill. Capitalize U.S. Capitol and the Capitol when referring to the building in Washington: The meeting was held on Capitol Hill in the west wing of the Capitol. Follow the same practice when referring to state capitols: The Virginia Capitol is in Richmond. Thomas Jefferson designed the Capitol of VirginiaCapital is the broader term, referring to the city where the seat of government is located. Do not capitalize it in this sense: Columbus is the capital of OhioWhen used in a financial sense, capital describes money, equipment or property used in a business by a person or corporation.

central Ohio Do not capitalize central.

city, state government bodies, capitalization When referring to the official entity/government body, capitalize: The City of Columbus criminal justice initiative. Lowercase when not referring to the official governmental entity: I’m going shopping in the city of Columbus today.

classes, courses Capitalize the official name of the course or class; otherwise, lowercase.

composition titles Put quotation marks around the titles of research articles and papers, magazine and news articles, and book chapters. Italicize the titles of the journals, magazines or books in which they are published. Capitalize the first word, all nouns, all verbs (even short ones, like “is”), all adjectives, and all proper nouns. Lowercase articles, conjunctions and prepositions. For consistency, use this capitalization rule even if the original composition did not follow this same style. NOTE: This rule also applies to events in running text (not invitations or listings).

Glenn College Associate Professor Noah Dormady published “The Cost-Effectiveness of Economic Resilience” in the International Journal of Production Economics.

Congress, congressional Capitalize congress when referring to a specific, official body. Lowercase when using in general terms. Capitalize congressional when part of a specific proper name, like Congressional Black Caucus; lowercase in general uses such as “She worked for congressional committees.”

decision-making, decision-maker Hyphenated.

diversity, equity and inclusion Use DEI on subsequent reference.

  • brown (adj.): Avoid this broad and imprecise term in racial, ethnic or cultural references unless as part of a direct quotation. Interpretations of what the term includes vary widely. Be specific.
  • Caucasian: Avoid as a synonym for white, unless in a quotation.
  • African American: No hyphen for this and other dual-heritage terms.
  • Black (adj.): Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges. African American is also acceptable for those in the U.S. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow a person’s preference if known, and be specific when possible and relevant.  Use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.
  • Do not capitalize “white.”
  • Black(s), white(s) (n.) Do not use either term as a singular noun. For plurals, phrasing such as Black people, white people, Black teachers, white students is often preferable when clearly relevant. The plural nouns Blacks and whites are generally acceptable when clearly relevant and needed for reasons of space or sentence construction.

faculty in residence Do not hyphenate.

Fellow Capitalize “Fellow” or “Fellows” in all cases referring to the honorary/earned positions.

headlines and titles Capitalize the first word, all nouns, all verbs (even short ones, like “is”), all adjectives, and all proper nouns. Lowercase articles, conjunctions and prepositions.

John Glenn College of Public Affairs “the Glenn College” is acceptable on second reference. Do not use John Glenn, JGCPA, JGC or John Glenn College when referring to the college.

Sen. John and Annie Glenn

  • Sen. John Glenn (abbreviate Sen.) Use simply “Glenn” on second reference.
  • Annie Glenn Use simply Glenn on second reference.
  • Use “Sen. John and Annie Glenn” when referring to the couple on first reference.
  • In situations where we are writing about either of them in an informal, familiar style, use only their first names on second reference.
  • If both are included in the same story:
    • Use John and Annie if it is a casual story about them.
    • If it is more formal writing, use “Sen. Glenn” and “Annie Glenn” throughout unless there is no confusion about which person is being discussed.

Leadership Forum, Newsletter and Podcast Capitalize when referring to the formal title: Leadership Forum, Leadership Newsletter, Leadership Podcast

legislative titles Follow AP style:

  • Use titles, capitalized, before first names on first reference. Use only the person’s surname in subsequent references.
  • Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names. Spell out and lowercase “representative” and “senator” in other uses.
  • Spell out other legislative titles in all uses. Capitalize formal titles such as chair, city councilor, delegate, etc., when they are used before a name. Lowercase in other uses.
  • Add “U.S” or “state” before a title only if necessary to avoid confusion; do not capitalize “state” in this instance: Former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, a Republican, defeated U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat from Alaska, during the 2014 general election.
  • congressman, congresswoman: Rep. and U.S. Rep. are the preferred first-reference forms when a formal title is used before the name of a U.S. House member. When used after a person’s name or in running text, congressman and congresswoman are acceptable because of their common use. Do not use congressperson. Congressman and congresswoman should appear as capitalized formal titles before a name only in direct quotation.
  • Organizational titles: Capitalize titles for formal, organizational offices within a legislative body when they are used before a name: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

policymaker, policymaking One word, no hyphen unless used as an adjective.

professional development programs

  • Management Advancement for the Public Service program/s (second reference: MAPS)
  • Ohio Registered Election Official certification (second reference: the certification or OREO)
  • Professional Fundraising Certification (second reference: the certification)
  • Ready to Run Campaign Training (second reference: Ready to Run or the training)
  • NEW Leadership Summer Institute (second reference: NEW Leadership. “The institute” is acceptable on second reference so long as there is no other institute in the same communication)
  • Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership
  • Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership for Veterans
  • Public Leadership Academy (the academy or the training academy on second reference; avoid PLA unless needed for space)
  • Public Safety Leadership Academy (the academy or the training academy on second reference; avoid PSLA unless needed for space)
  • If both Public Leadership Academy and Public Safety Leadership Academy are used in the same communication, insert the acronym in parentheses after the formal title and then use the acronym on second reference. The Public Leadership Academy (PLA) and Public Safety Leadership Academy (PSLA) are Glenn College programs; this year the Columbus police chief attended PSLA.

published papers Capitalize the main words in all published papers, even if that’s not how it was done on the paper itself, for consistency.

Scarlet and Gray Note spelling of “gray.” Uppercase when referring to the Buckeyes. Lowercase when referring to the colors.

university-wide Hyphenated in all uses. This is an Ohio State style exception to the AP Stylebook.

Washington, D.C. Use periods for D.C., even when D.C. is used alone. Separate it off with commas when used with Washington. Learn more about our Washington, D.C., programs. The dean left for D.C. yesterday. If there is no chance it would be confused with the state, omit D.C. and just use Washington.

Washington academic programs

  • Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP acceptable on second reference.)
  • Master of Public Administration, Washington, D.C. (see academic degrees entry)
  • Minor in Federal Policy and Management
  • Certificate in Federal Policy and Management


commas If a comma does not help make clear what is being said, it should not be there. If omitting a comma could lead to confusion or misinterpretation, then use the comma. In general, do not use the Oxford comma.

  • Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in most simple series: His grandchildren are Vera, Chuck and Dave. He would nominate Marquez, Bedi, Lyman or Wong. She goes to school, plays league soccer and takes private dance lessons.
  • Include a final comma in a simple series if omitting it could make the meaning unclear. The governor convened his most trusted advisers, economist Olivia Schneider and polling expert Carlton Torres. (If Schneider and Torres are his most trusted advisers, don’t use the final comma.) The governor convened his most trusted advisers, economist Olivia Schneider, and polling expert Carlton Torres. (If the governor is convening unidentified advisers plus Schneider and Torres, the final comma is needed.)
  • Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
  • Use a comma before the concluding conjunction in a complex series of phrases: The main points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.

lists, bulleted lists Use bullet points to introduce individual sections of a list. Put a space between the bullet and the first word of each item in the list. Lowercase the first word following the dash or bullet unless it is a proper noun. Introduce the list with a short phrase or sentence and a colon: Our partners: or These are our partners: or Our partners are:

If the list and its introductory phrase combined are a complete sentence, end the list with a period and add “and” at the end of the penultimate listing. End each bullet point with a comma or semicolon, depending on the complexity of the bullet point. Do not use Oxford commas at the end of penultimate bullet points.

The student has already taken:

  • a general math course,
  • an advanced physics course and
  • three language courses.

The student has already taken:

  • arts courses, including clay, multimedia and painting;
  • math courses, which were taught by Professors Jay Smith and Mary Jones; and
  • three courses that required capstone projects.

If the list and its introductory phrase do not create a complete sentence, do not use punctuation at the end of each bullet.

The student’s courses:

  • math
  • advanced physics
  • language

Use periods at the end of each bulleted item that is a full sentence.

Use parallel construction for each item in a list. For example:

  • Start with the same part of speech for each item (in this example, a verb).
  • Use the same voice (active or passive) for each item.
  • Use the same verb tense for each item.
  • Use the same sentence type (statement, question, exclamation) for each item.
  • Use just a phrase for each item, if desired.

Glenn College Stylebook, revised 9/14/23