Style is a tool that helps writers and editors maintain consistency within an organization or a single publication. In the University's case, style helps all departments and offices present a unified, logical picture to the public through the printed materials they produce. BVU's style guidelines should be abided by as much as possible in the interest of a unified University image.

BVU's Office of University Marketing & Communications is charged with keeping publications in line with University style for consistency and helping ensure that publications present a positive image of the University. As a general style guide for preparing written material for publication, use the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (with the exception of press releases, which should use The Associated Press Style Guide). For points of style specific to BVU, refer to the Written Style Guide below prepared by University Marketing & Communications.

Academic Calendar

References to academic year should drop first two numbers of second year:

  • 2018-19 academic year

References to terms in general are not capitalized:

  • spring semester
  • interim session

References to specific terms are capitalized:

  • Fall 2018
  • January 2019 Interim

Academic Degrees

Avoid using acronyms like B.A. or B.S. or M.A.; instead use:

  • bachelor's degree in biology
  • master's degree in education

You may use Ph.D. or doctorate


Do not use .00 for even dollar amounts.

  • Example: Admission is $5 for adults.

Courtesy Titles

  • Use the Dr. designation on the first reference to someone with a doctorate.
  • Do not use courtesy titles like Mr. or Ms. (use first and last name on first reference).
  • Use last names on subsequent references.

Dashes and Ellipses

  • Use an em dash with spaces before and after.
  • Do not use spaces before or after an ellipsis.

Dates and Times

Do not abbreviate the day of the week.

Use abbreviations for months:

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.
  • Use numbers for dates. Do not use 1st, 2nd, 15th, etc.
  • Leave off the year if reference is to current year.
  • Do not use :00 for times on the hour.
  • Use lowercase, with periods, for a.m. or p.m.
  • Noon and midnight are preferred over 12 p.m. and 12 a.m.
    • Example: The event will be held Monday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m.

Electronic Media Terms

The following spellings are preferred:

  • e-mail
  • home page
  • internet
  • online
  • URL
  • website

Event Names

Always use the official names of events series:

  • Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES)
  • Stolee Lecture
  • Tollefson Reformed Theology Lecture
  • William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture Series

Job Titles

Provide title after name and do not capitalize:

  • Dr. John Smith, associate professor of music
  • Joshua Merchant, president of BVU

Capitalize academic titles only if they immediate precede the name:

  • Professor John Smith
  • President Joshua Merchant


Always use the official names of campus locations:

  • Anderson Auditorium
  • Ballou Building
  • Peterson Field
  • Buena Vista University Art Gallery
  • Buena Vista University Library
  • Constitution Hall
  • Dennis Young Indoor Track
  • Dixon-Eilers Hall
  • Edson Hall
  • Estelle Siebens Science Center
  • Finkbine Natatorium
  • Fritcher Fitness Center
  • Geisinger Student Leadership Center
  • Grand Hall
  • Harold Walter Siebens Forum
  • Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum
  • J. Leslie Rollins Stadium
  • Lage Communication Center
  • Lamberti Recreation Center
  • Lehnus Campus Bookstore
  • Liberty Hall
  • Ohrlund Health Center
  • Pierce Hall
  • Schaller Memorial Chapel
  • Siebens-Lamberti Centers
  • Siebens Fieldhouse
  • Smith Hall
  • Social Sciences & Art Hall
  • Stewart D. Siebens Technology Center
  • Swope Hall
  • White Hall
  • Wood House

References to the University

Always use "Buena Vista University" on the first reference.

May use "the University" or "BVU" on subsequent references.

Do not use "Buena Vista" or "BV" or "B.V.U." or "BV University."

Schools, Offices, and Departments

Schools are capitalized:

  • Harold Walter Siebens School of Business
  • School of Communication and Art
  • School of Education
  • School of Science
  • School of Social Science, Philosophy & Religion

Departments within the schools are not capitalized.

Offices are capitalized:

  • Business Office
  • Center for Academic Excellence
  • Facilities Management
  • Graduate Studies Program
  • Harold Walter Siebens Forum Office
  • Human Resources Office
  • Mail & Printing Services
  • Office of Admissions
  • Office of Financial Assistance
  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty
  • Office of the Vice President for Business Services
  • Office of the Vice President for Enrollment
  • Office of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
  • Office of University Marketing & Communications
  • Purchasing Department
  • Registrar's Office
  • Student Services Office

Spaces Between Sentences

Use one, not two.

State Names

Do not use postal codes. Use standard abbreviations for all but Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

Telephone Numbers

Use figures and periods:

  • 712.749.2400
  • For extension numbers, use ext. (not capitalized)