Editorial Style Guide

Get to know CWRU style.

Language has a big impact on how people perceive Case Western Reserve University. The tonality of our language must always reflect the Case Western Reserve brand as an active, engaging, confident, forward-thinking institution. Your words should convey purposeful and thoughtful messages with strong nouns and dynamic verbs, targeted to intellectual audiences.

Each individual unit can have its own personality that reflects the Case Western Reserve tone. However, there are general guidelines you should follow.

Navigate our Editorial Style Guide below, or download the PDF to print and keep handy in your office.


Case Western Reserve University’s Editorial Style Guide is here to help writers, editors and other communication professionals across campus present ideas and information clearly and consistently. “Style” refers to an organization's guidelines for consistency in how words, phrases, typographical elements, etc., are to be used—or not used.

Having a style guide that serves as a standard puts writers, editors and other communication professionals in a strong position. It shows that the university thinks carefully about how language is used, that it is committed to professionalism and the highest standards of service to partners and clients and that it matters how the university's message is expressed.

The university recognizes that a style guide is an evolving document and should be updated regularly. New situations, new words and new kinds of communications will continue to develop and will require new treatment.

Consult Webster's New World College Dictionary (merriam-webster.com), our first reference for spelling and hyphenation.

To resolve questions about style, consult this guide first. It is based on The Associated Press Stylebook (2018).

Where the guide disagrees with these sources, follow the guide. When the guide does not answer a question, consult The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) for style and Webster’s New World College Dictionary for spelling and hyphenation.

Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Schools (alphabetical order)

  • Case School of Engineering
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Do not use ampersand.)
  • Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  • Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
  • School of Dental Medicine
  • School of Graduate Studies*
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine
  • Weatherhead School of Management

*An administrative unit

Note: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University is part of the School of Medicine.

Important Dates

  • Founding of Western Reserve College: 1826
  • Founding of Case Institute of Technology: 1880
  • Merger or federation creating Case Western Reserve University: 1967

For additional information about the university—including data and historical milestones—consult the following university offices:

Center for Institutional Research
Adelbert Hall, Room 216

University Archives
BioEnterprise Building
University West, Room 20

The University Name

Case Western Reserve University should always receive at least one prominent mention in each publication. “Case Western Reserve University” should always be used in the first reference, and “Case Western Reserve” should be used in subsequent references. “CWRU” can be used in headlines, email subject lines, social media messages and other space-sensitive areas, but in editorial copy, it should be used only after the full university name has been used multiple times. Do not use “Case” or “Case Western” in copy, as these names do not represent our university’s full history. Use of “the university” (all lowercase) is acceptable in second and subsequent references in narrative copy.

    Example: The university was just a block away.

Refrain from putting “the” in front of “Case Western Reserve University,” and limit the need to do so even in instances with subsequent school or department names.

    Example: She went to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

For centers affiliated with the university, possessive use is a good option. Limit the use of possessives with official school names.

    Example: Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Energy Institute is advancing initiatives in renewable energy generation.

    But not: She went to Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine.

College and School Names

On first reference, use the full name of the university and the school.

    Examples: Case Western Reserve University College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University

Acceptable second references for schools:

  • Case School of Engineering: School of Engineering, engineering school (not CSE)
  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University: Lerner College (not CCLCM)*
  • College of Arts and Sciences: the college (not CAS)
  • Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing: School of Nursing, nursing school (not FPB or Bolton School)
  • Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences: Mandel School (not MSASS)
  • School of Dental Medicine: dental school, dental medicine school (not SODM)
  • School of Graduate Studies: the school
  • School of Law: law school
  • School of Medicine: medical school (not SOM)
  • Weatherhead School of Management: Weatherhead School, management school (not WSOM)

*Note: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine is not a separate school, but rather part of the School of Medicine.

Subsequent references in narrative copy to the “school,” “college” or “department” are acceptable and should not be capitalized.

    Example: The school has 700 students.

Building and Office Names

Capitalize names of buildings and offices on first reference. Lowercase names of buildings and offices when making a general reference, which is acceptable on second and subsequent references.

    Examples: She works in the Office of Student Affairs. She is a counselor in the student affairs office.

Each school, division and building within the university named for a person has a short name and a long name. Long names should always be used on first reference. Use shortened form on second and subsequent references. Avoid acronyms whenever possible, as these are unknown outside of campus and also unfamiliar to many within campus.


  • Kelvin Smith Library, Smith Library, the library (not KSL)
  • George S. Dively Building, Dively Building
  • Peter B. Lewis Building of the Weatherhead School of Management, Lewis Building (not PBL)
  • Tinkham Veale University Center, the university center (not TVUC); can be called “The Tink” in informal context

Center Names

The university has a number of academic and research centers. Capitalize the formal name of a center on first reference. Lowercase center when making a general reference, which is acceptable on second and subsequent references.


  • Center for Community Partnerships, the center
  • Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Baker-Nord, the center
  • Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, the Cox Center, the center
  • CWRU Career Center, the career center, the center

Department Names

Capitalize the formal name of a department on first reference. Lowercase “department” on second and subsequent references and when making generic reference to departments.


  • Department of Mathematics, the mathematics department, math department
  • Department of Molecular Science, the molecular science department
  • Department of English, the English department

Use full name in first reference, last name only in subsequent references. Defer to the individual’s personal preference regarding proper first name and inclusion of middle initials (e.g., Joseph P. Smith or Joe Smith).

Do not use courtesy titles. See the “Titles” entry for rules on academic and clinical titles.

Academic Courses

Capitalize academic course titles and place in quotes.

    Examples: “Life of the Mind,” “Nursing Informatics,” “University Seminar,” “Face First”

Course titles also should be capitalized if a course number is used first, but in this instance, quotation marks are not required. To make it easier for readers outside of the university, spell out the name of the department rather than using the abbreviation.

    Examples: Mathematics 122: Calculus for Science and Engineering II, Anthropology (not ANTH) 212: Popular Culture in the United States

Note: General academic subjects are not capitalized. (See the "Academic Subjects" entry.)

Academic Degrees

Capitalize full names of degrees, but only those words that are part of the formal title of the degree. Do not capitalize academic degrees in casual references when the full title of the degree is not given.


  • The Master of Science in Nursing degree (This degree is abbreviated MSN, with the word nursing part of the formal title.)
  • The Master of Arts degree in comparative literature (Since this degree is simply the MA, the words comparative literature are not capitalized.)
  • The Master of Arts degree in comparative literature, a master’s degree in comparative literature, a master’s in comparative literature

Abbreviations of academic degrees take no periods. This guideline diverges from AP.


  • John Jones, PhD
  • PhD, LLM, MA, MBA, BS, BSc, JD, MD, MEd

In general, list only a person’s highest degree when including his or her credentials.

    Example: John Jones, PhD (not John Jones, BA, MA, PhD)

In citing abbreviated degrees, do not identify them explicitly as degrees.

    Example: He earned a BA from Harvard. (not: He earned a BA degree from Harvard.)

However, use the word degree in the following context: He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1972.

Note: Although strictly speaking a person does not graduate from a school, but is graduated, we use the more commonly accepted form: He graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Academic Subjects

Do not capitalize academic subjects, except for proper nouns such as “English” and “French.”

    Example: He took the required courses in economics and mathematics.

Academic Terms

Lowercase academic terms.

    Examples: fall semester, summer session


Faculty and staff are groups of people. Faculty members and staff members are the people within those groups. Do not interchange the two.

    Examples: All faculty members are encouraged to take part in fall convocation; the university’s faculty is renowned for its research.


Do not use “freshman” or “freshmen.” Refer to students just starting their undergraduate careers at the university as “first-year students.”


Do not use “professor” as a synonym for “faculty member,” as the university has several faculty classifications:

  • professor
  • associate professor
  • assistant professor
  • senior instructor
  • instructor


  • Mary Smith, associate professor of history, will give the keynote address.
  • Joe Wilson joined the department as a professor of history.
  • Melody Lane is a senior instructor in the humanities.

Note: Many professors hold endowed professorships, which should always be named.

    Example: Mehran Mehregany, the Goodrich Professor of Engineering Innovation, teaches in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.


See the “Titles” section at the end of the guide.

Identify alumni with abbreviations of their schools and their years of graduation in parentheses after their names. Case Western Reserve University includes its former schools and colleges to honor the graduates of academic programs, schools and colleges that are no longer functioning under their original names. 

  • ADL Adelbert College (non-engineering undergraduates until 1971)
  • ARC School of Architecture 
  • CIT Case Institute of Technology (undergraduates from 1947 to 1988)
  • CLC Cleveland College
  • CSAS Case School of Applied Science (undergraduates up to 1947)
  • CWR Case Western Reserve (undergraduates, 1989 and after*)
  • DEN School of Dental Medicine
  • EDU School of Education
  • FSM Flora Stone Mather College (women undergraduates from 1931 to 1971)
  • GRS School of Graduate Studies
  • HON Honorary degree
  • LAW School of Law
  • LYS School of Information and Library Science
  • MED School of Medicine
  • MGT School of Management
  • MNO Master of Nonprofit Organizations 
  • NUR School of Nursing
  • PHA School of Pharmacy
  • SAS School of Applied Social Sciences
  • WRC Western Reserve College (non-engineering undergraduates from 1973 to 1988)

*Includes College of Arts and Sciences and Case School of Engineering.


  • John Smith (CIT ’72, LAW ’74) 
  • Mary Martin (CWR ’97; GRS ’99, English)
  • Victor Victoria (MGT ’82, LAW ’84)
  • Helen Mayberry (FSM ’45, LYS ’48)
  • Michael Antony (GRS ’84, chemistry, and ’88, computer science)
  • Hope Prevails (CWR ’04, MNO ’06)
  • Mary (CWR ’88) and John (MGT ’04) Smith
  • Melissa and Jack (LAW ’07) Wilson
  • Chris Taylor, PhD (ADL ’66)
  • School of Law alumnus John Smith (CIT '72, LAW '74) is a partner in the Jones, Wesson 
  • and Smith law firm.
  • The Morris Center for Social Workers has named Eric Ridder (SAS '95; GRS '98, 
  • sociology) of Case Western Reserve University its new dean of students.

Apply the correct Latin terminology. Avoid the “alumni/alumnae” construction and use “alumni” when referring to male or both male and female graduates. “Alum” is an acceptable reference for use in informal materials.

  • alumna singular, female
  • alumnae plural, female
  • alumnus singular, male
  • alumni plural, all male or male and female

Always use the university's general mailing address (not building street addresses), complete with the five-digit ZIP Code and appropriate four-digit location code.


    College of Arts and Sciences
    Case Western Reserve University
    10900 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7068

For a department, include the building name, room number and four-digit location code:


    Department of Chemical Engineering
    Case Western Reserve University
    A.W. Smith Building, Room 116
    10900 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7217 

Note: Format telephone numbers with periods. This guideline diverges from AP.

Contact information should be listed and punctuated in the following order:

    Department, Office or Area
    Case Western Reserve University
    Campus building, Room number
    10900 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106-xxxx
    Telephone: 216.xxx.xxxx
    Toll-free: 800.xxx.xxxx
    Fax: 216.xxx.xxxx
    Email: firstname.lastname@case.edu
    Web: case.edu

Note: For websites, the “http://www.” prefix should not be used. The words “website,” “webpage” and “email” all are one word and lowercase.

    Example: The department just launched its website.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Case Western Reserve favor a "down" style—that is, one that encourages a minimum of capitalization. When in doubt, do not capitalize. This includes major university events (commencement, fall convocation), unless they are official “named” events, such as the F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture.

For guidelines on capitalization in a specific instance, e.g., academic title or course title, see the entry for that listing.

In news article headlines, capitalize the first word. In marketing and promotional materials, you may use initial caps for all words except prepositions, articles and coordinating conjunctions.


Limit the use of acronyms (KSL, PBL, SOM, etc.) wherever possible, as these acronyms are unknown to those outside of campus—and often unfamiliar to those on campus.

Use the following style to credit photographers:

  • Photograph by Jane Smith
  • Photography by Jane Smith (if more than one image is used)

Punctuation is intended to clarify meaning and speed comprehension. Consistency is essential. The Associated Press Stylebook has a comprehensive section on punctuation. Below are the few instances where university style diverges from AP.


Em dash (—)

There is no space between the words and the em dash. A sentence should contain no more than two em dashes; otherwise, set off using parentheses.

Use the em dash:

  • After a statement of particulars, and also after a summary of particulars, although here a colon might well be used:
    Example: Reputation, money, friends—all were sacrificed.
  • Before an author's name after a quotation:
    Example: "The new dean will keep the school at the forefront of higher education."
    —John Jones, president
  • Before a statement made for effect or explanation:
    Example: Watch your life and doctrine closely—if you do, you save yourself and your hearers.
  • To denote an abrupt change in thought:
    Example: I love his writing—but what an ego!
  • To emphasize a parenthetical expression:
    Example: In the confusion—and 50 people all standing and waving their arms created a lot of confusion—I forgot to pick up my notes.

En dash (–)

The main use of the en dash is to connect numbers; it is used to connect words less often. It signifies through, so that, for example, 1900–1995 includes 1995. There is no space between the words and the en dash.


  • 1900–1991
  • fiscal 2015–16
  • The Cedar Road–SOM Center Road bus leaves at noon.
  • Cleveland beat Cincinnati 24–10.

To keep construction parallel, do not use the en dash with the word from.

    Example: She was a college student from 1999 to 2004. NOT: She was in college from 1999–2004.


Abbreviations of academic degrees take no periods. This guideline diverges from AP. 


  • John Jones, PhD
  • PhD, LLM, MA, MBA, BS, BSc, JD, MD, MEd

(See the entry on “Academic Degrees.”)

Academic Titles

Capitalize when preceding names. Lowercase when standing alone or following names, except for named professorships, Distinguished University Professors and Institute Professors.


  • The ceremony is in honor of President Barbara R. Snyder.
  • The president was seen often on campus.
  • Barbara R. Snyder, president of the university, was seen often on campus.
  • He is the dean of student affairs.
  • She is the Herbert Henry Dow Professor of Science and Engineering.
  • She was named a Distinguished University Professor last fall.

Clinical Titles

For professors who have clinical appointments at affiliated medical centers, include primary clinical appointments along with university titles.

Example: The lead author was Philip Fastenau, PhD, professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of neuropsychology with the Neurological Institute of University Hospitals in Cleveland.

Courtesy Titles

Do not use courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr., etc.).

Titles of Works

Titles of publications and compositions should be set in italics and should have the principal words capitalized. Articles (“a,” “an” or “the”), prepositions and conjunctions should be capitalized only when they are the first or last words in a title. This guideline applies to books, magazines, newspapers, movies, TV shows, operas, plays, poems, albums, speeches and works of art.

Titles within titles, such as the title of an article in a magazine, should be set in quotation marks. Follow the same rules for capitalizing.

Note: This guideline diverges from AP style.


  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Week
  • Spartacus
  • CBS Evening News with Katie Couric
  • Don Giovanni
  • Angels in America
  • The Raven
  • The Dark Side of the Moon
  • His article “Genetic Modifiers of Lung Disease in Cystic Fibrosis” appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine.