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Brand Style Guide

Editorial Style Guide

Vanderbilt University

Brand Style Guide: Editorial

This publication provides guidelines for addressing issues of style and grammar that are likely to be encountered while producing communications for Vanderbilt University. The first section is an alphabetical listing of words and phrases with guidelines for usage, including Vanderbilt-specific terms; a punctuation guide follows.

These guidelines are for general use and are intended to be a resource especially for those who communicate with external and internal audiences about the university. Students and faculty doing academic writing would likely be better served by consulting the style guides specific to their disciplines or more general grammar and style guides.

The guidelines presented here are based, in part, on two sources: The Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. Both are widely followed standards for questions of style among writers and publishers, with the AP Stylebookrepresenting a journalistic approach and CMS a more traditional one. The Vanderbilt editorial style guide, however, expands on its sources to create a reference specifically for Vanderbilt communicators. Please consider the guidelines presented here as the primary resource for questions of style in Vanderbilt communications.

Please consult this Vanderbilt editorial style guide first, then AP Stylebook and/or Chicago Manual of Style, then a dictionary, preferably either Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language or Webster’s New World College Dictionary, fifth edition. 

Several listings in this guide provide both a news-style and a non-news-style recommendation. Writers and editors should use their own judgment to determine which style is appropriate for their publication and to decide when deviating from the guidelines makes more sense than following them. Different types of publications and different audiences may require different approaches, but, in every case, aim for consistency, clarity, and accuracy.

Vanderbilt University values excellence, community, equity, and diversity. We promote and practice civil discourse. Vanderbilt communications should adhere to these principles.

 
Term Guidelines Updated
'Dores

Short for Commodores. Note the use of the apostrophe.

Exception: For Athletics publications, do not use the apostrophe: Dores.

-long

Daylong, monthlong, yearlong, decadeslong, and lifelong are all one word, no hyphen. Hyphenate semester-long (adj.).

-wide

Compounds ending in wide are not hyphenated unless they are long and cumbersome.

Example:

statewide referendum, worldwide pandemic, countywide office; but university-wide institute.

A.D., B.C.

Instead of A.D., use C.E. Instead of B.C., use B.C.E.

a.m., p.m.

Lowercase, with periods. Use figures to designate time using a.m. and p.m.: 4 p.m. Non-news Style: Use double zeros with whole hours: 4:00 p.m.

For noon and midnight, use the words noon and midnight without the figure 12.

Wrong: Avoid redundancy such as 10 a.m. this morning.

See also time.

abbreviations and acronyms

For most, first reference should be written out; then use abbreviation/acronym on second reference.

Example:

The Vanderbilt Poll is supported by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University. The statewide poll is typically conducted just before the start of each legislative session and at the end of each session, in part to determine how closely the results of the session align with voters’ expectations and priorities. CSDI also conducts a yearly Nashville poll, as well as additional special polls.

 Do not follow an organization’s full name with its abbreviation or acronym in parentheses or set off by dashes. If an abbreviation/acronym would not be clear on second reference without this arrangement, do not use it.

Wrong: The English Language Center (ELC) provides excellent language instruction in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

Right: The English Language Center provides excellent language instruction in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Students from all over the world have been coming to the ELC since 1978.

 Do not use initial caps for a phrase just because its letters form an acronym. Use capital letters only if the phrase is a proper noun.

Wrong: While Light-Emitting Diodes have been used in consumer electronics for decades, recently LEDs have begun replacing incandescent and fluorescent lights in some applications.

Right: While light-emitting diodes have been used in consumer electronics for decades, recently LEDs have begun replacing incandescent and fluorescent lights in some applications.

academic year

News Style: Use a hyphen when writing out an academic year.

Example, News Style:

Online applications are available for the 2020-21 academic year.

Non-news Style offers the option of either a slash (a.k.a. solidus) or an en-dash to designate a period that extends over parts of two successive calendar years.

Example, Non-news Style:

The 2019/2020 catalog is available online.

acknowledgment

.

acreage

 

For publications, the official acreage for the Vanderbilt campus is 334 acres.

addresses

News Style: Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue. Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania avenues. All similar words (alley, drive, road, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out. Always use figures for an address number: 9 Morningside Circle. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two digits for 10th and above: 7 Fifth Ave., 110 21st Ave. N.

Non-news Style: In running text, it is preferable not to abbreviate parts of an address. Spell out such words as avenue, boulevard, and street. Spell out numbered street names of one hundred or less. Thirty-sixth Street. 1212 Fifth Avenue. U.S. Route 41. One instance where abbreviations are recommended: Use the abbreviations NW, NE, SE, and SW in city addresses when they appear after the street name.

See also streets.

administration

Lowercase.

Example:

the administration, the Trump administration, the president’s administration

adviser

Not advisor.

affect, effect

Affect, as a verb, means to influence: The game will affect the standings.

Affect, as a noun, is a technical term used in psychology and psychiatry.

Effect, as a verb, means to cause: He will effect many changes in the company.

Effect, as a noun, means result: The effect was overwhelming. It was a law of little effect.

African American

Do not hyphenate as a noun or an adjective: African Americans, African American students, African American studies. Black may also be used as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense; capitalize Black in this usage.

See also Black.

ages

News Style: Use figures. When used as a modifier or a noun, use hyphens: A 5-year-old boy received the award. The camp is for 3-year-olds. The boy is 5 years old. The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. Applies also to inanimate objects, animals, etc. The 8-year-old building is scheduled for demolition this week.

Non-news Style: Spell out according to the general rule for numbers, i.e., spell out numbers from one to one hundred. The property is held by a fifty-nine-year-old man. The boy is five years old.

See also numbers.

AlertVU
all right

Never alright.

Alumni Association

Capitalize when referring specifically to the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. Use the full, formal name Vanderbilt Alumni Association on first reference; the Alumni Association (retaining capitalization) is acceptable on subsequent references. References to city-based chapters of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association should follow this format: name of city then “Vanderbilt Chapter,” such as “the Nashville Vanderbilt Chapter,” or “the Nashville chapter of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association.”

alumnus

Alumnus refers to a man; plural is alumni. Alumna refers to a woman; plural is alumnae. Use alumni when referring to a group that includes both men and women. Note that individuals who attended Vanderbilt but did not complete a degree should not be referred to as alumni. Correct references are “former student” or, for example, “John Doe, who attended Vanderbilt from 1970 to 1972 ...”

Exception: Vanderbilt Divinity School uses alumni/ae for the plural.

American Indian, Native American

One of the descendants of the Indigenous peoples of North America. Avoid the potentially derogatory term Indian. Do not hyphenate as a noun or adjective.

Example:

Native American students voiced their approval.

See also Indigenous.

 

ampersand

Spell out the word and instead of using the ampersand symbol (&) in running text. Exceptions include Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt, phrases such as “R&D” and corporate or institutional names that are generally abbreviated such as AT&T or Texas A&M. Note that there is no space on either side of the ampersand with these initialisms. Use the ampersand when it is part of a company’s formal name, such as Johnson & Johnson, or when the ampersand is part of a composition title, such as U.S. News & World Report.

Avoid using an ampersand for College of Arts and Science or other Vanderbilt entities (except the bookstore).

Anchor Link

Example:

The Anchor Link web portal helps students explore and manage involvement in student organizations, activities and events.

annual

Do not use the phrase first annual. An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years. In the first year of an event, describe it as the first, not first annual. Alternatively, the first year of an event may be described as inaugural. The designation of an event’s year (second annual, etc.) should not be capitalized as part of its title in running text.

Wrong: The first annual Alumni Cheerleading Reunion will be held this year during homecoming weekend.

Right: The first Alumni Cheerleading Reunion will be held this year during homecoming weekend.

Right: The ninth annual Flulapalooza flu vaccination event will take place in the fall.

Right: Leonard Garment spoke at the inaugural Curb Lecture.

antenna, -ae, -as

Use antennae as plural unless referring to a metal device used for transmitting and receiving electronic signals, in which case antennas is an acceptable plural.

apostrophe

OMITTED FIGURES: The ’20s were a rip-roaring time in American popular culture. Note that there is no apostrophe before the s when referring to decades. OMITTED LETTERS: It’s a great time to be alive; Don’t step on my blue suede shoes; rock ’n’ roll; gone fishin’.

PLURALS OF A SINGLE LETTER: Mind your p’s and q’s. In the introductory class, 15 students earned B’s and 25 earned C’s.

Do not use with multiple-letter combinations unless they are abbreviations using periods.

Example:

List URLs at the end of news releases. Everyone in this office must learn the ABCs of media relations. The department awarded many Ph.D.’s last year.

Be sure to use the apostrophe (which looks like a 9) and not the single open quote (which looks like a 6) or the prime symbol (which is straight, not curly).

Note that the apostrophe is not used to denote the plural of a personal name: The Smiths and Campbells left Tuesday. The Joneses left Wednesday. The Edwardses left Thursday.

See also possessive.

app

Short for application. App is acceptable on first reference. An app is a program that runs inside another service. Many cellphones allow applications to be downloaded to expand their functions. Names of apps are capitalized without quotation marks or italics.

arboretum

A place where trees and shrubs are cultivated for scientific, ornamental and educational purposes. Since 1988, Vanderbilt’s campus has been recognized as an arboretum by the American Public Gardens Association (formerly American Society of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta), and the university maintains APGA membership. Vanderbilt follows APGA guidelines for arboretum status: maintaining plant records; providing labels, maps or other interpretive materials; opening to the public at least part time; serving an aesthetic, educational and research purpose; and maintaining at least one professional staff member.

It is correct to refer to the Vanderbilt campus as an arboretum or a registered arboretum. Or write, for example: Vanderbilt’s campus is an arboretum officially recognized by the American Public Gardens Association since 1988.

Because there is no official certifying body for arboreta, do not use the phrase “official national arboretum” or “certified arboretum” to describe the campus.

archaeology

This is the preferred spelling.

Asian American

Do not hyphenate as a noun or an adjective.

Example:

Fifty Asian American students attended the meeting.

Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni

ABVA is acceptable on second or subsequent references.

asymptomatic

Avoid this medical terminology; use no symptoms, without symptoms or the like.

Example:

Campuswide approaches to safety and the practice of physical distancing are important because individuals can be COVID-19 positive without symptoms.

athletics

Use Department of Student Athletics, Vanderbilt athletics, or student athletics, depending on the context. The department is under the auspices of the vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director.

Exception: Athletics Marketing uses Vanderbilt Athletics.

Example:

Candice Storey Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director, has been instrumental in the success of Vanderbilt athletics as a dedicated member of the Commodore family.

See also coach and team.

athletics director

Example:

Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee is Vanderbilt’s first female athletics director and the first African American woman to head an SEC athletics program.

award

Capitalize when part of the official name of the award.

Example:

Each year the Writing Studio conducts the competition for the Henrietta Hickman Morgan Memorial Award for first-year writers.

The Chancellor’s Cup award is given annually for “the greatest contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student-faculty relationships in the recent past.”

B.C., A.D.

Instead of A.D., use C.E. Instead of B.C., use B.C.E.

B.C.E.

Abbreviation for “Before the Common or Current Era.” Use instead of B.C.

back up (v.), backup (n. and adj.)

Example:

Users should back up their files at the end of each day. The backup files may come in handy, so keep backups in a convenient location.

Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt

Note the use of the ampersand.

Bass Military Scholars Program, Bass Military Scholars

Example:

Retired Lt. Gen. Gary Cheek is director of the Bass Military Scholars Program. In addition to scholar recruitment, Cheek designs and implements programming to engage the Bass Military Scholars in the life of the Vanderbilt community as leaders and mentors.

bestseller (n.), bestselling (adj.)

 

 

 

Bible/bible

Uppercase when referring to the religious text. However, lowercase when used as a figure of speech. Do not italicize.

Example:

The Harvard Medical Encyclopedia is the hypochondriac’s bible.

The course will discuss the Bible as literature.

biblical

Lowercase in all instances.

bikeable, bike-share program, bike sharing
Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center

On second reference, Black Cultural Center is acceptable. Avoid using the acronym BCC or BJJBCC.

Example:

The director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center is faculty head of house for Stambaugh House. His work with the Black Cultural Center is one facet of his life at Vanderbilt that he brings to his role as a mentor for first-year students.

 

Bishops Common

Note there is no apostrophe.

bitcoin
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. Do not use as a noun. African American is also acceptable for those in the U.S.; however, the terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Follow an individual's preference if known, and be specific when possible and relevant.

See also African American.

 

Black Cultural Center

Acceptable for second reference to Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.

Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony

 No apostrophe after Graduates.

blog

(v. and n.) Lowercase. Italicize the title of a named blog. Place blog entries within quotation marks.

Board of Trust

Always uppercase when referring to Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust or the full name of any other named board. On second reference, lowercase “the board.” Also lowercase when referring to it as “the Vanderbilt board.”

Example:

The Vanderbilt financial report will be ready for next week’s Board of Trust meeting.

The board meets on Tuesday.

Link to a list of Vanderbilt Board of Trust members

bookstore

For first reference, use Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt. For second and subsequent references, use “the bookstore, “the Vanderbilt bookstore,” “the campus bookstore.”

Braeburn

Instead use the Vanderbilt University Residence.

See also Vanderbilt University Residence.

break room

.

building

In general, lowercase: the chemistry building. Uppercase when it is the formal name of the building: the Baker Building.

bylaws

 

 

 

C.E.

Abbreviation for “Common or Current Era.” Use instead of A.D.

campus

Lowercase: The lecture is in Featheringill Hall on the Vanderbilt campus.

campuswide

One word, no hyphen. Compounds ending in wide are not hyphenated unless they are long and cumbersome.

Example:

statewide referendum, worldwide pandemic, countywide office; but university-wide institute.

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

.

capitalization

HEADINGS AND TITLES: Capitalize the first and last word and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs (including forms of be, such as is), adverbs and subordinating conjunctions (although, because, if, when, etc.). A preposition functioning as an adverb should be capitalized: Commodore Nation Tunes In to Follow the Team. Lowercase articles (the, a, an), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions (about, by, in, of, under, toward, through, etc.) regardless of length, unless they are the first or last words. Lowercase the to in infinitives: It Is Better to Give. If the first element of a word is a prefix that could not stand by itself as a word, do not capitalize the second element unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective: Co-director Jones Will Lead the Seminar, Pre-major Advisers Meet with New Students.

For headlines and subheads on news releases, only the first word and proper nouns should be capitalized.

CARES Act

Avoid using this term unless in a direct quotation in reference to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Instead, use phrasing such as the coronavirus relief bill, the coronavirus aid bill, the coronavirus rescue package, etc., for the U.S. government’s $2.2 trillion package to help businesses, workers and a health care system staggered by the coronavirus. Do not refer to it as a stimulus, a stimulus package, etc. The measure was passed to replace money lost in the collapse of the economy, rather than to stimulate demand.

catalog

Not catalogue.

CDC

On first reference, use Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Precede with national, federal or U.S. if needed for clarity. On second reference, the CDC is acceptable and takes a singular verb (e.g., the CDC is …).

cellphone, smartphone

One word, lowercase.

center

Capitalize when part of the full, formal name.

Example: The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center was founded in 1978.

On second reference, capitalize a shortened version of the name.

Example: Programs provided by the Women’s Center are described on their website.

Never capitalize when the word center is used alone.

Example: The center invites participation by the entire campus community.

Center for Student Wellbeing

Note that the word well-being should be hyphenated in other uses.

Central Library

Use for references to this unit of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries. This building, located at the east end of Library Lawn, also houses Divinity Library and Special Collections and University Archives.

See also Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.

century

Lowercase: the first century. See numbers for further guidance.

chair

Preferred title for the presiding officer of a department or committee. Avoid chairperson.

chancellor

For news purposes, lowercase unless preceding a name.

Example:

The meeting provided a chance for students to meet the chancellor and to discuss the university's goals and priorities.

The session features a discussion with Chancellor Daniel Diermeier.

See also emeritus.

Chancellor Faculty Fellows

    

Children’s Hospital

Preferred second reference for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Always use the full name on maps.

civil rights, civil rights movement

 Lowercase.

class

Capitalize when referring to a specific class: the Class of ’94. Note: Use an apostrophe, not an opening single quotation mark.

classes, courses, instruction

Education may occur on campus and/or through enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.

Example:

In-person classes were suspended for the summer sessions, and all teaching continued through virtual/alternative strategies.

On-campus, in-person teaching resumed, based on public health status and safety protocols.

Although we are offering in-person instruction, we also are planning for all courses to be delivered by virtual/alternative platforms.

cleanroom
co-

Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives and verbs that indicate occupation or status: co-chair, co-author, co-sponsor, co-founder, co-captain. Use no hyphen in other combinations: coeducation, coexist, corequisite. Note: cooperate, coordinate and related words are exceptions to the rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.

See also prefixes.

co-worker

.

coach, head coach

Generally, follow the rule for academic titles: Coach Derek Mason; Derek Mason, head football coach.

Example:

According to football coach Derek Mason, the team is ready for Saturday’s game.

When Coach Mason speaks, his players listen.

The defensive end has informed Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason of his decision.

Derek Mason, head football coach at Vanderbilt, discussed the postseason bowl appearance.

College Halls at Vanderbilt

This name is no longer used to describe Vanderbilt’s residential college initiative.

See residential college system.

colon

The most frequent use of a colon is at the end of a sentence to introduce lists, tabulations, texts, etc.

FIRST WORD AFTER A COLON: Capitalize if a proper noun. News Style recommends capitalizing the first word if it is the start of a complete sentence. Non-news Style recommends lowercase in this instance, but capitalizing the first word if the colon is followed by two or more sentences, speech in dialogue, or an extract.

WITH LISTS: Do not use a colon to set off a list of single words or simple phrases. Do not use after forms of the verb “to be.” A colon may be used to set off a bulleted list or a list composed of long phrases.

Example: Other topics covered during the fellowship included: distance learning, training teachers to use technology and integrating technology into classrooms in a meaningful way.

EMPHASIS: The colon may be used to add emphasis.

Example: He had only one hobby: eating.

commas

IN A SERIES: News Style uses commas to separate elements in a series, but does not put a comma before the conjunction: The flag is red, white and blue. 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. The School of Engineering, the College of Arts and Science, and Peabody College are involved in the new initiative. In general, when in doubt, leave it out. Non-news Style recommends using the serial comma (the comma before the conjunction in a series): The flag is red, white, and blue.

IN COMPOUND SENTENCES: Use commas to separate independent clauses of a compound sentence: The group has ambitious plans for expanding the volunteer services they provide, and members are actively recruiting among their peers. Be careful to distinguish between a compound sentence (two or more independent clauses) and a compound predicate (two or more verbs having the same subject). Do not use a comma with a compound predicate. She attended three meetings that morning and in the afternoon went to class. (The subject of the sample sentence is she and the verbs are attended and went.)

WITH NAMES: Set off a title with commas but not the designations Jr. or II: Kate Daniels, professor of English, is the chair of the committee. John Smith Jr. and Pat White II are also on the committee.

WITH LOCATIONS: Use commas to set off the elements in addresses and names of geographical places or political divisions. The people in Cincinnati, Ohio, are friendly.

WITH DATES: When month day, and year are included in a date in running text, use commas before and after the year: On February 10, 2020, all candidates were interviewed. Do not use a comma if only the month and year are mentioned: Five candidates were on campus in February 2020 for a series of interviews.

Commencement

Capitalize when referring to the Vanderbilt event. Lowercase general references.

Example:

The Vanderbilt Commencement ceremony will be streamed live.

A university’s commencement is a special opportunity.

Commons

See The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt.

Commons Center

See The Commons Center.

Commons Reading

Example:

An annual tradition, the Commons Reading is a book sent to incoming first-year students the summer before they arrive on campus. The reading is discussed on The Ingram Commons and across campus during the students’ Vanderbilt Visions groups and in other contexts.

comprise

Comprise means to contain, to include all, to consist of. The whole comprises the parts. Never say “is comprised of.” One option to eliminate that incorrect phrase is to replace it with “is composed of.”

Wrong: Vanderbilt is comprised of 10 schools.

Right: Vanderbilt comprises 10 schools.

Right: The United States comprises 50 states.

continual, continuous

Continual means habitual, frequently recurring. Continuous means ongoing, without interruption.

coronavirus

.

course titles

Capitalize official course titles in running text. No italics or quotation marks are necessary.

Example:

Frank was hoping to get into a new management course, Online Consumer Behavior.

When listing a course number with the departmental abbreviation, put a space between the abbreviation, the course number and the course name.

Example:

ME 2190 Dynamics

If listing the department name with the course number, capitalize the department name.

Example:

Mechanical Engineering 2190 Dynamics

courses

See classes, courses, instruction

coursework

One word.

court cases

Italicize and use v. for versus.

Example:

Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement in the U.S.

courtesy titles

Never use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc. Use Dr. only when the person is a medical doctor and use only on first reference.

COVID-19

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. When referring specifically to the virus, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable. But, because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19.

COVID-positive individual, an individual who is COVID-positive, COVID-19 positive person

.

creative writing program

Use for general references to the English department’s creative writing offerings, which include both the undergraduate curriculum and the MFA program (note the use of lowercase). Use MFA Program in Creative Writing for references specifically to the MFA program (note that MFA does not have periods when referring to the Vanderbilt program, but periods should be used when using the abbreviation for the master of fine arts degree, M.F.A.).

See also MFA Program in Creative Writing.

credit hours

Use numerals to refer to credit hours.

Example:

She is enrolled in a 3 credit hour course. (Note that no hyphens are used.)

cum laude

No italic.

curriculum (singular), curricula (plural)
curriculum vitae

No italic; the plural is curricula vitae. Also referred to as CV; plural: CVs.

Example:

He requested a curriculum vitae from each applicant and within a week had received three curricula vitae via email. He marked each CV with the appropriate code and put them all in a file labeled CVs.

dash (em-dash)

The em-dash expresses a pause, an abrupt change in thought or a parenthetical statement; it may be used instead of a colon to precede a list. It separates a word, phrase, or clause from the rest of the sentence.

Example:

Some parents started the day with high levels — they hit the ground running — while others had a blunted daytime cortisol level.

In every sense — educational, philosophical, practical — the partnership works.

Spacing, em-dash, News Style: A space should separate a dash from the word preceding and the word following it. Tumors require supply lines — new blood vessels — to support their growth and spread.

Spacing, em-dash, Non-news Style: There should be no space on either side of the dash. Tumors require supply lines—new blood vessels—to support their growth and spread.

dash (en-dash)

In Non-news Style, the en-dash (which is half the length of an em-dash, but longer than a hyphen) is used to indicate a range or route (where it can stand for the word to). It may also express a connection between two things of equal weight (standing in for the words and, to, or versus).

Example:

Date and time ranges: March–May, 1–2 p.m.

Page ranges: pp. 11–15

Routes: New York–London flight

Two words of equal weight that are associated but shouldn’t be hyphenated: mother–daughter relationship

Compound adjectives in which one of the parts of the compound is composed of more than one word or a hyphenated word: Civil War–era document, pre–World War II policy, North Carolina–Virginia border, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, high-priority–high-pressure tasks

Note that News Style does not use the en-dash. In the above instances, News Style would use a hyphen instead of an en-dash.

Do not combine a preposition with a dash when indicating a range.

Example:

Right: The exhibit will be on display from March 2 through April 10. Or: The exhibit will be on display March 2–April 10.

Wrong: The exhibit will be on display from March 2–April 10.

See also hyphen.

dates

Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th.

When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, commas are required before and after the year.

Example:

He was born May 25, 1950, in Wichita.

When including a day of the week with the date, use a comma after the day and after the date.

Example:

The reception will be Thursday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m.

When a phrase refers to a date but not a year, then do not use a comma with the date.

Example:

The exhibit will open Feb. 15 at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

When referring to just the month and year, then do not use a comma.

Example: The program began in May 1999 with 10 participants.

When writing a span of dates, do not combine a preposition with a hyphen.

Wrong: Spring break will be from March 7-14.

Right: Spring break will be March 7-14.

Right: Spring break will be from March 7 through March 14.

Spell out the names of months when used alone or with a year alone. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.

For more formal uses, and for Non-news Style, do not abbreviate months.

See also months and days.

David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center

On second reference, Recreation and Wellness Center or the center may be used. In most instances, avoid using an acronym.

days

Do not abbreviate days of the week unless in tabular format.

When writing a day and date, use a comma after the day and after the date.

Example:

The reception will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

Do not set off days or dates with commas when they stand alone.

Example:

The reception will be held Oct. 20 at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

For publication on a website, include the date, not just the day, so that the information remains timely and clear. For example, if you write John Smith died on Monday, that statement will be outdated and confusing within a week. Instead, write John Smith died on Monday, Jan. 26.

dean

Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in other uses.

Example:

During the ceremony, Dean Philippe Fauchet will present the award.

Philippe Fauchet, dean of the School of Engineering, will attend the conference.

The dean has published many books on the subject.

Vanderbilt’s deans:

  • Jeffrey R. Balser, Dean of the School of Medicine
  • Camilla Persson Benbow, Dean of Peabody College
  • Lorenzo F. Candelaria, Dean of Blair School of Music [On first reference, always include middle initial.]
  • Philippe M. Fauchet, Dean of the School of Engineering
  • John G. Geer, Dean of the College of Arts and Science
  • Chris Guthrie, Dean of the Law School
  • M. Eric Johnson, Dean of Owen Graduate School of Management
  • Lawrence J. Marnett, Dean of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Linda D. Norman, Dean of the School of Nursing
  • Bunmi Olatunji, Interim Dean of the Graduate School
  • Emilie M. Townes, Dean of the Divinity School

 See also the Vanderbilt Administration Organizational Chart for a list of deans and university officers.

Dean’s Residence, Dean of The Ingram Commons Residence
decades

Use figures to indicate decades of history. When abbreviating, precede with an apostrophe, not an opening single quotation mark. (The apostrophe resembles a 9; the opening single quote mark resembles a 6.) Form the plural by adding the letter s, no apostrophe.

Example:

Wrong: not 20’s or 1960’s

Right: ’20s, ’60s, 1960s

Non-news Style: Decades may be spelled out and lowercased (as long as the century is clear) or expressed in numerals.

decision maker (n.), decision making (n.), decision-making (adj.)
degree designations (Vanderbilt alumni)

In most circumstances, when referring to Vanderbilt alumni and denoting their Vanderbilt degrees, list the earned degree abbreviation (no periods) after the name, followed immediately by an apostrophe (no space) and the last two digits of the degree year, all within commas.

Example:

Tiana Clark, MFA’17, is on the rise as one of poetry’s most exciting new voices.

degrees (academic)

Lowercase degrees if spelled out: bachelor of arts, master of science, doctorate, doctor of philosophy. Do not follow the name of a degree with the word degree. Use an apostrophe in the short form: bachelor’s degree, master’s.

Wrong: He earned a master of arts degree in anthropology.

Right: He earned a master of arts in anthropology.

Right: He earned a master’s degree in anthropology.

Right: Those receiving doctoral degrees should arrive by 9 a.m.

Try to avoid the abbreviations B.A., B.S., M.S., etc., but if you do abbreviate degrees, then be sure to use periods after all the letters (with the exception of MBA, no periods). An exception to this recommendation is degree information that follows the name of a Vanderbilt alumnus within running text to designate that person’s Vanderbilt degree and year. For this style, see degree designations (Vanderbilt alumni).

An alternative to listing degree abbreviations is to use a phrase describing the degree, for example, “John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology, ...”

Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference.

Wrong: Dr. Robert Smith, M.D., is chair of the department.

Right: Dr. Robert Smith is chair of the department.

Only people with an M.D. are referred to as Dr. and then only on first reference. People with Ph.D.’s are not referred to as Dr., nor are their names typically followed by their degrees.

Plural: M.A.’s, Ph.D.’s

See also MBA and MFA Program in Creative Writing.

departments and offices, administrative

 Capitalize the full, formal name of the university’s administrative divisions, offices and departments.

Example:

Division of Communications; Office of Undergraduate Admissions

A shortened version (i.e., dropping “Division of,” “Office of,” etc.) may be used on second reference and should be capitalized.

Example (for second reference):

Communications; Undergraduate Admissions

Lowercase other forms.


Example:

communications division; undergraduate admissions office

departments, academic

Capitalize only when using the full, formal name of a department (that is, Department of …). Lowercase other forms.

Example:

the Department of History — the history department; the Department of Sociology — the sociology department; the Departments of History and Sociology — history and sociology departments; the Department of English — the English department; the French and English departments.

See also division and program.

dialogue

Not dialog.

Diermeier, Daniel

Diermeier, an internationally renowned scholar of political science and managerial leadership, began his tenure as the ninth chancellor of Vanderbilt on July 1, 2020. Formerly provost and dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and a longtime professor at Stanford University and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, Diermeier was selected by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust in fall 2019 to lead Vanderbilt.

dimensions

News Style: Use figures and spell out inches, feet, yards, etc.

Example, News Style:

He is 5 feet 6 inches tall; the 5-foot-6-inch man; the 9-by-12 rug.

Non-news Style: In dimensions, spell out whole numbers as well as designations of inches, feet, etc.

Example, Non-news Style:

He is five feet six inches tall; the five-foot-six-inch man; the nine-by-twelve rug.

directions and regions

In general, lowercase north, south, southeast, etc. when they indicate compass directions. Capitalize when they designate regions.

Example:

When the coach’s latest recruit moved east from California to enroll at Vanderbilt, he made a promise to himself. He would become the best player in the Southeast.

disabled, disability

Preferred terms, rather than handicapped. Use “people first language” that describes what a person has, not who the person is. For example, rather than writing “she is autistic,” instead write “she has autism.”

Use neutral language. Avoid using victim of, suffers with, afflicted by, wheelchair-bound, etc.

Instead use:

people with disabilities, people without disabilities, she has autism, he has a physical disability, person with a brain injury, people with mental illness, accessible seating, accessible parking, the disabled community

Instead of using normal, consider using typical or without disabilities.

Use separate instead of special in such phrases as separate bathroom, separate bus.

disc, disk

Use the disc spelling for phonograph records and related terms (disc jockey), optical and laser-based devices (a Blu-ray disc or compact disc) and for disc brake. Use disk for computer-related references, such as hard disk; medical references, such as a slipped disk; and science-related references, such as the disk of the Sun.

division

Capitalize when using the full, formal name of a university division.

Example:

The Division of Public Affairs serves as the institution-wide hub for public policy initiatives.


Capitalize on second reference when the name is shortened (i.e., “Division of” is dropped).

Example (for second reference):

Through its community outreach, Public Affairs strengthens important relationships.

Lowercase when the official name is flopped.

Example:

Every activity of the public affairs division supports the university’s mission.

Do not capitalize when part of a person’s title unless the title precedes a name.

Example:

First they contacted the vice chancellor for communications.

Vice Chancellor for Communications Steve Ertel will chair the committee.

doctoral, doctorate

To describe the doctor of philosophy degree, use doctoral degree or doctorate. Use the adjective doctoral for such uses as doctoral program, doctoral candidates. People with Ph.D.’s are not referred to as Dr., nor are their names typically followed by their degrees.

Example:

She will receive her second honorary doctorate during the ceremony.

The doctoral program is world renowned.

He received a doctoral degree in 1995.

dorm

Use residence hall instead of dorm when referring to Vanderbilt student living quarters.

download

One word.

Dr.

May be used as a title before the name of a medical doctor on first reference. Do not continue to use the title with subsequent references. Avoid using “Dr.” as a title before the name of an individual who holds a doctorate.

Dyer Observatory

See Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory.

e-book

Lowercase unless starting a sentence.

e-commerce

Lowercase unless starting a sentence.

e-password
e-reader

Lowercase unless starting a sentence.

E. Bronson Ingram College

Bronson College is acceptable for second reference. Avoid using the acronym EBI.

each

Takes singular verb.

Example:

Each of the residence halls on The Ingram Commons houses first-year students.

Each of the students is invited to the dinner.

Earth/earth

Capitalize and do not precede with the if used as the proper name of the planet, especially in context with other planets.

Example:

Martian meteorites may have carried microbial life from Mars to Earth.

The Earth and environmental sciences are aimed at understanding Earth’s dynamic history.

Dan Morgan, senior lecturer in Earth and environmental sciences, studies ice and how it has changed over hundreds of thousands of years.

Lowercase in more general, nontechnical uses and in idioms.

Example:

She is down to earth.

Paul Conkin’s book explores how Americans can craft policies that may preserve a healthy earth.

East Tennessee

Capitalize this phrase describing the region of the state.

See also regions.

either

Takes singular verb.

Example:

Either of the two rooms has sufficient lighting.

ellipsis

Three dots (periods) used to indicate a pause or to indicate word(s), sentence(s) or paragraph(s) omitted from quoted material.

Spacing, News Style: Ellipses should be preceded and followed by a space: I ... have trouble ... collecting my thoughts. If the words preceding an ellipsis constitute a grammatically complete sentence, a period should precede the ellipsis: I had a very good time. ... But I wouldn’t want to go back.

Non-news Style recommends inserting space before and after the ellipsis and between each of the three ellipsis points: I . . . have trouble . . . collecting my thoughts. I had a very good time. . . . But I wouldn’t want to go back.

email

(n. and v.) Lowercase, no hyphen.

emeritus, emerita

If after the name, set off by commas and lowercase. If before the name, set off by commas and uppercase. When used with chancellor, uppercase and do not use commas whether before or after the name.

Example:

Michael L. Aurbach, professor of art, emeritus, said...; Professor of Art, Emeritus, Michael L. Aurbach said...; Joe B. Wyatt, Chancellor Emeritus, wrote...; Chancellor Emeritus Joe B. Wyatt wrote…

Engineering and Science Building

Avoid using the acronym ESB.

See also Innovation Pavilion and Wond’ry.

ensure, insure

Use ensure to mean guarantee. Use insure to mean indemnify.

Example:

They want to ensure the accuracy of the report.

Vanderbilt University does not insure industry sponsors against claims or losses resulting from intellectual property infringement that might occur in the course of conducting research.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Do not use office as part of the official name when referring to this group, which is led by Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Andre L. Churchwell.

Example:

Town halls co-sponsored by Equity, Diversity and Inclusion opened up a space for authentic dialogue to build trust and respect within the Vanderbilt community.

Eskind Library

On first reference use Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center. For headlines: Eskind Library. For second and subsequent references: Eskind Library or Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center.

essential clauses and nonessential clauses

An essential (or restrictive) clause is one that is essential to the meaning of the sentence, i.e., it identifies and/or specifies the subject. No comma should be used with an essential clause. A nonessential (or nonrestrictive) clause is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but provides additional information. In general, that introduces essential clauses and no comma is used. Use which to introduce nonessential clauses, and set off the clause with commas. Nonessential clause: The book, which has a red cover, has sold many copies. Essential clause: The book that has a red cover has sold many copies. However, the book that has a blue cover is not selling well.

See also that vs. which.

exclamation point

Use sparingly (and never in multiples). Never use in news communications.

face mask/covering, face masks/coverings

.

Facebook
faculty

The word faculty is a collective noun, singular in form but identifying a group of individuals. Use with singular verb if emphasizing the faculty acting as a unit: The Owen School faculty combines academic prestige with the real-world experience of top practitioners. Use a plural verb if emphasizing faculty members individually: Vanderbilt faculty have been quoted often in recent news reports regarding the issue.

faculty head of house, faculty heads of house, faculty head of college, faculty heads of college

Lowercase. Use head of house, head of college, or faculty head on second reference.

Example:

All faculty heads of house live year-round on The Ingram Commons in apartments located in the houses.

She will become faculty head of West House in the fall.

She is the first physician to be a head of house on The Ingram Commons.

Faculty Head of College Sarah Igo helps foster dialogue and discovery outside the classroom.

Sarah Igo, faculty head of college, lives among the students of E. Bronson Ingram College.

Sarah Igo, faculty head of E. Bronson Ingram College, is also director of the American Studies program.

Faculty Senate, faculty senator

Lowercase senate is acceptable on second reference.

Example:

The Faculty Senate passed a resolution that will further faculty involvement in violence prevention efforts. The resolution calls for all faculty senators to participate in the VU PETSA training module. A formal partnership between the senate and the Green Dot initiative also will be established.

fall break, fall semester

Lowercase. Also lowercase when referring to a specific term, for example, fall 2020.

Example:

The application deadline for fall 2021 is January 1.

He spent the fall semester studying in Germany.

The first lecture of the spring 2020 semester addressed sustainability.

See also seasons.

farther/further

Farther refers to physical difference: He walked farther into the woods. Further refers to an extension of time or degree: They decided to research the issue further before making a decision.

federal

Lowercase unless part of a proper name.

Example:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid; Federal Aviation Administration; federal taxes; federal loan program; federal government

fellow

Lowercase.

Example:

She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

He is a Guggenheim fellow.

fellowship

Capitalize if part of the proper name of the fellowship.

Example:

She received a Guggenheim Fellowship last year.

The goal of the Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship is to develop future leaders through world travel and experiential learning. Vanderbilt students interested in the Keegan fellowship must submit an application, a proposal for a plan of study/travel, a resume and letters of recommendation. A committee of former Keegan fellows, faculty and staff selects the winner.

fewer, less

Use fewer to describe number of items, less to describe quantity.

Wrong: There were less student complaints this year. Of the 500 offers sent out, less than 200 were returned.

Right: There were fewer student complaints this year. Of the 500 offers sent out, fewer than 200 were returned.

Right: She has fewer classes to take, but less time to take them.

fieldhouse
Fine Arts Gallery

Acceptable second reference to Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

See also Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

first-year/freshman (adj.)

First-year is preferred. Note that first-year is hyphenated as an adjective. Do not use first-year alone as a noun; instead use first-year as a modifier before a noun, such as, first-year students.

Example:

All first-year students are required to take certain placement tests.

All first-year residence halls have been designated as substance-free areas.

firsthand (adj., adv.)
fiscal year

The university’s fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30, and carries the numerical designation of the latter year, e.g., July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, constitutes FY20. FY acceptable on second reference.

foreign students

Use international students instead.

foreign words and phrases

Unfamiliar foreign words and phrases are usually italicized. A word that is listed in a standard English dictionary (such as Webster’s Third New International) is probably familiar enough to not require italics.

Fort

Do not abbreviate for cities or for military installations.

Example:

Fort Lauderdale; Fort Meade

Founder’s Day

March 17, the anniversary of the founding of Vanderbilt University in 1873.

Founder’s Medal, Founders Walk
fractions

Spell out amounts less than one, using hyphens: two-thirds, four-fifths, etc. Use figures for precise amounts more than one, converting to decimals whenever practical: 1.5 miles, not 1 1/2 miles.

Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University

First Amendment Center acceptable on second reference and in headlines.

freelance (v. and adj.), freelancer (n.)
freshman

Use first-year instead.

Example:

The first-year experience at Vanderbilt introduces new students to the university community.

freshman/freshmen (n.)

Use first-year student/first-year students instead.

Example:

First-year students are welcomed to campus during Move-In Day.

front line (n.), front-line (adj.)

.

full-time, full time

Hyphenate as an adjective: She is a full-time employee. Otherwise, two words, no hyphen: He works full time.

fundraiser, fundraising

One word, no hyphen.

Example:

Nashville is a community with a strong tradition of charitable fundraising.

The telethon represents a yearlong fundraising effort.

For information about fundraising, please email the director.

FutureVU

Comprehensive land-use planning initiative, launched in 2015, that provides a vision for Vanderbilt’s footprint and a basis for campus stewardship that enhances the university’s mission.

Garage

Capitalize when part of the name of a Vanderbilt garage.

Example:

Terrace Place Garage, South Garage, Central Garage

gay

Use to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity. Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to “sexual preference” or to a gay or alternative “lifestyle.”

GIF

Abbreviation for Graphics Interchange Format. Use all uppercase unless used as a file name extension.

GO THERE campaign, GO THERE mental health and wellbeing campaign

GO THERE is acceptable for second and subsequent references. No quotation marks or italics are needed, but note the use of all capital letters.

Example:

The aim of the GO THERE campaign is to create a campus culture in which community members can have brave dialogue and honest self-reflection in order to support their own mental health and wellbeing and that of their fellow students, faculty and staff.

GO THERE is a campuswide campaign to foster a culture of openness, honest reflection, and brave dialogue about mental health and wellbeing.

More than 100 members of the Vanderbilt community gathered to hear their colleagues’ personal stories as part of the GO THERE mental health campaign.

Google, Googling, Googled
GPA

No periods and all capitals. It is acceptable on first reference to either use GPA or to spell out grade point average (lowercase).

grades

Capitalize letters used for course grades (A, B, C, D, F, I) and grade names such as Incomplete and Pass. Do not use quotation marks or italics with grades. Form the plural by adding apostrophe-s.

Example:

He received three B’s last semester.

Graduates Day

Formerly known as Senior Day, this event occurs annually on the Thursday before Friday's Commencement ceremony and features a well-known speaker and activities for graduates, their families, and friends.

groundbreaking

One word, no hyphen.

hand-washing

.

handheld (n.) hand-held (adj.)
handicap parking

Use accessible parking instead.

handicapped

See disabled.

headline

For news releases, only the first word and proper nouns should be capitalized in headlines and subheads.

See also capitalization and titles of works.

health care

Two words in all uses.

Example:

As a health care provider, she is interested in health care.

Heard Libraries

Acceptable for second reference to the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, which include eight campus libraries, Special Collections and University Archives, and the Vanderbilt Television News Archive.

See also Central Library and Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.

height

See dimensions.

high risk (n.), high-risk (adj.)

.

high-tech

Not hi-tech.

his/her

Try to find other solutions to problems with gendered pronouns. When possible, rewrite the sentence to avoid the problem. They/them/their are acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun if rewriting is not feasible.

Example:

Instead of writing A patient should fill his prescription immediately after his appointment, instead write Patients should fill their prescriptions immediately after appointments.

                  See also pronouns and gender identity.

historic, historical

Use a, not an, as the indefinite article before the word.

Example:

A historic event is an important occurrence, one that stands out in history. Any occurrence in the past is a historical event.

historical periods and events

Capitalize the names of widely recognized epochs in anthropology, archaeology, geology and history: the Bronze Age, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Pliocene Epoch.

Capitalize also widely recognized popular names for periods and events: the Atomic Age, the Great Depression, Prohibition.

Lowercase century.

Capitalize only the proper nouns or proper adjectives in general descriptions of a period: ancient Greece, classical Rome, the Victorian era, the fall of Rome, the fall of Saigon.

Home Economics-Mayborn complex
homecoming

Not capitalized except when preceded by the name of the university (Vanderbilt Homecoming), used with the year as part of the name of a specific homecoming (Homecoming 2019), or used as part of the formal name of the event (Reunion/Homecoming Weekend). Lowercase other uses (homecoming game, homecoming parade).

See also Reunion.

homemade

.

homepage

One word.

houses of The Ingram Commons

Lowercase house unless used as part of the full, formal name, such as Hank Ingram House, Stambaugh House, etc.

HTTP

See URL, URLs.

hyphen

Hyphens are used inside words to separate their parts from each other. This includes using the hyphen between the parts of a compound word, where two or more words express a single concept.

COMPOUND MODIFIERS: When a compound modifier — two or more words that express a single concept — precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb “very” and all adverbs that end in “-ly”: a full-time job, a know-it-all attitude, a very well-known person. But: federally funded research.

WITH FRACTIONS: Use a hyphen when writing out fractions: The measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass.

SUSPENSIVE: He received a 10- to 20-year sentence in prison. The camp is open for 8- to 12-year-old children.

WITH TIME/DATE/NUMBER SPANS (News Style): Do not combine a preposition with a hyphen.

Right: The exhibit will be on display from March 2 through April 10. Or: The exhibit will be on display March 2-April 10.

Wrong: The exhibit will be on display from March 2-April 10.

 Note that Non-news Style uses the en-dash for time/date/number spans instead of the hyphen.

 See also dash.

ID

Short for identification. Do not use periods (Wrong: I.D.)

Immersion Vanderbilt, immersion pathways, immersion project, immersion adviser, ImmersionHub, Immersion Resources (use for second reference to Office of Immersion Resources)

Capitalize only the formal name of the initiative itself, Immersion Vanderbilt. Do not capitalize related uses of the word immersion. Do not capitalize the word pathways or the names of the immersion pathways (civic and professional pathway, creative expression pathway, international pathway, research pathway). Do not use the acronym OIR to refer to the Office of Immersion Resources.

Impact Symposium
include

Include refers to a partial listing. For example, do not say “participants included” and then list all the participants.

See also colons in the punctuation and formatting guide.

InclusAbility campaign
Inclusive Excellence, Provost’s Office for

Use for first reference. For second reference, Office for Inclusive Excellence is acceptable. For subsequent references, Inclusive Excellence is acceptable. Note the use of for in the office name. The office is led by William H. Robinson. Robinson is vice provost for academic advancement and executive director of the Provost's Office for Inclusive Excellence, and professor of electrical engineering and computer engineering.

Indigenous (adj.)

Use the capitalized term as an adjective to refer to original inhabitants of a place.

 

Ingram Scholars Program, Ingram Scholars

Example:

The Ingram Scholars Program was founded in 1993 by then-Chairman of the Board of Trust E. Bronson Ingram, who sought to create a program that would provide students with opportunities to use their skills and education to contribute to solutions for problems facing society.

Ingram Scholars engage in 20 hours of civic and community service each month and also design and implement projects that address significant societal challenges.

initials

News Style: No space between initials in personal names: T.S. Eliot. Non-news Style: Insert a space after the periods of initials in personal names: T. S. Eliot.

inner city

Instead use urban core.

Innovation Pavilion

If its location is referenced, the Innovation Pavilion should be described as adjacent to the Engineering and Science Building.

See also Engineering and Science Building and Wond’ry.

insure, ensure

Use insure to mean indemnify. Use ensure to mean guarantee or make certain.

Example:

They want to ensure the accuracy of the report.

Vanderbilt University does not insure industry sponsors against claims or losses resulting from intellectual property infringement that might occur in the course of conducting research.

interface

Avoid using interface as a verb.

Example:

Instead of The students interface with their teachers, try An interface is created between students and teachers. Or try using interact instead: The students interact with their teachers.

international students

Preferred phrase, instead of foreign students.

internet

Always lowercase.

intranet

Always lowercase.

italics

Italicize the names of books, journals, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, named blogs, the names of specific ships and other vessels, art exhibits, individual works of art (paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, etc.), movies, television series, plays, complete musical works (e.g., operas, tone poems, music albums), unless the name of the work includes a musical form (e.g., symphony, quartet). Exception: Use italics for a complete musical work’s nickname.

Example:

His book was reviewed in Time and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nashville Opera’s artistic director John Hoomes will discuss Bizet’s audience favorite Carmen at the Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall.

The program includes Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (the Jupiter Symphony) and one of Beethoven’s Razumovsky quartets.

Her favorite horror movie is Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Last semester, Vanderbilt University Theatre performed Euripides’ Iphigenia.

One of the items on display is a dollar bill signed by servicemen aboard the USS Missouri.

 Use italics when a word is used to signify the word itself instead of being used to convey the word’s meaning.

Example:

The word strategy appears 12 times.

 Do not italicize an apostrophe + s used at the end of a title to indicate the possessive case unless the possessive is part of the title

Example:

Madame Bovary’s themes are revealed in this scene.

 Do not italicize words from other languages that are commonly used in English.

Example:

His lectures had a certain je ne sais quoi that left students feeling inspired.

Her play captured the zeitgeist of the era.

 See also capitalization, quotation marks, and titles of works.

 

it’s, its

The contraction it’s = it is: It’s good to see you. In contractions, the apostrophe replaces letters that are left out in order to contract the word: do not contracts to don’t with the apostrophe replacing the o of not. In it’s, the apostrophe replaces the letter i from the word is.

The possessive of it is its: Its length is manageable. Remember that pronouns do not form the possessive with apostrophes: his, hers, its, ours, yours.

Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries

Use for first reference to the Vanderbilt library system. Treat as a plural noun: Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are made up of nine campus libraries. Options for subsequent reference are Vanderbilt Heard Libraries, Vanderbilt’s Heard Libraries, Heard Libraries, Vanderbilt libraries, Vanderbilt’s libraries, the library, the libraries (note use of lowercase). Refer to the chart below for a list of the 10 divisional libraries within the system.

See also Central Library and Heard Libraries.

First Reference

Second Reference and Headlines

Notes

Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center

• Eskind Family Biomedical Library and Learning Center

• Eskind Biomedical Library

• Eskind Library

• Biomedical Library

 

Central Library

• Central Library

 

Divinity Library

• Divinity Library

 

Alyne Queener Massey Law Library

• Massey Law Library

• Law Library

 

Walker Management Library

• Walker Management Library

• Management Library

 

Anne Potter Wilson Music Library

• Wilson Music Library

• Music Library

 

Peabody Library

• Peabody Library

 

Sarah Shannon Stevenson Science and Engineering Library

• Stevenson Science and Engineering Library

• Science and Engineering Library

 

Special Collections and University Archives

• Special Collections and University Archives

 

Vanderbilt Television News Archive

• Vanderbilt Television News Archive

• the archive

• TV news archive

lowercase the archive

JPEG

Abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Use all uppercase unless used as a file name extension. (File extensions .jpeg and .jpg are interchangeable.)

junior, senior

Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. with no comma between the name and the Jr./Sr.

Example:

Cal Turner Jr. founded the program in moral leadership.

He will deliver the keynote lecture for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Series.

For alphabetical listings by last name, follow this format: Doe, John, Jr. Likewise, with the designation II: Doe, John, II.

K-12

Education term describing the range of primary and secondary education in several nations, including the U.S., that is, kindergarten through 12th grade. Note the use of a hyphen, not an en-dash.

Kennedy Center

Use for second reference to Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Kennedy Center may be used for first reference, if it’s in the lead or headline. In that case, use full title on second reference.

kick off (v.), kickoff (n. and adj.)
Latino, Latina

Often the preferred term for a person from a Spanish-speaking land or culture or whose ancestors were from a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican American.

legislative titles

News Style: On first reference, use Rep. and Sen. before the name. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. When including party and state affiliation, set off with commas (not parentheses) and use AP abbreviation for the state. In a direct quotation, spell out and capitalize titles such as senator, representative and governor before a name.

Example, News Style:

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.

“There’s always one senator that stands out above the rest, and the last few years that’s been Senator McCain,” said Alexander.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander attended the conference along with former Gov. Bredesen and former Gov. Don Sundquist. Former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist will lead a first-of-its-kind academic experience at Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.

 

Non-news Style: Do not abbreviate.

Example, Non-news Style:

Lamar Alexander, Republican senator from Tennessee; Senator Lamar Alexander; the senator; Bill Lee, governor of the state of Tennessee; Tennessee governor Bill Lee; Governor Bill Lee; Donald Trump, president of the United States; President Trump; the president.

lesbian

See gay.

LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQI

 Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. Other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained. I generally stands for intersex, and A can stand for asexual, ally or both.

LGBTQI Life, Office of LGBTQI Life

Acceptable for all references to the Vanderbilt Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life.

library

Acceptable second reference to any Vanderbilt library.

See also Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.

lists

RUN-IN LISTS: For a listing that runs in with text, use either numerals or italic letters within parentheses. Data are available from three groups: (1) students attending the first session of the conference, (2) presenters for all sessions and (3) conference staff. Generally, a comma is sufficient to separate the items listed. Use a semicolon if the items themselves contain commas.

VERTICAL LISTS, BULLETED OR NUMBERED: Use a bulleted list if the order of the items is not significant; use a numbered list if the items are to be considered in a particular order.

Introduce the list with a grammatically complete sentence followed by a colon. Each entry in the list should begin with a capital letter whether or not the entry is a complete sentence. No period is required at the end of entries unless one or more of the entries is a complete sentence, in which case a period should be used at the end of all the entries. Items in a list should be syntactically similar; for example, each might begin with a verb ending in -ing.

Example:

The coaches look for several characteristics when recruiting players:

• Talent and skill in the sport

• Sufficient academic preparation

• Positive attitude

If a list completes the sentence that introduces it, then the items begin with lowercase letters, commas or semicolons are used to separate each item, and the last item ends with a period.

Example:

A coach may be interested in recruiting a player if the athlete

• displays a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the sport,

• has sufficient academic preparation to meet the requirements of Vanderbilt classes,

• maintains a positive attitude.

listserv

Lowercase. Note that there is no “e” at the end.

livestream, livestreaming

One word, no hyphen, in all uses.

 

log in (v.), login (n.)

Example: Use your VUnetID to log in. If your login is unsuccessful, contact VUIT.

log on (v.), logon (n. and adj.)

Use log on to, not log onto.

Example:

log on to our site, to execute a logon, the logon command

M.D.

See degrees (academic).

majors, minors

In general, do not capitalize academic majors or minors unless they include a proper noun.

Example:

She earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology.

He majored in English literature.

She has a minor in chemistry.

maker movement, makerspace

Example:

The Wond’ry features two makerspaces outfitted with state-of-art equipment to take your idea from concept to prototype.

Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center

Watch the spelling; may be called the Women’s Center (uppercase) on second reference.

See also center.

Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt

See The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt.

mask

Instead use face mask/covering, face masks/coverings.

Maymester

Maymester is the preferred term to describe the courses offered in the interim between spring semester final exams and the beginning of summer session courses.

MBA

No periods. Note that the correct article to use before MBA is an.

Example:

She received an MBA from Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management maintained its position in this year’s rankings of accredited MBA programs.

Medical Center

Capitalize as a second reference to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. When referring to other medical centers or medical centers in general, lowercase.

Example:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s campus at One Hundred Oaks makes high quality health care more accessible. The Medical Center provides many services at this convenient location.

Duke has also banned smoking from its medical center.

There has been a decrease in sponsored research at other medical centers.

See also Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

MFA Program in Creative Writing

Use for references specifically to the MFA program at Vanderbilt (note that MFA does not have periods in this usage). Use creative writing program (note the use of lowercase) for general references to both the MFA program and the undergraduate creative writing concentration, both of which are offered by the Department of English.

When referring to the Vanderbilt master of fine arts program, do not use periods in MFA. However, when referring to the master of fine arts degree, spell out the name of the degree if possible, or if an abbreviation is used, then use periods: M.F.A.

Example:

She earned an M.F.A. while working full time at a Nashville music-business office.

The inaugural issue of Nashville Review, a literary journal edited by students in the MFA program, appeared in spring 2010.

The Vanderbilt MFA Program in Creative Writing has been ranked among the top 15 programs in the country by Poets and Writers magazine.

Middle Tennessee

Capitalize this phrase describing the region of the state.

See also regions.

midnight

Do not put a 12 in front of it. See also a.m., p.m. and noon.

Example:

The celebration will begin at midnight.

minuscule

So spelled, not miniscule. Means “very small.”

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Use for first reference and on maps. For second reference, use Children’s Hospital. Do not use Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

months

News Style: Some months are abbreviated when used in an exact date: Nov. 11, 1918. Months with fewer than six letters in their names are not abbreviated.

The following are abbreviated: Jan. Feb. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

The following are not abbreviated: March April May June JulyMonths are spelled out when used alone or with the year only: January 1993; notice that there is no comma between the month and the year.

Non-news Style: Months are not abbreviated in running text.

Moore College

On second reference, Moore and the college are acceptable.

See also residential college system and Warren and Moore colleges.

more than/over

In general, use over to describe spatial relationships; use more than with figures.

Example:

The airplane flew over the mountains. The cost was more than $300. More than 400 Vanderbilt students participated in Alternative Spring Break.

Mount

Spell out in all uses, including the names of communities and mountains.

Move-In Day, Move-In Weekend

Uppercase for the event name (note the capital “I”). However, lowercase when used generically, such as, the move-in process, the move-in experience.

Example:

Contact the Office of Housing and Residential Experience for more information about move-in and Vanderbilt residence halls.

The Move Crew is a group of student volunteers who assist new students during Move-In Day.

Mr. C

Vanderbilt athletics mascot; note that the “C” is not followed by a period.

multi

In general, do not hyphenate words beginning with this prefix.

Example:

multifaceted, multipurpose, multicultural

multitasking

One word. The running of two or more programs on one computer at the same time. Also now used to refer to human beings who are working at two or more tasks simultaneously.

myself, me

Avoid the fairly common mistake of using myself when me is the correct word.

Wrong: The report will be delivered to the chancellor and myself.

Right: The report will be delivered to the chancellor and me.

The word myself is a reflexive/intensive pronoun that is correctly used in a construction such as She wrote the report herself, I will exclude myself from the voting, They did it for themselves, where the pronoun refers to the same person as the person who is subject of the sentence.

named chairs

Named chairs and professorships are always capitalized in faculty titles, whether preceding or following the name of the faculty member. The named chair is a position that the faculty member holds, whereas the named professorship is the title of the chair holder. Thus, the correct language indicates that one holds a chair in, and is a professor of.

Example:

Stephen Fesik holds the Orrin H. Ingram II Chair in Cancer Research.

Stephen Fesik is the Orrin H. Ingram II Professor of Cancer Research.

Orrin H. Ingram II Professor of Cancer Research Stephen Fesik has been awarded a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for his proposal to push the boundaries of drug discovery.

Stephen Fesik, the Orrin H. Ingram II Professor of Cancer Research, is the first investigator from Vanderbilt to receive the coveted National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award.

names

News Style: On first reference, use the person’s full first name and last name and title. Do not use a courtesy title (such as Mr. or Ms.), except for medical doctors and then use Dr. only on first reference. On second reference, use only the last name, without title and without courtesy title.

Example:

With the recently announced NSF funding, Professor Xenofon Koutsoukos will continue his research on next-generation design. Koutsoukos is taking a new approach.

Nashville COVID-19 related terms
  • Nashville safer-at-home order (generic reference) OR Safer at Home order (official name)
  • Roadmap for Reopening Nashville OR Roadmap for Reopening Nashville plan
  • the Nashville reopening plan, the Nashville plan
nationwide

No hyphen.

neither

Takes a singular verb.

Example:

Neither of the students is available.

neurodiverse (adj.), neurodiversity (n.)
newspaper and periodical names

Names of newspapers and periodicals are italicized.

News Style: Capitalize the in a newspaper’s name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known, for example: The Tennessean, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The Star Ledger, The Plain Dealer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe. In cases where the paper’s location is needed for clarity but is not part of the official name, use parentheses to indicate location.

Example, News Style:

The editor of The Tennessean will participate in the panel discussion. The article about Coach Mason in The Huntsville (Ala.) Times caught the student’s attention.

 

Non-news Style: When a newspaper or magazine is mentioned in running text, an initial the in the publication name is lowercase (unless it begins a sentence) and is not italic.

Example, Non-news Style:

The article appeared in the Tennessean.

Nicholas S. Zeppos College

On second reference, use Zeppos College. Opening in fall 2020, Zeppos College is part of the university’s residential college system and the fourth residential college on campus for sophomores, juniors and seniors (the others being Warren, Moore and E. Bronson Ingram colleges). The distinctive tower of Zeppos College is called West End Tower. Zeppos College is named for Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor (2008–2019).

Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal

  

No.

Use as the abbreviation for number in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank.

Example:

The university also rose three spots to No. 12 in the High School Counselors rankings, a key measure of the perception of the university’s value to students.

non-

In general, do not use a hyphen when forming a compound: nonprofit, nonexistent. Use a hyphen, however, before proper nouns or in awkward combinations: non-nuclear, non-English-speaking.

See also prefixes.

nonessential

.

nontenured

Not hyphenated. However, a hyphen is used when “non” modifies a compound, for example: non-tenure-eligible faculty, non-tenure-track position.

noon

Do not put a 12 in front of it. See also a.m., p.m. and midnight.

Example:

The meeting begins at noon.

numbers

News Style: Spell out whole numbers below 10 or at the beginning of a sentence; use figures for 10 and above. For ordinals, spell out first through ninth; starting with 10th, use figures. Exception: for percentages, dimensions and ages, use figures, even for 1-9.

Non-news Style: In ordinary text, spell out whole numbers from one through ninety-nine and any of these followed by hundred, thousand, million, etc. (one hundred would thus be spelled out). For all other numbers, use figures. For percentages, use figures: There was a 9 percent increase. Use an en-dash to indicate a range: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., April 5–11.

In both news style and non-news style, if you must start a sentence with a number, spell the number out. Exceptions: A numeral-and-letter combination may start a sentence, such as 3D, 401(k), 4K. When writing a span of numbers, do not combine a preposition with a hyphen or en-dash.

Right: The classroom could accommodate 15-25 people. Or: The classroom could hold from 15 to 25 people. He published his articles between May 5, 1967, and April 11, 1971.

Wrong: The classroom could hold from 15-25 people.

 The choice of how to handle numbers may be determined by the nature of the publication in question, its audience, formality, longevity, etc. Spelling out numbers is the more formal choice.

Example:

If you work in an open environment, be sure to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals.

A 6-foot distance should be maintained.

Maintain 6 feet of separation for physical distancing requirements.

See also credit hours.

off-campus, on-campus (adj.)

Hyphenated when used as an adjective before a noun. Otherwise, no hyphen is used.

Example:

Exploring sites off campus enables students to develop a better understanding of the challenges.

On-campus markets offer numerous grab-and-go options.

On-campus research activities were ramped down in mid-March as part of efforts to protect our community and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Individuals will return to campus based on the core activities they support and their demonstrated need to be on campus.

In order to protect the safety of our community, all work that can be conducted remotely will continue to stay off campus.

off-site

Hyphenated in all uses.

office

The names of university offices are uppercase when the full, formal name is used. A shortened form (i.e., “Office of” is dropped) used on second reference is also uppercase.

Example:

Staff from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions have begun the process of reviewing applications. Once Undergraduate Admissions completes the review, then letters are mailed out to applicants.

 A “reversed” version of the full, formal name is lowercase.

Example:

The undergraduate admissions office has received a record number of applications.

Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life

For second reference and in a headline or lead, use Office of LGBTQI Life or LGBTQI Life.

offline

One word.

on-site

Hyphenated in all uses.

One Hundred Oaks

See Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

online

One word.

Opportunity Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt’s financial aid program, launched in the fall of 2009, which meets 100 percent of a family’s demonstrated financial need with no loans.

orthopaedics

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center prefers this spelling over orthopedics, so use orthopaedics when referring to VUMC departments, personnel, etc. When using in a general sense, use orthopedics.

Example:

The Department of Orthopaedics will sponsor a lecture Nov. 10.

over/more than

Use over to describe spatial relationships: The airplane flew over the mountains. Use more than with figures: The cost was more than $300.

p.m., a.m.

Lowercase, with periods. Use figures to designate time using a.m. and p.m. For noon and midnight, use the words noon and midnight without the figure 12. Avoid redundancy: not 10 a.m. this morning.

Example:

The lecture begins at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at 1 p.m. The committee meets at noon.

See also time.

parentheses

Place a period outside a closing parenthesis if the material inside is not a sentence: I will leave at noon (if I finish this punctuation guide). Place the period inside the closing parenthesis if the material inside is a complete sentence: (This is an independent parenthetical sentence, and therefore the period comes before the closing parenthesis.)

part-time, part time

Hyphenate as an adjective: She is a part-time employee. Otherwise, two words, no hyphen: He works part time.

PDF

Abbreviation for portable document format. Use all uppercase unless used as a file name extension.

Example:

His assistant emailed a PDF of the schedule. The file name is schedule.pdf.

percent

Spell out the word percent; do not use the symbol (%). Use figures with percentages: 9 percent, 0.6 percent. Note that in some cases, such as in tables or scientific and statistical copy, the % symbol may be appropriate.

period

Primary use of a period is to mark the end of a declarative or imperative sentence. It should be followed by a single space. Periods always go inside quotation marks.

See also ellipsis and parentheses.

personal protective equipment

Only use this phrase in a direct quotation. Otherwise, use the phrase protective gear instead to describe items used/worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses. Don’t use PPE. If necessary to use PPE in a direct quotation, spell it out later and explain the term.

Ph.D.

See degrees (academic).

Ph.D. student and Ph.D. candidate

Do not use these terms interchangeably. A Ph.D. student is a student enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Ph.D. candidates are Ph.D. students who have completed the steps required by their programs and the Graduate School to be admitted to candidacy.

Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, Phase IV

Precede the phase number with Vanderbilt when describing phases of the Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan: Vanderbilt Phase I, Vanderbilt Phase II, Vanderbilt Phase II+, Vanderbilt Phase III, Vanderbilt Phase IV.

phase in (v.), phase-in (n.)

Example:

Vanderbilt will phase in a return of faculty, staff, post-docs and students in a coordinated process.

physical distancing, physically distanced

Use instead of social distancing or socially distanced. No quote marks, no hyphen.

pickup (n. and adj.), pick up (v.)
plurals

PROPER NOUNS: The plural is generally formed by adding -s or -es. This is true for proper names, as well. The apostrophe is not used to form the plural of proper nouns: Example: The Joneses and the Smiths spent two cold Januarys in Michigan.

LETTERS AND NUMBERS: Add -s to form the plural of numbers and capitalized multiple letters used as words: two IOUs, six YMCAs, the 1960s, the ’20s.

Use apostrophe + s to form the plural of lowercase letters used as words, single capitalized letters used as words, and abbreviations with periods: M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s, x’s and y’s, the three R’s

For plurals of proper nouns that include a generic term (that is, a common noun), lowercase the plural generic term: Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, Warren and Moore colleges, lakes Erie and Ontario. Exception: plurals of formal titles preceding full names are capitalized: Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford. Or, when appropriate, repeat the generic term instead, and use uppercase: Warren College and Moore College.

See also departments, academic.

podcast (n.)

Italicize the name of a podcast series. Place names of individual episodes within quotation marks.

podcast, podcasted (v.)

 

 

Police Department

Use for second reference to Vanderbilt University Police Department. VUPD may also be used on second reference.

possessive

Form the possessive of singular nouns by adding apostrophe + s: teacher’s building’s, child’s, witness’s.

Plural nouns ending in s form the possessive by adding an apostrophe: teachers’, buildings’, witnesses’.

Plural nouns not ending in s form the possessive by adding apostrophe + s: children’s, women’s.

PROPER NOUNS: According to Non-news Style, the rule for singular nouns applies to proper nouns, as well, regardless of the ending letter: Dickens’s novel, Burns’s poetry.

 News Style, however, recommends using only an apostrophe to form possessive for singular proper names ending in -s: Dickens’ novel. Either is correct, but do aim for consistency.

When a proper noun is set in italic type, the possessive ending is not set in italic. Example: Some were surprised by Newsweek’s cover.

post-

Words beginning with the prefix post- are usually closed, no hyphen, unless the root word is a proper noun.

Example:

postdoctoral, postgraduate, post-Reagan

PPE

Do not use this acronym. Instead use the phrase protective gear to describe items used/worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses. If necessary to use PPE in a direct quotation, spell it out later as personal protective equipment and explain the term.  

pre-

Words beginning with the prefix pre- are usually closed, no hyphen, unless the root word is a proper noun. Exceptions follow the general rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.

Example:

preadmission, pre-eminent, pre-empt, pre-exist, premed, prelaw, prerequisite, pre-Columbian

See also prefixes.

prefixes

Generally, do not use a hyphen when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. Except for cooperate and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel. Do use a hyphen before capitalized words or numerals or in awkward constructions that might be misleading or difficult to read such as non-nuclear.

Example:

antebellum, antiwar movement, multistory building, non-nuclear plant, nonprofit organization, postdoctoral research, pre-1914, pre-Columbian, pre-election debate, pretrial hearing, re-establish, rename
president

Capitalize only as a formal title before one or more names: President Trump, Presidents Ford and Carter. Lowercase in all other uses: the president; George Washington, first president of the United States.

Presidents Day
preventive (adj.), preventative (n.)
product/company names

The use of product names or companies may be construed as a tacit endorsement by the university, thus raising conflict-of-interest questions and other problems. Use generic titles or descriptions whenever possible.

Example:

Use tissue, not kleenex.

professor

Capitalize before a name; lowercase elsewhere. However, a named professorship is always capitalized. Always identify faculty by their academic rank and department in published materials. The form is professor, associate professor or assistant professor of followed by the applicable field.

Example:

Professor of Sociology Holly McCammon; Professor Holly McCammon; Holly McCammon, professor of sociology; she is a professor of sociology; she is a professor in the Department of Sociology.

Cecelia Tichi, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English

See also titles (academic and administrative) and named chairs.

program

References to interdisciplinary academic programs are treated in the same manner as academic departments: only the full, formal name is capitalized; other forms are lowercase. Academic program names begin with “Program in”; academic department names begin with “Department of.”

Example:

The Program in Women’s and Gender Studies examines gender and sexuality as social constructs.

The women’s and gender studies program offers an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in gender studies.

She majored in women’s and gender studies.

Other types of programs within the university (such as, scholarship programs, dual-degree programs, and certificate programs) sometimes have the word program as part of the full, formal name, and in those cases the word program should be capitalized.

Example:

Ingram Scholars Program, Bass Military Scholars Program, Law and Business Program, Carpenter Certificate Program

pronouns and gender identity

Find a way to accomplish clear and concise wording without disregarding an individual’s personal pronoun preferences. They/them/their are acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun if rewriting is not feasible.

protective gear

Use this phrase instead of personal protective equipment (PPE) to describe items used/worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses.

quotation marks

Use single quotation marks in news headlines and for quotes within quotes. “Smart” quotes, not "straight" quotes, should be used. Semicolons and colons go outside quotation marks. Periods and commas go inside the closing quotation mark.

Quotation marks are used for dissertation and thesis titles, articles, poems, short stories, book chapters, essays, individual lectures, blog entries, TV and radio episodes (but a TV/radio program or series name is in italic), individual acts or scenes of plays, songs, and movements within a musical work. No quotation marks or italics are needed for academic course titles, apps, awards, websites, political documents (such as, the Constitution), scriptural works (such as, the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud), or musical compositions whose names contain a musical form (such as, concerto, symphony).

See also italics and titles of works.

R.N.

If used, follows name and is set off by commas.

Example:

Jane Smith, R.N., coordinates the program.

See also degrees (academic).

R.S.V.P.

Use uppercase letters with periods for this abbreviation of the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît ( = respond if you please, please reply). Do not use the redundant phrase “Please R.S.V.P.” An alternative is to use “Please respond by.”

Example:

R.S.V.P. by May 10. –OR– Please respond by May 10. –OR– Those interested should R.S.V.P. by May 10.

R.S.V.P. by calling (615) 000-0000. –OR– Please respond by calling (615) 000-0000. –OR– Those interested should R.S.V.P. by calling (615) 000-0000.

ramp up (v.), ramp-up (n., adj.)

Example:

The Roadmap for Reopening Nashville follows a four-phase approach. The Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan acknowledges the triggers and phases of ramp-up for the city in which Vanderbilt is located and identifies which activities ramp up on campus and when.

rankings

Use numerals in conjunction with abbreviation No. (note the capital N).

Example:

Vanderbilt rose to 14th place in the U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2017 after holding at No. 15 the two previous years.

Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 for best financial aid in the nation by the Princeton Review.

See also top number.

résumé
real time

Does not have a hyphen unless used as an adjective.

Example:

The webcast will take place in real time; the real-time webcast.

regions

In general, capitalize North, South, East, West, Northeast, etc., when they designate regions; lowercase when they indicate compass direction. Capitalize Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, West Tennessee.

Example:

He drove west.

The cold front is moving in from the east.

The North was victorious.

She has a Southern accent.

A storm system that developed in the Midwest is spreading eastward.

reopen, restart, retest

.

resident adviser

 For second reference, the abbreviation RA is acceptable (plural as RAs). Note spelling of adviser with er not or.

residential college system, residential college, residential colleges

Lowercase general references to Vanderbilt’s residential colleges and the Vanderbilt residential college system. Capitalize the full name of individual residential colleges for upper-division students (such as, E. Bronson Ingram College) and the halls of each college (such as, Barnard Hall); capitalize the first-year residential college community, The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, and the names of the 10 houses of The Ingram Commons (such as, Murray House).

See also The Commons Center, E. Bronson Ingram College, faculty head of house, houses of The Ingram Commons, The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, Moore College, Warren College.

Residential College/Community

Constituent Halls/Houses

Style Notes

For first-year students:

The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons

Crawford House

East House

Gillette House

Hank Ingram House

Memorial House

Murray House

North House

Stambaugh House

Sutherland House

West House

The should always be part of the name and capitalized (The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, The Ingram Commons)

• Second reference:
The Ingram Commons

• faculty head of house, faculty heads of house, faculty head of North House

• dean of The Ingram Commons; Dean of The Ingram Commons Melissa Gresalfi

• Office of the Dean of The Ingram Commons

• the Dean of The Ingram Commons Residence

• Second reference: Dean’s Residence

For upper-division students:

Warren College

Delbruck Hall and

Elliston Hall

• Warren and Moore colleges

• Faculty Head of Warren College Sean Seymore; Sean Seymore is faculty head of Warren College

 

Kissam Center — hub for Warren and Moore colleges

Moore College

Rice Hall and

Smith Hall

• Moore and Warren colleges

• Faculty Head of College Mumin Kurtulus; Mumin Kurtulus is faculty head of Moore College

E. Bronson Ingram College

Barnard Hall and

Sadler Hall

• Barnard and Sadler halls

• Faculty Head of College Sarah Igo; Sarah Igo is faculty head of E. Bronson Ingram College

• Second reference: Bronson College

• Avoid using the acronym EBI

Reunion, Reunion Weekend, Reunion and Homecoming Weekend, Reunion/Homecoming, Reunion/Homecoming Weekend

Capitalize when referring specifically to Vanderbilt’s annual event.

Roadmap for Reopening Nashville

.

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

On second reference, the humanities center (lowercase) and the Warren Center are acceptable.

room

Capitalize before a room number, but do not capitalize specific room names such as atrium, refectory, rotunda.

Example:

The class is in Room 242.

The meeting is in the atrium of the Wyatt Center.

The breakfast will be in the Divinity School refectory.

The meeting was held July 12 in the Wyatt Center rotunda.

saint

Abbreviate as St. in the names of saints and cities.

Exceptions: Spell out Saint in the Vanderbilt Commencement program and when referring to an entity that spells out the word as part of their formal name (such as, Saint Anselm College).

sanitizer station, sanitizer dispenser

.

Sarratt Cinema, Sarratt Promenade

On second reference, the cinema and the promenade are acceptable.

Example:

Sarratt Promenade is a student gathering place on the second floor of Sarratt Student Center. Student groups and university organizations sometimes use the promenade for special events.

Sarratt Student Center

On second reference, Sarratt or the student center (lowercase) are acceptable.

School of Medicine Basic Sciences

The School of Medicine Basic Sciences comprises four departments (Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Pharmacology), eight centers and all graduate student recruiting, training and career development of the School of Medicine. It is an independent unit that reports through Dean of Basic Sciences Lawrence J. Marnett to Vanderbilt University's provost. On second reference, use Basic Sciences.

Example:

In 2016, Lawrence J. Marnett was named dean of basic sciences for the School of Medicine. In this role, Marnett leads the School of Medicine's basic science departments and its associated basic science centers, institutes and programs.

The School of Medicine Basic Sciences established a Dean's Faculty Fellows program to recognize the efforts of faculty in the early stages of their careers. The inaugural recipients had been members of the Basic Sciences faculty since 2014.

schools/colleges of Vanderbilt

Refer to the chart below.

References to “the school” or “the college” are lowercase. In general, avoid acronyms such as CAS, OGSM, VDS, VLS, VUSE, VUSN, etc.

Do not use possessive Vanderbilt’s to precede a school name; instead use Vanderbilt, for example, Vanderbilt Law School, Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

When more than one Vanderbilt school/college is mentioned in an article, publication or list, it is not necessary to precede the school/college names with Vanderbilt or Vanderbilt University if the context makes the Vanderbilt affiliation clear.

First Reference

Second Reference and Headlines

Notes

Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science

College of Arts and Science

• Arts and Science

• In headlines, A&S is acceptable.

• the college (if no other college is referenced)

• In general, do not use &.

• Avoid using CAS.

• Note that Science is singular.

Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music
[use when this is the only Vanderbilt school/college referenced in the publication/article]

Blair School of Music
[use when this is not the only Vanderbilt school/college referenced in the publication/article]

 

• Vanderbilt Blair School or
Vanderbilt Blair
[when this is the only Vanderbilt school/college referenced in the publication/article]

•  Blair School or Blair
[when this is not the only Vanderbilt school/college referenced in the publication/article]

• If first reference is in headline or lead, Vanderbilt Blair or Vanderbilt Blair School may be used on first reference and then use full name on second reference.

Vanderbilt Divinity School

Divinity School

• Divinity School

• Avoid using VDS.

Vanderbilt University School of Engineering

School of Engineering

• engineering school

• School of Engineering

• Avoid using VUSE.

Vanderbilt University Graduate School

Graduate School

• the Graduate School

 

Vanderbilt Law School

Law School

• the law school

• Do not use School of Law.

• Avoid using VLS.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

School of Medicine

• the medical school

• Avoid using VUSM.

• School of Medicine Basic Sciences is an independent unit within the School of Medicine led by the dean of basic sciences. Second reference = Basic Sciences.
 

 

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

School of Nursing

• the nursing school

• Avoid using VUSN.

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management

Owen Graduate School of Management

• Owen

• the Owen School

• Avoid using OGSM.

Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development

Peabody College of education and human development

• Peabody

• Peabody College

• If first reference is in headline or lead, Peabody College may be used on first reference and then use full name on second reference.

• Do not use George Peabody College for Teachers unless referring to the college before it merged with Vanderbilt in 1979.

Schulman Center for Jewish Life

Schulman Center is acceptable on second reference.

seasons

Do not capitalize winter, spring, summer, or fall, unless part of a formal name: Winter Olympics. Do not capitalize seasons as part of an academic period: spring semester, spring break, spring 2018.

self-isolate

.

semester

Lowercase: spring semester, fall semester, spring 2019, fall 2019.

semicolon

IN SERIES: Use semicolons to separate items in a series when the items use internal commas. A semicolon should be placed before the conjunction in such a series.

Example:

Previous winners of the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science are Ann Graybiel, Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Elizabeth Blackburn, Morris Herzstein Endowed Professor in Biology and Physiology, University of California, San Francisco; and Nancy Andreasen, Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa.

sign-up (n. and adj.) sign up (v.)
slow the spread

Use this phrase instead of stop the spread.

smartphone, cellphone

One word, lowercase.

social distancing

Do not use. Instead use physical distancing, physically distanced. No quote marks, no hyphen.

socioeconomic

 

 

 

spacing

Punctuation marks, including periods and colons, should be followed by one space only.

Sports and Society Initiative

Sports and Society Initiative

spring break, spring semester

Lowercase. Also lowercase when referring to a specific term: spring 2016.

stand in line

Do not use. Instead use wait in line.

startup (noun and adj.)
state names

Spell out the names of U.S. states whether standing alone or used in conjunction with a city, town, village, or military base.

When using a city name in conjunction with a state name in a sentence, set off the state with commas.

Example:

Jane Smith plans to return to Cleveland, Ohio, to launch the new program this fall.

Do not use postal abbreviations unless giving a mailing address.

The following abbreviations may be used when abbreviations are necessary, such as for lists and tables: Ala. Ariz. Ark. Calif. Colo. Conn. Del. Fla. Ga. Ill. Ind. Kan. Ky. La. Md. Mass. Mich. Minn. Miss. Mo. Mont. Neb. Nev. N.H. N.J. N.M. N.Y. N.C. N.D. Okla. Ore. Pa. R.I. S.C. S.D. Tenn. Vt. Va. Wash. W. Va. Wis. Wyo. However, the names of the following eight states should not be abbreviated (except for postal abbreviations in mailing addresses): Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

statewide

One word, no hyphen.

street

News Style: Use abbreviation only with numbered address: 110 Webster St.

Non-news Style: Spell out.

See also addresses.

Student Care Network

Holistic network of services and resources pertaining to health and wellness available to all Vanderbilt University students comprises the Office of Student Care Coordination, the University Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, and the Center for Student Wellbeing.

student-athlete
study abroad

No hyphen when used as a modifier.

Example:

Students interested in applying for study abroad programs should consult their advisers.

superscripts

Do not use with ordinals.

Wrong: not 12th, 22nd

Right: 12th, 22nd

T-shirt

Hyphenate and use capital T.

teaching assistant, teaching fellow

Lowercase; generally preferred rather than TA or TF, even on second reference.

team

Do not capitalize football team, basketball team, etc.

telehealth

  

telephone numbers

Complete telephone numbers should be provided in any written copy with the area code in parentheses and seven-digit number separated by hyphens: (615) 322-2706.

Example:

Call (615) 322-2706 for more information.

Tennessee COVID-19 related terms
  • Tennessee safer-at-home order (generic reference) OR Tennessee Safer at Home order (official name)
  • “Tennessee Pledge: Reopening Tennessee Responsibly” — Use quotation marks.
  • Tennessee reopening guidelines
that vs. which

In general, use that to introduce essential clauses, and do not precede that with a comma. Use which to introduce nonessential clauses, and set off the clause with commas. An essential (or restrictive) clause is one that is essential to the meaning of the sentence. A nonessential (or nonrestrictive) clause is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but provides additional information.

See also essential clauses and nonessential clauses.

The Commons Center

Note the capitalization of “The.”

Example:

Vanderbilt received recognition for The Commons Center’s environmentally friendly construction from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt

Use for first reference. For second reference, use The Ingram Commons. The location of The Ingram Commons should be referred to as the southeastern part (or portion, section, etc.) of the Vanderbilt University campus. Note the capitalization of The in “The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt” and “The Ingram Commons” as well as in “The Commons Center.” Use on (not in or at) in such sentences as, “students live on The Ingram Commons.”

Example:

In fall 2008, The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt welcomed its first class.

The Ingram Commons brings together all first-year students in a community of 10 residence halls known as “houses,” each guided by a faculty head of house.

First-year students live on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt, eat at The Commons Center and occasionally share a meal at the residence of the dean of The Ingram Commons.

The Ingram Commons dining hall is open to students all night, every night, as a group collaboration and study space.

The Vanderbilt Clinic

TVC acceptable on second reference. Note that The is uppercase in the clinic name.

Example:

A variety of ambulatory specialty practices of Vanderbilt Medical Group are located at The Vanderbilt Clinic. TVC offers outpatient diagnostic and treatment services.

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The name of the Vanderbilt student newspaper should be italicized, and The should be capitalized and italicized as part of the publication's official name.

Example:

Student-published since 1888, The Vanderbilt Hustler is Nashville's oldest newspaper.

theater, theatre

Use theatre in reference to Vanderbilt’s Department of Theatre, as that is their preferred spelling. For general purposes, use theater. In names of programs and buildings, maintain the spelling used by that entity.

Example:

Tennessee Repertory Theatre sometimes performs in TPAC’s Polk Theater.

they, them, their

Plural pronouns should typically be used with plural antecedents. However, in some cases, they, them, their may be used as singular, gender-neutral pronouns, for example, when the subject is a person who does not identify as male or female. Follow the person’s preference. Also consider rewriting the sentence or using the person’s name instead of a pronoun. Note that when they is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb.

See also pronouns and gender identity.

three-D

Use 3D in all references (no hyphen). Note that a sentence may start with 3D, or with other numeral-and-letter combinations, such as 401(k).

time

Use figures: 11 a.m.; 3:30 p.m., except for noon and midnight. For noon and midnight, use the words noon and midnight without the figure 12.

News Style requires omitting :00 following the hour. Non-news Style requires use of double zeros with whole hours: 4:00 p.m.

Do not use o’clock.

When indicating a span of time, use a hyphen (or en-dash in non-news-style) if not using prepositions. If using “from” use “to” instead of a hyphen (or en-dash):

Wrong: The open house is from 5-7 p.m.

Right: The open house is from 5 to 7 p.m. A reception honoring the artist will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The meeting will be Thursday, April 11, 3-4 p.m.

See also a.m., p.m.

titles

See titles of works in the Punctuation and grammar guide section.

titles (academic and administrative)

Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as professor or dean when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere.

Example:

Professor of History William Caferro; William Caferro, professor of history; history professor William Caferro; Associate Professor of Physics Kelly Holley-Bockelmann; Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, associate professor of physics; Associate Dean Roger Moore; Roger Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science; Douglas McMahon, professor and chair of biological sciences; Vice Chancellor for Communications Steve Ertel; Steve Ertel, vice chancellor for communications.

Exception: Named and endowed chairs and professorships are always capitalized.

Example:

Emmanuele DiBenedetto, Centennial Professor of Mathematics and professor of molecular physiology and biophysics

Peter Cummings, John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering

 Always identify faculty members by their academic ranks and departments in published materials. If a faculty member holds several academic titles, use the one that has a direct bearing on the story.

The forms for Vanderbilt titles are associate provost “for”; vice chancellor, associate vice chancellor, assistant vice chancellor “for”; dean “of” (there are some exceptions where “dean for” is used; consult the Registry for more information); chair or chairperson “of”; director “of” (there are some exceptions where “director for” is used; consult the Registry for more information); professor, associate professor, and assistant professor “of”; teacher “of”; instructor “in”; and lecturer “in”—followed by the applicable field or unit.

Additional information on faculty titles may be found in the Faculty Manual.

See also emeritus and named chairs.

titles of works

See chart below. In general, the title of a work that is part of a whole should be placed in quotation marks, while the title of the work in its entirety is italicized. Titles of long compositions are italicized; titles of short compositions are placed in quotation marks. Titles of books, journals, newspapers, magazines, podcast series, named blogs, art exhibits, individual works of art (paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, etc.), movies, television series, plays, complete musical works (e.g., symphonies), operas, and music albums should be italicized. Titles of book chapters, articles, newspaper columns, podcast episodes, blog entries, poems, short stories, comic strips, lectures, songs, and individual episodes in a television series should be placed in quotation marks. In news headlines, all titles should be placed in single quotes. Do NOT refer to the AP Stylebook for guidance on titles. Our style deviates.

See also capitalization, italics, and quotation marks.

Example:

The article “Cyberslacking” appeared in Newsweek.

Casablanca is a great flick.

My favorite episode of Seinfeld is “The Contest.”

Frank Sutherland’s “I Love Wine” column appeared weekly in The Tennessean.

Catcher in the Rye is a handbook for the cynical and disenchanted.

She downloaded the song “With or Without You” from U2’s album Joshua Tree.

Employees often refer to the “Dilbert” comic strip for inspiration.

The play The Meeting is a fictional dialogue.

Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony is the longest and last symphony that he composed.

Italics and headline-style caps:

Quotation marks and headline-style caps:

Headline-style caps, no quotation marks, no italics

 

dissertation and thesis titles

 

magazines

magazine articles

 

journals

journal articles

 

newspapers

newspaper articles and columns

apps

blogs (named)

blog entries

websites (such as, Facebook, Google)

podcast programs

podcast episodes

 

books

book chapters

essays

political documents (such as, Constitution)

plays

individual acts or scenes of plays

scriptural works (such as, Bible, Koran, Talmud)

poetry anthologies

poems

 
 

short stories

 

television series

television episodes

 

music albums

songs

 

musical compositions identified by name or nickname

movements within a musical work

musical compositions whose name contains a musical form (such as, concerto, symphony)

art exhibits

   

individual works of art (paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, etc.)

   
   

awards

movies

 

academic courses

 

individual lectures

one-time events

one-time symposiums

recurring lecture series

recurring symposiums

toll-free

Hyphenated in all uses.

top number

Use numerals to describe “top” rankings, such as top 10. Do not hyphenate as an adjective. Do not capitalize (unless at the start of a sentence).

Example:

The top 10 graduating seniors are featured in the spring issue.

town hall
trans-institutional

Note the use of the hyphen.

Trans-Institutional Programs initiative

Use full name for first reference. For subsequent references, TIPs may be used.

Example:

The Trans-Institutional Programs initiative provides support for cross-disciplinary research and collaboration—a core pillar of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. The proposals that receive TIPs funding address topics of critical academic and societal interest, embrace discovery, spark learning, and position Vanderbilt as a world leader in a given area of inquiry.

transgender

Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individual lives publicly.

tweet (n. and v.), retweet (n. and v.)

Lowercase.

Example:

A tweet consists of 280 characters.

The witness was tweeting almost nonstop during the attack.

A few of his tweets were retweeted, and he also gained a few new Twitter followers as a result of the conference.


Twitter (n. and adj.)

Uppercase.

Example:

Graduating students can follow Commencement activities on Twitter.

The official Twitter feed of Vanderbilt University, @VanderbiltU, keeps followers up to date on everything from midterms to the latest discoveries happening at the university.

U.S.

The abbreviation is acceptable as a noun or adjective for United States.

Example:

Collaborations between the Vanderbilt School of Engineering and the U.S. Air Force have led to exciting new discoveries.

Undergraduate Business Minor program

Capitalize the name of the program, but lowercase references to the business minor itself.

Example:

Launched in 2017, the undergraduate business minor is Vanderbilt’s first minor not solely housed in one of the university’s four undergraduate schools/colleges.

Gary Kimball has been named director of the Undergraduate Business Minor program.

United States

Although the abbreviation U.S. is acceptable as both noun and adjective, it is often preferable to spell out the name of the country as a noun.

Example:

The United States continues to experience economic growth.

university

Lowercase when standing alone, including references to Vanderbilt.

Do not capitalize the generic term university when plural and preceded by two or more proper nouns: Vanderbilt and Indiana universities. However, when the generic term university is plural and followed by more than one name, it is generally capitalized: Universities of California and Colorado.

Example:

The university comprises 10 schools.

university-wide

Hyphenate as an adjective before a noun. If used after the noun, then two words, no hyphen.

Example:

The university-wide survey sought opinions from all Vanderbilt staff. The survey was university wide.

See also campuswide.

up-to-date, up to date

Hyphenate only when used before a noun.

Example:

MyVU, the Vanderbilt employee website, keeps faculty and staff up to date on campus news and events.

The report is up to date.

The annual Re:VU publication provides up-to-date facts about the university, including rankings and figures for enrollment.

upload

One word.

upper-division student

May be used to describe a sophomore, junior or senior undergraduate student.

upperclassman, upperclass student

Instead use upper-division student.

urban core

Use instead of “inner city.”

URL, URLs

Web addresses generally should not include special spacing or font treatment and should not be introduced by a colon. A URL may be broken at the end of a line if necessary, but do not add a hyphen. If a URL is at the end of a sentence, include normal ending punctuation, e.g., a period. Generally, URLs do not need the http:// or the www in front of them. But always check that all URLs work exactly as printed.

Example:

For more information on the Vanderbilt ID card, visit vanderbilt.edu/cardservices.

Explore scientific research at Vanderbilt at news.vanderbilt.edu/research.

utilize

Generally better to use use.

Vanderbilt Alumni Association

Use for first reference. For subsequent references, the Alumni Association (retaining capitalization) is acceptable.

Vanderbilt Athletics

Example:

Last month, Vanderbilt Athletics announced plans to send 11 student-athletes on study abroad trips that will be funded solely by the department.

Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences

For second reference, use Wilkerson Center.

Vanderbilt bookstore

Acceptable on second reference for Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt. Also acceptable: the bookstore, the campus bookstore (lowercase).

Vanderbilt Clinic

See The Vanderbilt Clinic.

Vanderbilt COVID-19 Research and Innovation Fund

Donations to this fund support COVID-19 researchers and innovators from across the university, including cross-disciplinary collaborations that address the medical, societal and interpersonal effects of the pandemic.

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory

Use for first reference. For second reference, use either Dyer or Dyer Observatory.

Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks

Use for first or second reference to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s campus at 100 Oaks Mall. Depending on the context, One Hundred Oaks may be used for second reference. Note that when describing the Vanderbilt facility, One Hundred Oaks is spelled out, although the name of the mall itself uses numerals, 100 Oaks Mall.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

Kennedy Center is acceptable on second reference. Kennedy Center may be used for first reference, if it’s in the lead or headline. In that case, use full title on second reference.

Vanderbilt Medical Center

Use Vanderbilt University Medical Center instead. VUMC is acceptable on second reference or in headlines.

Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic

On second reference, Occupational Health is acceptable.

Vanderbilt Police Department

Use Vanderbilt University Police Department instead. VUPD is acceptable on second reference or in headlines.

Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center

See David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.

Vanderbilt Return to Campus Plan

This framework for carefully reopening campus details how the university will ramp up various operations in orderly, sequential phases while adhering to strict safety protocols and testing their effectiveness. For second reference, the Return to Campus Plan and the Vanderbilt plan are acceptable (no italics or quotation marks). References to the phases of the plan should take the form: Vanderbilt Phase 1, Vanderbilt Phase 2, Vanderbilt Phase 3, Vanderbilt Phase 4.

Related: phased reopening

Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
Vanderbilt Student Health Center

On second reference, Student Health is acceptable.

Vanderbilt University

Appropriate first reference is Vanderbilt University. Appropriate second reference is Vanderbilt for the university and Commodores for athletic references.

Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery

Use for first reference. For second reference, Fine Arts Gallery is acceptable (note the use of initial capital letters).

Example:

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery presents engaging exhibitions each year that represent the diversity of artistic production today, as well as throughout the history of Eastern and Western art. In addition to exhibitions drawn from the gallery's permanent collection, a number of traveling exhibitions are presented as well. The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall.

Vanderbilt University Hospital

Vanderbilt Hospital or VUH may be used on second reference or in headlines.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

VUMC and the Medical Center are acceptable on second reference or in headlines. Do not refer to as the Med Center. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is an independent, nonprofit corporation that shares Vanderbilt University’s respected name and collaborates closely with the university through education and research. The Medical Center comprises Vanderbilt University Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital, The Vanderbilt Clinic, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, and is affiliated with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

See also Medical Center.

Vanderbilt University Police Department

VUPD acceptable on second reference or in headlines.

Vanderbilt University Residence

Preferred reference for the residence located at 211 Deer Park Drive in Belle Meade. Formerly a residence for the chancellor, the Vanderbilt University Residence is now a site for special university events.

Vandy

Use primarily in Vanderbilt Athletics communications, social media and promotional purposes.

VandyBoys

Can be used to refer to the Vanderbilt baseball team. Note that there is no space.

 

VandySafe
versus

In ordinary writing, spell out versus. In court cases, use v.

Example:

Hespos and Spelke tested whether five-month-old infants from native English-speaking homes detected the tight versus loose fit concept.

The article by Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law Suzanna Sherry analyzes the intellectual background of Marbury v. Madison.

vice chair

Use two words, no hyphen.

vice chancellor

Do not hyphenate. All Vanderbilt vice chancellors are vice chancellors for their divisions, not of, such as, vice chancellor for administration, vice chancellor for communications. Do not capitalize the division name when it is in the vice chancellor’s title, unless the title precedes the name.

Example:

Vice Chancellor for Investments and Chief Investment Officer Anders Hall manages the university’s endowment.

Eleven faculty members from across campus were invited to serve on the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Council to provide input to Anders Hall, vice chancellor for investments and chief investment officer.

Vanderbilt’s vice chancellors:

Andre L. Churchwell, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer

Steve Ertel, vice chancellor for communications

Nathan Green, vice chancellor for government and community relations

Anders W. Hall, vice chancellor for investments and chief investment officer

Eric C. Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration

Candice Storey Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director

John M. Lutz, vice chancellor for information technology and interim vice chancellor for development and alumni relations

Ruby Z. Shellaway, vice chancellor, general counsel, and secretary of the university

Brett Sweet, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer

Susan R. Wente, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs [On first reference, always include middle initial.]

 An up-to-date list is also available on the Vanderbilt website.

 

videoconference, videoconferencing; video chat

.

videoconferencing

One word.

virus’s

This is the singular possessive form of virus. Not virus’.

voice mail

Two words.

VUceptor
VUconnect

Note the capitalization in the name of Vanderbilt’s online alumni community.

VUnetID
waitlist (n.) wait-list (v.)
walk-in

Use drop-in instead.

Example:

drop-in session

Warren Center

Acceptable second reference to Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

Warren College and Moore College, Warren and Moore colleges

Acceptable forms for second reference include Warren and Moore, the colleges, Warren, Moore, the college. Note that “faculty head,” faculty head of college,” and “graduate fellow” should be lowercase when referring to these leaders within the colleges, unless preceding a name.

Example:

Opened in 2014, Warren and Moore colleges were the first residential college options for Vanderbilt students in their sophomore, junior, or senior year.

Each college is divided into two halls, with each hall led by a graduate fellow. Faculty heads of college live in the colleges and serve as mentors.

Once students enter Warren or Moore in their sophomore year, they can remain in the same college as juniors and seniors.

Moore College includes Rice Hall and Smith Hall. Warren College includes Elliston Hall and Delbruck Hall. Each hall is led by resident graduate fellows who work with the faculty head of college to facilitate leadership development and programming goals.

Washington, D.C.

Use periods with D.C. and set it off with commas.

Example:

Vanderbilt’s Washington, D.C., office is located a short walk from the Capitol.

web

Lowercase. The following web-related compounds are treated as one word, lowercase: webcam, webcast, webmaster, webpage, website. Names of most websites are capitalized without quotation marks or italics.

Example:

Commodore fans can find schedules for all Vanderbilt sports on the web.

She serves as assistant director of web-based learning.

The department always includes its web address on its publications.

The best place to learn about web design is the web itself.

Go to the Sarratt Studio Arts website to register for classes.

webcam, webcast, webmaster, webpage, website
well-being

Note, however, that no hyphen is used in Center for Student Wellbeing.

Wente, Susan R.

Full name and title: Susan R. Wente, provost, vice chancellor for academic affairs, professor of cell and developmental biology, and holder of the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair

Always use the middle initial with her name: Susan R. Wente

Note that the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair is not tied to her professorship (so do NOT combine the titles into Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology).

Always capitalize “Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair.”

Capitalize these titles only when they precede her name: provost, vice chancellor for academic affairs, professor of cell and developmental biology

Wente has been provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Vanderbilt since 2014 and also served as interim chancellor from August 2019 to June 2020. At the conclusion of her term as interim chancellor, Wente was honored by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust with an additional faculty appointment to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair. Her appointment as interim chancellor came after many years of distinguished service to the university, where she started in 2002 in the School of Medicine’s Department of Cell and Developmental Biology as professor and chair. During her time at Vanderbilt, Wente has held multiple key roles in research, administration and leadership. As the university’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, Wente oversees all academic programs and leads initiatives to advance the university’s mission.

Example:

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente, who also holds a Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, combines her expertise in scholarship and research with an overarching vision that spotlights innovation, collaboration and discovery. She also is a professor of cell and developmental biology.

Susan R. Wente, provost, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and holder of a Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, was Vanderbilt’s first female provost and served as interim chancellor after the retirement of Nicholas S. Zeppos.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente, who holds a Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, is also a professor of cell and developmental biology.

 

 

 

West Tennessee

Capitalize this region of the state.

Western

Generally capitalize when referring to a part of the world.

Example:

International scholars will discuss the historic role of nationalism in the Western hemisphere during a conference at Vanderbilt.

The course will cover the style periods of classical Western music.

See also regions.

Wi-Fi
Wilkerson Center

Use for second reference to Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences.

Women’s Center

Acceptable second reference for Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center.

Wond’ry

First reference should be the Wond’ry at the Innovation Pavilion. For subsequent references, use the Wond’ry. If its location is referenced, the Wond’ry should be described as adjacent to the Engineering and Science Building.

Example:

Vanderbilt University’s Wond’ry at the Innovation Pavilion is the campus epicenter for creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship for students and faculty across all academic disciplines. The center hosts an abundance of programs designed to foster an interdisciplinary spirit of creation, innovation and experiential learning. The Wond’ry is adjacent to the Engineering and Science Building, an interdisciplinary research and teaching building.

See also Engineering and Science Building and Innovation Pavilion.

workspace

.

World Health Organization

For second reference, WHO or the WHO are acceptable.

World Wide Web

Usually called the web.

See also web.

writer-in-residence
Wyatt Center

Preferred for most uses instead of the full name of the building, Faye and Joe B. Wyatt Center for Education.

Example:

Following a luncheon held in the rotunda of the Wyatt Center, Shalala met with a group of faculty members to discuss collegiate athletics.

X-ray

Hyphenate and use capital X.

yearlong

yearlong — One word, no hyphen.

Zeppos, Nicholas S.

Full name and title: Nicholas S. Zeppos, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus, University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science

For second reference, use Chancellor Emeritus Zeppos or Zeppos.

Do not use the shortened form “Nick Zeppos” for official references.

Capitalize the titles “Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus,” and “University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science” whether they are used before or after the name.

Lowercase “chancellor emeritus” when used without a name.

Nicholas S. Zeppos was Vanderbilt University’s eighth chancellor (2008–2019). He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. He subsequently served as an associate dean and then as associate provost before being named provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2002. On August 1, 2007, Zeppos was named interim chancellor, and on March 1, 2008, he was named chancellor. Zeppos stepped down from the role August 15, 2019, and was appointed chancellor emeritus. In November 2019, Zeppos was named Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science. He returned to teaching at Vanderbilt Law School in fall 2020.

Example:

“We are second to none in the breakthroughs we make and the boundaries we seek to break,” said Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos, who also is University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science Nicholas S. Zeppos returns to teaching in fall 2020.

 

ZIP code

Use all caps for ZIP, because it is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan; code should be lowercase.

Zoom

An online collaboration tool that may be used for conducting virtual meetings or events.

Example:

The meeting was conducted virtually via Zoom.

The Zoom gathering is open to the public.

The virtual meeting on Zoom will engage participants in a conversation about which policies might be most effective for Vanderbilt.