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Writing Style Guide




Academic Degrees

Capitalize associate degree and associate degree program when part of the specific name of the degree or program. Use lower case when referring to associate degree and associate degree program in general.

The Associate in Arts University Transfer Studies Degree was approved in 2001.

The Associate in Arts University Transfer Studies Degree Program has continued to be popular with Grossmont students.

The steps taken to develop certificate and associate degree programs at Grossmont are well defined.

Many students earn associate degrees at Grossmont every year.

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Academic Departments

Capitalize the names of academic departments. Use lower case when using the word department when it stands alone.

Through the content review process, the English Department developed entrance and exit skills for each English composition course.

Academic departments pay close attention to the curriculum at the four-year institutions in the San Diego area.

Capitalize the academic field when it is used to refer to a specific department. Use lower case when referring to a field in general.

Will Cummings is the chair of Political Economy.

Many students must study political economy for their major.

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Academic Majors

Use lower case when referring to academic majors except for languages.

Gabriela is a mathematics major.

Isabella will major in English.

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Administrative Offices

Capitalize the names of specific departments, divisions, and offices. Use lower case when the words department, division, and office stand alone.

In cooperation with the Counseling Department and other departments, The Office of Admissions and Records facilitates access to the institution.

The Division of Communication and Fine Arts is the smallest on campus.

The librarian liaisons stay in contact with faculty within each division.

The Office of Research, Planning, and Academic Services does institutional research.

This office also provides an invaluable resource on which to base planning.

Capitalize a service field when the word refers to a department, but use lower case when referring to a field.

Jack Peters is the dean of the Office of Student Affairs; he has worked in student affairs for many years.

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a.m. and p.m.

Use lower case and periods for a.m. and p.m.

The accreditation co-chairs work from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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Buildings and Centers

The specific names of campus buildings and centers are capitalized, but when the word building or center stands alone, use lower case.

The Grossmont College Science Building is now under construction.

The Child Development Center added a modular building with $135,000 of state funding. The center provides an essential service to students, faculty, and staff.

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Classes and Courses

Use lower case when you refer to classes and courses, unless you use the complete title of the course or the specific name with its corresponding course numeral.

Gabriela is taking a history course this semester; it is History 105, Early Western Civilization.

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College and District

Capitalize college or district when it is part of a proper noun, but use lower case when using college or district when it stands alone.

Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College make up the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. The district controls the funding for both colleges.

The District Business Services Division conducts an annual survey that measures the effectiveness and efficiency of its departments.

The District Executive Council reviews policy, planning, and financial issues.

The Spring 2000 District Staff Accreditation Survey was used to write the self study.

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Committees, Councils, and Clubs

Capitalize the specific names of campus committees, clubs, and councils, but use lower case for the words committees, councils, and clubs when they stand alone.

The chancellor works with the District Budget Planning Committee.

The college Planning and Budget Council drives the budget planning process.    

The president utilizes a variety of college committees and councils to address college issues.

The International Club is one of the many active clubs on the Grossmont campus.

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The Governing Board

Capitalize the Governing Board and the Board of Trustees, but when the word board or trustee stands alone, use lower case.

The Governing Board regularly schedules and receives reports and presentations from faculty and staff during board meeting.

The college's self-study report was completed in July 2001 and approved by the Board of Trustees.

When trustees attend conferences, they report on the highlights at the next public meeting.

The board looked bored at the last board meeting.

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Hyphenated Words in Titles

Capitalize the first and second part of a hyphenated proper name.

The Inter-Club Council (ICC) is a representative body including members of all recognized campus clubs and organizations.

The Cross-Cultural Studies Department attracts a diverse student body.

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Capitalize names of races, but do not capitalize black or white when referring to race.

All races, not just blacks and whites, are represented at Grossmont: African Americans, Caucasians, Asians, Latin Americans, Native Americans, Middle Easterners, and Pacific Islanders.

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Capitalize room only when used with a number or name.

The only dedicated classroom for ESL is Room 550.

The Clubs Room is found in the Student Center.

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Capitalize the name of a person or a group in a salutation. Finish the salutation with a comma. Do not capitalize and.

Dear District Office Employees,

Dear Cuyamaca Staff, Faculty, and Administrators,

Dear Trustee Alexander and Acting President Colli,

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Seasons and Semesters

Capitalize seasons only when referring to a specific semester which includes the year. Use lower case for seasons and general reference to semesters.

The Dietetic Technician Program was phased out in Spring 2000.

Students may enroll in adapted computing classes in either fall or spring semester.

Many Grossmont students take the summer off for vacation.

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Social Security

Use lower case when referring to social security number. Only capitalize references to the Social Security Administration.

The studentís social security number, which is issued by the Social Security Administration, is no longer used as a student identification number at Grossmont.

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Capitalize a personís title only when used before the name. Do not capitalize trustee, chancellor, president, dean, or professor when it is not before a name. Department names are in lower case in a person's title.

Chancellor Suarez met with the Grossmont College Faculty Senate in the spring. The chancellor normally does not attend senate meetings.

Virginia Berger, coordinator of the ESL department, will retire next year.

Vice President Peter White co-chaired the last accreditation with Professor Sue Jensen.

The vice president of academic affairs administers five major divisions.

The dean is assisted by the director of facilities and operations and the manager of campus projects.

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Titles of College Document Names

In the titles of college document names, capitalize the first and last word of the title and all words in between except articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions of four letters or fewer.  Do not use italics for college documents; use italics for the titles of college publications.

According to the Spring 2000 Grossmont College Faculty Accreditation Survey, 92% of the faculty respondents feel that college publications are current and accurate.

The college catalog also contains the Code of Conduct and is available at orientations as well as in the campus bookstore.

The journalism program teaches students to develop their skills in writing, gathering news, editing, publishing, and layout to produce The Summit, the collegeís student newspaper.

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