DCCE Editorial Style guide

Academic Departments

Capitalize the names of departments except when used in a person’s title.

Right: She is a senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Right: The Department of Art and Art History redesigned its website.

Right: The director of admissions is pleased with the number of applicants.

Use lowercase for the word “department” when it stands alone.

Right: She’s been with the department for three years.

Right: The Department of Astronomy hosts weekly viewing nights on university telescopes.

Capitalize the field when it’s used to mean the department. Use lowercase for the field when it’s used in a general sense.

Right: She’s a professor in the Department of Physics.

Right: She’s a professor in the Physics Department.

Right: She majored in physics.

Academic Majors/Titles


Use lowercase for majors with the exception of languages, which are proper nouns.

Right: Her major is physics.

Right: He’s an English major.


Include middle initial for Dr. Gregory J. Vincent

All people with Ph.D.s are referred to as Dr. in the first reference. Use last name in subsequent references

a.m. / p.m.

Use lowercase and periods for “a.m.” and “p.m.”

Buildings & Rooms


All proper names of buildings, such as Texas Union, should be capitalized. Special building projects, such as the Tower Garden Project, should be capitalized. Terms such as “north wing” and “new residence hall” should not be capitalized, unless they are used in the title.


Capitalize only when used with a number, letter or name. In combination with a building name, use the number only.

Right: We’ll be in Room 100.

Right: We’ll be in the training room.

Right: The movie is in Batts 110.

Degrees/Professional Titles


Follow UT style guide: (i.e. bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, Ph.D.) In the case you only use abbreviations, include periods (i.e.. B.A.)

Professional Titles

A person’s title is capitalized only when used before the name. When using a capitalized title immediately before the name, try to keep it short. Do not capitalize an occupational designation, only a true title.

Right: We met President Fenves.

Right: The president will speak at the dinner.

Right: Vice President for Student Affairs Gage Paine issued the memo.

Right: Our speaker will be artist William Cooper.

Titles following a person’s name should appear in lowercase. Use lowercase when a title is used alone.

Right: The president of The University of Texas at Austin will address the group.

Right: Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president of diversity and community engagement, will host the reception.

Capitalize the official names of honorary chaired and university professorships. For those titles that are not honorary or for references after the name of the professor, use lowercase.

Right: Sanford Levinson, the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, donated his collection to the School of Law.

Right: She earned the rank of university professor.

Ethnicities (in accordance with the AP Style Guide)

Do not hyphenate compound ethnic terms such as African American, Asian American, Latin American, and Native American.

Black(s), white(s) (n.) Do not use either term as a singular noun. For plurals, phrasing such as Black people, white people, Black teachers, white students is often preferable when clearly relevant. White officers account for 64% of the police force, Black officers 21% and Latino officers 15%. The plural nouns Blacks and whites are generally acceptable when clearly relevant and needed for reasons of space or sentence construction. He helped integrate dance halls among Blacks, whites, Latinos and Asian Americans. Black and white are acceptable as adjectives when relevant.

Black (adj.) Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.

African American is also acceptable for those in the U.S. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow an individual’s preference if known, and be specific when possible and relevant. Minneapolis has a large Somali American population because of refugee resettlement. The author is Senegalese American.

Use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.

Also use Black in racial, ethnic and cultural differences outside the U.S. to avoid equating a person with a skin color.

Asian American No hyphen (a change in 2019 for this and other dual heritage terms). Acceptable for an American of Asian descent. When possible, refer to a person’s country of origin or follow the person’s preference. For example: Filipino American or Indian American.

brown (adj.) Avoid this broad and imprecise term in racial, ethnic or cultural references unless as part of a direct quotation. Interpretations of what the term includes vary widely.

COMPOUND PROPER NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES: No hyphen in designating dual heritage: Italian American, Mexican American (a change in 2019).

Caucasian Avoid as a synonym for white, unless in a quotation.

people of color, racial minority The terms people of color and racial minority/minorities are generally acceptable terms to describe people of races other than white in the United States. Avoid using POC. When talking about just one group, be specific: Chinese Americans or members of the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, for example. Be mindful that some Native Americans say the terms people of color and racial minority fall short by not encompassing their sovereign status. Avoid referring to an individual as a minority unless in a quotation.

biracial, multiracial Acceptable, when clearly relevant, to describe people with more than one racial heritage. Usually more useful when describing large, diverse groups of people than individuals. Avoid mixed-race, which can carry negative connotations, unless a story subject prefers the term. Be specific if possible, and then use biracial for people of two heritages or multiracial for those of two or more on subsequent references if needed. Examples: She has an African American father and a white mother instead of She is biracial. But: The study of biracial people showed a split in support along gender lines. Multiracial can encompass people of any combination of races.

Chicano A term that Mexican Americans in the U.S. Southwest sometimes use to describe their heritage. Use only if it is a person’s preference.

Latino, Latina Latino is often the preferred noun or adjective for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Some prefer the recently coined gender-neutral term Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation. Hernandez prefers the gender-neutral term Latinx. For groups of females, use the plural Latinas; for groups of males or of mixed gender, use the plural Latinos. Hispanics is also generally acceptable for those in the U.S.

Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican American.

Hispanic A person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino, Latina or Latinx are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican American.

American Indians, Native Americans Both are acceptable terms in general references for those in the U.S. when referring to two or more people of different tribal affiliations. For individuals, use the name of the tribe; if that information is not immediately available, try to obtain it. He is a Navajo commissioner. She is a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Some tribes and tribal nations use member; others use citizen. If in doubt, use citizen. Avoid words such as wampum, warpath, powwow, teepee, brave, squaw, etc., which can be disparaging and offensive. In Alaska, the Indigenous groups are collectively known as Alaska Natives.

First Nation is the preferred term for native tribes in Canada.

Indian is used to describe the peoples and cultures of the South Asian nation of India. Do not use the term as a shorthand for American Indians.

tribe Refers to a sovereign political entity, communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language, and a social group of linked families who may be part of an ethnic group. Capitalize the word tribe when part of a formal name of sovereign political entities, or communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language. Identify tribes by the political identity specified by the tribe, nation or community: the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation.

The term ethnic group is preferred when referring to ethnicity or ethnic violence.

Orient, Oriental Do not use when referring to East Asian nations and their peoples. Asian is the acceptable term for an inhabitant of those regions.

Indigenous (adj.) Capitalize this term used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. Aboriginal leaders welcomed a new era of Indigenous relations in Australia. Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples represent some 62% of the population.

Aborigine An outdated term referring to aboriginal people in Australia. It is considered offensive by some and should be avoided.


Administrative Offices

Capitalize the names of departments, divisions and offices. Use lowercase for the words “department,” “division” or “office” when they stand alone. Capitalize the field when it’s used to mean the department, division or office specifically. Do not capitalize the field when it’s used in general.

Right: He works in the Registrar’s Office.

Right: She works in student affairs. (the field)

Right: She works in the Student Affairs Office. (the university office)

Right: He works in Campus Planning. (the university office)


Capitalize Program when referencing a program (ex: IE Program, Mcnair Scholars Program, etc.)

Centers and Institutes

The formal names of centers, such as the Center for Space Research or the Institute of Latin American Studies, should be capitalized, but “center” by itself should be in lowercase. The same rules apply to institutes. Upon second reference, it is not necessary to use the complete proper name.

Right: The Institute for Learning and Technology hosts seminars.

Right: The institute will welcome dozens of affiliates.

Right: The Recreational Sports Center opened in 1996.

Right: The center has an exercise lounge and conditioning rooms.

Abbreviate or Spell Out?

DCCE v. Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Spell out Division of Campus and Community Engagement in each article then use acronym in subsequent references. This goes for all programs/units/centers with acronyms.

UT Austin v. The University of Texas at Austin

Both are acceptable. Always capitalize “The” when referring to the full name of the university.

Titles of Books, Courses, Films, Etc. 

For simplicity and clarity, italicize official titles of books, chapters of books, movies, plays, poems, songs, television shows, episodes of television shows, magazine articles, speeches, research papers and projects.


Use italics for book titles (including textbooks). Use quotations for book chapters or individual selections.

Right: An excellent source for writers is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Right: In the text, Collection of Great American Short Stories, my favorite is “The Hills Are Like White Elephants.”


Capitalize the main words in the title of courses; quotation marks or italics are not necessary.

Magazines and Newspapers

Capitalize the name but do not place it in quotations or italics. Do not capitalize “magazine” unless it’s part of the publication’s title or masthead.

Right: Time magazine, Newsweek magazine, The Alcalde magazine

Capitalize the word “the” only if it’s part of the periodical’s title.

Right: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Alcalde magazine, The Eyes of Texas, The Daily Texan, The Washington Post