Editorial Style Guide



Westfield State Foundation, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of the University, with its own 501 (c) 3 status. It is a separate entity from Westfield State University.

Any reference to the Westfield State Foundation, Inc. should refer to it in full. The “Inc.” should not be omitted.


When using the full name of the University, capitalize the entire name. It is important to use the full name when referring to Westfield State University to distinguish what university is being referred to and also to promote the University.

Ex: She will be attending Westfield State University next semester.

Westfield State

Because there are many schools across the nation with the initials “WSU,” it is important to spell out “Westfield State” or “Westfield State University” in all external documents and publications to ensure recognition in any context.

Capitalize “University” after the first use of Westfield State University.

When using the word “university” in a general sense alone in running text, do not capitalize.

Ex: He will attend a university in the fall.
When using the word “university” to refer to Westfield, capitalize.


Fun Facts

  • Westfield State’s colors are blue and white. Our mascot is spelled “Nestor.”
  • Beginning in the early 1950s, Westfield State has used the nickname “Owls” in reference to the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
  • Owls are solitary, nocturnal birds of prey.
  • A group of owls is called a “parliament.”
  • Westfield State was founded in December 1838, by Horace Mann, as the nation’s first coeducational public school for teacher education. The school itself did not open until 1839 as the Barre Normal School for teacher training in Barre, Massachusetts.

The school was renamed in 1932 to the State Teachers College. The school moved to Westfield in 1944, and was renamed the Westfield Normal School. In 1960 it was renamed the State College at Westfield. The name was changed again in 1967 to Westfield State College. In 2010, the college was renamed Westfield State University.

Owls in Athletics

Remember to capitalize “Owls” when referring to Westfield State specifically.

Ex: Thursday night the Owls defeated Worcester State, 7–5.

When referring to female athletic teams, please use the following terms: the Owls, Westfield women or Westfield State.

Ex: Westfield women defeated Salem State, 9–4.
Westfield State finished third at the swim competition.
The Owls are playing Bridgewater State on Saturday.


Academic Degrees

Write out academic degrees in lowercase letters.

Ex: He received a master’s degree in business administration.

When abbreviating—appropriate in a list, citation, or a signature—be sure to use periods.

Ex: Degrees that are offered are: B.A., B.S., M.Ed., M.S., M.P.A., C.A.G.S., and Ph.D.


Always spell out the full name, title or phrase for the first reference immediately followed by the acronym in parentheses.

Ex: The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) recently released its annual Performance Measurement Report.

Company Names

Be sure to write the name exactly as they present it to you. Use “Co.” or “Cos.” or “Inc.” or “Ltd.” if it appears that way in the formal title. When writing the name without the formal title, use “Company” and not “Co.”.

Spell out “Company” in theatrical organizations. Do not use a comma before “Ltd.” or “Inc.” or with “&” or “and”.



Spell out the name when it stands alone in text, is a title, or is part of a name.

Ex: Westfield State University is located in Massachusetts.

Use “Washington, D.C.” and not just “D.C.” or “DC”.

Abbreviate state names in text using the AP style—not the postal—when citing a city with a state.

  • Alabama — Ala.
  • Alaska — Alaska
  • Arizona — Ariz.
  • Arkansas — Ark.
  • California — Calif.
  • Colorado — Colo.
  • Connecticut — Conn.
  • Delaware — Del.
  • Florida — Fla.
  • Georgia — Ga.
  • Hawaii — Hawaii
  • Idaho — Idaho
  • Illinois — Ill.
  • Indiana — Ind.
  • Iowa — Iowa
  • Kansas — Kan.
  • Kentucky — Ky.
  • Louisiana — La.
  • Maine — Maine
  • Maryland — Md.
  • Massachusetts — Mass.
  • Michigan — Mich.
  • Minnesota — Minn.
  • Mississippi — Miss.
  • Missouri — Mo.
  • Montana — Mont.
  • Nebraska — Neb.
  • Nevada — Nev.
  • New Hampshire — N.H.
  • New Jersey — N.J.
  • New Mexico — N.M.
  • New York — N.Y.
  • North Carolina — N.C.
  • North Dakota — N.D.
  • Ohio — Ohio
  • Oklahoma — Okla.
  • Oregon — Ore.
  • Pennsylvania — Pa.
  • Rhode Island — R.I.
  • South Carolina — S.C.
  • South Dakota — S.D.
  • Tennessee — Tenn.
  • Texas — Texas
  • Utah — Utah
  • Vermont — Vt.
  • Virginia — Va.
  • Washington — Wash.
  • West Virginia — W.Va.
  • Wisconsin — Wis.
  • Wyoming — Wyo.

United States

It is suggested to use “United States” instead of “U.S.,” “USA,” or “America.”

It is acceptable to abbreviate “U.S.” when it is used as an adjective.

Ex: The U.S. government has control over many education grants.


Abbreviations in Addresses

Write out and capitalize “street,” “avenue,” “boulevard,” etc. when they are part of a formal street name or address. This applies to addresses within a written text, not for envelopes.

Ex: Westfield State University is located on Western Avenue.


Post Office Box

Use “P.O. Box” with periods and no space. Do not use “POB” or “P.O.B.”

Westfield State University
P.O. Box 1630
Westfield, MA 01086-1630


See “Abbreviations” for state abbreviations used in text.

Use the two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for addresses, but not in text.

  • Alabama — AL
  • Alaska — AK
  • Arizona — AZ
  • Arkansas — AR
  • California — CA
  • Colorado — CO
  • Connecticut — CT
  • Delaware — DE
  • Florida — FL
  • Georgia — GA
  • Hawaii — HI
  • Idaho — ID
  • Illinois — IL
  • Indiana — IN
  • Iowa — IA
  • Kansas — KS
  • Kentucky — KY
  • Louisiana — LA
  • Maine — ME
  • Maryland — MD
  • Massachusetts — MA
  • Michigan — MI
  • Minnesota — MN
  • Mississippi — MS
  • Missouri — MO
  • Montana — MT
  • Nebraska — NE
  • Nevada — NV
  • New Hampshire — NH
  • New Jersey — NJ
  • New Mexico — NM
  • New York — NY
  • North Carolina — NC
  • North Dakota — ND
  • Ohio — OH
  • Oklahoma — OK
  • Oregon — OR
  • Pennsylvania — PA
  • Rhode Island — RI
  • South Carolina — SC
  • South Dakota — SD
  • Tennessee — TN
  • Texas — TX
  • Utah — UT
  • Vermont — VT
  • Virginia — VA
  • Washington — WA
  • West Virginia — WV
  • Wisconsin — WI
  • Wyoming — WY

In General

Always capitalize the first word in a sentence and proper names.

Ex: The guest of honor will be Olivia Moore.

Academic Degrees

Use lowercase for associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Also, use lowercase for doctorate and doctoral programs.

Ex: I earned my bachelor’s degree at Westfield State.

Academic Departments

Capitalize the names of departments, divisions, classes, formal events and offices when the full name of the department is used.

Ex: The English Department will hold its annual Spring Gathering in May.

Use lowercase when the name is used in a general sense.

Ex: Her major is biology.

Academic Majors

Use lowercase with the exception of languages.

Ex: I majored in Spanish.
She majored in psychology.

Classes and Courses

Generally use lowercase, unless using a specific and complete title.

Ex: I took a music course last semester.
I took Basic Music Theory last semester.


Always use lowercase in running text. Capitalize the specific event.

Ex: It takes many months to plan commencement.
You are invited to speak at the 175th Commencement at Westfield State University.


Capitalize days of the week, months of the year, and holidays, but not seasons.

Ex: This year, Easter will be on Sunday, April 8.
For commuter students, winter can be quite frustrating.

Geographic Locations

Cities, states, and regions are capitalized.

Ex: Westfield State University is located in the Northeast.


Capitalize letter grades. For GPAs, use two numerals after the decimal point.

Ex: He received a B in English class.
His GPA is 3.24.


Capitalize groups or organizations that are national, political, racial, social, civic and athletic.

Ex: Westfield State University has many clubs and organizations, including the Republican Club, the Boxing Club, and the Outing Club.


Use lowercase for cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.

Ex: He graduated magna cum laude.

Publication and Other Titles

In titles use title caps, in other words, capitalize the first word, the last word, the first word after a colon, and all nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives.

Ex: In British literature, we will be reading Paradise Lost.

Do not capitalize articles, coordinating conjunctions, or prepositions unless they apply to the previous example.

Ex: In film class, we watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


Capitalize when used with a number. When used with a specific building name, use the number only.

Ex: The meeting will be held in Room 214.
The committee will meet in Parenzo 136.


Capitalize a season when it is used in a title or as part of a formal name. Use lowercase when the season is used alone.

Ex: The English Department is still deciding on a date for the Spring Gathering.
The commuter parking lot is crowded during the winter months.


Do not capitalize semesters or terms, unless it begins a sentence.

Ex: Commencement will be held at the end of the spring semester.

Student Classifications

Do not capitalize unless it is used as a designation or a formal title.

Ex: She is a junior majoring in education.

Time Periods and Events

Capitalize time periods and major historical events.

Ex: Westfield State University was founded at the beginning of the Victorian Era.


A person‘s title is capitalized only when it precedes his or her name. When a title is placed after a name or is used alone, it is not capitalized.

Ex: We will be meeting with the President Jane Smith.
I have a meeting with Jane Smith, the president.


Capitalize anything that is trademarked.


In General

The United States preference is for styling dates as: month, date, year (without ordinals).

Ex: Oct. 14, 2014

Do not use suffixes with dates.

Ex: Oct. 14 not Oct. 14th

In advance publicity of events, include the weekday.

Ex: Commencement will be held Friday, May 13, 2022.

Decades and Centuries

For decades, use numbers or write them out.

Ex: the 1920s the twenties

Use an “s” without an apostrophe after the year to indicate spans of decades or centuries.

Ex: in the 1960s

An apostrophe after the year is needed for possessives.

Ex: The presidential search was one of 2008’s biggest events for Westfield State University.

For centuries, spell out the first nine as words and use numbers for 10 and above.

Ex: the sixth century
the 19th century

Graduation/Class Years

In a text use all four digits.

Ex: He is expecting to graduate in 2022.

When you need to abbreviate, use the last two digits preceded by an apostrophe. Make sure to type an apostrophe (’) rather than a single quotation mark (‘). Only use parentheses if adding the year for a higher degree.

Ex: Jennifer Riley ’09 (’11) majored in economics.


Use a hyphen for continuing numbers, but not to replace “to.”

Ex: The 2021–2022 academic year concluded with fair weather for commencement.

The program ran from 2021 to 2022.

Use an en-dash (–) to replace “to.”


Months are abbreviated as follows: (note that not all months are abbreviated)

Ex: Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Write the months out if they are used alone or with a year alone.

Ex: The conference will be held in December.
That course was added to the curriculum in September 2022.

With Punctuation

No comma is needed between a month and a year, but is required before a year when the month, the date and the year are all used.

Ex: She completed her degree work in May 2019.
He began the program Jan. 16, 2019 and finished June 12, 2019.

When using a month, date, and year, set both the weekday and the year off with commas.

Ex: The conference was held Jan. 13, 2022.
The conference is set for Sunday, Jan. 13, 2022.


In General

The words “department,” “division,” “center,” and “program” are capitalized only when they are part of a specific name.

Proper names, titles of programs, and names of universities and departments may be capitalized in the first reference, but may be shortened and lowercased in subsequent references.


Use “Dr.” only to refer to a faculty member with a doctoral degree (refer to the Course Catalog).

Use either “Dr.” or “Ph.D.,” but not both, with someone’s name.

Note that news media usually do not use “Dr.” in a title unless it refers to a medical professional.

Formerly, the title “Professor” was reserved for faculty of the rank of associate or full professor only. It is now commonly used for all full-time faculty ranks.

Adjunct faculty may be referred to as “adjunct” or “instructor.”

In the first reference to a faculty member, it is helpful to include all relevant title information.

Ex: Dr. Isabella Smart, assistant professor of history, provided background information.

In subsequent references, depending on context, you may use any of those elements. The important thing is to be consistent within your own document—try to avoid jumping back and forth between “Dr.” and “Professor.”

Ex: Dr. Isabella Smart, assistant professor of history, provided background information.

Dr. Smart is an expert on the Middle East.

Dr. Isabella Smart, assistant professor of history, provided background information.

Professor Smart received tenure last year.

With Degrees

Use a comma between a degree and his or her name.

Ex: We will be meeting with John Smith, M.S.W.

With Suffixes

Use a comma before “Jr.,” “Sr.” and I, II, III, etc. There is an exception with newspaper writing, where the comma between the name and “Jr.” is typically eliminated.

Ex: Joseph Jones, Jr. will be attending the conference with us.


In General

Use words for numbers one through nine, as well as “first” through “ninth.” Write numbers 10 and higher as numerical figures.

Ex: In a class of 21 students, only four received As.

When the digit is four numbers or more, separate with commas, not spaces.

Ex: 1,200

For numbers larger than thousands, use words for the placement value only.

Ex: 1.4 million

For plurals, do not use an apostrophe, unless it is in the possessive sense.

Ex: the 1970s

Use numerical figures for percents, page numbers, decimals, credit hours, and GPAs.

Ex: George’s GPA for the fall semester was an impressive 3.94.
For homework, please read pages 17–34.

Try to avoid starting sentences with numbers, but if impossible, then spell out the number.

Ex: Thirty students registered for this course.

Adjacent Numbers

If there are two numbers in a row in the same sentence, spell out the shorter of the two numbers.

Use numerals in compound adjectives.

Ex: In the field, there are twelve 3-foot-high posts to mark the exact location of the lines.

He paid for two 3-year subscriptions.


Always use numerical figures for ages.

Ex: She has a son, 3, and a daughter, 7.


When dealing with ranges of numbers (pages, years) carry over all digits that change and include at least two digits for the second number. Remember to separate the two numbers with an en dash and no spaces.

Ex: pages 1244–79



In running text, do not substitute the word “to” with a hyphen, unless the numbers are separated by parentheses.

Ex: He taught English from 1976 to 1998.

He taught English at UCLA (1976–1989) and at Harvard (1989–1998).


Use the dollar sign ($) and numerical figures. Remember not to use two zeros after the decimal point, unless you are talking about a range of numbers.

Ex: $140


The sweatshirts range in cost from $22.99 to $55.

Insert a comma for numbers in the thousands, unless the number is above the thousands then spell it out.

Ex: $2,000

$2.7 million

1 million


Spell out ordinal numbers.

Ex: first, second, third, etc.

Cardinal numbers are shown as numerical figures.

Ex: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.


Use the building name and the room number only. If the building name is already known, then just say the room and the number.

Ex: Bates 225

Room 225


If the document is strictly for use on campus, you may omit the area code and first three digits.

Ex: ext. 2356

If the publication is meant for an off-campus audience, include the entire number and the area code, using hyphens and parentheses to separate. When providing more than just a phone number, (a fax number, an e-mail address, etc.) be sure to identify each one.

Ex: Phone: (413) 572-5763

Fax: (413) 572-5544

E-mail: tgrady@westfield.ma.edu

(ie. Tom Grady: first initial last name@...)


Hours are written numerically without zeros.

Ex: 10 a.m.

1:15 p.m.

Do not capitalize a.m. or p.m. and be sure to use periods without spaces.

Ex: 9 a.m.

9:15 a.m.

12:45 p.m.

A range of times is written using the word “to” in text, but with an en dash in tables.

Ex: The meeting will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.

Aerobics 9–11 a.m., 6–8 p.m.

Flag Football 10–11 a.m., 5–7 p.m.

Years (see Dates)



  • Alumna: one female graduate
  • Alumnae: more than one female graduate
  • Alumnus: one male graduate
  • Alumni: more than one male graduate or a group of graduates made up of both males and females

Building Names on Campus

The official names of campus buildings and locations are as follows:

  • Albert and Amelia Ferst Interfaith Center (or Ferst Interfaith Center)
  • Alumni Field
  • Apartments: Conlin, Seymour and Welch Halls
  • Bates Hall
  • Catherine Dower Center for Performing and Fine Arts
  • Davis Hall
  • Dickinson Hall
  • Dining Commons (referred to internally as the D.C.)
  • Ely Campus Center and Library (pronounced EE-lee)
  • Horace Mann Center (333 Western Avenue)
  • Lammers Hall
  • Mod Hall
  • Dr. Nettie M. Stevens Science and Innovation Center
  • New Hall
  • Parenzo Hall
  • Scanlon Hall
  • Second Congregational Church (lot used for University parking)
  • University Hall
  • Wilson Hall
  • Woodward Center (athletics facility)


  • A.A., A.S. associate degree
  • B.A. bachelor’s degree in arts, Bachelor of Arts degree
  • B.S. bachelor’s degree in science, Bachelor of Science degree
  • C.A.G.S. Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study
  • Ed.D. doctorate in education, Doctor of Education degree
  • M.B.A. master’s degree in business administration
  • M.F.A. master’s degree in fine arts, Master of Fine Arts degree
  • M.P.A. master’s degree in public administration
  • Ph.D. doctorate, doctoral degree, Doctor of Philosophy

Do Not Capitalize

  • academic degrees in running text
  • academic departments used generally
  • “university” in running text when not in reference to Westfield State
  • seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall “spring break”
  • student classification: sophomore, junior, senior, graduate, etc.


Do not capitalize “e-mail” unless the word begins a sentence. Make sure to use a hyphen.


Do not use spaces or periods.

cum laude 3.30–3.5
magna cum laude 3.60–3.79
summa cum laude 3.80 or higher


  • The Westfield Athenaeum (local library)
  • Barre, Massachusetts (town where Westfield State University
  • began) (pronounced BARE-EE)
  • Bay Path University
  • Baystate Health
  • Baystate Medical Center–flagship hospital of Baystate Health
  • Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Westfield City Council
  • Westfield Courthouse
  • Westfield Headstart Program
  • Mascot
  • Nestor the Owl (see Owls and Westfield State University)


In General

Use quotation marks around song titles, short poems, essays, periodical articles, short stories, episodes of television shows, and radio programs.

Italicize titles of books, long poems, plays, periodicals, pamphlets, published speeches, long musical works, television and radio programs, movies, and works of visual art.

Academic Papers

Titles of academic papers, essays and journal articles go inside of quotation marks.

Ex: The essay was titled “Politics and the English Language.”


Use italics for books and textbooks unless they are reference books, such as dictionaries or almanacs.

Ex: An excellent source for any writer is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Use quotation marks for book chapters or individual selections.

Ex: The second chapter, “How to Form a Thesis,” lists what questions to ask yourself about your paper’s goal.


Capitalize the main, important words only and do not enclose in quotation marks or italicize.


Capitalize the main words in the title of a course. Quotation marks or italics are not necessary.

Ex: I will be taking American Economics with Professor Jones next semester.

Magazines and Newspapers

Capitalize and italicize the title without using quotation marks.

Don’t capitalize the word ‘magazine’ unless it is part of the publication’s title.

Ex: I receive Teaching Across America magazine once every two months.

Only capitalize “the” if it is part of the title.

Ex: I subscribe to The Wall Street Journal.
I also like to read the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

When listing multiple publications or periodicals, use lowercase “the” or eliminate it completely.

Ex: We read the New York Times, the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Springfield Republican every morning.


Italicize and capitalize titles of movies, plays, and television shows.

Ex: The Musical Theatre Guild recently performed a production of Grease.


Use quotation marks and capitalize song titles.

Ex: We listened to “Jingle Bells” over and over again.

For long musical works, italicize and capitalize.

Ex: In class today, we will listen to Mozart‘s The Magic Flute.


Use quotation marks for short poems.

Ex: My favorite Robert Frost poem is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Italicize titles of long poems.

Ex: In British Literature, it is essential to read Beowulf.