When building a brand, using a consistent style of writing is just as important as a consistent visual identity. In most instances, Rider University follows The AP Stylebook for editorial preferences in written communication and marketing materials.
This abbreviated style guide notes some common items communicators will encounter and also covers items not mentioned in The AP Stylebook, including exceptions Rider makes to the stylebook.
Tip: Use the Find command (ctrl + F; ⌘ + F on a Mac) to search for specific words or topics.
Although many Rider-specific acronyms are familiar to long-term employees and students (BLC, SRC), keep in mind that those new to Rider may be confused by them. In most cases, avoid alphabet soup and spell out names of buildings, colleges, programs, etc. on first reference.
|Formal name||Informal name||Abbreviated name|
|Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership||master's degree in organizational leadership||M.A. in organizational leadership|
- The preferred form is to spell out the name of degrees (either the formal or informal name) and avoid abbreviations: She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Rider University or She earned a master's degree in organizational leadership from Rider University.
- Note that informal names of degrees should be lowercase (She earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Rider University) but capitalize the name of the academic subject if it is a proper noun (He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Rider University).
- When abbreviating an academic degree is necessary, use periods: A.A., B.S., M.A., Ph.D. Do not follow the abbreviation with the word “degree”: John Smith, Ph.D., is presenting a lecture on Nov. 3.
- Use an apostrophe when writing bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, but use associate degree. Do not use “associate’s degree.”
- When referring to someone who holds an honorary degree, make clear that the degree is honorary: Aaron Gast, who received a 2012 honorary degree from Rider University, said...
- Certain Rider degrees have designated majors in addition to the degree name: Bachelor of Science in Commerce with a major in accounting or bachelor's degree in commerce with a major in accounting.
Academic units and departments
The official names of academic departments are capitalized. However, use lowercase when referring to the department informally and not using the official name (mathematics department instead of the Department of Mathematics). Note that even when referring to departments informally, proper nouns should still be capitalized (the English department). If it’s necessary to make the context clear, on first reference academic units may be linked to the University: Rider University’s Norm Brodsky College of Business. Likewise, department names may be linked to the University (rather than the individual college or school): Rider University’s Department of Teacher Education.
- Alum is the casual abbreviation for alumnus or alumna. Avoid use in formal copy.
- Alumna is the singular form for a female graduate.
- Alumnae is the plural form when referring to more than one female graduate.
- Alumnus is the singular form for a male graduate.
- Alumni is the plural form for a combination of male and female graduates or two or more male graduates.
Use the ampersand when it is part of the formal name of an academic or administrative unit, company name, composition title, etc. Don't use an ampersand otherwise as a stand-in for "and."
Andrew J. Rider
The University’s namesake (not the University’s first president).
Andrew J. Rider statue
The bronze statue in front of the Bart Luedeke Center should be referred to as a statue and not a bench.
Bierenbaum Fisher Hall
Formerly Memorial Hall.
Board of Trustees
- On second reference, the Board is acceptable.
- A member of the Board of Trustees should be identified like this:
- Jane Doe, a member of the Board of Trustees, received a major award.
- Jane Doe, a Rider Trustee, received a major award.
- Trustee Jane Doe received a major award.
- Do not use “Board of Trustee member Jane Doe”
- When referring to the board of trustees of organizations other than Rider, always lowercase.
The section of campus between Centennial Lake and the back of Moore Library.
The section of campus between the main entrance and Moore Library.
Canastra Health and Sports Center
Formerly Maurer Center.
Chairperson, chair or co-chair is preferable to “chairman” or “chairwoman.” Capitalize as a formal title before a name (Campaign Chair Jane Doe attended the meeting) but lowercase if used after a name (Jane Doe, the campaign chair, attended the meeting).
- When writing about a Rider alumnus or alumna, include the individual’s year of graduation (but do not include a comma between the name and the class year): John Smith ’13 (undergraduate or graduate) or John Smith ’13, ’17 (undergraduate and graduate).
- For current students, it is important to note a student’s major and current class year: senior John Smith; John Smith, a senior; John Smith, a member of the Class of 2020; or, in the summer: John Smith, a rising senior. But avoid using class years behind the names of current students so as to not incorrectly represent them as alumni.
- Preferred style for alumni who did not graduate: John Smith, who attended Rider from 2004 to 2006,...
- Capitalize the word "Class" and use lowercase “the”: the Class of 1991.
- Use first-year students instead of "freshmen" (but use sophomores, juniors and seniors).
Colleges, schools, institutes and centers
The official names of Rider's colleges and schools, institutes, and centers are as follows:
- The College of Education and Human Services (CEHS)
- The Norm Brodsky College of Business
- The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
- Westminster College of the Arts (WCA)
- Westminster Choir College (WCC)
- The School of Fine and Performing Arts (SFPA)
- The Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University
- The Health Studies Institute at Rider University (HSI)
- The Center for the Development of Leadership Skills (CDLS)
- The Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Rider University
- The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
- The Teaching and Learning Center (TLC)
- In most cases, on first reference these names should be linked to the University’s: Rider University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has hired five new faculty members. This rule can be relaxed in school-specific publications, such as internal publications, in which the connection to Rider is clearly established.
- On second reference, use College, School or Institute by themselves: The College is pleased to announce its new dean.
College of Education and Human Services
- Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling
- Department of Teacher Education
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Department of Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Health Sciences
- Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Department of Communication and Journalism
- Department of Computer Science and Physics
- Department of English
- Department of Film and Television
- Department of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences
- Department of History and Philosophy
- Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
- Department of Mathematics
- Department of Political Science
- Department of Psychology
- Department of Sociology and Criminology
Commas and semicolons in a series
- In a sentence that contains a series of three or more items, separate the items with a comma, but do not use a comma before the last conjunction unless a conjunction is also used within the series: I ate bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast. I ate home fries, a ham and cheese omelet, and toast for breakfast.
- If a series of three or more items is contained within the series of three or more, use semicolons to separate the original series and commas to separate the internal series: I ate home fries; a ham, cheese, tomato and mushroom omelet; and toast for breakfast.
- A Rider University exception: Some academic departments include a comma before “and”: the Department of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences.
Capitalize when referring to Rider’s annual ceremonies: Hundreds of students marked a major milestone on May 18 during Rider University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony.
- Use people of color or underrepresented in stories where it is appropriate to identify people by race; avoid using the term "minority," if possible.
- Capitalize Black and Indigenous
Dates and times
- Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th: Nov. 13, 2008, instead of Nov. 13th, 2008.
- Lowercase and use periods with a.m. and p.m.
- Use noon and midnight (not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.)
- Unless you are sending an invitation to a formal ceremony, do not use “:00” or “o’clock.”
- Years need to be offset by commas when included with a month and day but not when included with a month only: The program will launch on June 1, 2018, after Commencement. The program will launch in June 2018 after Commencement.
- The inclusion of a year with a date is generally not needed if it refers to the current year
- Date and time ranges may be signified with either from and to or an en dash, but do not mix the two forms: The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or The museum is open from 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Shorten a range of years to eliminate the initial repeated digits: 1975–81. Exception: If three or more digits will change, the entire number for both years should be written out: 1999–2003.
Daly Dining Hall
Daly Dining Hall may be referred to on second reference as Daly’s. “Daly’s Dining Hall” is never correct.
- In general, do not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped. If it is relevant to the material and you must use a description, try to be specific: Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991.
- Use accessible parking rather than disabled or handicapped parking.
- For guidance on words and terms that are commonly used when referring to disability but not addressed in the AP Stylebook, please refer to the style guide developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University.
Doctor (or Dr.)
Engaged Learning Program
On second reference, Engaged Learning is preferred, but the program is also acceptable.
The formal name of an event should be capitalized: Commencement, Cranberry Fest, Family Weekend, Homecoming.
Foreign words or phrases
Italicize most foreign words or phrases. Do not italicize familiar foreign words such as cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude, alma mater, mea culpa, déjà vu or adios.
Headlines and headings
In news stories and press releases, only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. (Exception: The first word after a colon is always uppercase in headlines.) In other publications and documents, avoid capitalizing most words in headlines and headings because of its negative effect on readability. The main advantage of capitalizing headlines and headings is in marking hierarchy.
Officially the Office of Information Technologies Technology Help Desk. In most circumstances, Help Desk is acceptable.
Lynch Adler Hall
Formerly North Hall.
In an academic context, “math” is rarely if ever preferred to mathematics.
A web portal for Rider students and employees. When myRider begins a sentence, use MyRider.
Norm Brodsky College of Business
- Department of Accounting
- Department of Finance and Economics
- Department of Information Systems, Analytics, and Supply Chain Management
- Department of Management
- Department of Marketing
- Department Sport Management and Legal Studies
Use residence hall instead of dorm: Beckett Village, one of Rider's newest residence halls, includes a mix of loft-style living areas, apartments, suites and premium doubles.
The electronic identity used by faculty, staff and student to access Rider tools such as myRider, Canvas and the wireless network.
- Use the official name (Rider University) on first reference and Rider or University alone on subsequent reference: The University is located in Lawrenceville.
- When the word “University” is referring specifically to Rider or another university, please capitalize: The University is preparing for the first week of classes. Otherwise, it can be lowercase: She enjoys working in a university setting.
- Never use “RU.”
Rooms and room numbers
- When referring to a room number in a building on campus, it is preferable to spell out the building name in its entirety and exclude the use of the word “room”: Lynch Adler Hall 208.
- For large auditoriums or theaters, put the room first followed by the building name: Cavalla Room in the Bart Luedeke Center, The Yvonne Theater in Fine Arts, Mercer Room in Daly Dining Hall.
- Omit the first name of the person for whom a room is named, unless the reference is for memorial or ceremonial purposes: Rue Auditorium instead of the William M. Rue '69 Auditorium.
Lowercase names of seasons unless part of a formal event name (the Winter Ball): The fall 2019 semester ends in December.
Spacing after a sentence
Only one space should follow the period after a sentence.
Student Recreation Center Deck
Can be called SRC Deck or the deck on second reference.
- Always include the area code. Use a hyphen after the area code instead of enclosing it in parentheses: 609-896-5000.
- Use capital letters when the last four digits spell a word, use parentheses to show the numerical equivalent: 609-896-SHOW (7469).
- Use “ext.” for extension and separate the phone number and the extension with a comma: 609-896-5000, ext. 8666.
Theatre should be used when describing Rider’s academic programs: the musical theatre program. Theater should be used when describing a physical location: the Yvonne Theater. A useful way to think about the distinction is that theatre describes what takes place on stage and theater describes where it takes place.
Titles: academic, courtesy and professional titles
- In general, capitalize academic or professional titles used before a name: President Robert Brown.
- Lowercase titles when used alone or following a name: Robert Brown, president of the Student Government Association. She is the assistant vice president of the Division of Student Affairs.
- Do not use courtesy titles (Mr., Miss, Ms., Mrs.). Use the title Dr. only when referring to a medical doctor.
Titles: publications, course listings, movies, music, works of art
- Use italics for titles of books, movies, operas, plays, albums and songs, computer/video games, newspapers and magazines, podcasts, and radio and television programs. Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize "the" in a publication's name, if that is how it appears in the masthead: The New York Times.
- Titles of paintings, drawings, statues and other works of art are put in quotation marks: Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."
- Use quotes for chapters of books and articles in journals.
- In text, capitalize course names and put in quotation marks: The student selected "Introduction to Economics" during her first semester.
- Capitalize the titles of lectures, theses and dissertations: The professor presented a public lecture, "Women, Feminism and Islam," on Nov. 13.
U.S. is acceptable on second reference and in news headlines.
- Use the shortest URL possible, without "https://" or the trailing slash: rider.edu, not “https://www.rider.edu.” An exception is the use of URLs on News at Rider University stories, which should use “www.”: www.rider.edu.
- Generally, URLs should be in lowercase.
- Please note the preferred capitalization and hyphenation of these words when used in a sentence: email; homepage; Internet; log in, log out (verbs); login (noun); online; website; webpage; webcam; webcast; webmaster.
- Do not underline or italicize URLs or email addresses (they may be underlined online to indicate an active link).
Westminster Choir College
- Whenever possible, avoid using acronyms for Westminster Choir College (WCC), particularly if the material will be distributed off campus.
- When both Westminster College of the Arts and Westminster Choir College are being referenced, College of the Arts and Choir College on second reference should be used to avoid confusion. If only one of these entities is involved, it is acceptable to use Westminster on second reference: Westminster Choir College will hold a concert on May 12. The entire Westminster student body will perform.
Westminster College of the Arts
- School of Fine and Performing Arts
- Department of Fine Arts
- Department of Theatre and Dance
- Westminster Choir College
- Department of Conducting, Organ, and Sacred Music
- Department of Music Composition, History, and Theory
- Department of Music Education
- Department of Piano and Voice
William M. Rue ’69 Auditorium
Auditorium in Anne Brossman Sweigart Hall named in honor of distinguished alumnus William M. Rue ’69. Rue Auditorium is acceptable in most circumstances. Do not use “Sweigart Auditorium.”