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News & Public Information

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News & Public Information

What's Now | What's Trending
News & Public Information

Standards and Style Guide

Thank you for using SVC’s Standards and Style Guide. As a general guide, the SVC Public Information Office works to incorporate standards and styles that are outlined in the Associated Press Stylebook. The following examples have been compiled to help the college community craft consistent messaging for SVC internal and external audiences, with best practices from the AP Stylebook and other colleges. For questions about the SVC Standards and Style Guide, contact [email protected].

Grammar & Writing

College Name and College Locations

  • Skagit Valley College, not Skagit Valley “Community” College
  • Mount Vernon Campus, capital “C” for campus name
  • Mount Vernon, not Mt. Vernon
  • Whidbey Island Campus, not Oak Harbor Campus
  • San Juan Center
  • Marine Technology Center
  • Cardinal Craft Brewing Academy
  • Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties (lower case “c” when referring to three counties)
  • Mount Vernon and Whidbey Island campuses (lower case “c” when referring to two campuses)

Commonly Used Words

  • Website is one word, no capital, unless starting a sentence
  • Email is one word, no capital, unless starting a sentence
  • Online is one word, no capital, unless starting a sentence
  • Voicemail is one word, no capital, unless starting a sentence
  • Internet is not capitalized, no capital, unless starting a sentence
  • Generic building reference is not capitalized.  “In the library building” versus the “Norwood Cole Library/Media Center” (official building name)
  • Use the word “and” in writing, rather than an ampersand “&”

Phone Numbers

Use periods to separate an area code from a phone number. For example, 360.416.7700.

Academic Titles or Certifications

Provide the initials of a doctorate degree after the first reference of an individual. On second reference, refer to the person as Dr.

  • Olaf Olsen, EdD., is the president of Jones College
  • Dr. Olsen is starting his second year at Jones College

A certification or special designation can be included after a person’s first name on first reference, if the designation is related to the context of usage.

  • Ron Brown, CPA, teaches accounting
  • Ron Brown, faculty member, emceed last year’s awards

An individual’s title is written in upper case.

  • Department Chair Karen Carter came to the seminar
  • Vice President for Instruction Karen Carter came to the seminar
  • Karen Carter, Vice President for Instruction, came to the seminar

References to the president, chancellor, vice president, or other individual by title only are upper case.

  • The Vice President for Student Services led the meeting
  • The President gave his remarks at the reception

Academic Words


Advisor, not adviser

Alumna, alumnus, alumni, emeriti, emeritus, and emerita
  • Alumna refers to one woman
  • Alumnus refers to one man
  • Alumnae refers to a group of women
  • Alumni refers to a group of men and women
  • Emeriti: A man who is retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement
  • Emeritus: A group that has retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement
  • Emerita: A woman who is retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement

Use an apostrophe and lower case for references, unless used in a specific degree listing.
Capitalize the full and formal name of the degree
Use an apostrophe when referring to bachelor’s degree and master’s degree

  • Mary Jones has a bachelor’s degree in journalism
  • Mary Jones, B.A., Journalism, 1978, University of Oregon
  • Skagit Valley College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Conservation degree
  • Skagit Valley College offers associate degrees
Faculty and Staff

Use “faculty member” (singular) or “faculty members” (plural)

  • The faculty at Skagit is exceptional
  • The staff members at SVC are very professional

Generally, only proper nouns should be capitalized. Exceptions:

  • When referring to an academic discipline taught at SVC, such as Psychology, Mathematics, Culinary Arts, etc.
  • Quarters: Fall Quarter, not Fall term
  • Do not use capital letters to emphasize the importance of something
  • Avoid all caps to shout their importance
  • Seasons, such as fall, winter, spring, and summer are lower case.

Number in Text

Numbers used in text may be written out for numbers zero through nine, with the exception of hours, which are always used as figures. Numbers 10 and above should always be written in figures. The exceptions are scientific matter dealing with physical quantities, academic credit, and course numbers. Always use figures with percent.

  • 4 percent
  • He has four chairs

Date and Time Format

To save space dates and times should be as follows:

  • Tues., Dec. 5, 2018
  • Tues., Dec. 5, 2018, 8 – 9am
  • Tues., Dec. 5, 2018, 9am – 2pm

Commonly Misspelled Words

  • Prerequisite is one word
  • Coursework is one word
Spellcheck will not find these errors:
  • Your and you’re
  • Than and then
  • From and form
  • For and fro
  • To and too

Hyphens and Dashes

  • A podcast is one word, no hyphen.
  • Ongoing has no hyphen.
  • Two-word modifiers are hyphenated:
    • In-person registration
    • Non-resident students
    • Pre-calculus, pre-algebra, pre-major, pre-college
    • No hyphen in compound nouns with vice:
    • vice president
    • vice chairman
Em Dashes

To save space—particularly on the web—no spaces are used.

Color Pallette

The Skagit Valley College official colors are Cardinal Red and White. They are also used in a variety of “spirit” materials, including SVC’s athletic mascot, the Cardinal. Use of the College’s official logo colors, Cardinal Red (Pantone® 187), White, and 100% Process Black are critical when reproducing the College’s logo.

So, how did Cardinal Red get to be SVC’s official ­­­color?  And, what about the Cardinal Mascot? We’re glad you asked.

December 17, 1926, and the eagle was “adopted as our emblem.”  The first issue of the Cardinal Whistle, dated November 21, 1928, noted that “the colors maroon and grey and the emblem of the eagle…were not satisfactory because they were not attractive to the eye and it was a little difficult to work them into pennants and athletic suits.” Thus, “the matter was put to a vote and cardinal and white were selected by a large majority as the college permanent colors.”  The cardinal bird “was chosen as the symbolic insignia of our school” because it was “a bird of the North American finch family, having a fine red plumage and a crested head.”  These colors and emblem were chosen because they were “catchy to the eye and were not used by nearby schools.”  Thus, cardinal and white were established as the official college colors, and the cardinal bird became the official emblem of the college.  They have continued to be the official colors and emblem of Mount Vernon Junior College and Skagit Valley College.”

Excerpt from the Founding Year, 1926-27
Written by former SVC President Dr. Norwood Cole