Marketing & Communications

FLC Style Guide

This style guide is presented here in the interest of improving consistency and professionalism in print and digital communications across campus. Please note that these style conventions are not required, but that they are enforced on all materials produced by Marketing & Communications. Please contact Ken Wright with any questions.

Academia | Campus | Durango | Grammar conventions | Locations | People | Technology | Times & dates



Use an apostrophe in "bachelor's degree," or "a master's," etc., but not in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

In text, use "bachelor's degree" or "bachelor of arts" rather than "B.A." or "B.S."; "master's degree" rather than “M.A.” or “M.S.”; "doctoral degree" or "doctorate" rather than "Ph.D." or "Ed.D." (i.e. "He has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's in translation, and a doctorate in comparative literature.")

When using abbreviations, use B.A. or B.S. (with periods); Ph.D. or Ed.D. (with periods), J.D. and R.N. (with periods).

Degrees with more than two letters do not take periods, such as MBA, MSN, BSN, MFA, MS-FIN, MS-MKT, BSBA, MABA, etc.

Departments, majors, and programs

These three terms refer to different aspects of academic programming, and cannot be used interchangeably.

"Department" refers to the institutional office that manages majors, i.e. the Physics & Engineering Department: There is a Physics major and an Engineering major, but no Physics Department or Engineering Department. There is a Geology major, but it is in the Geosciences Department; there is no Geology Department.

"Major" refers to the specific degree tracks the College offers and students declare.

"Program" refers more generally to the coursework and requirements for specific major tracks.

All departments, majors, and programs are capitalized when referring to specific FLC offerings and offices. They are not capitalized when referring to generalized fields.


Majors are capitalized when referring to specific programs, but not as fields of study (i.e. "As a Geology major he studied petrology and hydrology.").

Options and majors

In general, when writing about students and alumni, refer only to majors, and do not reference options unless the option is important.

Always confirm students' and alumni's majors with the Registrar's Office to accurately represent the true catalog names and degrees bestowed (i.e. “Business Administration major” or “Business Administration – Finance option”, but never “Finance major”).


Although the term "professor" is often used in common vernacular to refer to any instructor at the college level, it is a very specific title in academia. Use the official designation for each individual faculty member (i.e. Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Professor, Visiting Instructor, etc.). Look up titles in the FLC phone directory or confirm with an administrative assistant or deparmtnet chair.

Capitalize titles if used preceding the name, and do not capitalize following the name (i.e. Assistant Professor Jane Smith; Jane Smith, assistant professor).

Use last name only on secondary references. Do not use courtesy titles (i.e. Dr., Mr., Ms., etc.).



Prospective students don't know common FLC abbreviations (i.e. CCH, CSWS, EBH, EC, GPE, NAC, SU, SLC). In general, spell out everything in all uses if the audience includes anyone from off-campus. For all other audiences, use full name on first reference and abbreviation on second reference.

Do not use parentheses following a name, i.e. "Environmental Center (EC)" -- if an abbreviation is not clear on second reference, don't use it.

Building names

In general, academic and residential buildings on campus are followed by "Hall." See a list of all buildings' proper names and descriptions.


Use Dale Rea Clocktower or Clocktower, not Clock Tower.

Dennison Field

Not "Stadium." Full name is Ray Dennison Memorial Field. Dedicated to an FLC student athlete who died from injuries suffered in a game in 1955, Skyhawk football's stadium was cut from a natural depression in the landscape, and hosted its first games in 1959. (The ensuing lawsuit from the death set the national legal precedent decreeing that collegiate athletes are not employees of the college they play for.)

Department and office names

Use "Biology Department" and "Financial Aid Office" rather than "Department of Biology" or "Office of Financial Aid."

Fort Lewis College/FLC

Use "Fort Lewis College" on first reference, and either "Fort Lewis College" or "FLC" thereafter.

Except in sports stories, where abbreviated names for colleges are common, and in direct quotes, do not use "Fort Lewis" as either noun or adjective --  Fort Lewis is a military base in Washington. This makes a difference in FLC sites appearing higher in internet searches.

Do not abbreviate "Fort" to "Ft." -- that's an abbreviation for a military fort, and we are not a military fort, although we have "fort" in our name because we once were.


Not Skycard or Sky Card.

Skyhawk and Skyhawks

Use Skyhawks in all references except when referring to an individual athlete. “Skyhawks football is strong this year.” “He was a Skyhawk for all four years.” 


The mascot's full name is "Skyler the Skyhawk." Not Skylar.

Student Union

"Student Union" is the full complete name, not "Student Union Building." (This building was formerly called the College Union Building.)

In front (or behind, depending on if you're a half-full or half-empty type) of the Student Union is the Student Union Plaza. The deck upstairs is the Hermosa Terrace.


The trails that connect campus with town are the Centennial Nature Trail (or just the Nature Trail), on the west side of campus; and the Lamppost Trail, paralleling the Front Hill (E. 8th Avenue) on the south side of campus. The Rim Trail encircles campus, but does not connect to town.


Main Avenue

That's the road through downtown Durango -- NOT "Main Street."

Raider Ridge

Raider Ridge (not "Raiders Ridge") is the name of the ridgeline just east of campus, across Goeglein Gulch and behind the Skyridge subdivision, and between campus and Horse Gulch. It is named after the former FLC athletic nickname “The Raiders,” which was used from 1962 – 1994. Students also used to paint a large “R” on the ridge side for the Raiders.



Use "and" to connect discrete names and titles, and "&" (ampersand) for "and" within titles and names (i.e. "English and Art programs" vs. "Native American & Indigenous Studies program," or "Berndt and Chemistry halls" vs. "Education & Business Hall").


Use the "Oxford Comma": put a comma before "and" at the end of a series.

Other times commas are required:

1. Dates with days and/or years

Today is Nov. 21 ...

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 21, ...

Today is Nov. 21, 2013, ...

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2013, ...

2. States with towns

He's from Hudson, Massachusetts, ...

3. Lists & sequences, including the Oxford Comma

The programs are History, Geosciences, and Math ...

To apply, go to the website, click on "Apply," and fill out the form ...

4. Attributions

“It's also a great way for us to share the accomplishments of other students,” explained Knippel.

5. Non-essential and non-restrictive clauses and phrases

My brother Bill ... [I have more than one brother -- essential]

My wife, Sarah, ... [I have only one wife -- non-essential]

As an English major, [introductory phrase] Knippel works closely with the campus' print and on-line magazine, The Independent, to complete her practicum credits. [non-restrictive -- there's only one magazine, giving the name just elaborates]

Students working with Fort Fuel have access to all the equipment they need to film the show in the Ballantine Media Center's Digital Media Lab & Multimedia Studio, which includes a studio with a green screen [non-restrictive] and a number of Macintosh video editing stations that run FinalCut Pro [restrictive], the industry standard for video production [non-essential].

6. Identifiers and descriptors following a person's name

Knippel, 17, a sophomore from Albuquerque, ...

7. Introductory clauses and phrases

As an English major, Knippel works closely with the campus's print and on-line magazine, The Independent, to complete her practicum credits.

Although Haylee Knippel won't be turning her tassel for another two years, her dream career has already begun.

8. Independent clauses linked by a conjunction


“They've worked really hard to get this together, and they've started this off in the right direction.” Vs. “They've worked really hard to get this together and start this off in the right direction.”

9. Parentheticals

"However," "therefore," "I think," etc.

10. Anyplace where it adds clarity (but not just anyplace!)

i.e. combinations of dates & times & locations, etc.

I'll be at the store on Tuesday, around 10 a.m., out back behind the parking lot ...

Title case

The use of title case -- capitalizing all the words in a phrase -- is for use only with proper nouns (the actual "official" names or titles of items).



Use official highway designations, not slang. The proper designation on our maps and in our directions should be in the true map-style designations, like you'd see on Rand-McNally map. Examples of official highway designations include …

“I-70” for Interstate 70
“US 160” for U.S. Highway 160
“CO 3” for Colorado Highway 3
“CR 205” for County Road 205

State names

Spell out in all occasions -- do not abbreviate.

And -- for gawdsakes! -- DO NOT use two-letter capitalized postal codes (i.e. CO, NM, AZ, etc.), except in addresses.

Street names

Spell out, do not abbreviate, in all uses (i.e. "Avenue" not "Ave.", and "Street" not "St.").



Male = alumnus.

Female = alumna.

Plural = alumni.

Plural female only = alumnae.

"Alum" is not a real term, although internally it is used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. It is appropriate for casual use (social media, The Fort Report), but not feature stories.

Identify alumni by their degree major and year of graduation, in parentheses following the first (or close to first) reference, i.e., "Richard Nixon (Political Science, '72)." Convention for students of the Master's program is (Kevin Costner, MA, Teacher Leadership, '16). 

Note that this information must be verified with the Registrar's Office / Banner -- do not rely on self-reporting.

Use last name only on secondary references.

Courtesy titles

Generally, do not use courtesy titles, i.e. Dr., Mr., Ms., etc., unless needed for clarity.

Professional titles

Describe people by their "official" job title on first reference.

Capitalize professional titles if used before the name, and do not capitalize if following the person's name, i.e. "Executive Director Bill Grimes," vs. "Bill Grimes, executive director, ... "

Student identification

Students are identified by their full name, hometown, year of study, and major.

Note that this information must be verified with the Registrar's Office / Banner -- do not rely on self-reporting.

Use last name on secondary references.

Tribal affiliation

Don't use "John Smith is Navajo" or "John Smith is a Navajo." Instead, use "John Smith is a member of the Navajo Tribe" or "John Smith is a member of the Navajo Nation" (note that different groups prefer different terms -- you can check with the NAC for proper tribal affiliation protocol).

There's also a difference between a tribal "membership" -- which is a registered member of a federally recognized tribe or Native Alaskan village -- and a tribal "heritage" -- which is a familial connection to a tribe or peoples, regardless of whether or not that tribe still exists. So if you're going to use "membership," be sure that's true.

Year of study

Year of study is capitalized when used as a title, but not when used otherwise (i.e. Junior Physics major John Smith; John Smith, a junior Physics major; John Smith, a junior studying physics.)


Email addresses

Always all lower case (i.e., unless it's the start of a sentence. (Which it probably shouldn't be, anyway ...)

It's "email," not "e-mail."

Phone numbers

Format: 970-247-7166.

Not: (970) 247-7166 or 970.247.7166.


“theFort” is the student portal to online campus services. Not “TheFort.”


The FLC website is always preceded by www but never by http://: This includes child sites like

Always all lowercase (i.e. Not "" or "")

Judge whether to use "www" on other websites by how the site itself writes its URL in text -- but use all lowercase regardless of how the site itself writes its URL.


a.m. and p.m.

Use lowercase with periods -- Not AM or PM, or am or pm.

Always place a space after the hour (i.e. 9:30 a.m., not 9:30am).

Use just the number for on-the-hour (i.e. 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.).

Use "noon," not "12 p.m."; and "midnight," not "12 a.m."


Cardinal, not ordinal (i.e. June 25, not June 25th).

Spell out months in all references, even with dates (no abbreviations).