Successful implementation of a new University brand requires consistency and clarity across communications.

Whether you’re writing a newsletter, Facebook post, news release, or magazine story, it’s important that all writing be consistent with the key messages, themes, and style guide of the University.

This section outlines how to do just that. Here, you will find more information about messaging and tone, editorial style, and examples of how our brand story translates across channels.

Learn more in the following subsections:

  • Messaging and tone: An overview of the three brand pillars and the tone of communications
  • Naming: A summary of acceptable uses of the University name and other University names in the UNC System
  • Storytelling: Examples of how the brand story translates across different channels, from a print ad campaign to a social media post
  • Editorial style: A list of key editorial style guidelines for communications across all channels, as well as a top-10 list of the most important AP Style guidelines

Telling the brand story

The following serves as an example for taking one brand story and showing how it translates across channels – how it could be used in different manners. As a web post, billboard, print ad, social media post, etc. 

These ads show the open, airy feel of the ad creative that had been designed into the new UNCG messages.

Remembering Why, Learning How UNCG print ad
Print ad
Remembering Why, Learning How UNCG billboard ad
Remembering Why, Learning How UNCG poster
Remembering Why, Learning How UNCG ad
Online ad
Remembering Why, Learning How UNCG online ad
Online ad
From First-Gen to Full Professor ad
Print ad
From First-Gen to Full Professor billboard ad
From First-Gen to Full Professor poster
From First-Gen to Full Professor online ad
Online ad
From First-Gen to Full Professor online ad
Online ad

Messaging and tone

UNC Greensboro’s messaging is built upon three brand pillars:

UNC Greensboro Brand Pillars

Writing Tone

UNC Greensboro’s brand is communicated through individual stories that reflect the three brand pillars and positioning statement: welcoming environment, tenacious commitment to student success, and everyday real-world impact. The tone of our University marketing and communications is bold, vibrant, and reflective of a diverse array of students, faculty and staff who proudly call UNCG home.

These messages come across in how we share our stories with aspirational and confident language to showcase our achievements and our impact on the greater community.

Saying a lot with a little.

In advertisements such as print ads and billboards, headlines should be brief, attention-getting, and brand-pillar-focused. Brand imagery will not necessarily show the full action of what is occurring in the image. This is where the headline can draw the reader in and tease the message delivered in the body copy. Headlines are preferred to be third-person, but may be first-person when appropriate.

These stories come to life in the body copy of our marketing and communications. Body copy should be kept to three to five brief sentences that support the associated imagery and headline. Body copy can be either first-person or third-person, with the preference being the latter.

Naming and System Names

Naming: In our external communications, we will use UNC Greensboro primarily. We will use UNCG in internal communications on campus, and where reasonable.

We will not use “The University of North Carolina at Greensboro” except in isolated, required situations. We want to maintain our connection to one of the country’s most well-respected state university systems while also emphasizing our own identity, “Greensboro” and the “G.”

Examples of external communications include news releases sent to local media, alumni newsletters, UNCG Research Magazine, etc.

Examples of internal communications (on campus) include Campus Weekly stories, departmental flyers, campus-wide notices, etc.

UNCG can be used on first reference on social media given character limitations.

The history of our names:

1891 – 1897  State Normal and Industrial School

1897 -1919   State Normal and Industrial College

1919-1932    North Carolina College for Women

1932 – 1963  Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (WC)

1963 – present  The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Other UNC System institutions:

The full names of other universities are spelled out on first reference if they would not be immediately recognized by the audience.

First Reference Second Reference
Appalachian State University Appalachian or ASU
East Carolina University ECU
Elizabeth City State University ECSU
Fayetteville State University FSU
North Carolina A&T State University N.C. A&T
North Carolina Central University NCCU
UNC School of the Arts UNCSA
North Carolina State University NC State
University of North Carolina at Asheville UNC Asheville
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill UNC-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Charlotte UNC Charlotte
University of North Carolina at Pembroke UNC Pembroke or UNCP
University of North Carolina Wilmington UNC Wilmington or UNCW
Western Carolina University Western Carolina or WCU
Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem State or WSSU
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics NCSSM

Editorial Style Guide – Key guidelines for campus communicators

AP Style

In most instances, the University follows AP Style

University name

UNC Greensboro is used on first reference in communications directed to individuals off campus, such as admissions materials to prospective students, email updates for parents/family, messages to alumni, advertisements, news releases for local media, etc.

UNCG is used on second reference in most instances. It is used on first reference for communications solely directed to individuals on campus, such as Campus Weekly stories or campus emails, as well as on social media (given character limitations).

When referring to UNCG, University should be uppercase.

The University will be closed on Friday.


Dr. Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. should be used on first reference. If chancellor precedes his name, remove the “Dr.”

Dr. Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. is the chancellor of UNC Greensboro.

Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. will give the keynote address.

Chancellor Gilliam should be used on second reference.

UNC System

UNCG is a UNC System institution. System should always be capitalized.

Campus and buildings

Express room numbers in the following way: Ferguson Building, Room 250.

Kaplan Commons is the accepted name (on all references) for the lawn in front of the Elliott University Center. EUC lawn can be placed in parentheses after Kaplan Commons for clarification.

MHRA Building is accepted on first reference for the Beverly C. and Irene M. Moore Humanities and Research Administration Building.

UNCG’s Millennial Campus consists of two districts: the Visual and Performing Arts Millennial District and the Health and Wellness Millennial District.

Some rooms and auditoriums across campus are named for individuals. Room numbers should not be used when referring to these named spaces.

Correct: Sullivan Science Building, Mead Auditorium

Incorrect: Room 200, Sullivan Science Building

Fountain View is the name of the dining facility on the second floor of Moran Commons. Moran Commons and Plaza refers to the building and the fountain area in front of the facility.

Minerva statue is the name of the statue in between the Elliott University Center and College Avenue. Similar to the Charles Duncan McIver statue and Spartan statue on campus, “statue” is lowercase.

The full name for the facility is the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness. An acceptable abbreviated name for the facility is the Kaplan Center.


When referring to graduates of UNCG, use the following: alumnus (singular, masculine), alumna (singular, feminine), alumnae (plural, feminine), alumni (plural, masculine, group of graduates when gender is not known)

On first reference, the graduation year should follow the name of the alumnus.

John Green ’56 (Please note the direction of the apostrophe)

Degree abbreviations after the graduation year are added only for graduate degrees, not undergraduate degrees. These abbreviations do not have periods. If the graduate holds more than one degree from UNCG, list all years of graduation and give the abbreviation of any advanced degrees. All graduation years should be listed after the graduate’s name and the years should be separated by commas.

Mary Green ’56 MA (MBA, MFA)

Joe Green ’56 PhD

James Smith ’77, ’79 MBA


Capitalize all terms used to reference racial and ethnic identities, including “Black,” “White,” “Indigenous,” and “Brown.” 

Dr. Smith Lee’s project aims to tell the stories of traumatic loss, resilience, and quests for economic mobility of young Black men in Baltimore.

Position titles are only capitalized when they precede a name.

Professor of Biology Amy Adamson

Dr. Amy Adamson, professor of biology

With the exception of languages (English, Spanish, Russian, etc.), academic disciplines are not capitalized.

Degree titles are not capitalized.

bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degree, bachelor of science, bachelor of (fine) arts, master of (fine) arts, etc.

When abbreviated, degree titles are to be capitalized and include periods. For example, Chemistry, B.S.; Psychology, Ph.D.

Academic units

On first reference, use the official name of academic departments. For example, Department of History. On second reference, “history department” is acceptable.

The following are academic programs, not departments:

African American and African Diaspora Studies Program
Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program
Gerontology Program
Archaeology Program
Genetic Counseling Program

Phone Numbers

Telephone numbers shall be reflected with periods such as 336.334.5000

Abbreviations on webpages

Abbreviations on web pages can help convey a message quickly and efficiently. 

However, they can also be confusing, especially for first-time visitors who may not be familiar with your program. Additionally, abbreviations can cause confusion for visitors who have different accessibility needs and may be using adaptive technology. 

In consultation with Accessibility Resources at UNCG, the following guidelines should be followed to ensure online content is available to all users:

  • Organizations, departments, programs, etc. should be spelled out on first reference. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences should be spelled out on first reference, and then CAS can be used on subsequent references if necessary. 
  • Avoid less common techniques such as adding periods between letters or spelling phonetically, as these are not the generally accepted style and will probably be more confusing than helpful. 
  • Keep your audience in mind. If there is a chance for confusion, take the time to provide clarification within the sentence or paragraph. Make sure to consider adaptive technology and test with screen readers and braille readers if possible. 

AP Style Guide

Generally, UNC Greensboro follows the “Associated Press Stylebook”, which is used by journalists. Academic papers might follow MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style, but UNCG has chosen AP for our publications because the style is familiar to a broad audience. While the guide includes AP style, we also have entries that are unique to UNCG, below.


Express room numbers in the following way:

Ferguson Building, Room 250
Use a comma between an unnumbered room and its building:

Alderman Lounge, Elliott University Center

“B” in building is capitalized when used with the structure’s name.

Use “the” to precede the Alumni House.

Do not use “the” in front of Elliott University Center or EUC, Jackson Library and residence halls.

Abbreviate West and Street when referring to 1100 W. Market St.

Spell out West Market Street when referring to the street and not a specific address or building.


Capitalize the following:

Groups of people based on racial, tribal, or religious backgrounds (e.g. Hispanic, Muslim)

Position titles if they precede a person’s name (e.g., Professor of Biology Amy Adamson, Dr. Amy Adamson, professor of biology; Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Charles Maimone, Charles Maimone, vice chancellor for Business Affairs).

The word “class” when referring to a specific graduating class (e.g., the Class of ’48)

Course titles: do not place them inside quotation marks. (e.g., She registered for Chemistry 101)

University units: boards, centers, committees, departments, institutes, programs, and schools when referring to a specific unit.

Do not capitalize:

Seasons (but capitalize if followed by a year – e.g., Spring 2008);

Academic disciplines, unless they are derived from a proper noun (e.g., French or English)

Professional titles after a name or alone (e.g., Dana Dunn, provost, or “the provost talked about…”)

School, program or center when it stands alone (e.g., “the center provides expertise in…”)

Degree titles: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degree, bachelor of science, bachelor of (fine) arts, master of (fine) arts, etc.)

Electronic communications: “email”, “home page”, “web”, “website”, “internet”

Dashes and Hyphens

A) Use en dashes in the place of a number of punctuation marks. Its main use is to convey an abrupt change of topic or thought. There should be one space on each side of the dash.

She is interested in biology and environmental science – although many people in the program prefer chemistry – and plans to pursue a graduate degree next fall.

While University Communications uses en dashes in this instance, em dashes (which some consider very long) are also acceptable.

 B) Use an em dash for attribution. There should be one space between the dash and the individual’s name.

“The faculty in the Department of Biology gave me opportunities to conduct undergraduate research.”

— Student XYZ

An en dash is approximately the width of a capital letter N in the typeface being used. An em dash is approximately the width of a capital letter M.

How to create an en dash or em dash on your computer:

In Google docs, find “Insert” and “Special Characters” and type “en” to select an en dash.

In a Word doc, find Insert and Symbols and “Special Characters,” to select an en dash.

How to create a keyboard shortcut, if you want:

Macs and PCs have different keyboard shortcuts for creating dashes.

  • En dash for Mac: option + minus sign
  • En dash for PC: control + minus sign in numeric keypad
  • Em dash for Mac: option + shift + minus sign
  • Em dash: control + alt + minus sign in numeric keypad

C) Use a hyphen between two or more words when they come before a noun they modify and act as a single idea (e.g., “a student-led organization”).

Exception: Adverbs that end in “ly” (a beautifully written story)

Use hyphens to indicate range. 

7:30-10:30 p.m.


Jan. 1-4

In some instances, to enhance readability, an en dash may be preferred. 

10 a.m. – 2 pm.


Indicate decades without an apostrophe (1890s, 1970s). Use an apostrophe  if numerals are left out (’90s, ’70s).


Use bachelor’s degree and master’s degree (with apostrophes).

Use doctoral degree or doctorate, not doctor’s degree.

Month and Year

Spell out a month when it is used with and without a date (January 1979, the event is January 12). Do not use a comma between the month and year.

Place a comma after the year if the sentence continues (The events of April 19, 1775, will be remembered).

Use cardinal numbers to reference days of the month (August 12, not August 12th)


Use last name on second reference
Exception: UNCG Magazine (for alumni)


Use Oxford commas, also known as serial commas, before the conjunction in a series. She brought pie, milk, and cookies to the party. The icing was red, white, and blue.

Put periods and commas inside an end quote. “Here we are,” he said. She replied, “Yes, that’s true.”

Use only one space after a period.


Spell out states in all cases (no longer use abbreviations).  

United States is used as a noun; U.S. is used as an adjective.


Always lowercase and include periods for a.m./p.m.

Use numerals for time: 5 p.m. (not five p.m. or 5 o’clock)

Always use the words “noon” or “midnight” instead of expressing the time as numerals (12 a.m., 12 p.m.)

Titles and works

Use quotation marks (not italics) around the titles of books, book chapters, songs, television programs, computer games, poems, stories, essays, lectures, academic articles, speeches, works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures), plays, presentations, musical compositions, and movies.

Do not use quotations or italics around the names of magazine, newspapers, journals, the Bible, or books that are catalogues of reference materials.


“Dr. Jones and Dr. Smith” is preferred to “Drs. Jones and Smith.”

Faculty teach; however, they are not to be referred to as teachers. Use correct titles.

Do not use professor as a title unless the person is a full professor. (Prof. is the correct abbreviation.)

Instructor is a title and should only be used for those who hold that rank.

Faculty is a collective noun that uses a singular verb.

The word “emeritus” (male) or “emerita” (female) follows “professor” for those retired faculty members who hold the rank. (e.g., He is a professor emeritus of history.)

For more information about titles, see Capitalization.