Solano Community College
                                   REPORT STYLE SHEET

SECTION 1: Writing Style
    1. Be accurate. Nothing else matters if your facts are not correct.
    2. Do not write in the first or person; use third person only. [The Governing
       Board discussed the issue. It approved the policy unanimously.]
    3. Avoid jargon in your text; the audience is the general public. Avoid
       “alphabet soup” as much as possible. Spell out the names of groups on
       the first reference, followed by the abbreviation or acronym, e.g., Shared
       Governance Council (S.G.C.). The organization’s abbreviation (S.G.C.)
       may be used alone in subsequent reference within the same section.
    4. Be specific, definite, and concrete. Explicit writing holds the attention of
    5. Use the active voice. The active voice is more direct and vigorous than
       the passive voice.
              a. Passive: There were hundreds of people at commencement.
              b. Active: Hundreds of people attended commencement.
    6. Keep it as simple as possible. Be concise.

SECTION 2: Mechanics
    1. Specific Words:
              a. Spell out the word and. Do not use the ampersand (&) except in
                 lists and in company names, as specified.
              b. Coursework, campuswide, districtwide, homepage, website,
                 timeline, and timeframe are single words. Field test, credit hours,
                 and work plan are separate words. Part-time, full-time, cross-
                 curriculum, and degree-applicable are hyphenated words.
              c. Insure vs. Ensure:
                         i. Insure means to establish a contract for insurance of some
                            type. (Example: Her parents told her to insure her car even
                            though she lived on campus.)
                        ii. Ensure means to guarantee. (Example: Good study habits
                            ensure better grades.)
              d. That vs. Which: That is correct in restrictive clauses; which is
                 correct in nonrestrictive clauses. The general rule of thumb is that,
                 if the clause can be removed without changing the meaning of the
                 sentence, use which set off by commas. Examples:
                         i. The textbooks that are damaged should be replaced. (This
                            means only the damaged textbooks should be replaced; its
                            information adds a restriction to the textbooks.)

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Office of Research & Planning
11 August 2009
Solano Community College
                                   REPORT STYLE SHEET

                        ii. The textbooks, which are damaged, should be replaced.
                            (This means all the textbooks should be replaced; it is an
                            additional bit of information about the textbooks, but is
                            nonrestrictive and could be eliminated without affecting the
                            meaning of the sentence.)
              e. Toward or Towards: Both are correct, but the American standard is
              f. Abbreviations: In general, it is best to avoid abbreviations. It is
                 clearer and less distracting for readers to read full words rather
                 than abbreviations. When in doubt, spell the word out. For example,
                 never use the virgule or forward slash (/) as a disjunctive; spell out
                 the word or.
              g. a.m. and p.m.: Express divisions of the day as a.m. and p.m. with
                 periods and lowercase.
              h. Percent: Use the word percent with the numeral. The percent sign
                 (%) is used only in scientific, technical, or statistical copy.
              i.   State Names: Spell out state names in text; abbreviate them only in
                   addresses and lists.
    2. Punctuation:
              a. Colon: Colons go outside quotation marks unless they are part of
                 the quotation itself.
              b. Comma: Use a comma to separate three or more elements in a
                 series. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series,
                 use a comma before the conjunction. Commas always go inside
                 quotation marks. Do not use commas excessively.
              c. Dash: The most commonly used dash is used to indicate sudden
                 breaks and abrupt changes in a sentence or to give added
                 emphases or explanation. No spacing should go before or after the
              d. Hyphen:
                         i. Do not hyphenate words beginning with non, except those
                            containing a proper noun and those in which the second
                            element consists of more than one word. (Examples:
                            nonresident, non-German, non-degree-seeking)
                        ii. Do not hyphenate words with the suffix “wide.” (Examples:
                            districtwide, collegewide)
                       iii. Hyphenate part-time, full-time, on-campus only when used
                            with a compound modifier. (Examples: a full-time student,
                            attending school full time)

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                       iv. Hyphenate two-word adjectives. (Example: high-unit
                        v. NB: Coursework, campuswide, districtwide, homepage,
                           website, timeline, and timeframe are single words; field test,
                           credit hours, and work plan are separate words; part-time,
                           full-time, cross-curriculum, and degree-applicable are
                           hyphenated words.
              e. Bullets: Use circle bullet, small size.
              f. Latin Terms: Do not underline and do not italicize.
              g. Emphasis: Use bold, not italics.
              h. Underline: Titles of books and the Commission’s handbooks should
                 be italicized not underlined.
              i.   Periods: Type only a single space after punctuation that ends a
                   sentence. Do not put two periods after an abbreviation that ends a
                   sentence—just let the final period of the abbreviation also act as
                   the period that ends the sentence. In abbreviations with multiple
                   letters (A.A., A.S., U.S.A.), use the periods, but omit the internal
                   spaces. Do not use periods with acronyms (FaBPAC, WIB).
    3. Capitalization:
              a. Having too many words capitalized is distracting to readers. When
                 in doubt, use lowercase. Uppercase is more difficult to read and
                 actually slows down reading speed. Do not use words in all capital
                 letters for emphasis; use bold instead.
              b. Capitalize names of academic departments only when the complete
                 name is used. Look up all departments on the Solano Community
                 College website:
                 <> Use the
                 full departmental name on first reference. Capitalize department
                 when it’s part of the full name, but use lowercase at all other times.
                 (Examples: Department of History, history department) A shortened
                 version of the name can be used on second reference. Treat
                 College divisions the same as departments.
              c. Capitalize the discipline when citing the title of a course. (Example:
                 History of Western Civilization Since 1500). Use the Banner course
                 identifier (e.g., HIST 005) when referring to a course by department
                 and number.
              d. Do not capitalize college or district when the word is used in
                 general. Capitalize them if they are standing as the substitute for a
                 proper noun (Example: Solano Community College’s mission
                 statement; the College’s mission statement)

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Office of Research & Planning
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Solano Community College
                                  REPORT STYLE SHEET

              e. Capitalize the first word following a colon when the word begins a
                 grammatically complete sentence, not merely a list.
              f. Capitalize days of the week. Do not abbreviate them except when
                 needed in a tabular format.
              g. Do not capitalize federal or state, unless part of an official name.
              h. Capitalize the name of months in all uses. When a phrase lists only
                 a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas.
              i.   Capitalize titles that precede names but not those following names
                   or standing alone. Examples:
                       vi. Mission College President Christopher O’Hearn
                      vii. Christopher O’Hearn, president of Mission College
                      viii. Marchelle S. Fox became president in 1996.
              j.   Do not capitalize fall or spring. (Example: Enrollment in fall
                   semester was up.)
    4. Numbers:
              a. Spell out numbers one through and including ten; use numerals for
                 larger numbers. Exception: Numbers applicable to the same
                 category should be treated alike within the same context. Do not
                 use numerals for some and spell out others. (Example: There are 9
                 students in the philosophy department, 125 in the modern
                 languages department, and 212 in the biology department.)
              b. Always use numerals when referring to ages.
              c. Credit hours should be expressed as numerals.
              d. A number at the beginning of a sentence should be spelled out. If
                 the spelled-out number would be awkward because of its length,
                 rewrite the sentence.
              e. When referring to sections of the California Code of Regulations
                 (CCR), use Arabic numerals. (Example: Title 5)

SECTION 3: Specialized Words
    1. Academic Degrees & Certificates: Use lowercase letters unless the
       degree is part of the full name of a program (look in the College’s General
       Catalog or on-line for a listing of degrees and programs:
       <>). Use the initials, with periods but no
       spaces, (A.A., A.S.) when the full name of the degree would be too long.
       The word degree is always lowercase. Examples:
              a. Wrong: Associate’s Degree in Drafting [It’s not the full name of the
                 drafting degree, so it shouldn’t be capitalized.]
              b. Right: Associate in Science, Drafting Technician

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Office of Research & Planning
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Solano Community College
                                REPORT STYLE SHEET

              c. Right: Drafting Technician A.S. degree
              d. Right: associate’s degree in drafting
    2. Academic Titles (doctor, professor, Ph.D., etc.): Professor is the preferred
       title (rather than Dr. or Mr.) to refer to faculty at Solano Community
       College. Use professor on first reference anytime that it fits the person
       referred to and especially when the degree of the person is unknown. Use
       Dr. primarily when someone else uses it in quotes. Use Ph.D. or Ph.D.
       [and the academic area] in commas after the person’s name when
       necessary, rather than Dr. in front of the name. Use the person’s title (e.g.,
       Interim Dean, Admission & Records) for all people who don’t spend most
       of their time teaching in the classroom (all administrators — from the
       president to the student aides). Use only the last name on second
       reference. Examples:
              a. Right: Professor Melba Toast
              b. Right: Dr. Toast
              c. Right: a professor in the Department of Fine & Applied Arts
              d. Right: Professor Melba Toast, Ph.D. nutrition.
    3. Buildings, Rooms and Floors: Always use the full name of the building on
       first reference, capitalizing the first letter of each word, including building.
       When context makes it clear which building you’re referring to, feel free to
       use the building number on second reference. Use the abbreviation Bldg
       (no period) when referring to a building number only. Use the word Room
       and the room number when referring to specific rooms in the building. See
       a campus map for the proper name for each building. When referring to a
       specific floor, use ordinal numbers (written out, not abbreviated).
              a. Right: the Little Theatre/Music Building
              b. Right: Bldg 1200
              c. Right: Room 1237
              d. Wrong: the 2nd floor staff lounge at the Vallejo Center
              e. Right: the second floor staff lounge at the Vallejo Center
    4. Campus: Use lowercase in all instances, except when used in the title of
       an event. Examples:
              a. Wrong: Solano Community College’s Rockville Campus
              b. Right: Solano Community College’s Rockville campus
              c. Right: Campus Open House celebration
    5. First-year and Second-year: Use the term first-year, second-year, third-
       year or similar terms when referring to students at Solano Community
       College. In his/her first year or a similar statement is also allowed. Many

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                                REPORT STYLE SHEET

         students are in their second or third year, but technically are still freshmen
         given that they have completed less than 30 degree-applicable units. Use
         first-year or second-year to indicate how long the student has been
         attending SCC, and clarify with course levels if needed.
    6. Freshman or Sophomore (see First-year and Second-year, above)
    7. GPA: GPA, no periods, is the preferred method to refer to a student’s
       grade point average on first and subsequent references.
    8. Solano Community College: On first reference to Solano Community
       College, use the full college name; on second reference, use SCC; if
       referencing Solano Community College specifically, use the College on
       second reference. Examples:
              a. Wrong: Solano College
              b. Right: Solano Community College
              c. Right: the College’s new Library
              d. Right: all community colleges
    9. Staff & Student Names: Use full names (middle initials are not required)
       upon first reference to anyone. Use titles where appropriate.

SECTION 4: File Naming Protocol & Document Preparation
    In order to allow quick identification of electronic files, the file names for all
    documents created by committees, councils, groups, task forces, or other
    official bodies at Solano Community College will conform to the following
    1. Contain the standard abbreviation for the group (e.g., SGC, FaBPAC), a
       space, the eight digit year-month-day (YYYYMMDD) of the meeting or
       report (e.g., 20090811 would denote the meeting held on August 11,
       2009), the standard abbreviation for the document type (i.e., MNTS =
       minutes, NOTES = notes, AGND = agenda, RPT = report).
    2. When used as evidence for an accreditation report, the response writing
       team or report editor will append an indicator to the file name identifying
       the location of pertinent information in the document (e.g., Item 2b, Page 3
       Para 2, Table 3_1).
    3. Every sheet of every official document must contain the following pieces of
       information: 1) the title of the document, 2) the date produced, 3) the office
       or person responsible, and 4) the electronic file name.

R. J. Simas                                 6                 STYLE SHEET FOR ACCJC DOCUMENTS.DOC
Office of Research & Planning
11 August 2009

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