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UTIA Editorial Guide


Just as it’s important for an organization to maintain a cohesive visual look, it’s also important for an organization to maintain a cohesive identity in written form. Together, a unified visual and written identity help to form a strong brand.

The UTIA Editorial Guide sets recommendations to ensure we communicate our identity clearly in text. It addresses some of the more common questions that arise at UTIA and provides a framework for clear and consistent communication to our many audiences—the public, our clientele, our alumni and friends, our students, and the media.

Using the Editorial Guide

As issues arise in your copy editing, check this guide first for UTIA-approved styling. If this guide does not cover an issue, consult the following guides based on the type of communication:

Associated Press. For all news releases, media advisories, and other communications sent directly to news media professionals, as well as UT Extension publications, use the most recent edition of the Associated Press Stylebook.

Chicago Manual of Style. For the UTIA website and other creative and promotional pieces and publications, use the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

The terms display text and running text are used throughout this guide. Display text refers to headlines and headings, while running text refers to larger blocks of text.

UT, rather than University of Tennessee, is acceptable on first reference when the full name of the university is apparent to the reader. Lowercase “the” when the full name of the Institute appears in running text.

Examples:

  • The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is hosting . . .
  • The UT Institute of Agriculture provides . . .
  • A researcher with the UT Institute of Agriculture . . .

Second reference:

Both UTIA and the Institute are acceptable on second reference. Do not use “the UTIA.”

Real. Life. Solutions.

The brand promise of the UT Institute of Agriculture. In display text, each word of the brand promise is capitalized and followed by a period and a single space. In running text, both stylized and non-stylized versions are acceptable. Use good judgment in determining which is warranted.

  • The UT Institute of Agriculture provides Real. Life. Solutions. for Tennesseans.
  • The real-life solutions provided would be an integral part of the grant.

Note: For all units of the Institute of Agriculture, UT, rather than University of Tennessee, is acceptable on first reference when the full name of the university is apparent to the reader.

UT AgResearch is composed of ten AgResearch and Education Centers across the state:

  • East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (Knoxville)—The Center has six units: Blount, Holston, Little River Animal and Environmental Unit, Joseph E. Johnson Animal Research and Teaching Unit (JARTU), Organic Crops, and Plant Sciences. Units are set off with a comma: The East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, Plant Sciences Unit.
  • Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center (Oak Ridge)—Four parts comprise the Center: the Oak Ridge Forest, the Cumberland Forest, the Highland Rim Forest, and the Arboretum.
  • Northeast AgResearch and Education Center— Formerly the AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville. Take care to use the updated name.
  • Plateau AgResearch and Education Center (Crossville)
  • Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center at Spring Hill (Spring Hill)
  • Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center (Springfield)
  • Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center at Lewisburg (Lewisburg)
  • AgResearch and Education Center at Milan (Milan)
  • Ames AgResearch and Education Center (Grand Junction) or Ames AgResearch and Education Center located near Grand Junction, Tennessee, as appropriate.
  • West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (Jackson)

When communicating the name of a Center, take care to identify that it is a part of AgResearch and the Institute.

Second reference:

On second reference, the Center plus the location name is preferred: the Milan Center, the Greeneville Center. Avoid the abbreviation REC in any form (REC, ETREC, WTREC, etc.), and be mindful of how this abbreviation sounds to audiences unfamiliar with our Centers. Also, avoid the term Experiment Station.

Shortened forms of the names for news releases:

Often, a shortened form of the AgResearch and Education Center name is required in news and video releases, where text space and video time are limited:

  • East Tennessee AgResearch Center
  • Forest Resources AgResearch Center
  • Greeneville AgResearch Center
  • Plateau AgResearch Center
  • Middle Tennessee AgResearch Center
  • Highland Rim AgResearch Center
  • Milan AgResearch Center
  • Ames AgResearch Center
  • West Tennessee AgResearch Center

Note: For all units of the Institute of Agriculture, UT, rather than University of Tennessee, is acceptable on first reference when the full name of the university is apparent to the reader.

The UT College of Veterinary Medicine is the umbrella organization of the W.W. Armisted Veterinary Medical Center. The John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital; the Equine Hospital; the Farm Animal Hospital; the Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center; the Avian, Exotics and Zoological Animal Hospital; and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Services comprise the medical center.

Second reference:

UTCVM, CVM, or the College is often used on second reference to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Use the veterinary medical center, not UTVMC, on second reference to avoid confusion for readers who are familiar with CVM or UTCVM as a second reference for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Note: For all units of the Institute of Agriculture, UT, rather than University of Tennessee, is acceptable on first reference when the full name of the university is apparent to the reader.

When referring to a county office, take care to keep the UT Extension name intact.

In running copy, refer to county offices by name and location: UT Extension in Greene County.

In display copy, county offices are referred to as UT Extension with the county name following:

  • UT Extension Williamson County
  • UT Extension Madison County

For joint UT-TSU counties: UT-TSU Extension Hamilton County in all references.

Capitalize when referring to UT Extension. Lowercase when referring to extension as a synonym for outreach.

Do not use “the” before Extension: University of Tennessee Extension. Also, do not use Extension Service, UT Ag Extension Service, UT Ag Extension, etc.

When referring to the Herbert College of Agriculture the first time, use the full name. When the full name of the university is used, note that the comma is required, and Knoxville should be set off with a pair of commas in running text.

Examples:

  • The Herbert College of Agriculture is a partnership of the University of Tennessee
    Institute of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • The Herbert College of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is . . .
  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Herbert College of Agriculture . . .

On second reference to the Herbert College of Agriculture, use the College or Herbert.

Example:

  • The Herbert College of Agriculture offers graduate and undergraduate degrees. The College also offers multiple study abroad opportunities. For more information, contact the Herbert Dean’s Office.

Exceptions

  • On well-branded materials, the name of the university is not required.

Unacceptable Stylings

  • HCA
  • UT’s Herbert
  • Herbert Ag
  • College of Agriculture
  • CASNR
  • College of Ag
  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Herbert College
  • UTK Herbert
  • Herbert UTK
  • UTKHCA
  • UTK HCA
  • The Herbert
  • Herbert College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Herbert College of Ag

Using the Partnership Statement

The partnership statement explains the unique relationship the Herbert College of Agriculture has with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Use either the full or abbreviated statement in written pieces as appropriate.

Full statement: The Herbert College of Agriculture is a partnership of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Abbreviated statement: A partnership of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Referring to Students

When referring to students, use good judgment to ensure the reader understands that students are part of the Herbert College of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee. Without context, phrases such as “Herbert students,” may not provide adequate information for readers unfamiliar with the College.

Examples:

  • UT students in the Herbert College of Agriculture are . . .
  • The number of undergraduate students at the Herbert College of Agriculture . . .

Unacceptable Stylings

  • CASNR students

Abbreviating the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

On second and subsequent references to the university, use only UT.

Example:

  • UT offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

Exceptions

  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is not required to refer to the university on first reference in major, well-branded university publications, such as magazines and annual reports. Simply using UT is acceptable. Because of the unique partnership that supports the Herbert College of Agriculture, the University of Tennessee also is acceptable on second reference.
  • If required for clarity in contexts that include the UT System or other campuses, UT Knoxville is acceptable.

Unacceptable Stylings

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee—Knoxville
  • UT, Knoxville
  • U.T.
  • UTK*

*Note that the abbreviation UTK is acceptable only in URLs and email addresses and must be lowercased. For example, utk.edu and johndoe@utk.edu are acceptable.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, abbreviation guidance is adapted from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Editorial Guidelines
.

The UT Gardens has three locations: the UT Gardens, Knoxville; the UT Gardens, Jackson; and the UT Gardens, Crossville. Designated as the official State Botanical Garden of Tennessee, the collections are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture.

Capitalize Gardens when used as a second reference to the UT Gardens. To provide clarity to the reader when multiple sites are mentioned in the same context, the Knoxville Gardens, Crossville Gardens, and Jackson Gardens all are acceptable names on second reference.

The UT Gardens, Crossville, was previously known as the Plateau Discovery Garden. Take special care to note the previous name when needed for clarity.

These guidelines, established by the UTIA Office of Marketing and Communications, help clearly and consistently communicate expertise in a field. Our goal is to be courteous and appropriate while creating a framework that flexes to facilitate clear and consistent communication to our many audiences-the public, our clientele, our alumni and friends, our students, and the media. This document may evolve as the style guides we follow are updated.

Guidelines for Formal Written Communications Published by the UTIA Office of Marketing and Communications

These guidelines apply to the Institute’s more formal written communications, typically carried out by its Office of Marketing and Communications, including:

  • UT Extension publications
  • Land, Life and Science magazine
  • Common Ground
  • Cultivate
  • Other materials as appropriate.*

These guidelines do not apply to the many communications of a more narrow focus and audience that occur in the course of Institute life—departmental newsletters, on-campus posters, etc.

For academic professors, use the academic title and area of expertise: professor of law John Smith; Jane Doe, professor of plant sciences; Jane Doe, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. For staff members, use an appropriate, descriptive job title. Dr. should not precede someone’s name, whether the subject is a medical doctor, academic professor, or staff member holding a terminal degree. We recommend referring to a medical doctor by medical profession, and if applicable, academic title, or both (physician John Doe; Jane Smith, associate professor and veterinarian) and, if necessary, a medical doctor’s practicing degree may be used in running text, but this is discouraged: John Doe, MD.

Generally, list degree initializations with no spaces (BA, MS, MBA, PhD). Following a name with an academic degree in running text is discouraged unless it provides clarity to the reader. It is acceptable to list an academic professor’s highest earned degree after his or her name in display text in formal academic contexts, such as invitations and awards programs.

Guidelines for Other Communications

These guidelines apply to the many written communications of a more narrow focus and audience that occur in the course of Institute life—departmental newsletters, on-campus posters, etc.

While the use of academic titles is encouraged as they provide context to areas of expertise, in those cases where Dr. is used, the following best practices are recommended:

  • In running text, use Dr. on first reference only.
  • Take care to avoid using initializations in addition to Dr. For example: Dr. Joe Smith, PhD is redundant.
  • When using Dr., ensure that the area of expertise is clear to the reader, especially when multiple specialties are involved. For example: Dr. Jane Smith and Dr. John Doe began the study this summer. Smith, a veterinary oncologist, and Doe, a biologist, hope to complete the study by next fall.

It is acceptable to capitalize a professional title before an academic professor’s name in formal contexts, such as invitations and award programs (Dr. Joe Johnson and Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor Tim Cross cordially invite you to an evening in the UT Gardens). In conversation and personal communication, many of us routinely use Dr. and professor as titles.

*News releases: News releases produced by UTIA Marketing and Communications adhere to Associated Press Style. While the use of academic titles to showcase professional areas of expertise is preferred, care will be taken to ensure faculty titles of varying specialties are clearly and equally represented. In addition, initializations in news releases typically contain periods.

In some cases, it is best for our audiences’ understanding to use exceptions to the rules of Chicago and AP styles. Those exceptions are listed here.

Academic degrees
See Referring to Faculty and staff with Terminal Degrees.

Academic degrees—initializations
See Referring to Faculty and staff with Terminal Degrees.

agricultural campus
UT Institute of Agriculture campus is preferred.

alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae
Alumnus (alumni in the plural) refers to a man who has attended a school. Alumna (alumnae in the plural) refers to a woman who has attended a school. Alumni also refers to a mixed group.

When referring to a graduate, include his or her degree, major, and class year(s). Multiple class years should be separated by commas.  

John Doe (BS Food and Agricultural Business ’82)

Jane Smith (BS Plant Sciences ’08, MS Agricultural Resource and Economics ’92)

Capitalization and names
Building names.
Official names of buildings are capitalized: Morgan Hall.

Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor.
Capitalize the title when it precedes a name: UTIA Senior Vice President and Senior Vice Chancellor Tim Cross. When following the name, the title is lowercase: Tim Cross, UTIA senior vice president and senior vice chancellor. If the title is repeated, the shortened form senior vice president is preferred: the senior vice president’s remarks.

In specific instances, such as academic documents associated with responsibilities to the faculty and students (departmental bylaws, promotion and tenure documents, etc.), an alternate short form, senior vice chancellor, may be used on second reference to the full title.

Colleges, departments, and offices.
Names of colleges, departments, offices, and programs should be capitalized: Herbert College of Agriculture; Department of Animal Science. Generally, on second reference, the common nouns should be lowercase: the office’s programs, the plant sciences department. Names that include “and” should always use the word “and” in running text. For display text, an ampersand is acceptable.

Dates
In general, spell out months. Note that both Chicago and AP styles allow for the abbreviation of months in tables, lists, and instances where space is limited.

Directions and regions
In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicate compass direction; capitalize when they designate regions.

When referencing a region within a state, lowercase the compass point unless it’s a widely known section, such as the three grand divisions of Tennessee: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee.

Dr.
See Referring to Faculty and Staff with Terminal Degrees.

farmers market
No apostrophe.

4-H
Members are 4-H’ers. Take care to identify 4-H as the youth development program for University of Tennessee Extension, one of the four units of the UT Institute of Agriculture.

Institute-wide
Institute-wide and university-wide, but statewide, campuswide, nationwide.

land grant (noun), land-grant (adjective)

Numbers
For running copy, use the appropriate style guide. As a general rule, Chicago style recommends  all numbers from one to one hundred be spelled out. As a general rule, AP style requires that the numbers one through nine be spelled out; all other numbers should be Arabic numerals (for example, 10 or 200,000). Exceptions to these general rules are common; consult the appropriate style guide.

For display copy, use Chicago style. However, if straying from a guideline enhances the appearance of a piece without hindering the understanding of the message, it may be appropriate to do so. For example, Chicago style recommends that times be written like so: 7:00 p.m. For an ad, this time may look better styled as 7 p.m. When straying from style rules for display copy, use your best judgment, keep your intended audience in mind, and consider the importance of consistency among creative pieces.

Plants
In general, capitalize only proper nouns and adjectives, as in the following examples, which conform to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: Dutchman’s-breeches, jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapple.

For the correct capitalization and spelling of common names of plants, consult a dictionary or the US Department of Agriculture’s Plants Database.

For guidance when working with horticultural hybrids and cultivars, consult the Chicago Manual of Style.

Many horticultural cultivars (cultivated varieties) have fanciful names that must be respected since they may be registered trademarks: the Peace rose, a Queen of the Market aster.

In some horticultural publications, such names are enclosed in single quotation marks; any following punctuation is placed after the closing quotation mark. If the English name follows the Latin name, there is no intervening punctuation.

Example: The hybrid Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’, best grown in zone 6, mingles with sheaves of cape fuchsia (Phygelius ‘Salmon Leap’).

Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture
On second reference, Smith Center or the center is acceptable.

Telephone numbers
Never use parentheses around the area code, and never use periods or other punctuation to separate parts of a telephone number. Only use hyphens for separation: 865-555-5555.

UT One Health Initiative
One Health and OneHealth are general, international terms used to describe the overall effort that spans the globe. Avoid these general terms when referring to UT’s initiative. Use University of Tennessee One Health Initiative or UT One Health Initiative as needed for clarity on first reference. Use UT One Health Initiative or the initiative on second reference, not UTOH or UTOHI.

URLs
Use concise URLs: utia.tennessee.edu, utextension.tennessee.edu/publications. If necessary, set off the URL using bold or italics. Do not use http:// or https://. Also, take care to remove trailing slashes: utia.tennesse.edu rather than utia.tennessee.edu/.

To shorten a long URL, use tiny.utk.edu and choose the custom option. Examples: tiny.utk.edu/GardensGala, tiny.utk.edu/give.