do not use periods in abbreviations or acronyms. Academic degrees are an exception.
Academic awards conferred by a college upon successful completion of a program of study. do not use an “s” or apostrophe when referring to the associate degree.
Associate degree is acceptable on first reference. If using official degree titles, use uppercase letters (example: Associate of Applied Science in Nursing).
Lowercase unofficial degree titles, such as associate degree in nursing.
Use periods after each letter in degree abbreviations, such as A.A., A.S. (This is an exception to the abbreviations rule.)
Do not capitalize “degree” when referring to the Associate of Arts degree since degree is a descriptive noun rather than part of the title. do not capitalize academic degrees used in a general sense.
Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
Academic Standards of Progress, Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
for Financial Aid Recipients
There are two academic standards policies governing academic performance. The Academic Standards of Progress applies to all credit students, while Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients applies specifically to federal financial aid and state tuition exemption recipients.
ACC Highland is the preferred term for the entire area encompassing Highland Campus, Highland Mall private properties, the Highland Business Center, and adjacent properties slated for redevelopment.
ACC Emergency Alert
Emergency notification system that sends voice, email, and text messages in the event of an extreme emergency or threat of emergency.
Private retail business contracted with ACC to operate a bookstore on each ACC campus. Uppercase Bookstore when used as the proper name.
Always include “ACC” when referring to the e-commerce system provided by Business Services that allows college departments to sell official college products, event registrations, tickets, or services.
ACC Student ID
Official name for the card that students use to access campus services such as libraries, testing centers, and computer labs. Each semester, after students are registered for classes, their ACC Student ID becomes valid for that semester.
One word, uppercase with lowercase “e.” A unique number assigned to ACC students and employees. The ACCeID provides access to campus and online services.
Computerized learning facility at Highland, Round Rock, and San Gabriel campuses. Location may include Learning Lab/tutoring services and Library. Capitalize the first three letters.
Email accounts provided to every employee and student for official communication. One word. Capitalize the first three letters.
Specific statements required by accrediting agencies when referencing the accreditation status of the college or individual programs. Please review the guidelines of the accrediting agency when communicating this information in print or on the web. See SACSCOC.
add/drop, add/drop period, schedule changes
Interchangeable terms for the designated period at the beginning of each semester/session in which students can add or drop classes without penalty.
Instructors employed on a part-time basis. Titles: adjunct assistant professor, adjunct associate professor, adjunct professor. Lowercase unless it precedes a name. See Professor Titles.
Use abbreviations Ave., Blvd., Rd., St., and Dr., etc., only with locations that feature a numbered address: 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd. Spell out and capitalize when they are part of a formal street name without a number: Middle Fiskville Road. See states and room numbers.
Adult Education Division
Uppercase when referring to the academic division that includes the college’s Adult Basic Education, GED Preparation, Career Pathways, and English as a Second Language programs.
Advising is acceptable in general references to educational planning assistance.
Advisor may refer to any staff or faculty member with advising function in their job description or title. When referring to specific job function, keep lowercase: area of study advisor, enrollment advisor, faculty advisor.
Preferred usage on first reference. “African-American” and “Black” are acceptable on second reference.
African-American Cultural Center
Hyphenate African-American. A student center located at the Eastview Campus. Its mission is to increase understanding in the ACC and Central Texas communities of the culture, history, and contributions of African-Americans. See Black.
Always use numerals when referring to an individual or entity: a 1-year-old child, but the child is 1 year old. The student, 19, has a brother. The student is in his 20s.
Use lowercase with periods in print and web content. For example, the play is at 8 p.m. today. Omit the periods in social media and data tables. See time.
alumni, former student
Any individual who attended ACC can be called a former student. To be considered an ACC alumnus or alumna officially, a person must have completed 20 credits of coursework. “Alumnus” is not the same as “graduate”—a graduate must have earned a degree from ACC. When referring to alumni, note that “alumni” includes both men and women; the singular male is alumnus, the singular female is alumna; and “alumnae” refers to a group solely composed of women.
The process by which a service area community petitions the college and votes on whether to become members of the ACC District. See Austin Community College District.
area of study
A cluster of academic programs that lead to similar careers and industries. Within each academic program, are award options that correspond to a collection of courses and training opportunities to prepare you for a given career.
The Assessment Center, operated on each campus by Student Services, provides placement testing required for admission to college credit programs and certain course placements. Combined with the Testing Center on some campuses. See Business Assessment Center and Testing Center.
do not use an “s” or apostrophe when referring to the associate degree. See academic degrees.
Austin Community College
Preferred term when referring to the higher education institution. Use ACC on second reference.
right: The student attends Austin Community College.
wrong: The student attends Austin Community College District.
Austin Community College District
Preferred term for the system by which the higher education institution is governed, and the territory within its taxing authority. ACC, ACC District, or “district” are acceptable on second reference. do not use ACCD. Capitalize District when part of the official name; lowercase district on second reference.
right: The Legislature determines the service area for the Austin Community College District.
wrong: The Legislature determines the service area for Austin Community College.
Spell out “academic year” in documents for a general audience. Example: Academic year 2015 (AY15) is the period from fall 2014 through summer 2015.
Bachelor’s degree is preferred. See academic degrees.
Capitalize when referring to African-Americans. See African-American.
Online learning management system that allows instructors to post assignments, grades, and notes. Students use the system to check grades, turn in assignments, and communicate with their instructors and other classmates.
Board of Trustees
Uppercase when used as a phrase, but lowercase “the board” or trustee. Nine people comprise the Austin Community College Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees’ role is to select and evaluate the college president and adopt strategic policies, priorities, and plans to direct the operation of the college.
Business and Assessment Testing Center
The Business and Assessment Testing Center administers educational, performance-based, and high-stakes assessments. It also provides assessment services for educational institutions, international agencies, business, and industry. It is headquartered at the Highland Campus, with a second location at Round Rock Campus. See Assessment Center and Testing Center.
Uppercase C in campus when using the proper name of one of ACC’s campuses. Lowercase C when listing two or more campuses.
right: Eastview Campus
right: Eastview and Northridge campuses
wrong: Eastview and Northridge Campuses
No hyphen. Also: collegewide, statewide, nationwide, worldwide.
Preferred term for credit and noncredit programs intended for direct-to-career placement upon completion of a short-term certificate or associate degree. While transfer is not universally guaranteed, a growing number of colleges and universities accept the credential for transfer into their bachelor of applied science programs. See university transfer programs.
Capitalize, no apostrophe in the official title of the Cashier Office.
right: Cashier Office
wrong: Cashier’s Office
Certificates are awarded to students who completed a specialized course of study that is related to specific career/technical skills. See academic degrees and quick careers.
The preferred reference instead of chairman, chairwoman, chairperson. Capitalize before a name.
Two words, no hyphen.
Lowercase except as part of the formal title of city government, such as City of Austin.
May be used interchangeably to refer to a course. See section.
Closing the Gaps
Capitalize, do not use quotes or italics when referring to the statewide economic initiative of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Term for programs that allow students to progress toward completion, often at their own pace, as they demonstrate mastery – measured through authentic assessment – of a defined set of knowledge and skills. Programs may be organized around traditional course-based units, but this is not required. A majority of the curriculum must include regular and substantive interaction with faculty. Abbreviated as CBE.
Tool offered by the Student Life Office that can accompany a student’s transfer college application or résumé. Illustrates student development, organizational growth, skills, and involvement.
Typically refers to students who enroll simultaneously in two or more institutions. For example, students may co-enroll at ACC and UT-Austin. Co-enrollment also refers to a high school student taking a college credit class while still enrolled in high school.
Lowercase except as part of a formal title. Example: The college has many campuses.
comma in a series
Use commas to separate elements in a series, including before the concluding conjunction: He is studying math, English, and history.
Contact hours are the basis of state reimbursement to the college and represent the number of hours of instruction provided to students in a given course. See credit hour.
Continuing Education Division
Uppercase when referring to the nondegree division offering personal and professional development classes and programs. CE is acceptable on second reference.
Lowercase, no quotes when referring to ACC’s official block of transferable general education courses.
An academic course required to be taken simultaneously with another course.
Corporate Training Solutions
Area of Continuing Education Division that works with individual employers to develop and administer tailored programs of study.
Each course has a course title, course abbreviation, and course number. The course title is capitalized and followed by the course abbreviation and course number in parentheses separated by a space. Example: Mechanical Drafting (DFTG 1433). Following the first reference, it is acceptable to use either the course title or course abbreviation and number.
One word, no hyphen.
do not use courtesy titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms. The exception is Dr., which can be used on first reference. The preferred style is to use the academic degree designation rather than the Dr. courtesy title. Example: John Doe, Ph.D., and Jane Doe, Ed.D.
Credit hour is the preferred term for “semester credit hour.” Credit hours represent: 1) the hours value of a college credit course—i.e., how many hours are applied to completion of a certificate or degree plan; and 2) how much tuition is charged for a course. Example: ENGL 1301 is English 1301 (Freshman Composition I) is 3 credit hours. The credit hour value of a course is always indicated by the second number of the course number.
Use numerals for credit hours, no matter how small the number. Credit is an acceptable term for credit hours. When used as an adjective, hyphenate when a compound modifier: She has a 3-credit class.
The preferred term is articulated credit when referring to the college credit granted for a high school technical course that’s part of an articulated agreement between a public high school and ACC. The credit is awarded once the student graduates high school, enrolls at ACC, and successfully completes a college class.
The word is plural so takes a plural verb: Data indicate improvement.
Spell out months in every instance.
Use numbers without st, nd, rd, or th. Use day of the week, comma, then month, date, comma, and finally year when needed, followed by a comma or other punctuation mark (most often a period).
right: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
wrong: April 1st
right: On Wednesday, April 1, 2015, the students attended class.
Month-year combinations don’t require commas.
right: April 2015
wrong: April, 2015
Use an apostrophe to indicate numbers from a year that are left out (the year ’99). There is not an apostrophe before an “s” (1990s). Separate dates involving spans of time with an en dash or hyphen (2000–05).
days of the week
Avoid abbreviating except in tabular formats.
The preferred terms are deaf or “deaf or hard of hearing.” DO NOT use the term “hearing impaired.” Capitalize when referring to the Deaf culture. Lowercase when referring to services, physical condition, or general population of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
See academic degrees.
An individualized analysis of a student’s academic progress toward a specified certificate or degree. Degree Map is an online tool currently available to ACC students for automated degree audits.
Use department when referring to instructional units and office when referring to administrative units of the college. Capitalize either term when part of a full name, e.g. the Biology Department; lowercase when the term stands alone. Avoid “Office of” or “Department of” when referring to ACC units.
RIGHT: Business Services Office, Biology Department
WRONG: Office of Business Services, Department of Biology
Informal term for the process of removing students from the registration rolls for failure to pay tuition by the payment deadline. The term is short for “deregistration.”
disabled, handicapped, impaired
In general, do not describe an individual as disabled or handicapped unless it is clearly pertinent to a story. When such words are used, never use them as modifiers before the noun.
right: The person with disabilities was describing his accident.
wrong: The disabled person was speaking.
Program that delivers ACC courses to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom. Capitalize only when used as the proper name of the ACC program.
See Austin Community College, Austin Community College District.
Used when referring to one academic or administrative unit of the college, e.g. the Health Sciences Division, or the Adult Education Division.
Division is not necessary on first reference. Capitalize when used with the official division name. Lowercase on second reference.
See courtesy titles.
The term e.g. is used to mean “for example.” The term i.e. is used for rephrasing, meaning “that is.”
Early College High School
Capitalize when used as the proper name. High school that offers college courses to students beginning in ninth grade, allowing them to complete up to two years of college while they earn a high school diploma. See Early College Start.
See Latino/Latin American Studies Center.
No hyphen, lowercase “e.”
Phrase that designates when a current student is eligible to register for classes.
See ACC Emergency Alert.
Uppercase the names of employee and student associations: Full-Time Faculty Senate; Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA); Association of Professional-Technical Employees (APTE); Classified Employees Association (CEA); and the Student Government Association. Affiliate organizations recognized by the college include the American Association of University Professors, American Federation of Teachers, Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, and the Texas Community College Teachers Association. See committee, council, association.
Use English as a Second Language in first reference to Adult Basic Education noncredit classes for students who primarily want to learn English for everyday life.
May use as first reference to English for Speakers of Other Languages as long as you include full name somewhere in your text. ESOL is the program of developmental education credit classes that help beginning through advanced students improve their English so that they can be more successful.
The preferred term for professional development for faculty. See professional development.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Federal law that protects the privacy of student records. Abbreviation is acceptable on first reference if it aids readability and the unabbreviated name appears somewhere in the text.
Lowercase when referring to additional charges not included in tuition. Examples are technology fee, registration fee, and student activity fee.
Money made available from grants, scholarships, loans, and work study. See work study.
Hyphenate as a compound modifier. He is a full-time professor who works in the laboratory full time.
gainful employment standards
Federal law that requires colleges to disclose information about career/technical certificate programs’ cost, debt, and student employment outcomes.
Preferred term is HSE, or high school equivalency. GED is a trademarked name and should not be used as a generic reference. See Adult Education
GPA is acceptable in all references to grade point average. do not use periods.
do not use quotation marks, italics, or boldface when writing assessment grades. For plural of any letter grade, use an apostrophe and an “s” (three A’s, two B’s, two I’s.)
Green Car Parking
Preferred parking spaces at ACC facilities for approved low-emission vehicles.
See ACC Highland.
See student hold.
One word. The college has one homepage, the first page of the site, and other pages are webpages.
Uppercase both words when referring to the merit-based program that provides courses offering enriched instruction to eligible students.
Include with URLs that do not begin with www.
Designations based on an individual’s legal residence status. In-district refers to those who reside within the ACC District, making them eligible for the lowest tuition rates. Out-of-district refers to individuals who reside outside the ACC District. See Austin Community College District.
Adjunct instructor who also works in a non-faculty position.
ACC’s study abroad programs and student exchange program managed by the International Programs Office.
International Student Office
Area within the Admissions and Records Office that assists international students enrolling at ACC.
Capitalize titles of an ACC office only when they precede a name; general occupational titles should be lowercase.
Dean of Student Services Robert Brown is in charge.
The dean of student services is in a meeting.
Preferred usage on first reference. “Latino” and “Hispanic” are acceptable on second reference.
Latino/Latin American Studies Center
Cultural center located at the Riverside Campus whose mission is to increase understanding in the ACC and Central Texas communities of the culture, history, and contributions of Latinos.
Capitalize when referring to on-campus resource that provides free tutoring, computer and printer access, study group space, and more.
Lowercase when referring to classes that are linked or clustered during a semester, often around an interdisciplinary theme.
Abbreviate Rep., Reps., Sen., and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names in text. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses.
Capitalize when referring to a specific Legislature. Example: The Texas Legislature or state Legislature.
One word, no hyphen.
Use numbers with items in a vertical list only when the order matters. In formal technical material, you may use a semicolon at the end of each list item, with a period following the last item on the list.
A student’s primary area of study.
marketable skills award
Use occupational skills award when when referring to the minimum credential available in some career-technical programs.
On first reference, use the person’s first name, last name, and title. On second reference, use only the last name, without title.
Use as the abbreviation when indicating position or rank: No. 3 choice.
One word, do not hyphenate when referring to courses offered by the Continuing Education and Adult Education divisions.
Sentences-Spell out whole numerals below 10; use figures for 10 and above.
Ordinals-Spell out first through ninth and use figures for 10th and above.
Fractions-Use a hyphen when fractions are expressed in words, and use numbers rather than words for mixed numbers. Example: In the survey, one-third of the respondents gave a score of 4½ or better.
Ranges-Can be expressed in two ways with a hyphen or en-dash (300–400) or with the words “from” and “to” (from 300 to 400). wrong: from 300–400.
occupational skills award
Minimum credential available in some career-technical programs. Previously called the marketable skills award.
See department, office.
Refers to ACC’s accreditation to operate as a single-college, multi-campus district rather than separate accreditation for each campus. The “one-college” concept ensures consistency of programs and services delivered across the district.
Policy of admitting all eligible applicants regardless of academic standing. Does not guarantee access to credit classes.
Two courses for which students must co-register. See learning community.
Hyphenate as a compound modifier. Example: She works part time. He is a part-time employee.
A pathway is a clear route students can take to complete a college credential and find employment. See program map.
Always spell out in text; do not use the symbol (%). When showing a range of percentages use the word with both numerals. For example, between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Include the area code for all phone numbers, including local numbers. Hyphenate the area code and number: 512-223-7000. If extension numbers are needed, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension: 512-223-7000, Ext. 2.
Requirement that students must meet before they can take a course. See co-requisite.
Faculty development and staff development are the preferred terms instead of the general professional development. See faculty development and staff development.
Refer to faculty members by their specific titles. Check the individual’s curriculum vitae posted with ACC directory information for the correct title. The term professor is not acceptable in references to Continuing Education instructors.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Most often refers to a program of study. Capitalize “Program” when used as part of an official title, e.g. the Sonography Program.
A written document showing the sequence of courses students take to complete a college credential and find employment. See pathway.
Use double quotation marks to set off a direct (word-for-word) quotation in text. Use single quotation marks when writing headlines, captions, and subheads. Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks.
Refers to the official process by which a student may complete an ACC associate degree after transferring to another institution, completing applicable coursework there, and submitting a transcript from that institution to ACC.
Riverbats is a trademarked term and logo. DO NOT use in names, titles, or graphic designs unless you obtain prior approval in accordance with brand guidelines. See the logo guidelines for details. In general writing, both singular and plural versions are acceptable. Capitalize when referring to RB the mascot or ACC students.
Acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, ACC’s accreditation organization. Spell out full name on first reference. do not use the shortened “SACS.”
Spell out the full name on first reference. For example, Austin Independent School District, or Hays Consolidated Independent School District. When referring to more than one school district, use lowercase when spelling out independent school district. For example, Leander and Manor independent school districts. On second reference use “ISD.”
Hyphenate when referring to the student information system used for registration and financial aid. DO NOT refer to as MyACC. See MyACC.
semester credit hours
See contact hours, credit hour.
Lowercase when referring to the area in which the Austin Community College District is designated by the state to offer programs and services. The ACC District service area includes:
- Hays and Caldwell counties;
- Travis County, except the territory within the Marble Falls Independent School District;
- Williamson County, except the territory within the Florence, Granger, Hutto, Lexington, Taylor, and Thrall independent school districts;
- Bastrop County, except the territory within the Lexington Independent School District;
- The part of the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District located in Guadalupe County;
- The part of the Elgin Independent School District located in Lee County; and
- The part of the Smithville Independent School District located in Fayette County.
See Austin Community College District.
An educational strategy in which community-based experiential learning opportunities are incorporated into the curriculum and course objectives. Critical reflection is required and placement is usually in the nonprofit setting.
do not capitalize. For example, fall semester, spring semester, and summer semester.
Instructional periods during a semester that mark the beginning and end of a class. For example, 12-week session.
A distinct class of students taking the same course. Example: She taught three sections of English Composition.
Current practice requires that masculine pronouns not be used for generic references to non-gender-specific persons. Avoid the problem by pluralizing the reference or eliminating the pronoun whenever possible.
Unofficial term for short sessions offered during a semester.
Part of a sequence of short-term, credit-bearing career/technical certificates that build up to an Associate of Applied Science and, in some cases, a bachelor’s degree.
The preferred term for professional development for non-faculty employees. See professional development.
The preferred term for restrictions placed on students who have unmet obligations or unpaid fees. May prevent students from registering, graduating, or receiving official transcripts.
See ACC Student ID.
Division responsible for admissions, assessment, graduation, financial aid, advising, and other student support functions.
Program offering financial and counseling support to students who meet income eligibility requirements.
tax district, taxing district
The preferred term is “Austin Community College District” unless making a distinction between the district’s taxpaying and non-taxpaying territories. The terms “tax district” and “taxing district” are used as necessary for clarity only in election, annexation, or related discussions. See Austin Community College District.
do not use when referring to college faculty. Preferred choices are faculty, instructor, or professor.
On-campus center that proctors course exams for Distance Learning and some on-campus classes. See Assessment Center and Business and Community Testing Center.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
The state agency that oversees public higher education in Texas. On second reference, use THECB as an adjective or “the THECB” as a noun.
Texas Success Initiative, TSI
State-mandated basic skills assessment program for incoming college students. TSI on second reference.
See Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
they, them, their
Acceptable as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy.
For clarity, use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. In other instances, use figures. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. do not include zeros in full-hour times. Use a.m. and p.m., lowercase with periods. Use an en-dash or hyphen with no spaces to depict spans of time. Example: The workshop is 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. on Tuesday, and there will be a break for lunch from noon–1 p.m. See a.m., p.m.
One word, no hyphen.
Preferred terms are undocumented immigrant or undocumented student when referring to current or prospective students.
United States and U.S.
Spell out when it stands alone; use U.S. when it is a modifier: U.S. Air Force.
university transfer programs
Preferred term for credit programs intended for university transfer with career pathways that typically require a bachelor’s degree as the minimum credential for employment. These degrees include the complete core curriculum in their requirements. DO NOT use the term “academic transfer.” See career-technical programs.
Preferred term for dropping a class after the add/drop period is considered a withdrawal. Students who withdraw from a course receive a “W” on their transcript.
A comma is not necessary between the state name and the ZIP code.Back to Top