Writing with Professionalism and Equity
Within all written communication, Moreno Valley College strives to uphold a high standard that embraces professionalism, eloquence, and equity and inclusion. MVC's editorial identity is primarily governed by the Riverside Community College District Writing Style Guide.
Voice and Tone
When writing news releases, public relations and long-form marketing publications, and other collateral material, RCCD follows AP style guidelines and uses formal, collegial language. The assumed reading level for the formal approach is typically high school to post-secondary.
When writing short-form and digital content geared toward students, RCCD follows AP style but allows for more casual language, including more frequent use of "our," "you" and "we." The goal of the casual editorial approach is to convey a welcoming, friendly tone and to meet a baseline reading level of eighth grade. You will see this approach in social media, on student-facing web pages, videos as well as some promotional material. Even when using a casual editorial approach, MVC's standards for capitalization, punctuation, acronyms and other basic writing rules apply.
General do's and don'ts
- Use only one space after a punctuation mark.
- Refrain from using contractions in formal writing, articles and reports.
- Use active voice when writing and definite, specific, concrete language. Be clear and accurate with your message.
- Write with nouns and verbs, avoid the use of qualifiers (very, all, little, pretty) and stay away from long, noun-heavy or adjective-heavy sentences.
- Do not use courtesy titles other than Dr. for a medical doctor, except in direct quotations. Otherwise, refer to all individuals by first and last name on first reference and last name in subsequent references.
- Request preferred pronouns and use them accordingly. In the case that pronouns are unknown, or in referring to a group of individuals, default to the gender-neutral "they" and "them."
Acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms
- Do not use abbreviations, acronyms or initialisms that the reader would not quickly recognize. Spell out the first time (followed with abbreviation), such as "Riverside Community College District (RCCD) is a three-College district. RCCD serves most of Riverside County." Use the abbreviation in all following mentions, excepting direct quotes.
- Academic degrees: If a mention of degrees is necessary, attempt to avoid abbreviation and use a phrase such as, "John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology." Use such abbreviations as BA, MA, Ed.D. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome, and only after a full name, such as, "Eric Michaels, Ed.D., spoke about..." In subsequent mentions, use last name only.
- Academic departments: Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives.
- Academic titles: Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chairman, etcetera, when they precede a name (Chancellor John Doe). Lowercase elsewhere (John Doe, chancellor).
- Language names: Languages should be capitalized while other subjects are lower case. (A student is majoring in sociology and English.)
- General job titles: Words that are used generally, such as staff counselors, students, information sessions should be lowercase. (Jane Smith, counselor and coordinator for the EOPS program...)
- Degrees and Disciplines: Use upper case when identifying degree discipline. (Associate of Arts in Studio Arts; students enrolled in the Studio Arts program of study.)
Date and time
- Using am and pm: Lowercase, without periods. When the time overlaps am and pm, use both: 10 am to 3 pm; when within the same period, use 9 to 11 am.
- Time stamps: Do not use :00 in time stamps except in formal invitations. Use 1 pm.
- Midnight and noon: Use numerical figures for time except for midnight and noon. Do not use 12 am (use midnight) or 12 pm (use noon).
- Year: When promoting an upcoming event, omit the year. Date spans, such as application periods, that include a change of year, may have the year listed. (Join MVC on August 13; Apply from December 1, 2023 to January 15, 2024.)
- Buildings: Write out building names in long format text as follows: [Building Name] Building, Room [Room Number]. Examples include: Student Academic Services Building, Room 121. In the case that space is a concern or the audience is likely to know the building acronym, using SAS 121 would be an acceptable alternative.
- Addresses: Write the location, then building name and room, then the street address, then city, state and zip code. Use abbreviations for street (St.), avenue (Ave.), and so on, with a period after the abbreviation. Use commas to separate sections of an address that would normally fall onto a new line if not including line breaks, such as Moreno Valley College, 16130 Lasselle St., Moreno Valley, CA 92551.
- Spell out one through five except when referring to numerical measures (6 percent, $8). Use Arabic numerals for 5+ except at the beginning of sentences. Avoid Roman numerals where possible.
- Do not use serial commas. Example: use "a, b and c" not "a, b, and c." All commas and periods go within quotes.
- Do not put periods (.) between the letters of any acronym or initialism. (USA, EOPS, ACCJC)
All outgoing marketing directed at students and the community, including flyers, posters, and written advertisements, must have the appropriate disclaimer included. For general use, RCCD's discrimination disclaimers are available in short and long versions. The long version is used in long-format documents where space is not an issue and the short version on flyers, brochures, and other recruitment documents. For questions related to usage or legality, please contact RCCD's General Counsel at (951) 222-8001.