Durham Tech Communication and Style Guide

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2. Capitalization

2.1 General

In general, capitalize the complete, official names of people, places, institutions, associations, conferences, and offices. Lowercase them when they are nonspecific, informal, or shortened.

Morehead Planetarium


  Eno River river  
  President Ingram


  Nobel Prize Laureates prize winners  
  Instructor Newsome instructor  
  Collins Building building


2.2 County and counties

When naming a specific county or counties, capitalize the C in County but lowercase the c when used in the plural counties.


Durham County
Durham and Orange counties

Incorrect: Durham county
Durham and Orange Counties

2.3  Departments, offices, and divisions

All words except for and in the name of a division or department are capitalized, including the word Division or Department. Use the most recent Staffing Chart as your guide.

Examples: Corporate and Continuing Education Division
Human Resources Department
Marketing and Communications Department

When giving the names of offices, only the key word(s) is (are) capitalized. The word office is not capitalized, nor is the word the preceding the name. Exception: Business Office.

Examples: the Center for Academic Excellence
Career Services
Registration office
the Veterans Affairs office

Business Office

2.4  Durham Technical Community College’s official name

In the first mention of the institution, use the entire name. Afterward, you may refer to the institution as Durham Tech or the college.

For EXTERNAL communications, use only Durham Tech as an abbreviation. It is acceptable to abbreviate the college as DTCC for INTERNAL communications only. No capitalization is needed for the second college reference unless it is part of the proper name. Do not refer to Durham Tech as a school or as Tech.


Durham Technical Community College offers more than 100 credit program options. Students at the college are very satisfied with the range of program choices.
Durham Tech has helped dreams become realities for students of all ages, backgrounds, and aspirations.

2.5  Boards

Always capitalize the official names of the college’s two boards: the Board of Trustees and the Durham Technical Community College Foundation Board of Directors. In subsequent references, use Trustees and Foundation Board.


The Board of Trustees meets quarterly. The Trustees serve four-year terms.
The Durham Technical Community College Foundation is guided by a Board of Directors. The Foundation Board is composed of local business and community leaders.

No other groups affiliated with the college are actually boards. (For example, our advisory committees are committees and should not be referred to as boards.)

2.6 Facilities

In the first mention, always use the official names with capital letters of campus facilities or centers. In subsequent references, either repeat the full name or use the abbreviation shown below. For publications used internally only (such as The Insider), the abbreviated references may be used. Note the abbreviations (such as NDC, ERC, or CEC) are used without periods.

First Mention
Corporate Education Center
Center for Academic Excellence
GlaxoSmithKline Technology Center
Educational Resources Center
George W. Newton Industrial and Engineering Technologies Center
Northern Durham Center
Main Campus
Orange County Campus
Orange County Skills Development JobLink Center
Phail Wynn, Jr. Student Services Center
Small Business Center
Nathaniel B. White Building

Subsequent Mentions
Tech Center
Newton Center
Main Campus
Orange County Skills Development Center or OCSDC
Wynn Center
White Building (not Main Building)

When using an acronym for the first time, put it in parentheses just after the complete, spelled-out first mention.


That exhibit is housed in the Educational Resources Center (ERC). The ERC also contains our Library and Media Services.

When referring to a specific building, use the two word designation (e.g., White Building, Tech Center, Wynn Center, etc.). When referring to a specific room, list the building name and the room number. If a room has a specific name, capitalize the name of the room.


That course is offered in Phillips 311 this semester.
The Center for the Global Learner is in the White Building.
The Multi-Purpose Room in the Phail Wynn, Jr. Student Services Center.
The Student Senate will meet in the Barbara Baker Activities Room.

2.7  Names, titles, and degrees

Capitalize a professional title when it precedes a person’s name. However, when it follows the name in text, do not capitalize the title. If used in a standalone bullet, capitalize the title.


President Ingram gave the commencement address.
Dr. Bill Ingram, president of Durham Tech, gave the commencement address.

  • Dr. Bill Ingram, President of Durham Tech

When referring to academic degrees in a general way, do not capitalize. When using formal names of academic degrees, do capitalize the title but not the specialty. However, doctorate is preferred over the full title when used in text.


Seventy employees hold associate's degrees.
**Preferred: The director of the department earned a doctorate in literature.
The director of the department earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Literature.

2.8  Programs and courses

The names of programs are capitalized. When referring to a program and using the word program, do not capitalize the word program, since it is not part of the official title. See the complete list of credit programs.


Clinical Trials Research Associate program
Opticianry program

The official names of courses are capitalized and italicized; general references are not. Also, course prefixes and numbers are italicized when used.


Students in the Dental Laboratory Technology program are encouraged to take two dental courses during their first semester: Dental Anatomy and Dental Materials.
I signed up for two science courses this fall.
I will take ELC 128 this spring.

There is a difference between the word “course” and “class.” They are not interchangeable. “Course” is the instructional offering, and “class” is the time students spend in the course of instruction.

2.9  Semesters and seasons

Academic semesters should not be capitalized except in the titles of documents or when used to refer to a specific semester, which must also include the year.


During fall semester, parking on campus is tight.
More students apply for enrollment during the spring than during any other time of year.
During Spring Semester 2014, 28 students enrolled in that class.
The Spring Semester Credit Schedule is available online.

2.10 State and federal

Lowercase the word state in all references. Use capital letters for federal only if it is part of an official, formal name. Capitalize county when used in the name of a specific county. Counties is lowercase.


In the state of North Carolina, community colleges are funded by the NC Community College System.
Students may apply for both state and federal grants.
The Federal Communications Commission makes rules concerning copyright.
Durham Tech serves residents of Durham and Orange counties.

2.11 Times (a.m. and p.m.)

Use lowercase letters with periods but without spaces for the abbreviations a.m. and p.m.  For 12 a.m. and 12 p.m., use midnight and noon (without the numeral 12). (Note: To meet format requirements, periods are not used in the course schedule.) When using a time range, only use one (a.m. or p.m.) if the time span doesn’t cover both morning and afternoon. Do not use zeroes in times that start on the hour.


The session will end at noon.
He came to work at midnight.
That class meets at 1 p.m.
The seminar will run from 10-11 a.m.
The seminar will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The seminar will run from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

2.12 Hyphenated words in text headings, memo references, and column headings

When two words are hyphenated, both words are capitalized in text and column headings as well as in memo reference lines.

Correct: Part-Time and Full-Time Faculty Meeting

Incorrect: Part-time and Full-time Faculty Meeting


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1637 Lawson Street
Durham, NC 27703

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