The Communications and Marketing team has developed this editorial style guide for Cairn University faculty and staff, especially those who write for an external or formal audience. Relevant documents include print and electronic materials designed to promote Cairn, its departments, and its programs, as well as materials providing information about or accountability for Cairn and its activities.

In August 2014, we modified our Cairn editorial style guidelines to ensure that our communication style is consistent across campus, whether we’re writing news releases for the media, content for the Web, or copy for print publications. The main change is that we have adopted the Associated Press Stylebook as our official style guide, in place of the Chicago Manual of Style. However, we do depart from AP Style in some instances.

A primary focus of this guide is to provide University-specific information such as official names of our schools and departments, a list of our buildings, abbreviations for major fields of study, and our nondiscrimination statements. For any style questions not addressed in this guide, please refer to the Associated Press Stylebook. For other spelling or usage questions not addressed in the AP guide, we encourage you to refer to Webster’s New World College Dictionary. A web version, Webster’s New World Online, is available with the AP Stylebook Online subscription.

Our goal is to present a consistent and high-quality standard of writing that appropriately reflects Cairn’s standard of excellence. We encourage University faculty and staff to become familiar with these guidelines and to follow them whenever possible. However, this guide is not intended to replace other writing style guides used for specific purposes or for publications such as scholarly journals.

Please direct questions or comments about this style guide to the editor of Cairn magazine at

Many thanks to the Communications department at University of Colorado — Boulder for granting permission to adapt the wording and table of contents of their style guide when appropriate.

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