Public Affairs

Names and Titles

A. Names

  1. Always give full name (or two initials with surname) of persons the first time they appear in an article. Office style is to avoid use of the title Dr. for Ph.D.s, except when specifically requested in departmental literature or by an individual.
  2. After referring to an individual by full name, journalistic style indicates that the second reference should be to surname only, e.g., Smith. More formal style calls for repetition of a title with all subsequent references. It is also acceptable to refer to the subject by first name or nickname if the tone of the piece is more informal.
  3. Refer to a woman by her full name, not by her husband's name, unless the individual requests it.

B. Titles

  1. Do not qualify the title professor with associate or assistant before a person's name, but do qualify it after the name.
    1. Professor John M. Ballato
    2. John M. Ballato, associate professor of engineering
  2. Avoid using long titles before the names of people, such as Superintendent of Schools John H. Ward. Use Supt. John H. Ward, or John H. Ward, superintendent of schools.
  3. Avoid honorifics wherever possible, or follow the individual's preference when known.
  4. When using an honorific to refer to a woman (Miss, Ms. or Mrs.), follow the individual's preference when known.
  5. When using honorifics to refer to a husband and wife, follow the individual's preference when known. Referring to a woman by her husband's name, as in Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith, is, in general, to be avoided, although it is still preferred by some individuals, especially in social, versus business, settings.
  6. Maintain parallel structure when assigning professional titles, especially in lists. Avoid the following:

    Committee members:
    Dr. Smith
    Pres. Barker
    C.B. Peters
    Prof. Kalinke
    S. Strom, Ph.D.
    Daniel A. Murray, esq.

  7. When referring to a department, panel or board chairperson, the preferred title is chair.
    1. Thomas J. Kuehn is chair of the Department of History.
    2. Thomas J. Kuehn chairs the Department of History.