CALS Editorial Style Guide

The goal of this Editorial Style Guide is to provide a handy reference for points of style specific to CALS; to detail items that CALS communicators use frequently; and to ensure that CALS titles, locations, departments, and the like are used in a consistent manner.

This style guide is intended to supplement the UW–Madison Editorial Style Guide where that guide does not provide entries specific to CALS. Some entries from the UW–Madison guide, such as degrees, have been included if they align with CALS usage.

The list of rules included here is not intended to be a substitute for or re-creation of the rules of usage and spelling found in the following preferred references for campus use:

  • the Associated Press Stylebook, 2014 (for news communications and institutional websites at University Communications, although University Marketing and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association use the Chicago style for all communications)
  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition

Agricultural Hall
not Agriculture Hall. Located at 1450 Linden Drive.

Agricultural Research Station network
facilities and support for faculty- and academic staff-led research programs and associated education and outreach programs of CALS, with the goal of making significant impact and leading in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge involving agriculture, food systems, bioenergy and bioproducts, healthy ecosystems, changing climate, health and wellness, and economic and community development. Headquarters are located at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. Upon second reference, ARS may be used in conjunction with the facility name. Ag Research Station may be used for second and subsequent references, in more informal circumstances.

The Agricultural Research Station network includes the following 11 stations and facilities located around the state:

  • Arlington Agricultural Research Station
  • U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
  • Hancock Agricultural Research Station
  • Kemp Natural Resources Station
  • Lancaster Agricultural Research Station
  • Marshfield Agricultural Research Station
  • O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility
  • Peninsular Agricultural Research Station
  • Rhinelander Agricultural Station
  • Spooner Agricultural Research Station
  • West Madison Agricultural Research Station

NOTE:  The ARS network also includes the CALS Greenhouses on the UW–Madison campus. For this reason, the CALS Greenhouses are sometimes referred to as the college’s 12th agricultural research station. The Walnut Street Greenhouses report to the same director as the agricultural research stations and operate under the CALS Centralized Greenhouse Management System.

Applied Population Lab (APL)
conducts applied demographic research and outreach, translating social and economic data into information for Wisconsin citizens, policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations and others. Housed within the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology.

Babcock Hall
the facility located at 1605 Linden Drive that houses the Department of Food Science, Babcock Dairy Plant, Babcock Dairy Store, and the Center for Dairy Research. The Babcock Dairy Plant produces Babcock ice cream among other products that are sold at the Babcock Dairy Store and other locations.

Board of Visitors (BOV)
serves as an advisory group to the college’s dean in determining how best to lead and advance CALS. It is composed of up to 25 members who help the college by providing an external perspective and link to the wide range of CALS stakeholder communities, building an advocacy network, and participating in the college’s development efforts.

Bucky’s Varsity Meats
a retail store located in the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery Building that sells student-processed meat products and other provisions. Formerly known as Bucky’s Butchery, it is operated by a team of undergraduate employees, under the direction of a staff manager.

CALS Ambassadors
formed in 1992. A group of student employees who help prospective students and their families learn more about the opportunities associated with an education at CALS.

CALS Awards
annual recognition of CALS faculty and staff. 

CALS Career Services
provides resources and advising for students as they explore career interests and develop skills to seek employment or admission to graduate or professional programs.

CALS Connection
e-newsletter distributed monthly to CALS alumni.

CALS Global
facilitates and expands international activities — including research, education, and outreach — among CALS faculty, staff, and students.

CALS Study Abroad
offers international academic experiences for students, including short-term faculty-led field studies, international research experiences, and semester-long exchange programs at universities around the world.

CALS Research Division
facilitates research within CALS and has administrative responsibility for all aspects of extramural research support.

Center for Dairy Profitability
develops and delivers interdisciplinary education and applied research to dairy farms and dairy industry service providers.

Center for Dairy Research (CDR)
provides scientific expertise in dairy research as well as technical support and education to dairy processors in Wisconsin — and those around the nation and globe. The center co-administers the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program along with the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Housed in Babcock Hall.

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
researches how particular integrated farming systems can contribute to environmental, economic, social and intergenerational sustainability.

one word

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS)
established in 1889 and the third-largest college in UW–Madison based on enrollment. The “and” is written out, and the ampersand is not used in text despite it being in the logo. CALS is acceptable on second reference for external publications. Possessive is CALS’, but avoid this usage when possible. Not “College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

in running text, use bachelor’s degree, bachelor of arts degree, bachelor of science in agronomy, master’s degree, doctorate and the like in place of degree abbreviations because they are more readable; use abbreviations only when necessary to distinguish the specific type of degree or when using full terms would prove cumbersome, such as when there are multiple degrees; do not use periods; form the plural by adding an “s;” the word “degree” should not follow a degree abbreviation.

Do not list certificates (nursing, law, education, and the like) as degrees, but an exception is made to include the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) following an individual’s name because the program has a long and proud history at the UW.

Here are many of the degree abbreviations in use at the university:

  • BA – bachelor of arts, bachelor’s degree
  • BS – bachelor of science, bachelor’s degree
  • DVM – doctor of veterinary medicine
  • MA – master of arts, master’s degree
  • MD – doctor of medicine
  • MPA – master of public affairs
  • MPH – master of public health
  • MS – master of science, master’s degree
  • PhD – doctor of philosophy

capitalize when used as part of a complete, formal, and official name: Department of Food Science. Lowercase when used as an informal name, generically, or casually as a descriptor: the genetics department, the biochemistry department, the department, department guidelines, department chair. Words such as department can be omitted on second reference: bacteriology, soil science. Do not capitalize department names when they are used to indicate the subject a professor teaches: Anita Thompson of biological systems engineering.

There are currently 15 academic departments within CALS:

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Animal and Dairy Sciences
  • Bacteriology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Systems Engineering
  • Community and Environmental Sociology
  • Entomology
  • Food Science
  • Forest and Wildlife Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Life Sciences Communication
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Plant and Agroecosystem Sciences
  • Plant Pathology
  • Soil Science

Discovery Building
located at 330 N. Orchard Street, the Discovery Building houses the private Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR), the public Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), and the programming staff of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The building’s Town Center, located on the first floor, welcomes campus and community to enjoy hands-on learning, vibrant study spaces and more. The two institutes housed in the building are sometimes collectively referred to as the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, but this should be avoided to prevent confusion with the public side of the operation.

Division of Extension
connects the people of Wisconsin with local leaders, lawmakers, families, scientists and communities to address the needs of Wisconsin’s people, plants and animals, in both urban and rural areas of the state, with the goal of improving lives and communities. The Division of Extension became a part of UW–Madison on July 1, 2018. CALS has specific guidelines for acknowledging personnel and centers jointly funded by CALS and Extension.

e-newsletter distributed weekly to CALS faculty, staff and graduate students.

See the Division of Extension entry.

Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC)
UW–Madison’s short course program offers professional development and other targeted trainings for farmers and agricultural professionals. The 16-week residential FISC program moved from UW–Madison to UW–River Falls in 2023.

Food Research Institute (FRI)
conducts multidisciplinary and collaborative research on microbial foodborne pathogens and toxins and provides training, outreach and service to enhance the safety of the food supply. Housed within the Microbial Sciences Building.

Grow magazine
official alumni magazine devoted to the life sciences, printed three times each year by the college. Reports on the most significant aspects of CALS research, teaching, and outreach in the areas of food systems, bioenergy and bioproducts, healthy ecosystems, health and wellness, changing climate, and economic and community development.

Honorary Recognition
annual awards given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to their communities, their chosen career fields, and the citizens of the state and the nation. There are three awards: the Honorary Recognition Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Insect Diagnostic Lab
provides identification of insects and insect damage for Wisconsin citizens and commercial businesses. Housed within the Department of Entomology.

formal ceremony to honor faculty members who have been appointed to named professorships, and to recognize the generous donors who made the appointments possible. 

majors and certificates
do not capitalize majors, programs, specializations, or concentrations of study when they are not part of an official department name or title, but proper nouns are capitalized: She received a bachelor’s degree in biological systems engineering; he majored in dairy science.

there are currently 24 undergraduate majors within CALS:

  • agricultural & applied economics
  • agricultural business management
  • agronomy
  • animal and veterinary biosciences
  • biochemistry*
  • biological systems engineering
  • biology*
  • community & environmental sociology
  • dairy science
  • entomology
  • environmental sciences*
  • food science
  • forest science
  • genetics and genomics
  • global health
  • horticulture
  • life sciences communication
  • microbiology
  • nutritional sciences
  • nutrition and dietetics
  • plant pathology
  • soil science
  • undecided
  • wildlife ecology

*Majors shared with College of Letters & Science

there are currently six undergraduate certificates offered through CALS:

  • business management for agricultural and life sciences
  • development economics
  • food systems
  • global health
  • organic agriculture
  • science communication

Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery Building
name of the building that houses the college’s meat science and animal biologics discovery program and Bucky’s Varsity Meats. The building opened in 2020. Previously, the meat science program occupied the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory (MBL) building.

Office of Academic Affairs
is a key resource in helping students navigate the possibilities and opportunities in CALS and offers learning opportunities, professional development, advising and connections to campus that will enhance students’ overall experience at UW–Madison.

Office of Dean and Director
provides leadership and support for CALS and the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station.

Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic (PDDC)
provides assistance in identification of plant diseases and educational information on their control. Services include tests for bacterial, fungal and viral plant pathogens. Housed in the Department of Plant Pathology.

priority themes
address grand challenges among 21st-century societal issues where CALS has the potential to make a significant impact and to lead in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. CALS’ priority themes include:

  • basic sciences
  • bioenergy and bioproducts
  • changing climate
  • economic and community development
  • food systems
  • health and wellness
  • healthy ecosystems

Rural Partnerships Institute
See Wisconsin Rural Partnerships Institute.

Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab (TDL)
provides diagnostic information and management recommendations for all turf health issues concerning both commercial turfgrass managers and homeowners. Housed at the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility.

Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA)
501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the connection of students, faculty, and alumni to CALS.

Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES)
administers the award and management of federal capacity grants in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. This includes formula grants related to the Hatch Act, McIntire-Stennis Act, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Hatch start-up grants for new faculty; and various multi-state grants.

Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC)
an administrative unit of CALS established in January of 2017 and housed in a 100,000 square foot agricultural biotechnology/greenhouse complex. This crop biotechnology service and research center enables the exploration of plant gene function to help address global challenges such as population growth, world hunger, climate instability and sustainability concerns.

Wisconsin Evolution
a cross-campus institute housed in the Department of Genetics that fosters multidisciplinary research related to evolutionary biology and promotes public understanding of evolution. The official name of Wisconsin Evolution is the J.F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution, but the less-formal name is preferred by the institute. For first use, define Wisconsin Evolution to clarify that the term refers to an institute. On second and subsequent references, “the institute” may be used. Use the official name when necessary, such as when describing the history of the institute, a gift to the institute, etc.

Wisconsin Rural Partnerships Institute (RPI)
a UW–Madison initiative, established in 2022 with $9.3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to advance the land-grant mission of the university, support community-based projects, and create new partnerships to better meet the needs of rural communities. The RPI is part of a broader $28 million USDA-funded Institute for Rural Partnerships, housed at UW–Madison, Auburn University and the University of Vermont. The institute aims to promote equitable, resilient, and prosperous food and agricultural systems and expanded opportunities for rural community development. It will also foster collaborations with community-based initiatives and local research, educational institutions and subject matter experts. 


Guidance on the usage of hyphens, en dashes and em dashes:

Use a hyphen in these cases:
(Note: Do not put a space before or after a hyphen)

  • In UW News releases, to connect years: 1980-1986.
  • To avoid ambiguity: He re-covered the leaky roof.
  • To form a single idea from two or more words.
  • Compound modifiers, when they precede the noun or come after a form of “to be”: He is a well-known man. The man is well-known.
  • Compound proper nouns or adjectives: Italian-American, Mexican-American.

Use an en dash in these cases:
(Note: Do not put a space before or after an en dash, En dash is created by hitting Option + hyphen key on a Mac or by holding down the Alt key and typing 0150 on a PC.)

  • UW–Madison.
  • To connect numbers and sometimes words: 2010–14, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., UW–Madison.
  • To show range in numbers and words: 20–25 people, Monday–Friday.
  • Note: When connecting years with from, also use the word to, not an en dash: from 1908 to 1986.

Use an em dash in these cases:
(Note: Do put a space before and after an em dash. Em dash is created by hitting Shift + Option + hyphen key on a Mac or by holding down the Alt key and typing 0151 on a PC. Alternately, in Word, if you put two hyphens in a row between two words as you type (with no spaces), it autocorrects to an em dash.)

  • To set off an amplifying/explanatory statement: He listed the qualities — intelligence, humor, dependability — that he liked in an executive.
  • To separate a subject or series of subjects.
  • To indicate a sudden break in thought or sentence structure: We will fly to Paris — if I get a raise.