Style Conventions That Govern COM-FSM Publications

In authoring documents at the college, follow the style guidelines below. (Adapted in part from earlier work of Professor Dana Lee Ling and Jonathan Gourlay)

  1. Writing out Academic Degrees

    When degrees are spelled out they should be presented in lowercase. Example: bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctoral degree or doctorate. If degrees are to be abbreviated do not separate the letter with periods (AS, AA, BA, BEd, Ed D, MA, and PhD).


    • He earned an associate's degree in Agriculture.
    • The student received her associate of science degree in Marine Science.
    • She earned an AS degree in CIS.
    • She was accepted into the Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts program. (capitalize the official names of programs)

  2. Capitalizing Board of Regents

    Board of Regents is capitalized when referring to college's governing body. Individual members are regents. Use BOR or board (lowercase) for second reference. Capitalize regent only as part of the board's formal name or when used before a name.


    • We met with Regent Mary Figir.
    • Churchill Edward is a regent.
  3. Using College and Campus Names

    When referring to the college as a whole, spell out the name as the College of Micronesia-FSM or abbreviate as COM-FSM. When using the abbreviated name of the college, do not add "the" before COM-FSM.


    • The College of Micronesia-FSM is a college
    • COM-FSM is a college.

    When specifically referring to COM-FSM by saying "the college," do not capitalize "college."


    • The college's accreditation was reaffirmed.
    • The college is accredited by ACCJC.

    In referring to specific campuses of the college they are officially:

    • College of Micronesia-FSM Chuuk Campus
    • College of Micronesia-FSM Kosrae Campus
    • College of Micronesia-FSM Pohnpei Campus
    • College of Micronesia-FSM National Campus
    • College of Micronesia-FSM Yap Campus
  4. Following a Citation Style

    Follow The Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook, and the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual when citing outside material to be used in published works of the college. The use of other style manuals (for example, the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Citation Style) is allowed when they are required by the publication or organization to which the work is being submitted.

  5. Formatting and Style

    Titles Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,24pt.,bold
    Heading Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,20pt.,bold
    subheadings Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,16pt.,bold
    sub-subheading Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,12pt.,italic
    Body text Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,12pt.,left justified.
    • Bullets
    Circular bullet,Arial,Calibri,Cambria,Garamond,12pt.
    Commas Use a comma to separate elements in a series containing three or more elements.
    Use a comma to connect clauses that contain a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so).
    Commas will appear inside quotation marks.
    Colons Colons will appear outside a quotation, unless they are part of the quotation itself.
    Margins 1.25" left, 1" for the top, right and bottom.
    Numbers Numbers are to be spelled out from zero through ten, and written out from 11 and greater unless referring to units of measure...
    A number leading a sentence will be spelled out.
    Academic credit hours will be written as numbers (example: 6 credits).
    Page numbering Page numbers will appear at the foot of a document at the center or right.
    Percentages The "%" sign will be used when expressing scientific, or numerical figures, otherwise it will be spelled out.
    Time Ante Meridian (AM) and Post Meridian (PM) will be abbreviated in uppercase without periods.
    Underline A single line will be used when underling.
  6. Using the Terms Classes and Courses

    In referring to classes and courses use lowercase, unless specifically referring to the proper name of a course.


    • I had a class in fundamentals of management.
    • I'm taking BU 260/1 Fundamentals of Management.
  7. Writing out Dates

    Do not use a comma in writing out dates when only the month and year appear. Example:
    • October 2013
    Do use a comma in writing out dates that include the month, date and year and to separate the date from the next element that follows it in a sentence. Example:
    • It was made official on January 05, 2013, the day the announcement came out.
    • The Board of Regents met from December 01, 2012, to December 04, 2012.
  8. Using the Terms Department, Division or Office

    The terms department, divison, and office will be used to identify the subdivisions within the college. Department will be reserved for the administrative componets of the college (AS, EMSS, IA, and IEQA). The administrative side of the organization will be divided into offices, whereas the academic elements will be divisions. The exception to this would be the college’s other campuses that fall under the purview of Instructional Affairs. They are campuses and not a division or an office, whilst housing divisions and offices.

    Example of Departments:

    • Department for Adminstrative Services
    • Department for Enrollment Management and Student Services
    • Department for Instructional Affairs
    • Department for Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Assurance

    Note: The naming of departments will be “for” and not “of” the respective unit.

    The use of division and office will be lowercase unless identified in the formal name of a division or office.


    • The Division of Languages and Literature submitted its report.
    • The divisions submitted their reports.
    • The Office of the President requested a meeting.
    • The president’s office is sponsoring lunch.

    Use lowercase of the unofficial names of divisions or offices unless the division or office itself contains a proper name (for example, English division faculty):

    • Students in the math division did very well in the spring semester. (The proper name would be Math and Sciences Division)
    • Joey’s office wants the report today.

  9. Using the Term Email

    When referring to electronic mail, it will be spelled in lowercase as "email" and without a hyphen


    • The email was received by the department.
    • I wrote an email today.

  10. Using the Terms Webpage/Website

    When referring to an online document found on the World Wide Web, it is to be called a "webpage". A collection of webpages found on a single server hosting the webpages will be called a "website".


    • The webpage contained the contact information I needed.
    • The college's website has a webpage for each department.

  11. Using the Terms Online/Offline

    When referring to the internet use the terms "online" and "offline" respectively without a hyphen.


    • The document was found online and downloaded for offline use.

  12. Writing Program Names

    Capitalize program names when using their full titles.


    • The Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education Program graduated 20 students this semester.
    • The bachelor's program is looking forward to gradating more students.

  13. Referring to Students

    Refer to students of the college as "COM-FSM students" or "the college's students".


    • COM-FSM students are eligible for Financial Aid.
    • The college's students pay tech fee.

  14. Using "The" Before Acronyms

    Do not add a "the" before an acronym.

    YES NO
    • The Comprehensive Self-Evaluation was submitted to WASC.
    • The donations were presented to COM-FSM.
    • The recommendation was forwarded to ICT for consideration.
    • The Comprehensive Self-Evaluation was submitted to the WASC.
    • The donations were presented to the COM-FSM.
    • The recommendation was forwarded to the ICT for consideration.
  15. Writing out Titles

    A person's title is capitalized only when used before the name. When using a capitalized title immediately before the name, try to keep it short. Do not capitalize an occupational designation, only a true title. Write titles in lowercase when referring to a person's official capacity without their proper name.

    • It was announced by President Daisy.
    • The president shared the announcement on our accreditation status.
    • The vice president of administrative services will report on that issue.
    • I sat in a lecture by Professor Dana Lee Ling.
    • The policy was explained by Director Gordon Segal.
    • Gordon Segal, a director at the college, issued the memorandum.
    • The president of the College of Micronesia-FSM will be the guest speaker at the conference.
  16. Using COM-FSM Abbreviations and Acronyms

    Any organization develops special ways of shortening its terms or titles, and COM-FSM is no exception. Table 3 below lists the accepted ways to shorten terms or titles in COM-FSM publications.

    It is advised that in its first reference, the full name being referred to is spelled out followed by the acronym in parenthesis. The acronym may be used alone at second reference or beyond.

    Welcome to the [First reference] College of Micronesia-FSM (COM-FSM). Your time at [Second reference] COM-FSM is important to us.

    Table 3. COM-FSM Abbreviations and Acronyms




    Locations or
    Building Names





    College of Micronesia-FSM



    FSM-Fisheries and Maritime Institute



    Chuuk Campus



    Kosrae Campus



    National Campus



    Pohnpei Campus



    Yap Campus

    Position Titles


    assistant ALO



    accreditation liaison officer



    Chuuk Campus Dean



    chief of staff



    dean of assessment



    dean of academic programs



    director of Cooperative research and extension






    director of institutional effectiveness



    director of procurement and property management



    director of student life



    instructional coordinator



    Kosrae Campus Dean



    Pohnpei Campus Director



    State Coordinator Cooperative Research and Extension Fiscal Officer



    student services coordinator



    vice president for instructional affairs



    vice president for administrative services



    vice president for enrollment management and student service



    vice president for institutional effectiveness and quality assurance



    Yap Campus Dean

    Divisions, Offices, or units


    Agricultural Experiment Station



    Administrative Services



    Business Administration Division



    Business Office



    Board of Regents



    Curriculum Committee



    Cooperative Extension Services



    Chuuk Assessment Working Group



    Cooperative Research and Extension



    Counseling Services



    Division of Health Sciences



    Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics



    Executive Committee



    Education Division



    Educational Talent Search Program



    Financial Aid Office



    Finance Committee



    Facilities and Campus Environment



    Faculty/Staff Senate



    Human Resources Committee



    Health Services



    Instructional Affairs



    Institutional Advancement & External Affairs



    Institutional Effectiveness Office



    Information, Communications, and Technology Committee



    Information Technology Office


    Lang Lit

    Languages and Literature Division



    Learning Resource Center



    Media Information and Technology Center



    Management Team



    Office of Admissions, Records and Retention



    Office of Assessment



    Office of Institutional Effectiveness



    Procurement and Property Management Office



    Peer Counseling Center



    Planning and Resources Committee



    Recruitment Admissions and Retention Committee



    Resident Halls



    Resident Instruction



    Student Body Association


    Soc Sci

    Social Sciences Division



    Sports and Recreation



    Upward Bound Program



    Campus Security and Maintenance

    Degree and Certificate Programs


    Hotel and Tourism Management



    Agriculture and Food Technology






    Career Technical Education



    Achieving College Excellence

    Plans and Documents


    Integrated Educational Master Plan



    Strategic Plan



    Facilities Master Plan



    Emergency Response Plan



  18. Document and File Naming Conventions

    As documents flow back and forth (or even outside) the institution, it becomes important to pay attention to how you name and save different versions of a document.

    Naming Documents

    Every document you prepare as an official COM-FSM publication should have the college seal, a clear and relevant title, the author's (or authors') name, and the date of publication on the cover page.

    Exceptions will be made where external documents are being prepared and require a separate title page.


    Naming Files

    Every file you prepare and save should have a filename that clearly identifies the subject, the author and the date the file was saved. Doing so allows for recognizing the most recent version of a document, but also makes it easier to recognize when you share it with a co-worker or intended reader.


    • com-fsm-pubstandards-101313-JV.doc
    • com-fsm-convocationstage-0913-ST.jpg
    • com-fsm_mid-term_draft2_1-13-12-ldm.pdf
    • combined-report-draft4-10-27-2013.doc
    • com-fsm chuuk campus all-campus meeting minute-11-06-13 pdf

    For the purpose of program reviews and assessment, the file-naming scheme described below should be adhered to.

    Academic Programs


    In words: Academic Year 2009/10, Department of Instructional Affairs, National Campus, Education 3rd Year Program, Worksheet One Improvement Plan

    Note:use underscore not dash

    Academic Year: ex. AY2009_10, AY2010_11

    Department: 2 letters, IA - Instructional Affairs

    Campus: 2 letters

    • CC - Chuuk Campus
    • KC - Kosrae Campus
    • NC - National Campus
    • PC - Pohnpei Campus
    • YC - Yap Campus
    • FM - FMI

    Program: 2 letters to be set by the appropriate Vice President

    Worksheet: W1 - Worksheet 1 Improvement Plan, W2 - Worksheet 2 Assessment Plan, W3 - Worksheet 3 Program Assessment, PR - Program Review

    Nonacademic Programs


    In words: Fiscal Year 2012, Department of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Assurance, National Campus, Information Technology, Worksheet 2 Assessment Plan

    Note:use underscore not dash

    Academic Year: ex. AY2009_10, AY2010_11

    Department: 2 letters, IA - Instructional Affairs

    • AS - Administrative Services
    • IA - Instructional Affairs
    • SS - Student Services,
    • QA - Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
    • RE - Cooperative Research and Extension

    Campus: 2 letters

    • CC - Chuuk Campus
    • KC - Kosrae Campus
    • NC - National Campus
    • PC - Pohnpei Campus
    • YC - Yap Campus
    • FM - FMI

    Program: 2 letters to be set by the appropriate Vice President

    Worksheet: W1 - Worksheet 1 Improvement Plan, W2 - Worksheet 2 Assessment Plan, PR - Program Review

  19. Identifying Common Errors in Usage

    The following examples represent some of the most common usage errors found in college publications.

    Table 4. Some Common Usage Errors in COM-FSM Publications
    Usage Error Sample Correction
    National campus National Campus
    We are the COM-FSM We are COM-FSM
    The President will attend The president will attend
    The Regents were invited The regents were invited
  20. Avoiding Plagiarism

    With respect to the college's policy on Academic Honesty, all college publications will follow that standard. All works will be cited where necessary, and plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.

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