RISD-specific best practices

General guidelines

Don’t use the word ‘the’ when referring to the official name of the college. The preferred title is simply:

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Do add ‘the’ as a modifier (but not capitalized) when referring to RISD entities such as:

the RISD Alumni Association, the RISD Board of Trustees

the RISD community, the RISD Museum, the RISD Auditorium

When referring to RISD’s separate entities—the college and the museum—don’t capitalize the c, t or m in these words. Collectively, these two parts of RISD are often referred to as the institution (again, all lowercase), though generally the word ‘RISD’ covers both.

Although the word ‘school’ is part of RISD’s official name, the preference is to refer to the academic arm of RISD as ‘the college’ (vs ‘the School’) to differentiate it from grammar and secondary schools.

Noting RISD affiliations

When first mentioning a person’s name, indicate the individual’s RISD affiliation by identifying faculty and staff by title (using initial capitalization only when the title precedes the name) followed by the first and last name. Depending on the context, you may want to boldface the person’s name (as the Media Group does in the print pieces and websites we oversee):

Dean of Fine Arts Robert Brinkerhoff

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Keetra Dixon

If a person’s title is on the long side, it’s best to list it after the name. Note that when the title comes after the name, use lowercase but still use initial caps when the referencing the department or division:

Joanne Stryker, dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies, …

Dan Cavicchi, head of , is leading...

Reference students and alumni by a class year and major:

Zai Rutter 19 PH

Kevin Jankowski 88 IL

If the faculty or staff member is also a RISD alum, include that information with the first reference. And if the person holds multiple titles, feel free to reference both or just the highest one:

Glass Department Head Rachel Berwick 84 GL or Professor Rachel Berwick 84 GL, head of Glass,

Director of RISD Careers Kevin Jankowski 88 IL

Subsequent references to an individual are by surname only (yes: Berwick served as editor of the book… or Jankowski leads RISD Careers…) without an honorific (no: Ms. Berwick served as editor of the book OR Mr. Jankowski leads…).

For communications aimed at external audiences unfamiliar with the class year + major shorthand, add the word RISD and the degree and class year but not the major designation:

Kevin Jankowski [RISD BFA 88]

Faculty titles

At RISD the faculty member in charge of each department is called the department head, while the faculty member in charge of each graduate program is the graduate program director and the person administering each concentration is called the concentration coordinator.

Full-time faculty members hold the title of assistant professor, associate professor or professor (the highest ranking), whereas part-time faculty members in studio disciplines are referred to as critic or senior critic and in the liberal arts, as lecturer or senior lecturer.

Only capitalize job titles when using them before a person’s name:

Ceramics Department Head Katy Schimert…

Professor Lucy Hitchcock

Professor of Graphic Design Lucy Hitchcock

Senior Lecturer Tom Roberts earned a 2017 Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.

When used after a person’s name, the title is lowercase but the department name is capitalized:

Katy Schimert, head of Ceramics

Katy Schimert, department head in Ceramics

Lucy Hitchcock, a professor of Graphic Design

Tom Roberts, a senior lecturer in History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences, earned a 2017 Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Longtime Liberal Arts faculty member Tom Roberts earned a 2017 Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Tom Roberts, a longtime faculty member in History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences, earned a 2017 Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The names of current faculty members, department heads and graduate program coordinators are listed on each departmental faculty page the risd.edu site (academics/department-title/faculty).

More on alumni class years + majors

When referring to current students and/or alumni, include a class year and abbreviation for a major after each name. Design-wise, we opt to present years with the last two digits only and without an apostrophe to replace the first two digits. Also, only the first and last names are in bold. Class year and major designations remain unbolded:

Justin Brown 19 IL

Sarah Sandler 00 GD

(Note that since the class year/major appendage makes it impossible to present the name in the possessive form, we work around that through alternative sentence structures.)

For undergraduates, the BFA degree is understood, so it’s not necessary to repeat it when including a major using the following acronyms:

AP Apparel Design
Arch Architecture
CR Ceramics
DM Digital + Media
FAV Film/Animation/Video
FD Furniture Design
GL Glass
GD Graphic Design
IL Illustration
ID Industrial Design
IA Interior Architecture
JM Jewelry + Metalsmithing
PT Painting
PH Photography
PR Printmaking
SC Sculpture
TX Textiles

Alumni of the Brown|RISD Dual Degree program should be designated with the degree acronym followed by the year of graduation and the major code for the student’s RISD major:

Hannah Koenig BRDD 14 PR

For graduates of the five-year programs, include one of the following degree abbreviations before the class year and without listing a major after the year (since the major is indicated in the name of the degree). List the final degree (i.e. the fifth-year one) only:

Dina Zaccagnini BGD 93

Zoetrope Zook BArch 02

Although Architecture is the only department that still offers a fifth-year degree, many alumni earned professional degrees in the past so we still reference them as follows:

BArch Bachelor of Architecture (the only one of the five still offered)
BGD Bachelor of Graphic Design
BID Bachelor of Industrial Design
BLA Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
BIA Bachelor of Interior Architecture

For graduate students, indicate which type of graduate degree an individual received, along with the year + major (MFA 99 FD or MFA 85 PT). As with fifth-year degrees, if the degree itself indicates what the major is, it’s not necessary to repeat it: MID 66 vs. MID 66 ID (redundant). The acronyms we use are:

MA Master of Arts in Art + Design Education (offered in TLAD)
Master of Arts in Adaptive Reuse (offered in Interior Architecture)
Master of Arts in Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies (Liberal Arts degree program as of 2018/19)
MArch Master of Architecture
MAT Master of Arts in Teaching (offered in TLAD)
MDes Master of Design in Interior Studies (offered in Interior Architecture)
MFA Master of Fine Arts
MID Master of Industrial Design
MLA Master of Landscape Architecture

If a person holds both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in the same discipline, indicate the major after the undergraduate class year only:

Henry Horenstein 71 PH/MFA 73

Martin Mull 65 PT/MFA 67

For alumni who earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at RISD but in different majors, indicate the affiliation this way:

Mary Martin 65 IL/MFA 78 TX

Tamara Teakettle 90 FAV/MFA 92 PH

Degrees formerly offered at RISD, but no longer available include:

AD Advertising Design
AE Art Education (undergraduate degree)
LA Landscape Architecture (undergraduate degree)
MAE Master of Art Education
MD Machine Design
TC Textile Chemistry
TE Textile Engineering

Subsequent references to an individual are by surname only (e.g. Eddins now works as a freelance designer…) without an honorific (no: Ms. Eddins now works…).

For communications aimed at external audiences unfamiliar with this shorthand, add the word RISD and the degree and class year but not the major designation:

Kevin Jankowski [RISD BFA 88]

Find the official titles of RISD’s administrative departments and offices at risd.edu/about/offices, where you’ll also find phone numbers, email addresses and office hours.

First-year vs freshmen

Refer to first-year students (who don’t declare majors until March) by including a class year after their name and the acronym EFS (for Experimental and Foundation Studies). Note also that at RISD the preference is to refer to these students as first-year students not ‘freshman’ (individually) or ‘freshmen’ (when referring to them in aggregate). It’s also ok to refer to them as first-years or foundation students in subsequent references.