Institutional Unit and Program Naming Standards

Please follow the instructions below before developing and circulating a name for a new program, initiative or entity within the university.

Naming Conventions

Names developed and chosen for university units, programs and associated entities (e.g., centers and institutes) should adhere to the following conventions:

  • Names must reflect the nature of the activities conducted and services provided under that moniker (e.g., Center for Excellence in Writing).
  • To the greatest extent possible, names should be succinct and concise, and fashioned so as not to create confusion with any existing entity under the UB umbrella. Names should explicitly describe the entity’s relationship to the university:
    • Academic units should use “department,” “center,” “institute” or a similarly descriptive noun.
    • Officially recognized student organizations should use “club,” “group,” “team,” “chapter” or the like.
  • Names must be respectful of, and not include, other copyrighted names or phrases either within or beyond the copyrighted assets of the university.
  • Use of “UB” to imply the phrase “you be,” such as UB Learnin’ or UB Safe, is not permitted, nor should these letters be capitalized within a word, such as "ScrUBs."
  • Use of unnecessary articles (e.g., “The”) should be avoided, as it adds to the length of the name and reads awkwardly when cited in narrative copy or otherwise read aloud.
  • Names must not include exponents, subscripts or superscripts, nor any other character that is not a letter or number (e.g., “TI2ME”). Doing so creates confusion in both written and oral communications. Additionally, some technology platforms may not allow or render atypical characters, with super- and subscripts being particularly troublesome.

Initialisms and Acronyms

When developing a unit, program or entity name, do not begin with an acronym or initialism and engineer a name to fit. This often results in strained and confusing names. It is also important to be cognizant of a desired name’s acronym to avoid unwittingly creating an embarrassing or inappropriate acronym (e.g., “Administrative Support Services”).

Relatedly, do not use initialisms, acronyms or abbreviations in official names. These shorthand conventions have the potential to cause confusion among users and make the name of the unit harder to understand and difficult to translate into other languages. They also tend to present comprehension challenges for those using assistive technology.

For example, the Executive Masters of Business Administration program is the official name for the curricular track in UB’s School of Management, but may be represented in its official lockup using the widely recognized abbreviation “MBA” (as noted in the next section).

Visual Expression of the Name

While initialisms, acronyms or abbreviations (shorthands) are not to be used in the formal name of a unit or program, they may be used in the visual expression of an entity’s name (e.g., in an official unit lockup*). This approach may be helpful where brevity aids in the application of the name and does not compromise comprehension. Such instances are permissible insofar as any two of the conditions below are met:

  • The shorthand is commonly accepted by the vast majority of the general public.
  • The shorthand is officially recognized by governing bodies of the field in question.
  • The shorthand is accepted upon first use by professional writing style guides such as the Associated Press.

Examples of acceptable shorthand that would be allowed in an official lockup include:

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • IT (Information Technology)
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle)

Regional, local or unit-specific initialisms, acronyms or abbreviations (e.g., “WNY”) are not permitted, even if they are commonly accepted and used within the university community.

Examples of how this may appear in an official lockup are as follows:

Executive MBA Lockup.
STEM Diversity Programs.
AIDS International Training and Research Program.

*Note: Units and programs may only have one official lockup, and other expressions of the name should not become the norm, supplanting the formal reference.

Standards Stewardship

Should an adjustment or exception to any facet of the university’s naming standards be desired, a request must be directed to University Communications (UC) for review and approval. With respect to research units, centers and programs, UC will work with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development to assess appeals. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be presented with a well-articulated and compelling business case.