Writing Style and Tone

The writing on the academic department/program homepages should strike a balance between formal (but not staid) and warm, personal, and welcoming (but not glib); a balance between formal and scholarly and conversational.

Most sites currently have static content that is bit dry and not very inviting. If the occasional faculty member writes a sentence that seems overly academic, that’s OK—especially on inside pages of departmental sites, whose audience will likely be more explicitly interested in the department’s field of study— but readability and friendliness should be the primary concern.

The language should reflect the high caliber of scholarly work being done at SMC while being written in a way that is clear and easily understood by someone without knowledge of that area of study. The language should entice the reader to explore further and get them excited to learn about the activities of the department or program.

These pages can incorporate the first person (you, us, our, we), though falling back on “Saint Mary’s students…” rather than “you” is fine too. On occasion we should address the audience directly, as we want prospects and interested current students to be able to envision themselves as part of the department’s community.

The style should also reflect the personality of the department. Saint Mary’s is such a close-knit place where students have incredible opportunities to work hand-in-hand with professors on research and other projects. We want this quality to come through. If a department is known for it’s quirky group of professors, let’s make sure that comes through on their website.