All UNC-Chapel Hill communication products should portray excellence and openness, as there is a warmth and friendliness that accompanies the University’s accomplishments and drive. In writing content, keep in mind these personalities: a professor whose sense of humor is on par with her intellect, or a Nobel Prize winner who is down-to-earth and candid.

Use the following guidelines to ensure that content fits the preeminence-without-pretension personality:

  • Do be concise. While details add color, be mindful of length. Long blocks of text are difficult to read online and can convey pretension. Functional text on the site, such as navigation or page descriptions, should be brief.
  • Do be conversational. Write like you’re telling a story — not issuing a press release.
  • Do use the active, rather than the passive, voice to keep prose lively and interesting.
  • Do think like the audience (students, parents, faculty, etc.) to whom you’re speaking. Be mindful of each group’s different needs and demonstrate that you care. When talking to insider audiences, treat them as members of the Carolina community. Tap into your shared knowledge of the University. For new audiences, be clear, informative and reassuring when necessary.
  • Don’t let pride come across as arrogance. When pointing out a measure of success, keep it honest and go easy on the superlatives.
  • Don’t use UNC-Chapel Hill lingo and insider references with audiences who are not deeply connected with the school. For instance, spell out all acronyms and explain proprietary items such as the OneCard or C-TOPS.


Aim to convey the University’s core values of research, teaching and service in site content.

The positioning of the University is three-fold:

  • An excellent, research-based education that equips tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and knowledge workers for success.
  • A university pursuing discoveries and innovations that are key to our future.
  • Scholarship that addresses current problems and creates new opportunities in North Carolina and the world.

Identifying the University name

  • The official name of the University is the “University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
  • The first reference to the University should always use the official name. When used at the beginning of the sentence, it should be referred to as “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” When used in the middle of a sentence, it should be referred to as “the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
  • Any subsequent references to the University can be “UNC-Chapel Hill,” and “Carolina.”
  • Titles and subtitles can also use one of the two terms above in lieu of the entire name.
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