We are all humans, so we all make mistakes. Many minor mistakes are made at WPI which many would put in the category: technicalities. This page is designed to make you aware of these common misunderstandings in order to avoid them.

In Speech and ConversationEdit

What is said What should be said Notes
Alden Hall Alden Memorial Referring to the building
faculty advisor (referring to a member of the staff or Administration) staff advisor Many students think that club advisors must be faculty and therefore assume that any club advisor is a faculty member.
The Institute or The College The university WPI is a university (Source: Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education)
SAO Office SAO or Student Activities Office redundant
Gompei the Goat Gompei or the Goat Gompei was the original goatkeeper; the Goat is the Goat's Head Trophy or the WPI mascot
he/she is an Alumni he/she is an Alumnus/a Alumni refers to more than one graduate. Alumnae refers to a group of female graduates. Alumnus refers to one male graduate. Alumna refers to one female graduate.
MQP/IQP project MQP/IQP or Major/Interactive Qualifying Project also redundant

In WritingEdit

Office and Department NamesEdit

While technically there is no official naming convention for office or departments, the following rules and exceptions should be used in general practice:


Departments are academic only. The official or formal writing (and speech) convention takes the form Department of Discipline. The informal writing (and speech) convention is discipline department. Abbreviations and acronyms of names should be used only informally. In writing, departments should be referenced first as Department of Discipline and subsequent times as discipline department (note capitalization). Examples:

  • Formal
    • The Department of Biology is located in Salisbury Laboratories.
    • He is a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science.
  • Informal: Have you gone to the
    • Have you gone to the math department office yet today?
    • I'm in the ME department.


Offices far outnumber departments, and their rules are less defined and open for more interpetation. For many offices the formal office name, as used on letterhead, is Office of area. The informal name for these offices is Area Office. Examples of these types of offices are:

  • Formal
    • Office of the President
    • Office of Financial Aid
  • Informal
    • Student Activities Office
    • Provost's Office

However, many offices and areas do not fall into the above categories. For example:

  • Events Office
  • Planned Giving
  • Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Administrative Services

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