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Advisor wins!

Topics/tags: Language, Grinnell, short

When I arrived at Grinnell, the Office of Communications provided what I call The Grinnell Style Guide. That may have even been its name. The guide was a small pamphlet that described writing customs to use when writing about the College. For example, it indicated that we use first year [1] rather than freshman [2] that we use second year [4] rather than sophomore, that we use an apostrophe and the last two digits of a graduation year when referring to an alum, but only for the first century after they graduate, and so on and so forth.

Among the many things in the style guide is a policy for how we spell advisor, or, as the guide specified, adviser. If I recall correctly, it read something like the word adviser is always spelled with an e. But I like the look of the o spelling. And I like its support for multiple pronunciations. So I tend to use that spelling, even though it violates the style guide [5].

Over the years, I’ve noted that many of the software products we purchase use the same spelling I do [6]. I assume that the College has no control over such matters. Nonetheless, I take such instances as a modicum of support for my perspective.

Yesterday, the College released a memo that included the sentence Faculty also serve as advisors, both formally and informally, to Grinnell students. [7,8]

Since the Campus Memo comes from Communications, I’ll take this as evidence that my spelling won! No longer need I worry that I’m violating policy! [9]

[1] or first-year student

[2] I sometimes use freshling [3].

[3] my autocorrect thinks freshling should be fresh lung.

[4] or "second-year student

[5] You may recall that one of my first post-tenure statements was in response to Communications telling me that I could not print my own letterhead because the shade of red would not be quite correct. My response? I don’t care. I have tenure.

[6] One example is Ellucian Self Service, aka Academic Planning.

[7] Emphasis mine.

[8] Grinnell College. 7 December 2018. Special Campus Memo: Appeal. Electronic mail message distributed at approximately 6:10 PM Central Standard Time. Currently available online at

[9] At least not that policy.

Version 1.0 of 2018-12-08.