A Little Acrimony Over Acronyms


Acronyms stink! Yes, they’re necessary at times, but the reliance on them also handcuffs communicators and certainly baffles readers.

I’m sure our friends at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (yes, IPFW is better in most cases) won’t take it personally when we use this recent example from their campus. In fact, the communicators in Fort Wayne do an excellent job overall with their "key info" section at the top of news releases particularly helpful.

But then there was this headline and lead:

IPFW ORES Becomes RESP to Respond to Community Engagement

Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW’s) Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) is pleased to announce the Office of Research and External Support (ORES) is now the Office of Research, Engagement, and Sponsored Programs (RESP).

Do I have a better alternative? Not off the top of my head. There’s not much one can do when confronted with a series of phrases/names that require the obligatory capital letter shortcuts. The above is an eyeful and mouthful with or without the acronyms, but I’ll still blame them for making a tough message to communicate even more difficult. 

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