Strategic Communications

Op-Ed Guidelines

Definition and purpose 

Op-eds (also called an opinion piece, column or personal essay) provide an opportunity for the writer to bring their experience, ideas, critical analyses, and insights to a larger audience. The narrative essay could be used to raise awareness about a particular topic, persuade and encourage others to take action, or provide additional insight or examples into a complex issue. 

Cal Poly Pomona’s print and digital publications may publish op-eds from our community that support, illustrate or provide further insight into the university’s vision, mission, values and initiatives.


  • Alumni may write about how their education prepared them for their first job after graduation. 
  • A faculty member’s op-ed could outline the opportunities and challenges of the general education program. 
  • An employer can highlight the importance of industry partnership and the polytechnic model of education. 
  • A student could write about campus life, thoughts on diversity, and how dialogue on topics like Black Lives Matter has shaped their perspective of the world. 
  • A staff member could share observations on equity gaps and how student services are meeting their needs. 
  • A faculty scholar may write about their research focus and the benefits for students and society. 

Whom we accept them from 

Cal Poly Pomona may accept op-eds from our university community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, families of students, employers, community partners and university friends. Op-eds are most effective when they are written from the individual’s perspective and share their unique insights, whether personal or professional.  

Review process 

For university publications (PolyCentric, CPP Magazine and Bronco Digital Magazine), managers and editors from the Department of Strategic Communications will review submissions. Articles will be evaluated on timeliness, strength of argument, freshness of opinion and connection to the university’s strategic goals and values.  

Format guidelines 

Articles should be between 500 and 700 words, unless otherwise requested. Along with the op-ed, authors should submit a short bio (about 200 words), phone number and email address. 

By submitting an op-ed for consideration, the writer is granting Cal Poly Pomona the right to publish, edit, display, distribute, and otherwise use the article or any portion thereof, and to identify you in connection therewith, for University-related and other educational purposes.  

While the author may have written on similar subject matter, op-eds submitted to Cal Poly Pomona should be exclusive to our publications/channels. 

Before publication, the writer will be contacted via email or phone to review edits and approve the final version. 

Writing guidelines 

Cal Poly Pomona’s print and online publications and magazines serve a wide audience. Here are some writing guidelines for authors of an op-ed: 

  • The op-ed should have a strong point, something our readers will want to discuss and share. This point or topic should be clearly established at or near the beginning of the article. 
  • To ensure that readers understand the context and relevance of your topic, provide enough background information on the subject. The review does not need to be comprehensive, and links or references to other background reading may be helpful. 
  • Bring your professional expertise, scholarly work or personal experience to the article. If the evidence in your article is primarily based on your personal experience, the essay should address why your insights are significant, relevant and valuable to our readers. 
  • After establishing and describing the issue or problem, focus on the solution. Readers want to hear your ideas, recommendations and insights to overcoming these challenges. 
  • Keep your tone conversational, and avoid cliches, jargon and academic language and acronyms.  
  • Provide examples, evidence and data from reputable sources, but keep in mind that our publications are not academic journals. No footnotes, please!  
  • If your topic or opinion is controversial, be sure to acknowledge and possibly refute the most common or obvious criticisms. Articles that contradict the university’s strategic goals and values would not be published in a university publication. 
  • Our standards prohibit us from publishing articles that have major inaccuracies, outright advertising, hate and violent speech, obscenity and profanity.  

General guidelines for all contributors 

  • We do not pay for op-eds. 
  • There is no guarantee that a submission will be accepted and published. If accepted, your article may be published in our print or digital publications, email newsletters, social media, websites and other communication channels. 
  • We cannot guarantee a specific publication date. 
  • If we have questions or suggestions about your article, we will ask you to make appropriate revisions. 
  • If your column is accepted for publication, we reserve the right to edit it for grammar, style, clarity and/or length. Our practice is to share the revised text for your review, but publishing deadlines preclude us from sharing with you the design and layout. 
  • We usually request that authors send us a professional photo of themselves. When possible, we will assign our university photographer take your photo for our publication.