Category Archives: AAUP

Celebrating Gita Manaktala, Recipient of the AUPresses Constituency Award

This week the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) meets in Detroit. At the same time, participating presses are hosting a special blog tour to celebrate the colleagues with whom we collaborate to make university press publishing happen. At the opening reception to the meeting I had the honor of presenting the AUPresses Constituency Award to Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director of the MIT Press. Below are my remarks.

Larin McLaughlin

Editor in Chief, University of Washington Press


First given in 1991 to Naomi Pascal, my predecessor at the University of Washington Press, the AUPresses Constituency Award recognizes active leadership and outstanding service to the association and the wider scholarly publishing community.

In university press publishing, our collective work is full of moments, ideas, and encounters that inspire and transform. Readers of our books and journals find new ideas that shift their understanding, buried and little-known histories, and remarkable people and communities they might otherwise never know. We hear of our authors’ amazement and joy when their first books arrive, we celebrate bestsellers, and watch readers pore over eagerly anticipated new releases.

Undergirding those experiences we create for others are the daily ways we inspire, challenge, and transform each other—and this award gives us the chance to celebrate those. This year’s Constituency Award recipient, Gita Manaktala, has been a brilliant and passionate exemplar of the best of what we are in her nearly 30-year career with the MIT Press and her ongoing commitment to and work with AUPresses.

At the MIT Press Gita has overseen a large and complex acquisitions program since 2010, with direct management responsibilities for 14 acquisitions editors in her role as Editorial Director. Prior to that, she was Director of Marketing, with oversight of global sales, marketing, publicity, and electronic product development. She shares her wide-ranging expertise and immense wisdom readily—one colleague mentioned that she is one of the people you hope to see immediately on arrival at the annual meeting because she “will have insights to share with you that no one else has thought of.”

Gita’s contributions to the work of AUPresses over more than a decade would take me beyond my time limit to detail, but highlights include chairing the program committee for the 2011 annual meeting, which was described as “one of the most vibrant, creative, lucrative and community-building programs of the last decade.” She also played an active role in the large collaborative project of creating the Peer Review Best Practices handbook, which brought together dozens of acquisitions editors to create a single guiding document.

I have worked with Gita most closely as part of the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship program and as co-chair of the AUPresses Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. In this work Gita’s seasoned engagement, clarity of thought, and practice of skilled listening contributed immensely to our efforts. I have been so grateful to benefit from the example of Gita’s graceful leadership as well as her incisive editing—and I know so many of those of us who have worked with Gita have similar experiences.

Her letters of nomination for this award illustrate how much so many of us cherish Gita’s contributions to our work. One points out how “her knowledge, her charisma, her humor, her charm—are all generously bestowed on our membership.” Another colleague described Gita as “a strong ambassador for the cooperative and collaborative spirit that defines the AUPresses”

Gita’s passion for and expertise in so many areas of publishing has provided rich mentorship within the AUPresses. Her willingness to put generous and significant effort behind her clear commitments to publishing and justice has been key to the work the MIT Press, the Mellon fellowship partner presses, and the AUPresses have undertaken in the area of equity, inclusion, and justice more broadly. Please join me in celebrating her today.

#UPWeek 2017 Blog Tour: Libraries and Librarians Helping Us All #LookItUP

We’re now approaching the end of the sixth annual University Press Week 2017 and UP Week Blog Tour! Thank you and our university press colleagues for celebrating the value of our books and expertise of our authors with this year’s theme, #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters.

Each day this week university presses blogged about why facts, knowledge, and expertise matter. Today’s final day of posts explores how libraries, librarians, and university presses work together to promote scholarship.

Catch up on all of the posts from the UP Week Blog Tour and see you on social media with the #LookItUP and #ReadUP hashtags!

Friday: Libraries and Librarians Helping Us All #LookItUP

University of Missouri Press
The Lanford Wilson Collection at MU Libraries Special Collections and Rare Books

University of Nebraska Press
Introducing Lincoln’s Most Passionate Reader

University Press of Florida
Q&A with Digital Scholarship Librarian Laurie Taylor on New Open Books Series

University of Georgia Press
Librarians are our First Line of Defense against Fake News

University of Alabama Press
University Press Week: Knowledge Matters – Q&A with Associate Dean for Research and Technology Tom Wilson

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#UPWeek 2017 Blog Tour: #TwitterStorm

Welcome back to the sixth annual University Press Week 2017 and day four of the UP Week Blog Tour. We are thrilled to join fellow university presses to celebrate the value of our books and expertise of our authors with this year’s theme, #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters.

Each day this week university presses will be blogging about why facts, knowledge, and expertise matter. Today’s theme is #TwitterStorm, and features posts about how social media has contributed to the success of university press initiatives, titles, and scholarship.

Check back tomorrow for the final posts from the UP Week Blog Tour and join on social media with the #LookItUP and #ReadUP hashtags!

Thursday: #TwitterStorm

Harvard University Press
Social Media and Scholarship (and Impeachment)

Johns Hopkins University Press
Make Your Voice Heard in 2017’s Town Square: Tips to Effectively Participate in the Twitter Conversation

Athabasca University Press
University Press Week Blog Tour 2017: Making Publishing Visible

Beacon Press
Social Media’s Role in Lifting Up “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too” (University Press Week 2017)

#UPWeek 2017 Blog Tour: Producing the Books that Matter

Welcome back to the sixth annual University Press Week 2017 and day three of the UP Week Blog Tour. We are thrilled to join other university presses to celebrate the value of our books and expertise of our authors with this year’s theme, #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters.

Each day this week university presses will be blogging about why facts, knowledge, and expertise matter. Today’s theme is Producing the Books that Matter, and features pieces focusing on how editorial, production, and design help books succeed.

Check back throughout the week for more posts from the UP Week Blog Tour and join on social media with the #LookItUP and #ReadUP hashtags!

Wednesday: Producing the Books that Matter

University of Kansas Press
Producing Books that Matter; University Press Week, 2017

University of California Press
ASA, Interdisciplinary Associations, and American Studies Now

Georgetown University Press
UPWeek Blog Tour: Producing Books that Matter

UBC Press
Exciting times, indeed, but also nerve-wracking: UBC Press’ foray into trade publishing

University of Michigan Press
“Academic Ableism” Author Interview-Part 1

Fordham University Press
UP Week! Producing the Books that Matter

Yale University Press
Decoding the Voynich Manuscript

MIT Press
University Press Week: Inspired to be Resolutely Disobedient

#UPWeek 2017 Blog Tour: Scholarship Making a Difference and Selling the Facts

Happy sixth annual University Press Week 2017! We are thrilled to take part in this year’s UP Week Blog Tour and join other university presses to celebrate the value of our books and expertise of our authors with this year’s theme, #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters.

Each day this week university presses will be blogging about why facts, knowledge, and expertise matter. Monday featured posts about Scholarship Making a Difference. Today’s theme is Selling the Facts, and features posts from bookstores, booksellers, and other university press sales staff on selling books in today’s political climate or as a form of activism.

Check back throughout the week for more posts from the UP Week Blog Tour and join on social media with the #LookItUP and #ReadUP hashtags!

Monday: Scholarship Making a Difference

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Why University Presses Matter by Daniel Heath Justice

Temple University Press
Celebrating University Press Week: Scholarship Making a Difference

Wayne State University Press
#UPWeek: Scholarship Makes a Difference

University Press of Colorado
Tools for Surviving in a Post-Truth World

Princeton University Press
University Press Week: Scholarship Makes a Difference

Oregon State University Press
Scholarship Making a Difference: The Alternate Route for Nuclear Disarmament

George Mason University Press
Playfair and the search for elusive truth

Cambridge University Press
The Struggle for Equality, Recognition and Reward

University of Toronto Press
Part 1: The Power of History to Galvanize and Energize
Part 2: Winning Hearts and Minds: Publishing that Matters

University of Washington Press
From the Desk of the Director: Knowledge and Facts Matter

Tuesday: Selling the Facts

University of Minnesota Press
#UPWeek: Knowing the Facts.

University of Texas Press
Selling the Facts in Independent Bookstores

University of Hawai`i Press
#LookItUP: Free Speech and the Media in UHP Journals

Johns Hopkins University Press
Ivy Bookshop: Selling the Facts and Serving the Community

Duke University Press
Selling the Facts: Sales Manager Jennifer Schaper Reports from the Frankfurt Book Fair

Columbia University Press
A Field Guide to Engaging with the World through Bookstores

University Press of Kentucky
At What Cost: Selling Books in the Age of Trump

University of Toronto Press
Selling the Books that Matter: Experiences of a Higher Ed Sales Rep

From the Desk of the Director: Knowledge and Facts Matter

With fall quarter now well underway, I thought I’d take a moment to update you on the latest news from the University of Washington Press.

It has been an especially busy time for me since I assumed the presidency of the Association of University Presses at our annual meeting this past June. Diversity and inclusion were pervasive themes at the conference this summer thanks in large part to our Mellon-funded University Press Diversity Fellowship Program, which was featured during the opening plenary, two panels, and a breakfast roundtable. Our first Mellon fellow, Niccole Coggins, is now an assistant editor on our permanent staff, and in early June we welcomed our second fellow, Mike Baccam. This is the first program of its kind in university press publishing and we are proud to be taking the lead in increasing diversity in our industry together with our partner presses at MIT, Duke, and Georgia.

To expand on this work, my first initiative as president of the Association was to create the new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. I am also working on other initiatives, including forming an international working group. I’ve just returned from a board of directors meeting in Washington, DC, where I was also able to participate in a publishing workshop for doctoral and post-doctoral scholars (Kluge Fellows) currently researching a wide variety of topics at the Library of Congress.

Advocating for the value of university presses is one of my main duties as president. A recent piece in Publishers Weekly, which I coauthored with Association executive director Peter Berkery, discusses the importance of scholarship in the current political climate. During this time of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” university presses offer deeply informed, reliable discussions of pressing issues, including questions about climate change, disputes over the meaning of public monuments, and debates about the rights of refugees. As we launch University Press Week on the theme “#LookItUP: Knowledge Matters,” I find myself thinking back to Dan Rather’s words at our annual meeting in June where he told a room full of scholarly publishers: “Our country needs you and your work right now. . . . What you do matters.”

Throughout the year, we at UW Press provide dozens of opportunities to engage in informed discussions at public events with our authors. Please visit our events calendar for more information, and find us and other presses during UP Week online with the hashtag #LookItUP. We hope you’ll join the conversation.

With very best wishes,

Nicole F. Mitchell
Director, University of Washington Press
President, Association of University Presses 2017–2018

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Nicole Mitchell Assumes Presidency of University Presses’ Association

Credit: Hayley Young

The University of Washington Press Director Begins Term as 2017–2018 President

NEW YORK (August 17, 2017) — The Director of the University of Washington Press, Nicole Mitchell, began her one-year term as President of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) on June 11, 2017. Mitchell assumed the role at AAUP 2017, the Association’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas. She is preceded by Darrin Pratt, Director of the University Press of Colorado.

As President, Mitchell looks forward to working with the Executive Director and Board of Directors on a number of organizational goals.  In Austin, she announced that she wanted to focus on three major areas during the coming year:  establishing a Diversity Task Force; forming a working group of non-US members to better understand the needs of international members; and, working with the Research Task Force to strengthen the case for the unique value and impact of university presses.

Nicole Mitchell has served as Director of the University of Washington Press since 2012.

Over the past five years, among other milestones, she has restructured the press, raised the press’s profile on the University of Washington campus and in the Seattle community, refreshed the press’s editorial program, and secured new funding for East Asian studies and work by Pacific Northwest writers.

“I am particularly proud of UW Press’s leadership role in establishing the Mellon-funded University Press Diversity Fellowship Program in partnership with Duke, Georgia, MIT, and the Association.  I am also excited to be collaborating with the University of British Columbia Press and First Nations communities on a new multimedia digital publishing initiative, also recently funded by the Mellon Foundation,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell has previously served the Association on the Professional Development Committee (including a term as chair in 2009-2010), the Task Force on University Relations, the Nominating Committee, and through a previous term of service on the Association’s Board of Directors.

Mitchell started her career in scholarly publishing in 1983 as a Graduate Trainee at Cambridge University Press and soon became the press’s first Children’s Book Editor, helping to create and launch the imprint Cambridge Books for Children.  Moving to the United States, she became the first full-time acquisitions editor at the University of Alabama Press (UAP). Seven years later, Mitchell was tapped to lead the press. During her tenure as director, she expanded Alabama’s publishing program, increasing sales by 50% and moving UAP from an AAUP Group 1 to Group 2 tier press.

In 2001, Mitchell was appointed Director of University of Georgia Press. During her ten years at Georgia, Mitchell led a staff of twenty-six, guiding the press’s editorial program as Editor in Chief, increasing sales, and establishing the press’s fundraising program by recruiting an influential Advisory Council.  Mitchell also served on executive committee of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, a pioneering state-focused, online-only encyclopedia.

Mitchell holds a joint honors degree in Art History and French from the University of Bristol and a certificate in Management from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

“It is a great honor for me to be serving this Association as President. I have spent my entire career in university press publishing and look forward to giving back and advocating for an association that supports and nurtures high-quality scholarly publishing around the globe,” said Mitchell.

About the Association of American University Presses: The Association of American University Presses is an organization of over 140 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, AAUP advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds integrity, diversity, stewardship, and intellectual freedom as core values. AAUP members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

About the University of Washington Press: Established in 1920, the University of Washington Press supports the research, education, and outreach missions of the University of Washington by publishing peer-reviewed scholarship for an international community of students, scholars, and intellectually curious readers. The press is known for groundbreaking lists in critical ethnic studies; Native American and Indigenous studies; Asian American studies; Asian studies; anthropology; art history and visual culture; environmental studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and U.S. history, among other fields.