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