Tag Archives: scholarly publishing

2018–2019 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship

The University of Washington Press (job number 152934), Duke University Press (Careers), MIT Press (job number 15648), and the University of Georgia Press (job number S00514P) are now accepting applications for the 2018–2019 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program. The program seeks to increase diversity in scholarly publishing by providing year-long fellowships in the acquisitions departments of the four university presses with the support of the Association of University Presses and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search committees will begin reviewing applications after March 15, 2018. Selected fellows will be notified by April 14, 2018, to begin the year-long fellowship on June 1, 2018.

UBC Press and University of Washington Press to develop digital publishing platform in Indigenous studies with grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

SEATTLE, WA—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of British Columbia a three-year $509,000 grant to support a collaboration between UBC Press and the University of Washington Press for the development of a new writing and publishing infrastructure for Indigenous studies scholarship.

Melissa Pitts, director at UBC Press, said the project responds to the needs of a new generation of readers, scholars, students, and practitioners pursuing Indigenous research and cultural revitalization projects: “The new platform will serve scholars engaged in collaborative research, writing, and publishing with and within Indigenous communities. It will combine mainstream and academic frameworks, enabling respectful protocols for accessing and circulating cultural heritage in an online environment.”

“Our project is designed to provide solutions to existing barriers to full participation in the exchange of ideas and knowledge,” said Darcy Cullen, project lead and UBC Press editor. “We will create a digital hub in which Indigenous communities and scholars can work together to create, share, and preserve content and present their findings in new and useful ways.”

UBC Press and University of Washington Press will develop a digital platform for Indigenous multimedia books. Based on Scalar, an authoring and publishing platform, it will offer a suite of tools for linking data and analyses to digital content from around the world and for interacting in culturally sensitive ways with heritage materials, ranging from clothing, beadwork, weapons, and tools to songs, stories, and dances. It will include customizable methods for authoring teams to label content and inform readers about cultural protocols for access and use of specific content.

The multimedia books will incorporate, and offer seamless navigation through, textual, audio, and visual materials and will organize content in different ways for different purposes, offering navigational paths tailored for distinct audiences: scholars, community-based groups and organizations with a stake in Indigenous languages and cultural heritage, and instructors and their students.

Jill Campbell, coordinator for the Musqueam Language and Culture Department, applauded the project’s vision: “We are in full support of this respectful, digital publishing platform, which facilitates collaborative partnerships with the First Nations communities and highlights the scholarship of First Nations language, culture, and history to render it more broadly accessible. It stands to be a transformative part of the current broad-based movement towards the revitalization of the rich linguistic and cultural heritage vested in the First Nations in this region and beyond.”

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse of the University of Washington’s Burke Museum highlighted the need for this project for the Indigenous arts: “The visual aspects of Indigenous arts are fundamentally tied to movement, song, land, and language. Digital technologies have the potential to reflect the connections between cultural belongings (artifacts) and their associated intangible rights. By harnessing these new technologies, this project will enhance the understanding and revitalization of cultural practices, while allowing for more robust forums for collaborative knowledge production.”

As the leading publishers of Indigenous studies scholarship in the Northwest, UBC Press and University of Washington Press are spearheading this initiative. It will be developed in partnership with the UBC Library, museums (UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, the Reciprocal Research Network, and UW’s Burke Museum), experts in intellectual property and cultural heritage management in a digital environment (Mukurtu, Local Contexts), First Nations communities and organizations (the Musqueam Indian Band, the Kwagiulth First Nation, and the First Nations Technology Council), platform developers and digital management specialists (the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, which produces the authoring and publishing platform Scalar), among others.

Nicole Mitchell, director at University of Washington Press, said: “As publishers with a deep history of supporting knowledge production by and with Indigenous, First Nations, and Native American people and communities, we are grateful for the support of the Mellon Foundation to take this work forward into the digital and multimedia future.”

According to Chadwick Allen, associate vice provost for faculty advancement at University of Washington, “This innovative project is yet another indication of the leadership role the University of Washington is taking in the development of Native American and Indigenous studies—across disciplines and institutions, through the integration of new technologies with traditional sources of knowledge, and in respectful collaboration with sovereign Native nations.”

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.

About UBC Press: UBC Press produces books integral to Canada’s cultural, political, and social fabric and is recognized for its contributions to Indigenous studies, Canadian history, political science, environmental history, law and society, gender and sexuality studies, and transnational studies, among others. Established in 1971, the press publishes sophisticated and transformative works by authors whose thought and research pushes the boundaries of scholarly discourse and makes a vital contribution to the democratic exchange of ideas.

For more information, please contact:

University of Washington Press, Beth Fuget, Advancement at 206-616-0818 or bfuget [at] uw.edu

UBC Press, Kerry Kilmartin, Publicist and Events Manager at 604-822-8244 or kilmartin [at] ubcpress.ca

From the Desk of Larin McLaughlin: The Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program

In this guest post, UW Press editor in chief and Principal Investigator Larin McLaughlin writes about how the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program (application deadline: March 15, 2016) came to be:

In the past six months, two children’s books have incited controversy with their rosy depictions of enslaved African Americans making desserts for their owners. On the heels of the well-tweeted #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, which brought national attention to the lack of diversity in children’s book publishing, objections to the books flew across social media platforms. On my own Facebook feed, scholar and cultural critic Rebecca Wanzo nailed a key question that pervades these controversies: “who was in the room?” Publishing houses produce all-too-frequent situations where critical decisions are made without the benefit of diverse perspectives, and who is in the room certainly matters.

In the case of A Birthday Cake for George Washington, author Ramin Ganeshram describes how her concerns about racial representation went unheeded in the collaboration between author, illustrator, and publisher. Overall, those best positioned to bring critical and diverse perspectives to publishing decisions are still significantly underrepresented in the industry: recent surveys such as the 2015 Publishers Weekly Salary Survey and the Diversity Baseline Survey demonstrate important differences in demographics between publishing professionals in the U.S. and the U.S. population more generally. Continue reading

From the Desk of Becky Ramsey Leporati: The Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow Program

A call for applications has just gone out looking for the 2016-17 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow (application deadline: March 18, 2016). The fellowship gives one Masters or PhD student the opportunity to work in a variety of departments, including editorial, production, and marketing. Throughout the course of the fellowship the student will be exposed to a wide range of areas in the publication process, including acquisitions, copyediting, design, production, electronic publication, and marketing. The fellowship will also offer a larger sense of the publishing profession and current issues gained through readings, opportunities to network within and outside the press, and discussions about career issues and further educational opportunities.

As part of a series of guest posts from the desks of UW Press staffers, 2015-2016 Graduate Publishing Fellow Becky Ramsey Leporati describes her experiences at the press.

Becky Ramsey Leporati-portraitIt’s Thursday morning and I’m at my desk at the University of Washington Press, checking my email and enjoying the view out my window. I can see the top of the Space Needle just over the parking garage across the street. On my to-do list this morning: reviewing revisions to book summaries I’ve written for the Marketing department, finishing edits to a manuscript for publication this fall, and submitting applications to the Library of Congress for cataloging records. I’m here twenty hours each week, so I want to make each one count.

I’ve been working at the press since last September, getting a couple of quiet weeks in before the quarter started and homework, classes, and department commitments started competing for my ever-dwindling time. In other words, I got to just enjoy learning about books before jumping back into the typical life of a graduate student. Even amid all the chaos, though, my time at the press has largely been a peaceful break from that torrent. It’s an opportunity to really understand a process, to see how books go from idea to manuscript to product.

One great advantage of the fellowship is how open it is to the research and professional interests of the fellows. Last year, for example, the fellow was a PhD student in the Communications Department, Will Mari. Since Will’s plan is to become a professor, his interest in academic publishing mostly came from the content production side. He was able to get a good idea of how the press works to better inform him as a future author of academic books.

I, on the other hand, am finishing up my degree in library science this year. As a future academic librarian, I wanted to learn more about publishing as scholarly communication. As a support for faculty looking to publish, I will now be able to better explain what they need to know about the publishing process. I will also be better informed as I make buying decisions to grow the monograph collection at my future institution.

While this fellowship has allowed for concentrated explorations of specific career goals, it is also quite indulgent of general curiosity. I have had great conversations with people in every department of the press about what they do and what they see on the horizon. It’s not surprising, then, that many people have gone on from this fellowship not just to become faculty members and authors, but also editors and other publishing professionals.

As we look for the next graduate student to fill this role, I am hoping that the opportunity will go to someone curious about publishing who can share a new perspective no one has heard from before. Maybe it will be you!

$682,000 Mellon grant to help academic publishers increase workforce diversity

SEATTLE, WA—A four-year, $682,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded to the University of Washington will help four university presses and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) create a pipeline program to diversify academic publishing by offering apprenticeships in acquisitions departments.

The collaborative project involves the University of Washington Press, the MIT Press, Duke University Press, the University of Georgia Press, and the AAUP. The University Press Diversity Fellowship Program will create cohorts of four fellows per year for three years. The program will recruit fellows who have significant personal experience and engagement with diverse communities and a demonstrated ability to bring the understandings gleaned from such engagement to the daily work of academic publishing.

“The University Press Diversity Fellowship Program builds on the University of Washington’s longstanding commitment to inclusion and social justice,” said Gerald Baldasty, UW interim provost and executive vice president. “The program aligns with UW president Ana Mari Cauce’s mission to support and sustain diversity at the university and the communities it serves through her Race and Equity Initiative.”

Fellows will have the opportunity to connect with one another and engage with industry colleagues at two AAUP annual meetings. “AAUP congratulates the University of Washington Press, along with the other AAUP member presses participating in the Diversity Fellowship Program,” said Peter Berkery, AAUP executive director. “Because diversity is a core AAUP value, we are eager to welcome Diversity Fellows to our future annual meetings. I know other member presses will be interested in this program, and I look forward to helping our community build on its success.”

The University Press Diversity Fellowship Program is the first cross-press initiative of its kind in the United States to address the marked lack of diversity that characterizes the publishing industry. Although university presses have long fostered and supported diversity-related fields such as Native and Indigenous studies; African American studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and Asian American studies, the fellowship program represents a significant investment in creating career development opportunities and a supportive environment for diversity publishing.

Principal investigator and UW Press editor in chief Larin McLaughlin said, “From editorial strategy and list development priorities to growing revenue from emerging markets to the finer points of culturally sensitive copyediting and cover design, enhancing diversity within the workforce of university press publishing has the potential to improve the relevance and efficacy of publishers for an increasingly diverse audience of scholars, students, authors, and readers.”

Another desired outcome of the fellowship program is to develop best-practice strategies and tactics for fostering diversity at all levels of the profession. Further, this collaboration will focus attention on the centrality of diversity in all its forms to the future of global academic discourse and, it is hoped, will inspire related efforts to prioritize diversity more broadly in the publishing industry.

“One of the prime joys of our job as editors in the university press world is that we publish books that truly make a difference to academic and broader communities,” said Mick Gusinde-Duffy, editor in chief of the University of Georgia Press. “We’re taking positive steps toward a more diverse cohort of publishing professionals that takes transformative publishing to a whole new level.”

Gita Manaktala, editorial director of the MIT Press, commented, “We expect to learn a lot from our three fellows and hope that each will find lasting and rewarding opportunities in university press publishing. If so, the major beneficiary of this program will be the university press community itself, along with the wider communities of scholars, students, and general readers we serve.”

The program will offer each fellow opportunities for one-on-one mentoring as well as monthly cross-press video conferences led by staff at partner presses, covering a range of topics designed to supplement the hands-on training.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this much-needed diversity fellowship program,” said Courtney Berger, senior editor and editorial department manager of Duke University Press. “This fellowship will help Duke University Press to foster a more diverse staff that better reflects the wide-ranging perspectives and backgrounds that inform the Press’s publications, our authors, and our readership.”

Outreach and recruitment by the program’s selection committee will begin this month, with the first cohort of Diversity Fellows starting their apprenticeships in June 2016.

“The University of Washington is extremely proud that our press is leading this transformative initiative,” said David L. Eaton, dean of the UW graduate school. “And we are truly grateful for Mellon’s vital partnership and support.”


Larin McLaughlin, Editor in Chief of University of Washington Press, at 206-221-4995 or lmclaugh [at] uw.edu.

Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director of The MIT Press, at manak [at] mit.edu.

Courtney Berger, Senior Editor & Editorial Department Manager of Duke University Press, at cberger [at] dukeupress.edu.

Mick Gusinde-Duffy, Assistant Director for Acquisitions and Editor-in-Chief of The University of Georgia Press, at mickg [at] uga.edu.

From the Desk of Rachael Levay: Sales Conference

As part of a series of guest posts from the desks of UW Press staffers, Marketing and Sales Director Rachael Levay walks us through her recent sales conference trip to New York City:

Sales conference happens twice a year, like clockwork. The University of Washington Press announces our new forthcoming titles twice a year, Spring and Fall. That announcement includes a great deal of internal work, the final step of which is sales conference, when I meet with our sales representatives in New York City to discuss the list and our sales opportunities.

Our U.S. reps are based at Columbia University Press and I meet with them in person at their offices. These meetings are a crucial part of the announcement process because we get the opportunity to talk about the books in depth, ask questions, and share ideas for non-traditional sales. (And meeting in NYC lends a touch of that three-martini lunch, Algonquin table, Bennett Cerf era of publishing.)

IMG_2161Our reps, Catherine Hobbs (sells the Mid-Atlantic), Conor Broughan (Northeast), Kevin Kurtz (Midwest), William Gawronski (West), and Brad Hebel (New York City), have worked with books for decades and bring a wealth of experience to our lists. They also sell books for at least a dozen university presses, which means that a visit from one of our reps is highly appealing to buyers at independent bookstores as they can see lists from a dozen publishers at once.

Because our reps also work with so many other university presses, many of my colleagues from other publishers are in town during the same stretch of time, which allows for the opportunity to get together and talk more about what’s happening in publishing. Luckily this year, two of my favorite colleagues (Brian Halley, Senior Editor for University of Massachusetts Press, and Emily Grandstaff, Sales and Publicity Manager for the University of Virginia Press) were in NYC at the same time so we were able to talk about trends we’re seeing in academic fields and in terms of sales.

Preparation for sales conference is mostly a mental exercise—we publish approximately 75 books a year and distribute another 250 or so, which means there are a lot of books for which I need to know not only what the book is about in a sentence or two, but also its unique sales opportunities, where the author is from, what bookstores the author has recommended as sales outlets, what the editor suggested for sales possibilities, and what backlist books might also pair well alongside the new title to keep those older titles fresh.

In addition to bringing catalogs for our reps, I also prepare “tip sheets,” which are just what they sound like—a one-page document that synthesizes all the info I prepare for this meeting, but also shares our marketing plans so that reps can know where we’re pitching to media and when, advertising plans, and when direct mail plans will send either through snail mail or email. This can help buyers see where the strongest trade investments are being made at our end and ensure they can meet demand.

Luckily our reps are a friendly bunch! What might be a stressful meeting is in actuality an enjoyable and fun get-together—we’ve worked together long enough that before we get down to business, we always spend a few minutes sharing baby pictures, talking about recent travel, and chatting about the current state of publishing. Our reps have a particularly enjoyable point of view—they can tell us what’s happening on the ground in independent bookstores all across America.

Our Spring 2016 list is particularly interesting in that we have a very strong trade list—a number of titles that will resonate not just in the Pacific Northwest but also on a larger scale. Books like Warnings Against Myself and Unpleasantries will have traction on a national and international scale, which is always fun for our reps—it’s a challenge in the best sense of the word to have books that can be sold into any store in the country. There’s also an exciting range of academic books in new disciplines and within new series, like Power Interrupted (Decolonizing Feminisms) and Indian Blood (Indigenous Confluences), that will appeal to buyers at venues with a highly educated and social justice emphasis customer base.

Our distributed art titles are also very popular. In addition to independent bookstores, our reps work with museums all around the country and one of our strengths is our art books. This year, we have two excellent copublications, Endeavouring Banks and Bhupen Khakhar, both of which will have significant appeal in these markets.

We part knowing that the real bulk of the work is still ahead of us—actually selling the books. Announcing them and working through sales conference is always a daunting task but it’s energizing to reach the point at which it’s time to start hitting the pavement, or the email as it’s increasingly become, and see how those back orders start to shape up!

From the Desk of Puja Boyd: The Frankfurt Book Fair

UW Press Intellectual Property Manager Puja Boyd

UW Press Intellectual Property Manager Puja Boyd.

As part of a series of guest posts from the desks of UW Press staffers, Intellectual Property Manager Puja Boyd walks us through her recent trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from October 14-18, 2015:

Every October, as the weather cools and the leaves fall, my inbox goes through its typical seasonal swell. Invitations to cocktail receptions. Solutions to technology problems. Requests for rights sheets. Reminders to check in for that cozy 10-hour flight to Amsterdam. As the days number down to the world’s largest gathering of publishing professionals, rights managers around the globe spruce up their uniforms (and most comfortable shoes) for the endurance event of the year: The Frankfurt Book Fair.

This was my fifth ‘Messe’ and my first with the new orientation for US publishers. In years past, most US publisher booths were laid out in Hall 8 of the sprawling 11-building messe complex, allowing us sprinting distance (via moving walkways) to our colleagues in Halls 4-6 and a slightly longer commute to the festivities that honor each year’s international guest. We had the luxury of being placed closer to the action this year, and the challenge of re-learning our well-worn pathways to the S-Bahn, to the café, and of course, to the nearest bathrooms.

The entrance to Hall 4 on opening day.

The entrance to Hall 4 on opening day.

As with any large gathering, the book fair offers publishers the unique opportunity to connect with colleagues across the full spectrum of the book world. Everyone from authors to publicists, printers to metadata experts, literary agents to proofreaders have a temporary place to call home at Frankfurt, and we keep busy in the hive of activity for the first three days of the event. By Saturday, the doors to the Messe open to the public and we, jetlagged and a little tired, are greeted by hordes of young readers who ambush the stalls dressed as their favorite literary characters. This has the emotional equivalent of a stranger handing you an ice-cold lemonade on the 20th mile of a hot, desert marathon.

After three days of meetings and dinners, the publishing community gets to witness the sheer aliveness of its supporters, and it’s that kind of energy that jolts us into planning the next year’s schedule. Surrounded by so many beautiful books, in so many languages, I am reminded of how great it feels to be a reader.

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Highlights from the UWP booth include sharing forthcoming titles with agents based in China, Taiwan, and Korea; introducing a new mountaineering book to a Canadian publisher, and participating in the International Convention of University Presses in addition to the usual smattering of technology meetings, trading notes with colleagues, and the lucky happenstance conversations that seem to only occur at the Messe.

Publishers around the world seem to be facing the same struggles—online sales, international distribution, the loss of bookstores—but remain optimistic about new opportunities including micro-fiction (writing designed to be read on a smartphone) and cultivating collaborative partnerships to increase reach overseas.

I came away from this year’s meeting with a suitcase full of new business cards, a new favorite restaurant in Römerplatz, and the insatiable desire to be in a bookstore. Lucky for me, a new colleague had already suggested the perfect read for the long trip home.