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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.