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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

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Ohio University Press to reorganize


Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit announced yesterday her decision to begin a three-year reorganization of the Ohio University Press. 

The goal of the reorganization is to ensure that the press is financially sound and to better integrate it into the academic life of the university. Benoit indicated that the impetus to establish a different structure and management approach stemmed from a report completed on June 1 by a committee composed of faculty and administrators. 

“The committee was formed to provide a thorough analysis of the value, significance and the operations of the press. They did a superb job,” said Benoit. “They affirmed that the press is recognized for the quality of its series and individual books, and documented the importance of the press to the academic life of the university. The committee also outlined a set of concerns and recommendations.” 

The committee met on a weekly basis for two months and reviewed all components of the press, including its editorial and marketing policies/procedures, its budget, and its income streams. The committee also met with press staff members and discussed issues facing university presses with the directors of the Kent State University Press and the University of Missouri Press. 

On the basis of its work, the committee made 19 recommendations for ways in which the press could function more effectively and efficiently. The report concludes that the suggestions, if followed, would mean that “the financial support from the university could be substantially reduced, and the activities of the press would be more closely aligned with the academic mission of the university.”

The reorganization will involve a new management structure consisting of an interim executive editor drawn from the faculty ranks and an Ohio University Press Managing Board to consist of a staff member of the press, two faculty members, and a dean. 

Kevin Haworth, a faculty member in the Department of English, who is an award-winning author, will fill the interim executive editor role for a three-year term beginning in September. The position of director of the press held by David Sanders will be discontinued.

“David has been instrumental in developing a national and international reputation for the press. His contributions are many and I want to express my appreciation for his leadership,” said Benoit.

During the summer, operations of the press will be overseen by interim Executive Vice Provost David Descutner and Tom Carpenter, Charles J. Ping Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Classics. Carpenter chaired the review committee. 

The goals for the coming academic year are to lay the groundwork for a 3-year strategic plan designed to better integrate the press with the ongoing academic mission and strengths of the university; to establish stronger ties to faculty; to increase the internal visibility and recognition of the press; to develop new marketing strategies; to position the press to address changing circumstances in academic publishing; to minimize General Fund subsidy; and to establish cost-saving measures.