University Press Week: What’s #NextUp in Publishing?


Continuing our celebration of University Press Week 2022, we’re happy to share what’s #NextUp in publishing! We’ll turn it over to Charles Brower, Senior Project Editor of Journals here at Duke University Press.

Since 2020, the books and journals project editors of Duke University Press’s Editing, Design, and Production (EDP) department have sponsored a mentorship program for BIPOC students and recent graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in scholarly publishing. Our goal has been to provide a solid grounding in editing and editorial project management particularly, and more generally to try to offer a solution to that perpetual dilemma faced by so many—especially those from underrepresented groups—who aspire to enter the profession but have no publishing experience. In addition to the practical experience they get as student interns working for our editorial group, our mentees participate in in-depth discussions of copyediting, house style, workflows, interacting with authors, and many other topics that fall under the broad umbrella of editorial and scholarly publishing professional skills. By the end of their participation in the program, mentees are conversant, if not yet fluent, in the Chicago Manual of Style and have a specific, detailed sense of the work we do. 

The program had a relatively modest beginning: our mentee would meet with me and a colleague from the books side of our editorial group in a weekly or biweekly Zoom meeting, as the mentee’s work and/or school schedule allowed. In a sense, the Great Cloistering brought on by the pandemic had a silver lining with respect to these sessions, since we were able to meet the mentees wherever they happened to be working or studying. The colleague I partnered with for the first two years has left the press, but two other colleagues have stepped up to participate this year. And our ambitions for the new year are to involve even more colleagues from around the press to introduce our mentees to many other scholarly publishing roles and professional opportunities. 

It’s our hope, of course, that we have a lasting, positive effect on the nascent careers of these young people, even if they decide to enter another profession. Without exception, the participants in the program have been engaged, enthusiastic, and idealistic, and if they do become colleagues in scholarly publishing, they’ll be boons to the profession. And while our mission always is to support and inspire our mentees, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I too have gotten a great deal out of participating in the program, whether through revisiting the habits and ethos that define how I edit or through interacting with and being inspired by a talented young person. I encourage anyone in the scholarly community reading this to look for opportunities to mentor, whether through similar programs at your institution or by reaching out to a junior colleague. The potential benefits for them, you, and the profession generally can’t be overstated. 

-Charles Brower 

Please continue on the blog tour by visiting the other university presses participating today. Head over to Temple University Press to read about their new Transformations book series, then check out the University Press of Kansas‘s feature on their new Lyda Conley Series on Trailblazing Indigenous Futures. The University of Pittsburg Press shares an interview with their new Acquisitions Editor Will Hammell about starting new areas of acquisition, and the University of Nebraska Press features a blog post about their Provocations series. The University of Minnesota Press details new developments in the Manifold digital publishing platform, the University of North Carolina Press unveils their new Black Women’s History series, and Leuven University Press spotlights the book Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation. The University Press of Kentucky gives an overview of the Appalachian Futures series with Editor Abby Freeland, the University of Notre Dame Press posts the results of their first-ever Publishing Boot Camp, and the Hopkins Press Internship Program enters is second year. The University of Florida Press offers a video with editors of their new series Caribbean Crossroads series, and the University of Michigan Press features an interview with Acquisitions Editor Ellen Bauerle about a newly emerging Greek/Modern Intersections series. Read about another internship program at the University of Alabama Press, and learn about the Texas A&M University Press‘s TV show on PBS. Penn State University Press shares a post from Acquisitions Editor Archna Patel about developments in their Africana studies list, and Purdue University Press Director Justin Race outlines their new Navigating Careers in Higher Education series as well as their new website. The University of Washington Press runs a Q&A with editors of the new series, Abolition: Emancipation from the Carceral, and the University of Toronto Press features a post by one of their editors about a new series. Finally, the University of Illinois Press highlights exciting changes to their Disability Histories series. 

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