Amherst College seeks a director to launch and run a new academic press,
committed to publishing compelling scholarship in innovative ways. A full
description of the position is here:


Review of applications will begin on May 1, 2013 and continue until the
position is filled

* * *

**Director of the Amherst College Press**  
Amherst College seeks a director to launch and run a new academic press,
committed to publishingcompelling scholarship in innovative
ways. See

**Settled Commitments**  
• **Identity**. The press will integrate itself fully with the campus at large
and the library in

particular, especially with the library's commitment to provide high-quality
information to

everybody, everywhere, regardless of means. The director reports to the
librarian of the


• **Open Access**. The press will distribute all of its work on the web, free
of charge, to everyone

with an Internet connection. All publications will bear a Creative Commons
license, although

which CC variant remains to be determined.

• **Scrupulous Editing**. Editors will edit, treating manuscripts not as
nearly finished products,

but as raw material from which better products can emerge. Editors will
evaluate arguments,

question structure, demand clarifications, call for trims, and massage prose.
Quality will

trump quantity.

• **Broad Audience**. The press will pursue manuscripts that appeal to a broad
swath of educated

readers. It will eschew manuscripts of interest to only a few specialists. The
press will not

compete with Norton, Knopf, Oxford, Harvard, et. al. for manuscripts with the
potential to

earn significant revenue for authors; but neither will it consider manuscripts
of interest only

to narrow constituencies.

• **Appealing Narratives**. The press will publish good writing with narrative
drive and sympathy

for readers.

• **Credibility**. All publications will enjoy complete credibility with
scholars and T&P


• **Small Lists**. The press will publish exclusively in the liberal arts, in
a limited and yet-to-beidentified number of fields for which Amherst College
is well known.

• **No Sales**. Since the press will make its work freely available, it will
employ no sales agents,

marketing managers, publicists, bookkeepers, shipping clerks, or inventory

• **Creative Publicity**. The press faces an intriguing question: What does it
mean to advertise

freely available work? The director will devise a creative and effective
promotion strategy,

incorporating new media and social media, to help publications find their
readers. N.B. The

press will not devote funds to sales catalogs or to advertisements in journals
and magazines;

it will ensure that its publications receive reviews in academic journals.

• **Positions**. The library will cover the director's salary until an
endowment is secured for the

directorship. Raising philanthropic gifts for this position is among the
College's top

fundraising priorities and will be overseen by the Amherst Advancement Office.
Once the

endowment is realized, the library will free funds currently devoted to the
director's salary to

hire a managing editor (full time) and editor (half-time). The director will
be the sole

employee until fundraising is complete.

• **Other Resources**. Earnings from existing endowments will be available to
hire freelance copy

editors. Amherst's Public Affairs office will provide assistance designing
templates to be

used across multiple publications.

**Unsettled Details**  
• **Platform**. The director will work with Amherst's IT department and the
library to select and

implement a publishing platform.

• **Formats**. The director will work with the library and IT to choose the
formats in which it will

produce and distribute work.

• **Innovation**. The director will determine how--and to what extent--the
press can produce

work that incorporates data, images, video, and other media. Which experiments
are now

viable, and which may be viable in the future? How can the press work with the
library to

ensure the preservation of such work?

• **Review**. Should the press experiment with crowd-sourcing as a supplement
to traditional peer

review? Is the work of Kathleen Fitzpatrick relevant or useful? (See Can we
honor our

committment to credibility and rigor with such supplementary work?

• **Publications Board**. How should an advisory board be structured, and how
should its

members be selected?

• **Print Copies**. The press will not produce or sell print copies. But
should it forge relationships

with print-on-demand publishers? Is there enough demand for print versions to
justify the

work of converting electronic publications to print? Will a commitment to
print versions limit

experimentation with other media?

**Qualities Sought**  
• **Chutzpah**. Convincing authors that an untested enterprise merits their
work will likely prove

to be the most challenging aspect of the job. The director must prove dogged
and resourceful

in pursuing good manuscripts.

• **Commitment to Innovation and Efficiency**. The director should sympathize
with Clayton

Christensen's theories of disruptive innovation and be willing to dispense
with traditions and

assumptions (even assumptions in this document) that hamper better and more-
efficient ways

of reaching new markets.

• **Social Intelligence and Kindness**. An ability to get along with everyone,
a good sense of

humor, and a commitment to helping others succeed.

• **Minimum educational requirement: B.A.**

In a cover letter of no more than four, single-spaced pages, please describe
your career, your

accomplishments, and your commitments, and how they

(a) have prepared you to fulfill the goals andideals we've
established, and

(b) have equipped you to lead the press in formulating answers
tounsettled details.

Applications should also include a c.v. and contact information for three

You are welcome to contact Bryn Geffert, Librarian of the College, to discuss
the position:

[log in to unmask]; 413-542-2212.

Amherst College is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women, persons
of color, and

persons with disabilities to apply. The College is committed to enriching its
educational experience

and its culture through the diversity of its faculty, administration, and

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