A four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Washington Press, on behalf of itself and five other presses, to support continued development and expansion of a program designed to diversify academic publishing.
The program offers apprenticeships in acquisitions departments at six university presses: the University of Washington Press, the MIT Press, Cornell University Press, the Ohio State University Press, University of Chicago Press, and Northwestern University Press. The grant will provide for three annual cycles of editorial fellows at those presses.
The first grant of this kind from the Mellon Foundation came in 2016, funding four presses with the intention "to address the marked lack of diversity in the academic publishing industry," the foundation noted in a release. "Graduates of the first fellowship program," the release continued, "hold professional positions at university presses across the country."
The first and second grants combined provide for a total of 30 fellows, according to the foundation. “Diversity is one of AUPresses’ core values. As such, we are proud to partner in the expansion of this significant program,” Association of University Presses executive director Peter Berkery said in a statement. “Our participation in the original initiative over the last three years has led not only to more inclusive programming choices at our annual conferences and webinars, but also to the formation of a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which will evolve into a Standing Committee to help us sustain momentum in this area of vital importance to our community, higher education, and the entire publishing industry.”
Heads of university presses involved in the program echoed its importance regarding issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the university press world. “Continuing the fellowship program will enable us to focus on longer-term issues of retention and leadership development among the program’s participants,” Larin McLaughlin, editor-in-chief of the University of Washington Press and principal investigator on the grant, said in a statement.