Wayne State University Press announced yesterday that Stephanie Williams has been appointed the new director of the press. Williams, who is currently director of Ohio University Press in Athens, is replacing interim director Kathryn Wildfong. She will assume her new responsibilities on the Detroit campus in August.
WSU Press has not had a permanent director since 2017, when Jane Ferreyra left the press after 14 years as director to pursue other opportunities.
Williams has an extensive background in scholarly publishing. She began her career as a promotions assistant at Pelican Publishing, followed by marketing management roles at the University Press of Florida, the University of Missouri Press, and the University Press of Kentucky. She served as director of OUP for one year.
Wayne State's v-p of marketing and communications Michael Wright, who is also university president M. Roy Wilson's chief of staff, stated in a release, “I am delighted that Stephanie will be joining the university press as our new director. Her talent and credentials are exceptional, and I feel she is an excellent fit with the team and the university. Her leadership will make a difference for the press, the university, and the community. For me, it has been a joy to work with the press since it has begun reporting to the president's office, and I'm happy it will continue to do so. I also wish to thank Kathryn Wildfong for stepping in as interim director while we conducted a new search. She did a great job getting the team refocused and re-energized, and we all wish her well on her second try at retirement.”
In February, the unexpected firings of three senior employees, including editor-in-chief Annie Martin, resulted in three weeks of turmoil, as almost 100 authors, its 17-member editorial board, and others affiliated with the press condemned the firings and demanded that the three employees be reinstated. Not only were the three employees re-hired before the end of that month, but supervision of the press, which previously was under the purview of WSU's library system director, was switched to the WSU president’s office and Wright. Interim director Tara Reeser was replaced by Wildfong, who had worked for the press since 1987, including two years as interim director before retiring in 2019. Reeser also left the university after resigning from the press.
WSU Press launched in 1941 and is especially renowned for its regional trade titles, including its Made in Michigan series that highlights the work by the state’s writers.