Professional Development and Education

Annual Meeting

The Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the in-person AUPresses 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled to be held in Seattle, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program Committee, chaired by Laurie Matheson (Illinois), quickly pivoted the program to a virtual format and AUPresses 2020 was held June 15-26.

Twenty sessions and events were held with nearly 800 people registered to participate. Highlights included Ken Workman, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Chief Si’ahl, who welcomed attendees; Tom Ikeda, Founding Executive Director of Densho, who spoke on Never Again Is Now: Lessons from the WWII Japanese American Incarceration; Cutcha Risling Baldy, Assistant Professor and Department Chair, Native American Studies, Humboldt State University, and Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, Associate Professor, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba, gave the Opening Plenary titled Give It Back: Publishing and Native Sovereignty; Ralina Joseph, Professor of Communication, University of Washington, and Jenna Hanchard, Leader of Culture and Innovation, The Riveter, spoke at the closing plenary Talking and Listening to Race Together: Working to Interrupt Privilege Before & During a Quarantine.

Virtual networking events included a networking session for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) colleagues, speed networking, a trivia tournament, and a socially distanced (in some cases, by oceans!) 5K.

Twelve companies exhibited, and we are grateful to event sponsors Books International, Ingram Academic Services, and Marquis.

AUPresses-LPC Cross Pollination Grants

The Cross-Pollination Conference Registration Grants aim to promote greater interconnectivity between members of the Association of University Presses and the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC). The program helps two people from each organization’s membership to attend the other’s annual meeting. The Cross-Pollination program was suspended in 2020 due to initial uncertainty about whether and how spring and summer meetings would be held. The AUPresses Library Relations Committee and the LPC Program Committee have since restarted the program to offer waivers to both the LPC and AUPresses 2021 conferences.

Meeting Mentorship Program

The pandemic pressed the Association’s Professional Development Committee to move the Meeting Mentorship Program to an exclusively virtual format. The committee matched 52 mentor and mentee pairs who connected via phone, email, and video call between June 2020-June 2021.

In February 2021, Kate Warne (California) hosted a virtual Mentorship Social which encouraged current mentors and mentees to gather for opportunities to talk, share strategies, and engage with the use of breakout rooms. More than 50 individuals registered for this event.

Financial Officers Meeting

In April 2021, the Association hosted the Financial Officers’ Meeting virtually. With over 115 registrants, the meeting was a success. The Business Systems Committee chaired by Al Bertrand (Georgetown) created a rich agenda with diverse perspectives, exceptional panelists, and valuable sessions. The 2022 meeting will take place from April 20-22 in Lexington, Kentucky.


With the support of the Association’s Professional Development Committee, the following webinars were held to share information and resources at a low cost. Webinars were recorded and are publicly accessible.

Planning Your Career Trajectory
The Professional Development Committee organized this session held in March 2021, which discussed how to figure out what you want and leverage internal and external connections while building skills and experience. Lyndsey Claro (Princeton) moderated, and Gita Manaktala (MIT), Peter Perez (North Carolina), and Amanda Sharp (Lightning Source) shared their experiences and tips with participants. This session, sponsored by Jack Farrell & Associates, drew 225 registrants.

Antiracism Toolkit for Allies in Scholarly Publishing
The Equity, Justice, and Inclusion (EJI) Committee organized this review of the first of three planned guides developed to disrupt racism and transform scholarly publishing. The session was moderated by EJI Committee chair Ellen Bush (North Carolina). Panelists Niccole Leilanionapae‘aina Coggins (Virginia); Jocelyn Dawson (Duke); and Melanie Dolechek (Society for Scholarly Publishing) introduced the toolkit and shared concrete steps that attendees could take to accelerate progress toward a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture. Over 250 individuals registered for this session.

Beyond Mentorship: Creating Conditions for Mutual Learning
Through stories of advocacy, panelists James Ayers (New Mexico); Angelica Lopez-Torres (Texas); Caroline Priday (Princeton); Dylan White (North Carolina); and Camille Wright (Duke) discussed new models and approaches to mentorship at university presses that place resources and communication at the center rather than the top. Gianna Mosser (Vanderbilt) moderated this June 2020 webinar, and Jack Farrell & Associates generously supported free attendance by AUPresses members. This session had 183 individuals in attendance.

Sponsored Webinars

In 2020-2021, the Association presented a series of three webinars sponsored by Supadu.

Easy eCommerce: Steps to Maximize Your ‘Direct to Consumer’ Online Sales
In April 2021, Sarah Arbuthnot (Supadu) discussed the key ingredients for successful eCommerce, including ensuring ease of purchase; dealing with both physical and digital DRM; and integrating with distribution and fulfillment.

Measuring Your Website’s Effectiveness
In November 2020, Sarah Arbuthnot (Supadu) illustrated how to measure your website’s effectiveness through analyzing your online search activity and Google Analytics. Over 115 individuals registered.

Website Accessibility
In April 2020, panelists Sarah Arbuthnot (Supadu) and Will Awad (Newgen KnowledgeWorks and Equal Access) provided detailed information and guidance on how to tackle website accessibility. Over 80 individuals registered.

“Let’s Talk About…” Hangouts

An informal and interactive way to learn more about the topics that interest our community most, the AUPresses “Let’s Talk About…” Hangout series offers lively discussions with plenty of opportunity for Q&A. Association committees organize these sessions.

In response to need for more virtual events in the age of COVID, AUPresses scaled up this hangout series in 2020. This year’s “Let’s Talk About…” series featured conversations addressing:

      • Post-Pandemic Journals Realities
      • Navigating the Evolving World of Virtual Events
      • How Has COVID-19 Changed EDP?
      • Journal Publishing and the Humanities
      • Fair Use and Permissions
      • How We Get Our Journal Content to Readers
      • AskUP and Other Author Outreach Tools
      • Virtual Exhibits

The EJI Committee also launched a new monthly series of hangouts intended to activate press directors in equity work.

Art of Acquisitions Hangouts

Developed by the Acquisitions Editorial Committee, the Art of Acquisitions Hangouts feature lively sessions with moderated panels, active audience Q&A, and Twitter chats using the #artofACQ tag. These sessions address a variety of topics of special interest to the acquisitions community. This year’s hangouts have featured discussions about hiring for acquisitions departments, acquiring at virtual conferences, and sponsoring trade books.

Additionally, a special hangout took place during Peer Review Week in September 2020. Trust in Peer Review: An AUPresses Conversation was moderated by Peggy Solic (Syracuse) and Debbie Gershenowitz (North Carolina) with panelists Kyle Gipson (Johns Hopkins); Chris Robinson (Cambridge); and Kerry Webb (Texas).

Residency Grants

The AUPresses Residency Program provides opportunities for individuals at Association member presses to advance their professional knowledge, strengthen operations at their home presses, and foster professional collegiality throughout the community. Offering staff at member presses intensive, hands-on residencies of up to one week at other member presses, the program is one of the Association’s most effective professional development initiatives, benefitting both host and home presses alike.

The Residency Program is funded in part with a generous grant that will support the program through 2021 from Johns Hopkins University Press in honor of its former director Kathleen Keane, who retired in 2017.

The Professional Development Committee administers the program.

No grants were awarded in 2020-21 because of the pandemic travel restrictions. The Association hopes to resume the program in fall 2021.

Directors Residency Program

The  Directors Residency Program is modeled after the Association’s Week-in-Residence Program. This program provides travel funding to directors at smaller member presses to spend a few days visiting with and learning from another member press.

No grants were awarded in 2020-21 because of pandemic travel restrictions. The Association hopes to resume the program in fall 2021.