The search committee for the next director for the Ohio University Press has been formed following the retirement of the current director, Gillian Berchowitz.
Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali announced the committee, which was formed following consultations with OU President Duane Nellis and Djalali. The committee is tasked with selecting candidates to fill Berchowitz’s role, who said she plans on retiring possibly during the Spring Semester.
The new director will be responsible for daily operations, developing strategic, long-range and current plans for OU Press, and devising business models based on university and fundraising support to supplement sales revenue, Berchowitz said.
“(The next director) has to be someone with great leadership skills and a tremendous balance of creativity (and) good ideas for taking the press forward,” Berchowitz said.
OU Press is the publishing arm of the university and is responsible for the publishing of academic research under the university’s name. It is renowned internationally for its work, particularly in the fields of African and Appalachian studies.
OU Press is also affiliated with Swallow Press, which publishes fiction titles.
The search committee for the new director is a group that represents the various academic fields in which OU Press publishes research, Joseph McLaughlin, Faculty Senate chair and one of two search committee co-chairs, said.
The search committee also includes Lorna Jean Edmonds, vice provost for Global Affairs and International Studies and co-chair of the search committee, and Howard Dewald, associate provost for Faculty and Academic Planning.
The committee also includes faculty from the English, geography, College of Osteopathic Medicine and international studies departments, as well as a current members of OU Press staff.
In their search for a director, the committee is looking for a candidate that recognizes the existing strengths of OU Press, who also will come in with an eye for new ideas opportunities, McLaughlin said.
“We want someone who has the necessary relevant experience … it certainly needs to be someone who understands academia,” McLaughlin said. “That doesn’t mean it has to be someone with a PhD or come from an academic background, but they have to understand … that given that we live in a time of constrained resources in public universities, there are greater pressures to publish books that are commercially viable than there were 20 or 30 years ago.”
The search committee plans on having several strong candidates on campus by the Spring Semester.