In January 2016 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a four-year, $682,000 grant to the University of Washington Press to create a pipeline program to diversify academic publishing by offering apprenticeships in acquisitions departments. The University of Georgia Press, the MIT Press, Duke University Press, and the AAUP signed on as partners, and the University Press Diversity Fellowship program’s first cohort of fellows were hired last June. Christian Winting was hired by UGA Press and—we are proud to say—he was the first fellow in the program to be placed in a full-time position at a university press. Congratulations, Christian!
As the first of three diversity fellows fortunate to work in the acquisitions department at the University of Georgia Press, I’ve had a wonderful experience learning from the editors and staff, as well as helping to shape the fellowship for those who will follow me. The fellowship kicked off in June at the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There I met my other fellows, learned about the work of acquisitions editors and publishing trends, and was introduced to the larger university press community. The entire community expressed great excitement for the path that this fellowship is blazing for a more diverse community and workplace in academic publishing.
Upon returning to Athens and beginning my daily work, I have closely studied and probed the work of our acquisitions editors. Our editor in chief, Mick Gusinde-Duffy, and I regularly chat about essential and nuanced elements of the profession (frequently going over our scheduled time), and our executive editor, Walter Biggins, is always on hand to offer his perspective on authors, proposals, peer review management, or career development. Each day with each new project, I see a different facet or wrinkle of working in acquisitions that I could only learn here at the University of Georgia Press. Recently I attended an academic conference with Mick and got to see him in “action.” Meeting with PhD candidates, newly minted professors, seasoned scholars, and editors at other presses provided me with a 360-degree view of how an editor finds projects in the field and how supportive this community is. I am so eager to pursue this profession and to be able to say that I got my start at the University of Georgia Press.
My last day at the Press was Friday, March 3. I have left the fellowship early because I was offered a position as an editorial assistant at Columbia University Press. The staff at UGA Press have been incredibly supportive and encouraging throughout my job search, and I will fondly miss the people and the great works that are published there.
Click here for more information about the University Press Diversity Fellowship.