Proposal For the Future of SMU Press

The operations of the SMU Press were suspended a year ago in order to review the current economic situation and directions of the SMU Press. This suspension was prompted by the dramatic decline in sales from the Press, and budget challenges faced by the University. The Provostís budget was facing increasing demands for supplementing the Press budget.

A Task Force was assembled to discuss the Press and review its financials. Two consultants to the Press were consulted in this group: Peter Givler, Executive Director, Association of American University Presses; and Joanna Hitchcock, Director, University of Texas Press (now retired). While the members of the Press Task Force disagree on the possible future of the Press, all agree that it cannot go forward as it had in the past.

The Provost proposes that in FY 2011-2012, a new Director will be sought to reinvent the SMU Press. It is expected that the individual hired will be an entrepreneur, tech savvy, and will take advantage of the new publishing landscape. The individual will report to the designated Associate Provost and be advised by a reconstituted Advisory Committee. It is expected that the SMU Press will go forward publishing digital works and print on-demand works.

The new director will be housed in one of the offices of the current SMU Press. The Provostís Office will provide financial support for that individual and a modest travel and office supply budget. Any additional resources for the SMU Press must be contributed by other interested parties. The work of the director and the proposal for the future SMU Press will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee in one yearís time with the expectation to go forward in some new capacity. A new Advisory Committee for the SMU Press will be appointed by the Provost.

This proposal has been endorsed by the Task Force (Provost Ludden; Professors Countryman, Sedman, and Alvey; and Provost Financial Officer Whaley.) (Professor Jim Guthrie was absent.)