Tuesday, July 17, 2012

University of Missouri Press to live on in new form

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The press isnt dead yet.
  • The press isn't dead yet.
In May, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe made the highly unpopular announcement that the Mizzou-based University of Missouri Press would be shut down, and all 10 employees would lose their jobs.

Yesterday, MU stepped back slightly from the system's previous statements and said the press will live on in a new form. "[T]he University of Missouri announced today that it is launching a reimagined University of Missouri Press that will use innovative techniques for scholarly communication," the school said in a statement. So what does that mean for the press that was founded in 1958 and has published 2,000 books? It sounds like it's not quite yet determined, but it will be a campuswide effort and will embrace digital as well as print publishing.

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said the press will be integrated into the university's Mizzou Advantage initiative. He describes this as, "[A] two-year-old initiative that harnesses the power of inter- and cross-disciplinary research to advance knowledge in four thematic areas. One of these areas is Media of the Future which provides a platform to reinvent the role of university presses in future scholarly communications and outreach to the public.”

“The interdisciplinary foundations of the Mizzou Advantage enable a reimagined press to draw on significant campus strengths such as The Missouri Review and to build on scholarly programs in English, creative writing, communications, journalism, and library and information science. We need new models for a new era and this is such a moment for the university," Deaton said.

English professor Speer Morgan, who runs The Missouri Review, will manage the new incarnation of the press. Morgan will be responsible for continuing to publish new books as well as spearheading a movement toward digital publication. Morgan is beginning a nationwide search for an editor-in-chief to lead strategy for the press.

"That person will have broad editorial authority, will take an entrepreneurial approach by embracing the opportunities presented by new communication technologies, will perform a faculty role in mentoring graduate assistants who work for the press and will expand and enhance the existing University of Missouri Press brand,” Morgan said in the release.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it appears the press' employees will be laid off, and they can reapply for three new positions.
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