Position Description
Press Vanderbilt University Press
Director, Vanderbilt University Press


Vanderbilt University is seeking a dynamic, innovative, inspiring, and forward thinking leader to serve as our next Director, Vanderbilt University Press. It is an exciting time at Vanderbilt as the university looks to expand its publications while creating unique collaborations and identifying opportunities to advance its approach while building on a history of success at the university press. The next Vanderbilt University Press leader will have a proven track record in managing, generating new ideas and approaches, embracing technology and collaborations, and developing a list of strong titles in order to facilitate Vanderbilt becoming a leader in the university and small press space.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives, the director will be responsible for all aspects of the successful operation of the university press.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Lead and inspire team to create thought-provoking scholarly publications while aligning the press with Vanderbilt’s areas of academic and institutional excellence; act as a tireless advocate of the press to faculty, authors, customers, vendors, and industry colleagues; develop and maintain Press-wide strategic goals, systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Attend local, regional, and national meetings and serve as an engaging and passionate ambassador of the press and the University; stay up-to-date regarding changes to technology, media, and trends in the press and independent publications space including electronic publishing and POD and implement strategically, effectively, and as appropriate.
  • Oversee an editorial, production, and sales/marketing team to execute the press’ long-term goals; acquire and review book manuscripts, obtain reports from scholarly referees and present them to the editorial committee for approval, and advise authors on development of manuscripts; negotiate contracts with authors, agents, publishers, and other outside bodies.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the editorial committee, media, foundations, and key stakeholders around the region and nation; cultivate and steward financial support and subsidies from donors, foundations, and other sources to offset publishing expenses.
  • Oversee editorial workflow, publishing procedures, and transparent management and budgetary processes; lead preparation of annual operating budget and oversee financial management to ensure fiscal stability; institute sound business practices and maintain budgetary integrity.
  • Conduct ongoing and long-range production and budget planning with a focus on mission and market, including publishing in new media and business models; manage press operations overseeing staff in acquisitions, editing, sales, marketing, and publicity; receive and cultivate academic titles that are mission-aligned, and that support a coordinated strategy for growth, impact, and risk-management.

Requirements of an Ideal Candidate

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and at least 5 years of progressive experience, including successful management experience within the media or publishing industries is required; an advanced degree is preferred
  • Demonstrated ability to craft a vision for the press, including shaping an editorial program and formulating business plans is required; experience managing a department or press, with a proven record of effective communication, staff supervision, and budget expertise, as well as sound judgment in editorial, marketing, fundraising, and sales is necessary
  • Demonstrated ability to conceptualize, communicate, and implement the intellectual mission and publishing goals of an independent press is necessary
  • Demonstrated ability to develop creative solutions to the challenges posed by changing markets and new technologies; and knowledge of trends and current issues in academic publishing, including electronic publishing and print-on-demand is strongly preferred
  • Superior organizational skills, verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to articulate and present information to various and diverse audiences is necessary
  • Demonstrated commitment to inclusive practices in all aspects of the work undertaken by a University Press is necessary
  • A commitment to customer service and a “can-do” attitude is necessary

About Vanderbilt Benefits

In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview.

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students and faculty frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently ranked #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Candidates can apply at http://vanderbi.lt/vup

Questions can be directed to Vanderbilt Leadership Search at search@vanderbilt.edu


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