Position Description
Press Wayne State University Press
Director, Wayne State University Press


Founded in 1941, Wayne State University Press, located on Wayne State’s campus in the vibrant Midtown Detroit neighborhood, is Michigan’s only urban university press. The Press supports the core research, teaching, and service mission of Wayne State University by disseminating scholarship, advancing education, and serving the state, local, and university communities. Through its publications, physical and online presence, active outreach, and variety of partnerships, the Press enhances the Wayne State University brand and extends its reach locally, nationally, and globally.

The Director of the Wayne State University Press reports to the Executive Office of the President and is responsible for the leadership and administration of all aspects of the operations of the Wayne State University Press. The Director manages and directs a fulltime staff of 14 within 7 departments: Administration (includes Rights & Permissions), Acquisitions, EDP, Marketing and Sales, Journals, Business, and Order Fulfillment/Warehouse.

WSU Press currently publishes 35-40 new books and 11 journals a year in both print and digital formats and distributes approximately 5-10 new titles annually. Current areas of strength include:

  • Regional history and general-interest titles, including a strong list of books about the city of Detroit, the State of Michigan, and the Great Lakes region.
  • The Made in Michigan Writers Series, volumes of original poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction by contemporary Michigan writers, supported by a gift from the Meijer Foundation.
  • Scholarship in Jewish studies, including Jewish history and culture, Middle East studies, Yiddish studies, Holocaust and postwar history, anthropology and sociology, Jewish literature, art, and music, Early Modern history, and gender studies.
  • Folklore and fairy-tale studies, including the well-regarded Series in Fairy-Tale Studies, the Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology, and the journals Marvels & Tales, Fairy Tale Review, Narrative Culture, and Storytelling, Self, and Society. Support provided in part by two endowed funds.
  • Film and media studies, including three book series (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media, TV Milestones, and Queer Screens), and three journals (Discourse, Framework, Jewish Film & New Media).
  • African American studies, with support from the Press’s Arthur L. Johnson Fund for African American Studies.


  • Plan and administer the overall mission and operation of the Press. Work with managers and staff to determine and implement Press systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Develop and maintain short-term and long-range Press-wide strategic plans. Work with managers and staff to meet the Press’s annual goals.
  • Prepare and oversee an annual $2.2M budget and long- and short-range financial and programmatic planning.
  • Serve as the key spokesperson for the University Press both within and outside the University.
  • Represent the Press at appropriate meetings, conferences, and events to increase visibility and develop relationships with potential partners, authors, donors, and reviewers.
  • Seek and secure funding for books, series, and overall publishing program from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • Negotiate partnerships with local and regional organizations to distribute titles and collaborate on projects and events.
  • Negotiate and sign contracts with authors, editors, distribution partners, and vendors.
  • Hire and provide training of Press departmental managers.
  • Work with the editor-in-chief on the editorial vision for the Press, list development, and planning for and conducting Editorial Board meetings.
  • Work with University Development and Alumni Affairs and the Press’s Board of Visitors to create, refine, and execute an overall development plan for the Press.
  • Cultivate relationships with state and local organizations, foundations, and individuals to create partnerships, collaborate on projects, or secure funding.


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, advanced degree preferred.
  • At least 7 years of increasing decision-making, administrative and supervisory responsibility in a publishing environment.
  • At least 5 years of acquisitions experience or experience with the development of and promotion of academic titles, or experience in another core area of academic publishing.
  • Knowledge of issues and trends in publishing, libraries, scholarly communication, open access, data sharing, and intellectual property.
  • Ability to manage and motivate a team of publishing professionals, and to establish and maintain productive working relationships with the university’s administration, faculty and staff, press editorial board members, authors, scholars, reviewers, publishing colleagues, and community members.


  • Ability to articulate a vision and provide forward-thinking strategic direction in a rapidly changing publishing environment.
  • Experience in at least one other core area of academic publishing, such as journals, subsidiary rights, production, and/or the promotion and marketing of titles.
  • An understanding of the major challenges facing university presses today, such as title acquisition and author management, technology integration, and the need for effective staff and organizational development.
  • Financial and managerial acumen, including experience with University press budgeting.
  • Imagination and entrepreneurial vision to find and support new ideas for books, book series, and journals, and for new marketing and discovery tools
  • Evidence of strong interpersonal and communication skills: demonstrated ability to work collegially; to write and speak effectively; to inspire confidence and trust; to navigate intercultural differences with understanding and skill; and to maintain a positive and empowering work culture.

Wayne State University is a premier public, urban research university located in the heart of Detroit where students from all backgrounds are offered a rich, high quality education. Our deep rooted commitment to excellence, collaboration, integrity, diversity and inclusion creates exceptional educational opportunities preparing students for success in a diverse, global society. WSU encourages applications from women, people of color, and other underrepresented people. Wayne State is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Jack Farrell & Associates has been exclusively engaged by Wayne State University to lead the recruiting effort in this search. Individuals who are interested in this opportunity should submit a resume to Jack Farrell (jack@jackfarrell.com).

Final applications must be made through the Wayne State University employment site at https://jobs.wayne.edu, posting 045129. Completed applications must include a current resume, a list of five references, and a letter addressing how your experiences match the position requirements.

Screening of the applications and nominations will continue until an appointment is made.


This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it