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Jane Bunker

Inaugural Statement

Director, Cornell University Press

June 2023

The Association of University Presses is a strong and healthy organization. We are healthy because of good leadership, effective structures, and the generosity of our membership. Last year Charles Watkinson noted in his inaugural remarks what a privilege it is to work in a profession that enjoys so much collegiality. This fact is often remarked upon and I echo it here: there are many good reasons to volunteer with the Association, collegiality chief among them—along with unending opportunities to learn. Over the next twelve months we will build on the solid foundation in place by further strengthening existing structures, innovating with current partners, and deepening connections with one another both online and in real life. The collegiality operative in our profession allows us to come together and unite around common goals to advance scholarship and make great research available to ever broader readerships. The Association stands at the ready to support and promote all of our great work.

I want to thank Charles for his tireless year of service as President. His energy, kindness, and organizational acumen make it a pleasure to work with him. And this year Peter Berkery celebrates ten years as Executive Director of the Association. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated, effective leader in this position. Thanks go to Peter for everything he has done and continues to do to help this organization be the thriving professional association that it is.

We continue to emphasize collaboration, collective problem solving, and honoring our core values. This year we will complete the refresh of the Association’s strategic plan, mobilize our committees in order to best meet the needs of the membership, and bring press directors together for a summit devoted to navigating economic headwinds. This summit came out of a survey of directors wherein 92% expressed a desire to come together in real life during this year in which the annual meeting is online. 86% of directors surveyed said they would attend such a meeting. I look forward to gathering with this group to brainstorm solutions to help meet our common challenges—one of which is how to negotiate the tricky territory of hybrid work and related matters. 

What we do in our shared profession of scholarly publishing remains critically important. As partners with our authors in the creation of the scholarly record we have an obligation to hold research to rigorous standards. The resources in place thanks to the work of the volunteers and staff of the Association help us do that very well. Certainly, one reason we are such collegial professionals is because we are passionate about what we do and know how much it matters. 

Our shared values of integrity, diversity and inclusion, intellectual freedom, and stewardship will guide us as we move forward to continue to build community with all the participants in our ecosystem: fellow publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians, students, readers. New and enduring partnerships and collaboration with like-minded associations and institutions are more important than ever, and I look forward to working more closely with our counterparts at the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the American Library Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, and our fellow associations of university presses all around the world.  

My priority as President is to continue to pay attention to the multitude of factors operative in our shared environment—technological, regulatory, and social change among them—and meet the challenges that arise. At the spring meeting in April the Board listened to scholars speak to current trends and how they play out in higher education and scholarly communication, and what the ramifications for university presses might be. I came away from that experience confident that if we continue to craft our stories in order to demonstrate our value proposition, continue to be good stewards of financial resources, and continue to live our values we will continue to enjoy success. We have an excellent Board of Directors in place and soon will have a terrific new slate of committee chairs and volunteers working towards the Association’s strategic goals. I am already excited to tell their stories when we meet next year—all of us in person, in beautiful Montreal.

I look forward to working with all of you: everyone at member presses, the panoply of volunteers who make this Association run, and the terrific Central Office staff. My service to the profession as a volunteer on committees, task forces, and as a Board member has taught me so much and helped me to make connections that endure and continue to inform and inspire. It is an honor to serve as your President.  

Promovemos o função essencial de uma comunidade global de editores cuja missão é garantir a excelência acadêmica e cultivar o conhecimento.

— AUPresses Mission Statement in Portuguese