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Northwestern Reaffirms Commitment to University Press; TriQuarterly Magazine Goes Electronic

Northwestern University Press is renowned for its strength and commitment to publishing scholarly works in the humanities.

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September 21, 2009 | by Alan K. Cubbage
EVANSTON, Ill. --- After an extensive review of Northwestern University Press, its academic publishing house, Northwestern has reaffirmed its commitment to publishing and disseminating scholarly writing. A nationwide search for a new director of the Press will be launched soon, said Sarah Pritchard, the Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian.

Northwestern University Press is renowned for its strength and commitment to publishing scholarly works in the humanities and the role it plays in supporting many of Northwestern's academic areas. Last fall, the Press received a grant of more than $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support innovative efforts with the Program of African Studies and the Performance Studies and Theatre departments. One of the first major outcomes will be the launch next year of a new electronic journal, Islamic Africa, which will be produced in collaboration with the Program of African Studies and will draw on Northwestern's established research strength in African studies.

The move to digital publishing will continue with the transition of TriQuarterly, the Press's literary journal, to an online format next year. TriQuarterly already has an online blog, TriQuarterly To-Day.

TriQuarterly will be integrated into the Creative Writing program of the School of Continuing Studies. Such distinguished writers as Stuart Dybek, Aleksander Hemon, Alex Kotlowitz, Mary Kinzie and Ed Roberson teach in the program, which has gained increasing recognition in recent years. The acquisitions, editorial and design aspects of the journal will be carried out as part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program with technical support provided by Northwestern University Information Technology staff. The journal will continue to solicit and publish offerings from external writers, and will be made freely available on the web.

"This move will align publishing efforts more closely with the University's academic enterprise while at the same time expanding electronic dissemination and public access to the wonderful literature and essays that are published in TriQuarterly," Pritchard said. "Scholarly publishing is increasingly moving to open access, allowing greater distribution of academic work. This reflects that trend and allows the journal editors to take advantage of the multimedia capabilities offered through online publishing."

The search for a new director for Northwestern University Press will be launched this fall, Pritchard said. "We will be seeking an energetic leader from the academic publishing community with strong vision to guide us as we focus on the traditional strengths of the Press, implement new business models and expand digital strategies," she said.

TriQuarterly Books will continue as an imprint of Northwestern University Press and the Press also will continue to distribute books from other academic and small presses.

"After a year of significant economic setbacks, the Press has undergone a careful review. The University has reaffirmed its commitment to the dissemination of scholarship as part of its academic mission," Pritchard said. "The Press will be a more efficient operation and we will deepen our alliances with the University's academic programs while moving forward with the delivery of content in a digital format. There undoubtedly will be challenges, but it also should be a time of exciting opportunities."