Newcomers Guide to the AAUP Annual Meeting

Strategize for Success

Welcome to the vibrant platform of the AAUP annual meeting. You will be exposed to a multitude of panels, plenaries, workshops, and collaboration sessions to help you understand more about what is at stake in the university press community. Because there is more offered than any one person can take in on their own, here are some strategies to maximize your meeting impact before, during, and after the annual meeting.

Before the Meeting

Congratulations on being tapped to attend the meeting. An internal discussion between you and your director or supervisor before you register is crucial to understanding what they expect you to focus on during the meeting and what opportunities they particularly want you to avail yourself of. Don't worry if you registered early, or if someone else registered for you—you will have received a confirmation email with a link and registration code. This allows you to review and update your registration options, including what will be displayed on your badge.

As early as possible, make a tentative schedule of the sessions you plan to attend. Try to include at least one or two sessions that address issues other than those in your home department or particular position. Try to think about larger issues and trends across the UP community. The more exposure to other parts of the publishing process you have, the more informed your work and contributions will be. If others on your staff will be attending the meeting, share your tentative schedule and make sure there is not too much overlap, so that you have the benefit of the most sessions and most information you can bring home as a unit.

During the Meeting

As seasoned travelers and networkers, these few suggestions may seem completely obvious. Bring professional attire for all meeting events, and casual clothes (especially if you intend to do the early-morning run on Monday!) for any sightseeing or down time activities you have planned. Bring at least fifty business cards to hand out as you meet new people. A great trick is to use the lanyard with your badge as a storage spot for business cards. This way, when you meet someone, there is no fumbling in a purse or briefcase. You quickly have a card extended, and you can keep all the cards you collect in there as well for easy reference when you get home. Just make sure you are always extending your OWN card.

To get a sense of the diversity of our constituency as well as our similarities, make sure to attend all the open receptions, plenaries, and group meals to benefit from those top-level presentations about the industry at large. University press professionals are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, but it is not uncommon to feel intimidated by this crowd. There are resources at the meeting to help you feel welcome.

The AAUP community has a vibrant social media presence. There are even sessions in this year’s program that relate to specific strategies for acquisitions and marketing engagement via social media. The conference hashtag is #AAUP17, and following the feeds in live time allow you to participate in or survey other panels than the one you are attending. Tweets function much like notes, so that you can go back and review what struck you as poignant during presentations. A helpful guide to Twitter strategies is available via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Mentoring Program

The Meeting Mentorship Program is now in its third year. Supported by the Professional Development Committee, this program matches volunteers who wish to be mentored with a mentor prior to the meeting. This will allow newcomers to have an inside guide to the workings of the event. Mentors will:

  1. Be in touch before the meeting to discuss the mentee’s career goals and meeting goals, and set up a time to talk in person early in the event
  2. Help attendees navigate the conference program and make suggestions about important panels for their particular career goals
  3. Use the scheduled events for newcomers as opportunities to check in with their mentees and introduce them to additional colleagues, as well as give feedback about the larger mentorship program’s launch and future stewardship
  4. As appropriate and desired by both parties, be in touch with mentees post-meeting to assess their experience and discuss how to maintain momentum in achieving their goals.

Even if you haven’t enrolled in the mentorship program, there are resources you can take advantage of during the meeting.

Networking Lounge

Throughout the entirety of the meeting, there will be a “Networking Lounge” sponsored by Jack Farrell & Associates. The lounge will be located in Room 406 where you can find coffee and snacks, and a place to recharge. It will be open June 11, 12, and 13.  Stop in between panels to check in with each other and see how things are going.

Newcomers Reception
Sunday, June 11, 5:00–6:00 PM

All new visitors to the meeting should try to attend this reception as it is hosted specifically for you! This year, we will use the Newcomers’ Reception to introduce mentors and mentees if they haven’t yet found each other during the pre-meeting period. Representatives from the Professional Development Committee will also be on hand to greet.

Tuesday, June 13, 12:00–1:30 PM

Tables will be reserved so that mentors and mentees can sit together while connecting with other new attendees.

Concurrent Session: Switching Departments Mid-Career
Monday, June 12, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM

Chair: Debby Bors, Senior Production Editor, Manuscript Editing Department, Johns Hopkins University Press
Panelists: Tara Cyphers, Managing Editor/Acquisitions Editor, Ohio State University Press; Laurie Matheson, Director, University of Illinois Press; Bob Oeste, Senior Analyst, Johns Hopkins University Press; Micki Reaman, EDP Manager, Oregon State University Press; Cecilia Stoute, Sales, Rights and Marketing Specialist, Institute of Peace Press

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the flexibility to switch departments mid-career? These panelists did and will tell you how they managed it. From a variety of departments and presses large and small, these press employees will share their backgrounds, tips, and insights into how to make the change.

Concurrent Session: The Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program: Perspectives from the First Year
Monday, June 12, 1:45–3:00 PM

Chair: Larin McLaughlin, Editor-in-Chief, University of Washington Press
Panelists: Maryam Arain, Editorial Associate/Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow, Duke University Press; Niccole Leilanionapae'aina Coggins, Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow/Assistant Editor, University of Washington Press; Jesús J. Hernández, Acquisitions Assistant /Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow, MIT Press; Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director, MIT Press; Christian Pizarro Winting, Editorial Assistant, Columbia University Press

Given recent surveys demonstrating the need for diversity in publishing, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and AAUP, four university presses collaborated to develop the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship. The MUPDF is a one-year apprenticeship in the acquisitions departments of the University of Washington Press, Duke University Press, MIT Press, and the University of Georgia Press, with the expressed goal of the fellows acquiring deep and specialized knowledge of the acquisitions process. This panel will feature the four inaugural Mellon Diversity fellows speaking on why they applied, what they expected or anticipated versus how that might have changed, what they learned, and what made this fellowship unique from an internship or traditional editorial assistantship. Panelists will also include the editor-in-chief and editorial director from two of the participating presses.

After the Meeting

Many presses find it useful for the participants to coauthor a document about what they learned, experienced, and were surprised by at the meeting. This can be an informal, blow-by-blow of session and plenary presentations. Whatever you decide to do, reporting back to your peers about the annual meeting is a great way to encourage year-long participation, collaboration, and organizational commitment.

Be sure to send thank you emails and emails of future goodwill to any and all new folks that you met at the meeting. Mentors are not required but are encouraged to keep dialogue open during the time after the meeting, if both participants find this useful.

And finally, set goals for how you can keep abreast of the AAUP’s initiatives, committees, and networks. Would you like to serve on a committee? Would a travel grant be an opportunity to gain exposure to another press’s way of handling your job responsibilities? What is your home institution doing to address concerns in the world of scholarly communication and publishing? All of these questions will help determine how you can best serve and be served by the AAUP community, not just at annual meeting time, but throughout a fulfilling and challenging career.

Enjoy Austin!

Gianna Mosser
Editor-in-Chief, Northwestern University Press
Former Chair, Professional Development Committee