Kathleen Keane Assumes AAUP Presidency

On June 20, 2009, John Hopkins University Press Director Kathleen Keane assumed leadership of AAUP. Keane will serve a one-year term, and succeeds Alex Holzman, director of Temple University Press.

Keane began her career in university press publishing in 2002, when she joined the Johns Hopkins University Press as director of finance and operations. She was appointed director of the press in 2004, assuming oversight of an extensive publishing program which includes 200 books and 70 scholarly periodicals per year, in addition to the online collection Project MUSE and customer services operation and fulfillment for 16 client presses.

Keane has been a member of the AAUP Board of Directors since 2007, serving for the past year as president-elect, and was a member of the Task Force on Committees from 2008-2009.

Before moving to the world of university press publishing, Keane worked in commercial medical publishing, holding positions at Harcourt Health Services and J.B. Lippincott & Company. Keane earned her bachelor's degree in English from Connecticut College and a master's degree in English from Catholic University of America. She received her M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

In her inaugural address at the AAUP Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Keane discussed the various challenges facing university presses today, and some of the innovative ways in which presses have approached them:

We broadened the publication lists to include more titles that had the potential to reach wider audiences and we have experimented with new publication formats. We have learned to work with new industry partners and thereby replaced some sales revenue with rights income. There has been an expansion of the marketing and publicity reach with new technologies, at lower cost. We have aggressively controlled costs by harnessing digital technologies to reduce inventory requirements.

Keane also spoke about two themes that were echoed elsewhere in the meeting's sessions: developing and maintaining the support and esteem of parent universities and institutions, and the role of university presses in "public discussions of copyright law and the public policy issues that touch on scholarly communications."

Lest association members get too caught up in the various challenges ahead, Keane also encouraged them to take a step back and appreciate the fine work done by their peers. Advocating for a visit to the AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal show, she said, "Let's celebrate our colleagues' achievements. We are fortunate to work in an enterprise that could produce these books, and we are fortunate to have such a rich group of colleagues with whom to share the labor."