Position Description
Press University of Pennsylvania Press


The University of Pennsylvania has exclusively engaged Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find the next Director of Penn Press. Individuals who are interested should please contact Jack Farrell (jack@jackfarrell.com).

The University of Pennsylvania Press, in the words of its mission statement, “exists to publish meritorious works that advance scholarly research and educational objectives. In pursuing this mission, the Press’s goal mirrors that of the University: to attain regional, national, and international recognition for enduring contributions to the arts and sciences and to the practical application of knowledge to matters of contemporary concern.” The Press was originally incorporated in 1890, among the earliest such imprints in America. Today, the Press has an active backlist of more than 3000 titles and an annual output of 140+ new books and 19 journals across the humanities and social sciences.

The Press now seeks an innovative, visionary, and experienced Director who will sustain this tradition for the fluid publishing landscapeof the 21st century. The new Director, overseeing a staff of 30 and an annual books and journals revenue of $3-4 million, will be a collaborative and dynamic leader who can modernize all aspects of the Press, build synergies with Penn’s broader academic community, and advance the University’s contemporary eminence in innovation and scholarship.

  • Plans and administers the overall mission and operation of the Press. Works with managers and staff to determine and implement Press systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Aligns Press goals with the broader mission and vision of the University. Builds strategic collaborations and productive synergies across the University.
  • Develops and maintains short-term and long-range Press-wide strategic plans. Works with managers and staff to meet the Press’s annual goals.
  • Communicates clearly and openly with staff at all levels and in all divisions.
  • Hires and provides for the training of Press departmental managers.
  • Works with the editorial team to develop the editorial vision and list for the Press.
  • Plans and conducts Editorial Board meetings.
  • Prepares and oversees the annual budget and long- and short-range financial planning.
  • Serves as the primary ambassador of the Press both within and outside the University.
  • Represents the Press at appropriate meetings, conferences, and events.
  • Negotiates and signs contracts with authors, editors, distribution partners, and vendors.
  • Participates in the acquisitions of new books and journals projects on an ad-hoc basis.


  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred.
  • At least 7 years of increasing decision-making, administrative, and supervisory responsibility in a publishing environment.
  • Superior people management skills and an open and transparent communication style.
  • A proven track record making and implementing decisions to enhance operational efficiencies and bring about organizational change.
  • Ability to articulate a vision and provide forward-thinking strategic direction in a rapidly changing publishing environment.
  • 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.
  • Ability to manage and motivate a team of publishing professionals and to establish and maintain productive working relationships with all Press constituents, including the university’s administration, faculty, and staff.
  • Imagination and entrepreneurial vision to find and support new ideas for books, book series, journals, digital opportunities, and new marketing and discovery tools.
  • Strong knowledge of issues and trends in publishing, libraries, scholarly communication, open access, data sharing, digital/social media, and intellectual property.
  • An understanding of the major challenges facing university presses today, such as title acquisition and author management, technology integration, digital media, and the need for effective staff and organizational development.Financial and managerial acumen, including experience with the budgeting process.

The University of Pennsylvania's special character is reflected in the diversity of the Penn community. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of its mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University's commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. We seek talented faculty, students and staff who will constitute a vibrant community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran status, interests, perspectives, and socioeconomic status. Grounded in equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action, Penn's robust commitment to diversity is fundamental to the University's mission of advancing knowledge, educating leaders for all sectors of society, and public service. The University of Pennsylvania prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.


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