Position Description
Press Cornell University Press
Cornell University Press Director


Cornell University Press was established in 1869 as the earliest university press in the United States, for a university whose founder, Ezra Cornell, was committed to inclusiveness: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." The Press’s diverse and distinguished publishing program reflects this institutional commitment. It is today a respected scholarly publisher of award-winning books in key disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and natural history. It has a number of highly-valued partnerships, and its merger with the Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) Press in 1995 has led to a well-regarded list of books in labor and employment relations, the health care professions, and human resources, published under the ILR Press imprint. Altogether, the Press currently publishes approx. 175 new frontlist titles per year in print and eBook format along with a newly launched digital-only imprint. The Press seeks an energetic new Director to lead the organization boldly ahead. The position is based on Cornell’s Ithaca, NY campus and relocation assistance is available.

Cornell University Press fosters a culture of broad and sustained inquiry through the publication of scholarship that is engaged, influential, and of lasting significance. The press, as part of a land-grant institution, is also dedicated to transforming research into publications that reach and benefit the wider public. Works published under its imprints reflect a commitment to excellence through rigorous evaluation, skillful editing, thoughtful design, strategic marketing, and global outreach.

The Director, who oversees and manages all aspects of the operations of the Press, supervises a professional, efficient, and expert publishing team of approx. 40 staff members who are committed to bringing new technologies, innovation, and partnerships to engage the contemporary demands of publishing’s changing landscape both in terms of the digital revolution and the exploration of new business models. The Director leads the Press in serving the academy, the university, the community and the world in the advancement of high-quality scholarship.

Since 1993, the Press has been located in Sage House, a stone mansion built as a residence in the 1880s by Henry Williams Sage, then chairman of the University's Board of Trustees. The Press is part of Cornell University’s academic sector, and its Director reports to the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian.

Duties and Responsibilities:  


  • Defines and plans the Press's overall mission and publishing program
  • Develops and maintains short-term and long-range Press-wide strategic plans
  • Determines and reviews annual Press goals
  • With guidance from Alumni Affairs and Development, directs and manages fundraising for the Press
  • Works closely with Press department heads on departmental goals and issues
  • Monitors and enhances relationships with Press imprint stakeholders
  • Designs and implements Press systems, policies, and procedures
  • With the assistance of the Press’s Director, Finance and Production, prepares, monitors, and seeks approval for the annual budget of the Press. Provides regular reports on the budget and meets annual budget expectations
  • Works closely with the Editor-in-Chief and acquisitions editors to define and plan the Press's editorial mission and publishing program, including the initiation of new lists and series
  • In consultation with Library Human Resources, oversees the hiring, training, supervision and evaluation of all Press employees
  • Approves all contracts between the Press and authors and/or other publishers
  • Serves as the primary contact between the Press and the scholarly publishing community—monitoring industry trends and identifying opportunities
  • Develops grant proposals to improve the Press’s position as a leading scholarly publisher
  • Works closely with colleagues from the Cornell University Library to maintain and enrich the university’s scholarly communication mission
  • Maintains strong working relationships with the university’s administration and leading faculty


Minimum Requirements:


  • A Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field with at least 7 years of experience or an equivalent combination of relevant education and experience
  • Demonstrated leadership capability in the field of scholarly book publishing. Specifically, we seek applicants with considerable administrative, supervisory, and program-management experience, including strategic and financial planning, budgeting, and analysis of departmental and program effectiveness; extensive, in-depth knowledge of all aspects of scholarly book publishing and the wider book publishing industry; familiarity with current research trends in academic and electronic publishing technologies and digital information delivery systems
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills; ability to manage and motivate a team of publishing professionals, and to establish and maintain productive working relationships throughout the university and the wider academic community. 


Preferred Qualifications

Advanced degree in humanities or social sciences

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Applications will be received until September 9, 2019. Cornell University has exclusively retained Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find its next Press Director. Interested candidates should provide a resume by email to Jack Farrell (jack@jackfarrell.com) and reference JO 201906069.

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