Position Description
Press Kent State University Press
Kent State University Press Director


Kent State University invites applications and nominations for the position of director of the Kent State University Press (KSUP). Following the KSUP’s recent reporting move to Kent State University Libraries, it is poised to explore new publishing models, increase its relevance to the University’s strategic priorities, and at the same time build on its publishing strengths in literary studies, American history, American Civil War, true crime, sports, and regional studies.

Kent State University seeks a leader with vision and integrity who will balance a flexible leadership style with business acumen. The ideal candidate will bring a deep understanding of the evolving world of scholarly publishing and a willingness to explore emerging opportunities for innovation and partnership, while maintaining the scholarly rigor and commitment to advancing knowledge for which the Press is known.

Established in 1965 and admitted to the Association of American University Presses in 1970, the Kent State University Press has published over 1,300 titles, 842 of which are currently in print. The KSUP currently averages 33 titles per year. It publishes 15 series, including True Crime History, Literature & Medicine, Translation Studies, Civil War Soldiers & Strategies, The Civil War Era in the South, American Abolitionism and Antislavery, Interpreting American History, Classic Sports, Reading Hemingway, Teaching Hemingway, Costume Society of America, Wick Poetry Chapbook, and Wick Poetry First Book. The KSUP also publishes two journals: Civil War History and Ohio History. Peer review and the University’s imprint are governed by an editorial board of nine faculty and the director. Books for the general reader are published under the Black Squirrel Books imprint. The KSUP has an international reputation for its publications on Hemingway, the Inklings (including Tolkien and C. S. Lewis), Ohio history, Civil War history, military history, costume design, true crime, poetry, and sports.

Kent State University Press books, authors, and staff have received numerous awards and recognitions. A few recent highlights include: 

  • The Carter G. Woodson Award for Growing Season: The Life of a Migrant Community by Gary Harwood and David Hassler
  • PROSE Award for Wearable Prints, 1760–1860: History, Materials, and Mechanics by Susan W. Greene
  • The Costume Society of America’s Millia Davenport Award for Wearable Prints, 1760–1860: History, Materials, and Mechanics by Susan W. Greene
  • The Northern Ohio Live Prize for Under Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  • Independent Publisher Awards Gold Medal for Born to Lose: Stanley B. Hoss and the Crime Spree That Gripped a Nation by Jim Hollock.


The KSUP director’s responsibilities include:

  • Manage a budget of $1 million plus.
  • Oversee a publishing operation of seven employees that includes acquisitions, editorial, design & production, and marketing.
  • In consultation with the Dean of Libraries, create annual and long-term strategic plans for the Press.
  • Direct and steward the process of publishing 30 to 35 books per year, including managing peer review and editorial board relations.
  • Acquire and review book manuscripts, obtain reports from scholarly referees and present them to the editorial board for approval, and advise authors on development of manuscripts.
  • Negotiate contracts with authors, agents, publishers, and other outside bodies.
  • Actively promote the KSUP throughout the University, the regional cultural community, the national/internal scholarly community, and the publishing industry.
  • Work with University Libraries’ scholarly communications librarians to coordinate scholarly publishing initiatives and services in support of the University’s strategic priorities.
  • Cultivate and steward financial support and subsidies from donors, foundations, and other sources to offset publishing expenses and secure the future of the KSUP.
  • Serve on the Dean of Libraries’ executive team and provide input on annual and long-term strategic planning.
  • Attend scholarly and publishing conferences to recruit authors, increase sales, and explore partnerships.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with media, foundations, and key stakeholders around the region and nation.
  • Serve on University Libraries’ and University committees.


  • Bachelor’s degree in English or relevant field. Master’s degree in English, Library Science, or relevant field preferred.
  • Four to five years of experience in scholarly publishing or a closely related field.
  • Knowledge of scholarly publishing, marketing, budgeting, and strategic planning.
  • Experience with acquisitions or guiding the development of scholarly titles.
  • Supervisory experience with strong interpersonal skills.
  • Strong knowledge of higher education is preferred.
  • Experience with emerging publishing models (e.g., open access, print-on-demand, enhanced e-books, etc.) and with a publisher that reports to or has strong collaboration with a university library preferred.
  • Ability to provide leadership. Documented track record of successful leadership preferred.
  • Experience raising money from external donors or foundations preferred.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with all components of the University and external constituents. 

For more information please visit: http://www.library.kent.edu/pressdirector.

The Application Process

Interested candidates should apply through the Kent State University Applicant Portal, https://jobs.kent.edu/postings/12974, and include a letter describing relevant experience and interest in the position, curriculum vitae/resume, and names, titles, and contact information of five references. Nominations and questions can be directed to Search Committee Chair Kenneth Burhanna at kburhann@kent.edu.

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