The program, first launched in 2016, seeks to increase diversity in scholarly publishing
The prestigious Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program is now accepting applications for a fourteen-month position. Six university presses will be hosting fellows in their acquisitions departments, starting June 1, 2021. Applicants do not need prior publishing experience, but do need exceptional academic qualifications, engagement with diverse communities, and a commitment to bringing that knowledge into the daily work of publishing. Applications can be made to any of the six presses by March 15, 2021.
The program, first launched in 2016 and renewed in 2019, seeks to increase diversity in scholarly publishing by providing fourteen-month fellowships in the acquisitions departments of six university presses—the University of Washington Press, the University of Chicago Press, Cornell University Press, MIT Press, Northwestern University Press, and Ohio State University Press—with the support of the Association of University Presses and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“The fellowship is designed to address structural barriers to staff diversity at university presses,” said Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director of the MIT Press. “Recognizing the apprenticeship nature of publishing, the reliance on unpaid or low-paid internships as a pipeline and qualification for entry-level jobs, and the inability of most but the most economically secure to work as interns, the Mellon UP Diversity Fellowship offers full-time paid positions. It has proven the concept that publishers can attract diverse applicant pools if we recruit intentionally, pay fairly, and are explicit in valuing academic and professional experience outside of publishing.”
Through this full-time entry-level position, fellows will be immersed in the acquisitions department of a leading scholarly press, working closely with senior acquisitions editors, authors, and projects through the entire acquisitions process. They will acquire deep and specialized knowledge of how editors identify emerging areas of scholarship, work with authors to develop manuscripts, manage the process of peer review and revision, present projects for approval, and represent them through each stage of publication. Fellows will also work with other press departments including marketing, design, manuscript editorial, and production on behalf of specific book projects, and may take on additional projects to gain a deeper understanding of these other publishing areas.
Fellows will attend the virtual or in-person Association of University Presses annual conferences at the beginning and end of their program, where they will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, meet with the other fellows in their cohort, and network with staff from university presses across North America. Fellows will be able to take advantage of all of the professional development opportunities for junior staff at the participating presses, including a series of monthly workshops designed specifically for this program.
“The Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship, as successful and groundbreaking as it has been, is just one of many efforts required to change the culture of publishing,” said Manaktala. “There is much work ahead of us to create equitable, inclusive, and socially just cultures in publishing. The Mellon UP Diversity Fellows continue to lead through their work, their words, and their examples. I do see them as pioneers and greatly value the chance to work with them—in the context of this program, and beyond it.”