Mary C. Francis named new director of Penn Press

Francis -Mary_Photo-by-Lia-Tjandra-(Penn-Press)-250px

Photo by Lia Tjandra

Effective September 23, 2019, Mary C. Francis will become the thirteenth director of the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Francis is a national leader in the university press community. She has been Editorial Director at the University of Michigan Press/Michigan Publishing since 2015 and was previously Executive Editor and Team Leader for the Humanities at the University of California Press, where she started in 1999 as an Editorial Assistant. Francis also worked in the editorial and production departments at Oxford University Press, Yale University Press, and Mayfield Publishing. She is on the Board of Directors of the Association of University Presses, and has served AUPresses in various capacities, including chair of the 2019 Annual Meeting Program Committee, and Chair of the Acquisitions Committee. She has conducted numerous presentations and workshops on scholarly communication for the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the American Musicological Society, as well as various library and campus groups. She has spoken on a variety of topics including peer review, digital publishing, Open Access, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) issues. Francis holds a music B.A. from Brandeis University and completed graduate work in musicology at Yale University.

"It is truly an honor to be selected to join the Penn community as Director of Penn's excellent Press,” Francis says of her new role, “I am excited to come to Philadelphia to work and learn with Press staff to move the Press forward."

Francis has been a leader in developing new forms of Open Access, including Michigan Publishing’s pioneering community-based, open-source platform, Fulcrum. Launched with support from the Mellon Foundation, Fulcrum is now being used by many presses across the country. At the same time, she has been an award-winning acquiring editor of books within her areas of expertise in media/film studies, digital culture, literary studies, and music.

“I am confident that Mary will be a spectacular leader, working closely and collaboratively across the Penn community to chart the future of Penn Press,” said University Provost Wendell Pritchett.

Outgoing Director Eric Halpern has devoted 39 years to the dissemination of scholarly knowledge. He took the helm of Penn Press in 1995, bringing with him more than 14 years of experience in academic publishing, coming to Penn from Johns Hopkins University Press and Cornell University Press.

“We are deeply in Eric’s debt for the vision and integrity with which he has guided Penn Press for more than two decades,” Pritchett said, “Eric has been, through many unpredictable changes in both the publishing and academic markets, a powerful steward of the Press’ highest scholarly traditions.”

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