Project Manager, Higher Education Initiatives: Publishing Initiatives (2-year term)

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Overview of ACLS

Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 78 scholarly organizations.  As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, ACLS upholds the core principle that knowledge is a public good. In supporting its member organizations, ACLS utilizes its $179 million endowment and $34 million annual operating budget to expand the forms, content, and flow of scholarly knowledge because we value diversity of identity and experience.  We collaborate with institutions, associations, and individuals to strengthen the evolving infrastructure for scholarship.  In all aspects of our work, ACLS is committed to principles and practices in support of racial and social justice.

ACLS’s strategic plan outlines four strategic priorities: encouraging scholars and scholarship responsive to diverse audiences; strengthening relationships among our core constituencies within the academy and our partners beyond the academy; lifting the public profile of humanistic knowledge; and empowering staff and partners to work responsibly and inclusively.

Summary

Unlike the world of scholarly journal publishing where the motives of large commercial players and the significant funds associated with scientific research shape the stakes of the game, the world of humanities book publishing mostly occupies a closed system – a system wherein faculty are both producers and consumers of long-form publishing and universities are both producers (as publishers) and consumers (via their libraries).  ACLS works across constituencies in the humanities ecosystem to foster forward-looking change, including changing developments in the ecosystem around humanistic long-form publishing. 

Working through ACLS networks, the Project Manager will focus on instigating changes in the book publishing ecosystem that would strengthen the goals of the mission-driven constituencies involved, while addressing the risk factors and constituents’ concerns that currently stand as barriers to change.

This is a two-year term position.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Working with ACLS leadership to play a leading role in carrying out inter-related initiatives:

  • Work with publishers, libraries, scholars, distribution networks to develop various options for publishing and dissemination of humanities monographs
  • Represent the goals of evolving the monograph publishing ecosystem to relevant partners: university publishers, academic libraries, academic societies and other gatherings of scholars, college and university research officers
  • An ACLS award competition that would support open access publishing of high-quality monographs in the humanities. Management and promotion of a competition (defining eligibility and criterion, constitution of and instruction of review panel, oversight of awards)
  • Collaborations with various ACLS constituents to support the dissemination of and reputational enhancement of the award books as well as other open books circulated throughout the system
  • Serve as a responsive point of contact for institutional partners

Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or the equivalent in work experience
  • Knowledge of and experience marketing humanities books:  an understanding of the ways in which humanities books are discovered, promoted, and used
  • Knowledge of issues associated with book publishing, business models, college and university faculty research productivity systems and criteria (including systems such as impact factors, citation indices, COUNTER statistics)
  • Capacity to develop business models and problem solve in an entrepreneurial environment.
  • good personal organizational and priority-setting skills, with the ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Interpersonal skills, sensitivity, strong collaboration, delegation skills, and good communication are absolutely key in this role
  • proven track record of working in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment to solve problems and achieve shared goals
  • Capable of working independently as well as being an effective team player, with initiative and creativity
  • Candidates will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated (including booster) against COVID-19 upon commencing employment. Reasonable accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis for exemptions to this requirement in accordance with applicable law.

The successful applicant will have:

  • An interest in and a capacity for policy and practice analysis across a range of issues related to the dissemination of scholarship in humanistic fields 
  • Understanding of the publishing sector and the dynamics that impact various constituencies
  • Good personal organizational and priority-setting skills, with the ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Proactive, self-starting, and strong attention to detail
  • Ability to create compelling presentations to tell the analytic story, demonstrating value by providing actionable insights with recommendations
  • Capacity to build and maintain long term relationships with institutional colleagues 
  • Flexible and adaptable; able to work in ambiguous situations

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