Provost issues statement on SMU Press’ future

SMU Provost Paul Ludden has announced the formation of a task force to review options for re-establishing the SMU Press. The group will have a tentative deadline of Dec. 1, 2010, to deliver its report.

Ludden outlined the task force’s mission, as well as criteria for any future version of the Press, in an e-mail dated May 19, 2010:

As recently announced, the current operations of the SMU Press will be suspended effective May 31, 2010. We will, however, be fulfilling all of our contractual obligations with authors as we go forward.

As a result of our initial decision to suspend operations, we have received many comments and offers of assistance to recreate the Press in a positive, forward-looking manner. After several meetings with the Editorial Advisory Board of the SMU Press, it has been decided that a Task Force will be created to review whether SMU should have a Press and if so, in what form a new SMU Press can move forward.

If SMU is to have a Press in the future it must meet the following criteria:

  • Its structure and operations must reflect the technological advances that are sweeping the publishing industry.
  • Its operation must be financially sustainable.
  • Any publishing decision must reflect the consideration of the marketplace response to the publication.
  • The Press must continue to reflect the academic principles and standards of the University.

I will work with this Task Force to review creative options that are emerging within the publishing industry. If the University is to have a Press going forward, it needs to be a model for academic presses of the future within this digital age. I will be announcing the members of the Task Force in the very near future. We hope to have a report from the Task Force by Dec. 1, 2010.

SMU Press to suspend operations June 1

The University plans to suspend operations of the SMU Press as of June 1, 2010.

Budgetary reasons have been cited for the suspension, Provost Paul Ludden has announced.

“It is with regret that we make the decision to suspend operations of the SMU Press, which has enjoyed a distinguished history of publishing. But in these challenging budgetary times, difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions must be made. SMU has weathered the financial crisis well, but some cuts were necessary,” said Ludden in a written statement.

“By suspending operations rather than closing the press with finality, we retain the option to resume the press in a renewed form in the future.”

At its final 2009-10 meeting May 5, the Faculty Senate passed a motion to create an ad hoc committee to review the suspension. In addition, the Senate voted to ask that the decision be reversed and no jobs be terminated until the ad hoc committee completed its review.

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 27, 2009

Perkins ChapelService of Memory: SMU’s Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life and Perkins School of Theology invite faculty, staff and students to honor the University community members who have passed away in 2009 during the annual Service of Memory at noon Oct. 28 in Perkins Chapel.

Levine Endowed Lecture: Biblical studies expert Marvin Sweeney, professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont School of Theology in California, will discuss “Reading the Bible after the Holocaust” in SMU’s 7th Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Lecture in Jewish Studies at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Clements Center Lecture: Bob Moser, editor of the Texas Observer and an award-winning political reporter for The Nation, will discuss his new book on how changing attitudes and shifting demographics have created the potential for a Democratic Party revival in the South. “Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority” begins at noon Oct. 29 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch; books will be available for purchase. Presented by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies, the Geurin-Pettus Program in the Department of Political Science, and DeGolyer Library.

'The Wizard of Waxahachie' book coverInside baseball: Author Warren Corbett visits SMU Oct. 29 to discuss The Wizard of Waxahachie: Paul Richards and the End of Baseball as We Knew It, his new book on the life and 60-year baseball career of a Texan who became one of major league baseball’s legends, published by SMU Press. Reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room; lecture and book signing at 6:30 p.m. in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room. Presented by SMU Press, DeGolyer Library and Friends of the SMU Libraries.

Tech talk: SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) presents its first annual Technology Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center lower level. Meet vendor representatives; attend sessions on security, software and applications such as Locker and Office; or visit the Blackboard Help Desk and the Cell Phone First Aid table. The festivities include giveaways and a drawing for a USB hub. For more information, visit the OIT website.

Meadows Symphony Orchestra: The season’s second concert features Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major with international artist and Meadows faculty member Joaquín Achúcarro as soloist, as well as Above Light – a conversation with Toru Takemitsu by new Meadows faculty member Xi Wang and Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber by Hindemith. The music starts at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Students, authors gather at SMU’s 2009 LitFest

Five authors will share their work and their perspectives on the writing process with the SMU community during the University’s 2009 Literary Festival, scheduled for April 16-17 in Dallas Hall and DeGolyer Library.

This year’s guests were chosen by Creative Writing Director David Haynes and Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Key, both of the Department of English in Dedman College. They include:

Scott BlackwoodScott Blackwood (top right), author of We Agreed to Meet Just Here, which won the 2007 AWP Award for the Novel. His award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House, was published by SMU Press in 2001.

Melissa Kirsch (middle right), author of The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything (Workman, 2007), now in its 4th printing. She writes for such publications as New York, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic Traveler, Scientific American and The Huffington Post, as well as her own website.

Melissa KirschMichael Narducci, whose short fiction has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Gadfly Magazine, Meridian and The Texas Review. He also works as a television and film writer and has written for the science fiction series “The 4400” as well as the NBC drama “Medium.”

April Wilder, Vice-Presidential Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Utah, whose fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications. Currently, she is working on a novel, I Think About You All The Time, Starting Tomorrow.

Tracy WinnTracy Winn (bottom right), whose short stories have appeared in journals such as the Alaska Quarterly Review, The New Orleans Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Mrs. Somebody Somebody is her debut collection of stories, published by SMU Press in April 2009.

The 2009 LitFest is organized around events that will provide plenty of opportunity for students and authors to interact, says LitFest coordinator Ben Painter, a senior English major and political science minor in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Three LitFest authors – Kirsch, Narducci and Wilder – will meet one-on-one with students throughout the festival.

“The authors have given us a great deal of their time outside of the festival’s scheduled events,” says Painter. “Students already are signing up for these meetings and e-mailing stories to get the writers’ input.”

Painter is also co-founder of the student organization SMU Writers’ Group. In addition to providing support for the University’s student writing community, “one of our main goals is to re-establish LitFest at SMU as one of the premier literary festivals in the nation,” he says.

The SMU Literary Festival is free and open to University students, faculty and staff. For a complete schedule, visit the SMU LitFest homepage.

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 24, 2008

Bringing Bach to life: SMU’s Meadows Chorale performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s setting of The Magnificat, led by internationally known conductor and scholar Fiora Contino, at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 in Perkins Chapel. For more information, call 8-1951.

I am a camera: Visiting Artist and recent Guggenheim Fellow Marco Breuer, who specializes in making “camera-less photographs,” exhibits his work in “Marco Breuer: Principles of Extraction” Oct. 27-Dec. 6 in the Pollock Gallery, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Breuer will lecture on his work at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Dr. Bob Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum.

Leading by example: Sewell Automotive Companies Chair Carl Sewell, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, will share his insights with students in President R. Gerald Turner’s Fall 2008 Leadership Summit at 5 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

'The End of the Straight and Narrow' coverGilbert Lecture Series: Joycelyn Moody, Sue E. Denman Chair of American Literature at UT-San Antonio and author of Sentimental Confessions: Spiritual Narratives of Nineteenth-Century African American Women, speaks on “Re-mapping Sex, Texts and Work: Black Women Writers and the Slave Trade” Oct. 29 in DeGolyer Library. Reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room, lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room.

Gilbert Lecture Series: Writer David McGlynn – whose first story collection, The End of the Straight and Narrow, has just been published by SMU Press – will participate in a conversation on “Flirting with Disaster – Turning Obsession Into Fiction” at 3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Cosponsored by SMU Press.

New release, new honor for SMU Press

This spring, SMU Press celebrates a national honor and a new book in a series edited by an SMU faculty member. The Gateway, a collection of stories by T.M. McNally, was named one of the five finalists for the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. McNally will attend an awards ceremony May 10 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.

Anatomy of Baseball, a collection of personal essays on the sport, is edited by Andrew Blauner and Lee Gutkind and features a foreword by baseball legend Yogi Berra. The book is the latest title in the Press’s “Sport in American Life” series, which is edited by Law Professor C. Paul Rogers III.

Read more about Anatomy of Baseball from SMU News.