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2012 FUP Retreat

25th July 2012

Self-reflection is part of every good organization. With an eye to the future, FUP held its first ever retreat. The Press met at Fordham Westchester to review the way the Press has grown and changed, as well as brainstorm what is and will be necessary to continue publishing strong scholarly works in a rapidly changing environment. We also discussed ways to align our publishing program to support the university’s overarching mission. One of the key areas we focused on was the advancement of scholarship through globalization.

We reviewed our internal structures to ensure that we are using the technologies already in place to our very best advantage, and to determine short and long term areas for investment and improvement. One large scale change on the University level that the Press is eagerly anticipating is the email migration to Gmail. With increased functionality for scheduling meetings this is one change that will not be difficult to make. In addition, FUP is excited to kick off the launch of our new website this summer. With a user-friendly interface and enhanced search functionality, we are certain that scholars and readers will be able to find what they are looking for with ease. (Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!)

Helping to support the mission,our staff continues to grow and expand. This year our editorial program took on a new summer intern, Brian Earl. Brian, a student at Northwestern University, will be assisting the Editorial Director, Helen Tartar and her assistant, Tom Lay, in transmitting manuscripts, acquiring permissions, and creating book plans. Stephen Gan, a Fordham junior also joins the staff to aid in the daily processes of the Press with Fordham senior, Ben Sicker. With interns changing from one academic year to the next, and the continually changing publishing landscape, we are forced to revisit and rethink our daily routines and overall strategies.

Coincidentally, our Fall 2012 list touches on this concept as well. The Sentimental Touch: The Language of Feeling in the Age of Managerialism by Aaron Ritzenberg touches on managerial capitalism in the United States. He points out that most powerful businesses ceased to be family owned. Instead they became sprawling organizations controlled by complex bureaucracies. Sentimental literature—work written specifically to convey and inspire deep feeling—does not seem to fit with a swiftly bureaucratizing society. Surprisingly though, sentimental language has persisted in American literature, even as a culture of managed systems threatened to obscure the power of individual affect.

Although this retreat was an exercise in management systems, we strive to take a very human approach. With a smaller workforce that is deeply interconnected, we are made up of individuals that have deep feelings about their work. No amount of management can strike that out. But then again, that is why we are publishers—the maker of books—the gatekeepers of ideas.