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Derek Helms
University Press of Kansas
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University Press of Kansas to continue its work under leadership of KU Libraries dean

Fri, 03/19/2021

LAWRENCE — The University Press of Kansas Board of Trustees, which is composed of the provosts from each of the six Kansas Regents institutions, has confirmed University of Kansas Dean of Libraries Kevin L. Smith to serve as director of the University Press of Kansas (UPK).

Smith, a well-known authority in the field of scholarly communications, will continue his role as dean in addition to serving as director of the press. This change will allow UPK to take advantage of publishing and scholarly alignment opportunities as well as operate in a more cost-efficient manner.

“Founded in 1946, and established as a consortium by the Kansas Board of Regents, UPK has been a part of our scholarly and academic communities throughout its history,” said Shirley Lefever, chair of the Board of Trustees and Wichita State University interim executive vice president and provost. “We are appreciative of the resources provided by KU Libraries to allow the board to continue its conversations about how to preserve this history while exploring options for the press’ fiscally responsible future. The board is confident in Kevin’s ability to serve in this leadership role.”

As part of this move, UPK will also begin a number of exciting initiatives, including the development of a new open access digital publishing program. This multidisciplinary platform will initially be targeted at faculty at the six Regents institutions, with a goal to expand as capacity and demand permits. UPK will continue to publish books in a traditional manner but intends to reduce its annual production to about 45 books, maintaining high standards of peer review and editorial production. It will continue with a 60/40 mix of scholarly monographs and trade books.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of UPK, which specializes in publishing works on American politics, military history and intelligence studies, American history, environmental policy and history, American studies, film studies, law and legal history, Native American studies, and books about Kansas and the Midwest.

Please visit their websites to learn more about the University Press of Kansas and KU Libraries.

University Press of Kansas Board of Trustees

  • Jill Arensdorf, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Fort Hays State University
  • Barbara Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor, KU
  • David Cordle, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Emporia State University
  • Shirley Lefever, board chair, interim executive vice president and provost, Wichita State University
  • Howard Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Pittsburg State University
  • Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president, Kansas State University

Kevin L. Smith, Dean of Libraries, University of Kansas

Smith earned a juris doctor from Capital University Law School, a master’s degree in library science from Kent State University and a master of arts in religion from Yale University Divinity School.

Smith joined KU Libraries as dean in May 2016. He previously served as the director of copyright and scholarly communication at Duke University and as the director of Library and Instructional Resources at Defiance College. Smith has also worked as an instructor, reference librarian and assistant librarian.

As the dean of KU Libraries, Smith advocates on behalf of the libraries, positioning the organization as an integral partner with the university’s academic and administrative units and ensuring its continued leadership in advancing research, teaching, inclusivity and global initiatives. Smith also facilitates external relations through outreach development and engaging in donor relations to solidify fundraising efforts.



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