Cornell's Dean Smith will be next director of Duke University Press

Dean Smith is taking over Duke University Press—no, not that Dean Smith.

Administrators announced in a news release Thursday that Dean Smith, director of Cornell University Press, will become the director of Duke University Press after Steve Cohn, the current director, retires this summer. 

“I am honored and thrilled to be selected as director of Duke University Press,” Smith said in the  release. “I look forward to working with my colleagues at the press and across the University to publish high-quality scholarship and advance the frontiers of knowledge in new and exciting ways.”

As director of Duke University Press, Smith will oversee the publication of about 140 books each year, along with 60 journals and several digital collections. Founded in 1921, the press is currently located in Brightleaf Square in downtown Durham.

Provost Sally Kornbluth said Smith will make a "wonderful new leader" in the release. She praised his business acumen, extensive knowledge of the publishing industry and his focus on new technologies.

Through the course of his 30-year publishing career, Smith has prioritized the transition from print publications to web-accessible digital editions. During his time as director of Cornell University Press, the number of published eBooks increased from 350 to more than 3,000, and 150 open access texts were published on the Cornell Open website.

Smith helped revamp "Project Muse," an online database for humanities scholarship, to include eBooks and journals.

He is the author of the book "American Boy," which won the Washington Writer's Prize and the Maryland Prize for Literature in 2001. He also contributes poetry to the publications "Poetry East," "Open City," "The Virginia Literary Review" and "Gulf Stream."

Smith will succeed Cohn July 1, 2019. Cohn has worked at Duke's press since 1984, and has served as director since 1993.

Kornbluth also thanked Cohn for his time at the helm of Duke University Press in the news release.

“Steve has built the press into a national powerhouse that’s held in high esteem throughout the academic world," Kornbluth said. "Steve has worked tirelessly to ensure the highest possible standards for the press.” 


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