New era, new director for University of Nevada Press

Commitment to NSHE-wide service remains strong as renowned publishing organization returns to campus reporting relationship

New era, new director for University of Nevada Press

Commitment to NSHE-wide service remains strong as renowned publishing organization returns to campus reporting relationship

The University of Nevada Press, a publisher of high-quality academic and regional-interest books, is moving back under the oversight of the University of Nevada, Reno as of July 2015.

The publishing organization will complete the transition under the leadership of a new director. Justin Race, most recently acquisitions editor with the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, succeeds Joanne O'Hare who is retiring after 14 years in the position.  

The University of Nevada Press previously was under the oversight of the Nevada System of Higher Education. NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich said he believes the publisher will thrive and collaborate more closely with faculty if it is part of a campus organization.  

Through consultation with the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Desert Research Institute, it was agreed to transition the organization to the University of Nevada, Reno since it already was located on the Reno campus and no physical relocation of the staff would be required with the transition. This transition proposal was approved by the Nevada Board of Regents at their March 2015 meeting.  

The commitment to the statewide mission of the University of Nevada Press remains firm and the publisher will continue to work closely with faculty at all NSHE institutions as well as other authors from around the nation. The Editorial Advisory Board of the University of Nevada Press has for many decades included scholars from the two research universities and the Desert Research Institute. It also at times has included community college faculty who are active researchers.  

"Very little will change in how it operates and in its mission," said University of Nevada, Reno Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman, who will have management oversight of the publisher which recently moved to the University's Continuing Education Building on Virginia Street in Reno. "The Editorial Advisory Board will continue, and will remain very inclusive of the research institutions."  

"Indeed, the Editorial Advisory Board, currently consisting of members from UNR, UNLV and DRI-South, unanimously supported the move of the Press from NSHE based on the guarantee that this diversity of members from among the several institutions would continue even as the Press moves to its new administrative home at UNR," Michael W. Bowers, professor of political science and public law at UNLV and chair of the Editorial Advisory Board, said.  

The University of Nevada Press was founded in 1961 by acclaimed novelist and University of Nevada, Reno faculty member Robert Laxalt, who died in 2001. The early successes of the Nevada Press included publication of all of Laxalt's books after 1964.  

His daughter, Monique Laxalt, a Reno attorney, said the Laxalt family is "thrilled" with the transition.  

"We look forward to what we expect will be a wonderful future for the Press," she said.  

Race, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Tufts University and a master's degree under the direction of The Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, worked five years at the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. He was responsible for acquisition of academic books for the publisher's Lexington Books imprint.  

He acknowledged that publishers have faced financial challenges in recent years. However, Race added, "The fundamental mission of a university press - to discover and disseminate content that informs, educates and entertains - remains the same, and the University of Nevada Press will continue to play a leading role in that mission."  

"I'm looking forward to calling Nevada home and furthering the Press's strengths in environmental studies, mining, gambling, Basque studies, and Western history and culture, among other areas," Race said. "Though the Press is housed on the Reno campus, it's a privilege and an honor to serve all the citizens of Nevada, including our colleagues at UNLV."  

Bowers, who praised O'Hare for "a magnificent job of managing the Press through some very difficult economic times," said members of the search committee for her successor were impressed by the experience of Race.  

"He understands both the publishing world and the special place of the University of Nevada Press," Bowers said. "I have no doubt that he will be an excellent director."  

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