Equity & Inclusion

We are committed to advancing more equitable and inclusive global publishing and to supporting the meaningful interventions needed to enact essential change. We believe the scholarly books and ideas entrusted to us can achieve enduring impact when there is a greater diversity and inclusivity of voices collaborating in their creation, at every stage of the publishing process.

In 2018, with the unequivocal support of our Board of Trustees, we launched a holistic strategic initiative in equity and inclusion. The strategy is to leverage our unique resources, the strength of our creativity and collaborations, and our historic excellence to shape a future of greater diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities, and socioeconomics in ourselves and in our publishing.

In prioritizing our actions in support of this strategy, we have begun the work of reckoning with the limitations of our history; most specifically, what and who have been excluded. As publishers, we are entrusted daily with the privilege of actualizing the words of others. But in the work of equity and inclusion (E & I), we need to actualize our own words. Our mission statement commits us to “embrace the highest standards of scholarship, inclusivity, and diversity in our publishing.” To fully realize these ambitions, we need to illuminate and eliminate our own biases, systemic exclusion, and to actively question the heuristics and norms that a long, successful history can create. 

Our efforts to create an inclusive environment and publishing program are symbiotic. Our initiatives are ongoing, and the success of our efforts will be measured in impact: in the fortitude of our collaborations and in the relevance and resilience of our publishing.

We will use this space on our website to share highlights of our initiative; this is not a comprehensive list of actions and decisions. We also encourage reading and listening to our Ideas and News features. In each of our publishing endeavors we are working collectively to prioritize equity and diversity. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions, and seek your ongoing support as colleagues, authors, readers, listeners, and other vital partners for change.

Investing in Change

We recognize our privilege as an independent, non-profit scholarly press supported by an endowment; with the support of our Board of Trustees we have sought ways to invest this privilege in expediting change, including:

  • Diversify Publishing Fellowship, for which we will recruit, train, mentor, and collaborate with ten individuals from communities historically excluded from publishing, and in doing so hope to launch publishing careers for these fellows.
  • Global Equity Grants, which support Press authors from underrepresented communities with additional resources for the preparation and publication of their work. Fourteen grants have been awarded to date, covering the costs of childcare, permissions, additional marketing, and future travel.
  • Book Proposal Development Grants: Supporting Diverse Voices, launched in February of 2021, offer historically excluded and underrepresented authors the opportunity to partner with book and writing coaches at earliest stages, from idea to proposal. Our inaugural partners in this endeavor share our commitment to diversifying scholarly publishing, and the proposals that result from these grants, if not published by the Press, will be guided and mentored to other publishing houses.

Creating a More Inclusive Culture and Collaborations

Governed by our Code of Conduct created in 2018, we strive for a culture of affirmation, one in which colleagues of all lived and professional experiences thrive in collaboration.

Staff Training and Awareness

Partnering with the Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble and The Equity Paradigm (TEP), we have invested in all-staff learning about the power of story and empathy, anti-racism, decentering white supremacy, the LARA method, and implicit bias in hiring. We have supplemented the expertise of these partners with bystander training, funds for individual acquisition of anti-racism resources, and peer-to-peer resource sharing. We have also embraced the ethos of peer review and commissioned an equity assessment by TEP that will help shape E & I priorities and the impact of our actions.

Staff Recruiting and Retention (See Careers for More Information)

  • Increased entry level salaries by 20% over three years and assessed all salaries for gender equity.
  • Converted to paid internships, accompanied by a housing allowance. In the summer of 2021 we will be among the presses hosting AAP - UNCF interns, created for students of African American, Asian, Latinx, and Native American descent. We will continue our new partnership with the City College of New York’s publishing internships, a program that has been formative in diversifying race, class, and ethnicity of early career publishers, as well as Oxford Brookes publishing internships.
  • Introduced and expanded paid maternity and paternity and family leaves.
  • Added a student loan repayment program.
  • Diversified our benefits (from pet insurance to legal coverage).

Leadership

  • Assessed the gender demographics and realigned management demographics to match gender demographics over a three-year period.
  • Created Managers Council to empower and facilitate cross departmental collaboration.
  • Expanded leadership-specific coaching and mentoring; added E & I to some leadership goals.
  • Created infrastructure for E & I leadership:

E & I Council: Appointed and chaired by Press director and chief of staff, with responsibility to embed E & I in each area of our publishing and collaborations, includes co-chairs of E & I Culture Committee.

E & I Culture Committee: Staff-led, all staff optional opportunity to lead peer-to-peer knowledge growth focusing on lived experience and its potential to inform our collaborations; the committee led our first all press E & I roundtable conversation.

Employee Resources Groups: Staff initiated and led, including POC, work-life integration, and mentoring, which helped create and refine our flexible work hours policy.

Centering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Our Publishing

Just as our scholarly authors do to their diverse subjects, we have brought rigor, intention, and resources to studying the patterns of publishing.

Partnering with Princeton University’s Graduate School, we have hosted University Administrative Fellows for several years. Their systematic studies of the demographics of Press-published authors and those under contract—our future—have resulted in data that is unequivocally motivating. Our editorial department has embraced the opportunity to use this knowledge as a catalyst for actions, including:

  • Opt-in author and reviewer identity questions to generate greater transparency of publishing demographics and benchmarks for change.
  • Partnership appeals to series editors and authors for diversifying referral and author recruiting networks.
  • Expansion of reviewer networks to include assistant and associate faculty.
  • Expansion of acquisitions and commissioning initiatives to more diverse institutions and networks.

Communicating Change

  • Internal Press communications include a new staff newsletter created by our Community Building Committee (PUPDates); quarterly Director’s reports to the Board shared with all staff; open sessions with the leadership team; staff-led opportunities to share lived experiences and stories; and an internal site that collects all of our E & I actions.
  • External communications include Ideas features, News posts, social media channels, and this E & I page, which will be used as a dynamic space to share the evolution of our intentions, actions, and impact.

We exist within communities actively reckoning with their exclusivity—publishing and higher education both. Publishing statistics reported by The Publishers Association (UK) and the Lee & Low The Diversity Baseline Survey make acutely clear the need for ambitious and purposeful industry transformation. We fundamentally believe that scholarly nonprofit publishing has a mission to do right, and only in fulfilling that mission can we ensure the continuing relevance and resilience of Princeton University Press publishing, a responsibility entrusted to us for over a century. We thank our collaborators for sharing our commitment to the next century, one of inclusion and equity in all of our ambitions and endeavors.