The Birth of a Press
by Wayne K. Chapman
On August 8, 2000, Interim Dean Ron Moran announced the creation of the Center for Electronic and Digital Publishing (CEDP). Then only a nominal center, the CEDP initiated the complicated business of implementation as outlined by the AAH Press Task Force, which took its findings to the faculty last spring and went on to analyze the cost of our existing publication program. There is no mistaking the historic occasion of the August announcement and of the approval by the Commission on Higher Education on July 18, 2000. As Dean Moran has said, "The Center was recommended by the AAH Press Task Force, which was originally commissioned by former Dean James F. Barker and which was chaired by . . . [yours truly]. When President Barker received a copy of the report by the AAH Press Task Force, he asked Professor Chapman to chair a University-wide task force to examine the feasibility of creating a Clemson University Press."
As Interim Director, I was charged by Dean Moran to form an Ad Hoc Advisory Board for CEDP. The Board members are Syd Cross, Frank Day, Roger Grant, Tharon Howard, Sandy King, Steve Maddon, Robert Miller, Sean Williams, Donna Winchell, and Richard Woodward. Dean Janice Schach and her Student Advisory Council recently recommended adding one graduate and one undergraduate representative to CEDP's Ad Hoc Advisory Board. As Moran had foreseen, such appointments are now one with "the first step in bringing together the production of three publications in our College: The South Carolina Review, The Upstart Crow, and Mirare. Future initiatives of the CEDP will be predicated on planning in the College and, to an extent, on the direction the University elects to take concerning the idea of a press." Since September, the CEDP Board, my University-wide task force, and higher administration have come to advocate proposing to the Board of Trustees that the University apply for a registered trademark for its press, to be called, perhaps, "Clemson University Digital Press" (CUDP) to distinguish itself from the more conventional university presses.
It might take until the end of 2001 to establish the CUDP imprint in the example of a series of high?quality publications that CEDP's constitution outlines for Clemson's first President's Colloquium, this year on the theme of "The Idea of a University." The work of CEDP as a Clemson "publishing house" anchored in AAH is ambitious just to maintain the three "angels" noted above. Already the CEDP Ad Hoc Advisory Board is developing two essay anthologies for the internet, the first on the inaugural President's Colloquium and the second on a colloquium entitled "New Technology and the Future of Publishing." Other projects are being considered, but the last is the most challenging and the most self-reflexive for the new press in its emphasis on electronic and digital media. Aided by a series of small grants and co-sponsored by the Strom Thurmond Institute, the Clemson University Libraries, the Pearce Center, the Department of English, the Department of Art, the School of Architecture, and the South Carolina Film Institute, a number of world-class experts in electronic publishing in academia have been engaged for public discussions, to take place all day Thursday, April 5, 2001, at the Self Auditorium, Strom Thurmond Institute. Admission will be free, and an electronic proceedings will be published on CEDP's Web site as edited by Assistant Professor Catherine Paul, English. Mirare's spring 2001 issue will report details.