Quill and Quire


UBC Press / Jack Farrell & Associates Published: May 16, 2024
Job Type
Date Posted
Application Deadline
Salary Range
160,000 – 178,000


The University of British Columbia has exclusively retained Jack Farrell & Associates (www.jackfarrell.com) to find the winning candidate for this important hire. Interested parties should contact Amy Morse ([email protected]). Thank you. 


Job Description

At UBC, we believe that attracting and sustaining a diverse workforce is key to the successful pursuit of excellence in research, innovation, and learning for all faculty, staff, and students. Our commitment to employment equity helps achieve inclusion and fairness, brings rich diversity to UBC as a workplace, and creates the necessary conditions for a rewarding career. 

 UBC Press

University of British Columbia Press (known as UBC Press) is a highly respected Canadian scholarly publisher with over 1200 books in print and producing 50+ new titles each year. Guided by its vision “to be a vital force for intellectual debate, publishing distinctive voices that inform and inspire a global audience,” UBC Press’s author-centred publishing program produces award-winning, peer-reviewed, and skillfully produced academic publications in the social sciences.

Job Summary

Responsible for strategic and organizational planning, as well as oversight of the daily activities of UBC Press, the Director provides inspiring and mission-driven leadership. A primary remit is ensuring that works of scholarship published under the UBC Press imprint meet a high threshold for intellectual merit and integrity, and that the production, promotion, and distribution of these works is made financially feasible through the prudent and effective alignment of all pursuits undertaken by the Press. The position is based in the Press’s offices on the UBC campus in Vancouver, British Columbia. Relocation assistance is available to the winning candidate.

Organizational Status
The Director reports to the Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation. The Director sits as an ex-officio non-voting member of the UBC Press Publications Board.

Work Performed

Publishing program

  • Responsible for the editorial direction of UBC Press. The Director works in collaboration with the Assistant Director, Acquisitions, and the acquisitions team, to support the ongoing development of an intellectually vibrant and diverse-community publishing program that is responsive to the needs of the academy, while engaging a broad and global readership;
  • Makes the final decision on publication of all works, taking in to account the financial implications, intellectual quality, and potential contribution of the work to the reputation of the Press and the University;
  • Upholds Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID) as essential bedrock to the Press’s publishing program. The Director values EDID as a leading consideration for decisions pertaining to acquisitions outreach and related Press activities;
  • Ensures the Press’s published works are produced in a timely manner, meeting the high standards of editorial, design, and production quality that are a hallmark of top-tier university press publications.
  • Anticipates the emergence of innovative digital publishing models in scholarly communications.
  • Participates in forums that explore the potential for digital initiatives to enrich the scholarly publishing ecosphere, including advances in accessibility and similar equity-based models.
  • Recommends new nominees for appointment to the UBC Press Publications Board.

 Contribution to UBC

  • Amplifies the University’s reputation as a pre-eminent global research institution and ensures that every means is explored to highlight the UBC Press imprint with a maximum scholarly and public impact;
  • Represents the University at scholarly and publishing associations in Canada and abroad, as well as at other key local, national, and international events; and
  • Participates, on request, on committees and task forces dealing with the overall management and operation of the University.


  • Leads an inclusive staff team. The Director takes ultimate responsibility for human resources matters, including an inclusive and equitable recruitment process, access to PD opportunities and other training, and performance issues across the unit. Liaises with VPRI HR team for complex human resources matters;
  • Ensures the implementation of the University’s Inclusion Action Plan (IAP) and Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) within the UBC Press.
  • Guides and supports the work of the senior management team, which includes four Assistant Directors.

Finance & Administration

  • Responsible for overseeing the full range of UBC Press operations to meet budgetary goals, including implementation of short-, mid-. and long-term financial plans
  • Prepares an annual budget.
  • Receives regular updates on sales and identifies emerging operational issues that may have an impact on the budget, in particular cost of sales anomalies and staff and payroll considerations.
  • Ensures that the potential of all eligible works published by the Press to receive individual grants in aid of publication. The Director assesses, and on occasion contributes to applications to agencies such as the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP), universities, government departments, research institutions, and foundations;
  • Leads the preparation and submissions to granting bodies including the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Book Fund), and Livres Canada Books
  • Responsible for protection of the intellectual property rights licensed to the Press by its authors and for developing policies in response to changing protocols for the sale, use of rights, and acquisitions of rights.
  • Is the signing officer for all contractual agreements related to obtaining and licensing intellectual property.

Business initiatives

  • Identifies and implements new strategic opportunities for business agreements and partnerships that establish new revenue channels and models for audience engagement and expansion.
  • The Director works closely with the Assistant Director, Marketing and Business Development to assess potential and existing ancillary businesses (agency clients, etc.) to determine, through an RFP and other means, the potential for an increase in net revenue to the Press.

Consequence of Error/Judgement
The Director leads the Press, an organization with business operations of CDN$4-million dollars, which publishes 50-60 titles per year and maintains a list of approximately 1200 titles.  Failure to fulfill the responsibilities of this role can result in serious financial losses and/or damage to the UBC Press imprint and, by extension, to the reputation of the University of British Columbia.

Supervision Received
Works independently against set objectives. Reports to the AVP Research and Innovation on the overall progress of the Press. Responsible to the UBC Press Publications Board in all matters concerning the editorial integrity of works published by the Press.

Supervision Given
Directly supervises the Assistant Directors for Acquisitions, Editorial and Production, and Marketing and Business Development, along with the Publishing and Rights Assistant.  The UBC Press’ Associate Director, Finance and Operations has a dotted-line report to the Director.  Responsible for the well-being and performance of UBC Press and its employees, including contractors, commission workers and agents.

Minimum Qualifications

Post-graduate degree in a relevant discipline.  Minimum of fourteen years of comprehensive experience in book publishing, with at least three to five years of experience in a management position, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

- Willingness to respect diverse perspectives, including perspectives in conflict with one’s own

- Demonstrates a commitment to enhancing one’s own awareness, knowledge, and skills related to equity, diversity, and inclusion

 Preferred Qualifications

  • 3 to 5 years’ experience in strategic and operational planning, administration and program management, including planning, implementing, budgeting, and analysis of departmental program effectiveness;
  • thorough knowledge of and successful history of participating in funding programs that support book publishing, including The Canada Book Fund and Livres Canada Books, the Canada Council; the British Columbia Arts Council, and critically, the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • Sound knowledge of current book business models for print and digital editions, and demonstrated interest in exploring new publishing-related technologies and publishing models, business, and audience engagement initiatives; demonstrated job-related experience with and/or commitment to diversity in the work/academic environment; and demonstrated interest in exploring new models for publishing and promoting scholarly work.
  • In addition to a well-regarded profile within the publishing community, demonstrated skills in a leadership position and a reputation as a sought-after people manager will be valued.
  • Demonstrated understanding of, and commitment to, the values of a research university and the strategic goals of the University;
  • exceptional inter-personal skills and demonstrated success in working with a wide range of stakeholders;
  • impeccable verbal and written communication skills that demonstrate tact and nuance when delivering complicated information;
  • demonstrated willingness to respect diverse perspectives, including perspectives in conflict with one’s own views;
  • commitment to enhancing one’s own awareness, knowledge, and skills related to equity, diversity, and inclusion;
  • Known as a builder of highly collaborative relationships through which a high level of diplomacy and discretion is consistently demonstrated;
  • documented skill in budget management;

UBC will consider candidates across North America for this position.

UBC is partnering with the executive search firm Jack Farrell & Associates on this search. Applications should consist of a CV detailing qualifications and relevant achievements. It should be accompanied by a cover letter describing: 1) why are you interested?, 2) how are you qualified?, and 3) what might the Press look like in several years under your stewardship?  The application should also include a statement describing experiences, competencies and strengths in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, and reconciliation, and in supporting diverse students.

 Further information, including details of how to apply, can be found on the job board at www.jackfarrell.com. Further questions can be directed to Amy Morse ([email protected]).  Thank you.