Home   »   Careers   »   Professional Profiles


Patrick H. Alexander

Director, Penn State University Press


Please tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I am the director of The Pennsylvania State University Press. I have been involved in academic publishing for more than 30 years, during which I oversaw the North American offices of Brill Publishers (2000–2005; Leiden, The Netherlands) and De Gruyter (2005–2007; Berlin, Germany). I have served on the advisory boards for Project Muse, Purdue University Press, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), the International Catacomb Society, and Qatar University Press. I am a former Board Director and Council Member of ALPSP, and recently stepped down as a member of the publications committee for the American Schools of Oriental Research. I am the institutional representative for the Association of American Universities/ Association of Research Libraries/Association of University Presses Task Force on Open Access Monograph Publishing (now called TOME). I served a three-year term on the executive board of the Association of University Presses.

Describe some of your current responsibilities and what type of organization you belong to.

Penn State University Press publishes rigorously reviewed, high-quality works of scholarship and books of regional and contemporary interest, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences. The publishing arm of the Pennsylvania State University and a division of the Penn State University Libraries, the Press promotes the advance of scholarship by disseminating knowledge—new information, interpretations, methods of analysis—widely in books, journals, and digital publications. I oversee the operation of the press.

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

I began as a freelance copy editor, then became an acquisitions editor, an editorial director, and ultimately a press director.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

On behalf of Penn State University Press, I acquired two closing UPs and a commercial publisher, Eisenbrauns.

What tools, websites, and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?

I attempt to keep up with scholarly communication in the education sector, including places like THE, Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Scholarly Kitchen, ALPSP membership, SSP membership, AAP membership, and the IPA.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

Build strong networks and prepare to be a lifelong learner as far as the publishing industry is concerned.