WSU Press hires new director following controversy

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Following months of turmoil over personnel issues, the Wayne State University Press has hired a new director.

Former Ohio University Press director Stephanie Williams has been appointed director of Wayne State's press, effective next month, according to a WSU news release. She replaces interim director Kathryn Wildfong.

Stephanie Williams

Wildfong came out of retirement to serve as interim director of the Wayne State University Press after Wayne State fired three managers in February — the press' editor-in-chief, a design and production manager and the sales and marketing director. The firings prompted a backlash from the publishing house's editorial board, 60 writers, reviewers, scholars and other university employees who demanded the managers be rehired.

Within a month of their dismissals, Wildfong had rehired all three managers. 

After the moves, Wayne State transferred the university press from the management of the university's library system to the office of President M. Roy Wilson. 

According to the Wayne State release, Williams began her publishing career as a promotions assistant at Pelican Publishing Co., followed by marketing management roles at University Press of Florida, University of Missouri Press and University Press of Kentucky.

“I am delighted that Stephanie will be joining the University Press as our new director," WSU spokesman Michael Wright said in a written statement. "Her leadership will make a difference for the Press, the university, and the community.

"I also wish to thank Kathryn Wildfong for stepping in as interim director while we conducted a new search. She did a great job getting the team refocused and re-energized, and we all wish her well on her second try at retirement.”