Our Publication Center was initially modeled on one at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, within its English Department. With the support of Associate Dean Stephen Ruffus and Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, at the end of the year in 2008, we obtained two printers, a perfect binder, a trimmer, and the Adobe Creative Suite for existing computers in a networked classroom located in the former AD building. The department agreed to support the development of activity in this new Center. Some initial workshops included digital stories and video essays, broadside design and printing, and blank book production.
A signature project of the Publication Center from the very beginning was the chapbook competition, which would result in the publication of a student work. Each year, the competition, held in the fall of the academic year, focused on a single genre, rotating among fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. During the Spring semester, the Publication Studies class served as the publishers of the book, designing, laying out, publicizing, and producing the book in an edition of 200 copies. The first chapbook competition was held in 2009, with the winning book published in 2010. In 2016, the Publication Studies class published the seventh annual winner of the chapbook competition. In recent years, the class has also published smaller editions of finalist manuscripts, which allows for greater participation in all aspects of the publication process.
Each year the Center continues to purchase new publishing equipment. Since our inaugural equipment acquisition in 2008, we have obtained
- A hardback and soft cover perfect binder
- A coil binder
- A saddle stitch binder
- A Takach etching press
- A suite of iMac computers
- Field mics
- The comic-building software ComicLife
The Center is now guided by a steering committee of faculty and staff, including student interns who both learn and assist others in the Center. Our current projects include developing a professional development certification for faculty, and the elaboration of a micro press mission for the Center. We continue to develop new durable forms of publication, in addition to those mentioned above, including hand-built books of various kinds and hybrid models of printing. The horizon for professional development and pedagogical invention is still expanding.