New Director Named to Head Texas Tech University Press

Robert Mandel bringing more than 20 years experience in book publishing to Texas Tech.

Robert Mandel became director of the Texas Tech University Press Sept. 1, bringing more than 20 years experience in book publishing to the position.   "After an exhaustive search, we chose an experienced director who has captured the essence of every region he's worked in," said Jim Brink, Texas Tech associate vice provost for the heritage consortium. "Dr. Mandel will bring an intellectual curiosity about our region and a proven track record of encouraging donor support for books that tell our story.  He will also continue our well-established traditions of titles on the Vietnam conflict and poetry."   Mandel comes to Texas Tech from University of Alaska Press, where he was director. He succeeds Noel Parsons, who retired Aug. 31.   "Texas Tech University Press is a publishing house on the verge of breaking through on the national and international level," Mandel said. "Noel has done a wonderful job upgrading the quality of Texas Tech Press books and positioning the press as a viable competitor in the field. There are publishing professionals here and I am privileged to join such an experienced group."   Mandel began his publishing career in 1978 as assistant editor for business and economics at Praeger Publishers in New York City and has worked at Indiana University Press, Wayne State University Press and in 1990 established his own regional publishing company, A&M Publishing. He also has served as chief operating officer and executive vice president for Hodges & Irvine, a niche publisher for the hotel and hospitality industry; director of Syracuse University Press and the University of Wisconsin Press, where he built strong book lists drawing on the academic strengths of the universities and of the regions. He accepted the University of Alaska Press directorship in 2006.   "As a director, I have always believed that a press should represent the strengths, actual and perceived, of the university and the region it represents," Mandel said. "I want Texas Tech University Press to publish books and journals that represent the best areas of scholarship and traditions of Texas Tech as well as the State of Texas, the High Plains in particular."   Mandel will first sit down with the press staff and editorial board to develop a five-year strategic plan.   "I want the press to compete aggressively for manuscripts with other Texas presses as well as those in the southwest," he said. "We will actively seek out the best scholars and writers at Texas Tech and elsewhere."   Mandel says he wants to form a Friends of the Texas Tech Press support group to help raise public awareness of press publications and to aid in fund raising. He also will host a series of brown bag lunches around campus to raise awareness of the press.   Texas Tech University Press, in business since 1971, publishes nonfiction titles in the areas of natural history and the natural sciences; eighteenth-century and Joseph Conrad studies; studies of modern Southeast Asia, particularly the Vietnam War; costume and textile history; and all aspects of the Great Plains and the American West, especially biography, history, memoir and travel. In addition, the press publishes one invited poetry manuscript annually and occasionally a regional novel with national appeal.   For more information, contact Barbara Brannon, marketing manager, Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982 or via e-mail at barbara.brannon@ttu.edu.