New Editing and Publishing Certificate

This recognition of completed coursework will give students an edge in career readiness
Undergraduate students looking at Tower literary magazine archives
TOWER students look at previous undergraduate literary magazines at the U Archives

After University of Minnesota Regents approval December 12, the Department of English is now able to offer a Certificate in Editing & Publishing to undergraduates from across the University. This certificate gives students, as English Director of Undergraduate Studies Dan Philippon notes, “the opportunity to strengthen their career readiness by documenting the knowledge, skills, and experience they have gained in editing and publishing.”

“This certificate will legitimize the experience undergraduates already have through their studies and coursework,” says English major Sara Donlin, currently an intern at the University of Minnesota Press. “Students will be able to show future employers that they have prior experience. It will help students gain an edge.”

The first student to declare the Certificate in Editing & Publishing tells her story.

“Students will be able to
show future employers that
they have prior experience."
- English major Sara Donlin

To receive the certificate, which is noted on final transcripts, students take two English courses (“Introduction to Editing and Publishing” and “The Business of Publishing”) and pursue an experiential learning opportunity. The latter can be completed by taking English’s The Tower production course, or by completing an internship or other professional experience in editing and/or publishing approved by the department.

“The Business of Publishing,” offered for the first time in 2018, brings in guest lecturers from Minnesota's nationally recognized publishing community so that students can learn from and network with professionals. Students explore in-depth the specific components of the publishing process—marketing, design, sales, subsidiary rights, bookselling—as well its wide range of forms, from books to business newsletters and social media. “Introduction to Editing and Publishing” focuses on the conventions of editing (grammar, story, and style) and also engages students with professional editors.

“What's most exciting about the certificate,” says Professor Philippon, “is the way students not only learn from practitioners actively working in these fields but also ‘learn by doing’ through editing and publishing The Tower or interning with one of our many community and industry partners.

“Our goal,” continues Philippon, “is to help students acquire practical skills for careers in both the publishing industry and a wide range of ‘publishing-adjacent’ fields, such as the media, foundations, government agencies, and other cultural institutions.”

To learn more about declaring the
Certificate in Editing & Publishing,
call English Undergraduate Studies
(612-625-4592) to schedule an
advising appointment.

The English department has been building capacity for the Certificate in Editing & Publishing for more than a decade. In 2008, Chair Paula Rabinowitz worked with the University of Minnesota Press to develop two-semester internships dedicated annually to English majors; and English Advisory Board member Paul Taylor, with wife Lucienne, committed to support those interns with stipends. Chair Ellen Messer-Davidow and English Advisory Board Chair Adam Lerner (Lerner Publishing Group CEO) asked industry leaders what they wanted to see in potential employees, which led to the establishment of the "Business of Publishing" course and the certificate. Current Chair Andrew Elfenbein worked with Dr. Edith Leyasmeyer, wife of the late English Professor Emeritus Archibald Leyasmeyer, to create stipends for undergraduates who intern at Twin Cities arts organizations, many of whom practice editing and publishing tasks as part of their internships.

Summer publishing programs are offered at Columbia and New York Universities, as well as the University of Denver, but these institutes can often be expensive and out of reach for Minnesota undergraduates. Now, students on the Twin Cities campus can receive recognition of their publishing and editing coursework and experience right here at home.

"This is an amazing opportunity for students interested in publishing!" says English major and peer counselor Shae Kizima. "The publishing industry can be tough to break into, and this certificate will really give students an advantage when applying for jobs and internships."

Undergraduate Students
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