2015–16 saw further strong progress in our quest to build a digital Press while maintaining our commitment to high-quality print materials, and disseminating the best learning and research to the world. Cambridge is uniquely well-placed to embrace that vision, and I am grateful to the Vice-Chancellor and other colleagues within the University for their ongoing support of our mission and for the confidence they place in the Syndicate Operating Board’s governance of the Press.
I’ve been aware of the strength of Cambridge University Press’s reputation as a publisher of research material from my earliest experiences as a PhD student here. Subsequently it was my privilege to publish a book of my own with the Press. Since becoming Vice-Chancellor in October 2017 one of my pleasures has been to find out a good deal more about the Press’s ELT and Education groups too – themselves formidable businesses in their own right.
The University’s mission – ‘to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence’ – includes a commitment to disseminate the best learning and research beyond its own immediate orbit. The Press is one of the foremost enablers of this.
At the heart of the University’s coat of arms is a book, reflecting that part of its mission. But publishing in the twenty-first century has come to be about much more than books. The development of robust digital platforms to provide books, journals and interactive learning services in various electronic forms has become a core part of the Press’s operations, requiring new kinds of skills and business models, as well as considerable investment. The past year has seen impressive progress on that front.
Another theme has been the further strengthening of ties between the Press and the University’s examinations business, Cambridge Assessment, whose new building was completed in the course of the year, making it the Press’s immediate neighbour on Shaftesbury Road. As Chair of both Syndicates, one of my priorities will be to ensure we make the most of the opportunities to drive educational impact and value to schools by closer strategic alignment. The work of the new Press & Assessment Board under the direction of the University’s Chief Financial Officer, Anthony Odgers, will be crucial here, as will the many collaborative projects already underway between the people of the two organisations.
It remains for me to thank my immediate predecessors as Chairs of the Press Syndicate, Sir David Bell – whom we are fortunate to retain as Senior Independent Director on the Press & Assessment Board – and the former Vice-Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. I also wish to welcome Professor Rose Luckin, Professor Barbara Sahakian and Ms Jessica Rusu who joined the Syndicate’s ELT & Education and Academic Publishing Committees and Audit Committee respectively in the course of the year, as well as Mr Richard Partington and Professor Richard Prager, Syndics of Cambridge Assessment who have ‘crossed the road’ to become Syndics of the Press as well.
I look forward to another year of impressive growth and high-quality publications.
Professor Stephen Toope
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Press Syndicate