The University of Texas at Austin has appointed Robert Devens as the next director of The University of Texas Press. He currently serves as interim director and served most recently as assistant director and editor-in-chief of UT Press. Devens succeeds David Hamrick, who retired on January 1, 2020. His appointment begins April 15, 2020.
“Robert’s deep knowledge of academic publishing, his experience at UT Press, and his collaborative relationships with the scholarly community at UT Austin are tremendous assets. During his time at UT, he has served as a visible, public ambassador for the Press by articulating the critical role of university presses in supporting faculty scholarship and research,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost.
Devens brings to this position more than 20 years of experience in academic publishing. He began his publishing career at The University of Chicago Press, starting as an editorial assistant and working his way up to senior editor. During his 13-year tenure at Chicago, Devens acquired trade and scholarly books in American studies, history, and urban studies, including many bestselling and award-winning titles. He launched new book series in early American studies and Chicago history and fostered publishing relationships with the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, the American Antiquarian Society, and others. Devens worked to establish an endowment to support highly illustrated books while also securing outside funding from a range of granting bodies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation, and the College Art Association.
Devens joined UT Press in 2013 as assistant editor-in-chief, rising to the role of editor-in-chief in 2014 and assistant director in 2018. During these years, Devens has led the UT Press editorial department toward greater successes in all of its core areas — from the establishment of new series in fields ranging from Latinx studies to film studies, to more extensive general interest offerings in subjects such as music and Texana. He has also served as UT Press’s editor in architecture, American studies, and U.S. history, publishing award-winning books by faculty members at The University of Texas and beyond, and he has collaborated on publications with campus partners including the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Blanton Museum of Art.
“I am thrilled to be the next director of The University of Texas Press. In my seven years at UT Press, it has been an honor to work with devoted authors and talented staff on such a stellar list of books and journals. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many UT scholars and partner institutions, and I am looking forward to working together toward even greater reach and success,” said Devens.
Devens earned his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a master’s degree in English literature from Sussex University and completed additional graduate coursework at the University at Buffalo.