As I am preparing to close down my computer at the Press for the very last time, and aside from the mixed emotions that often surround key decisions in one’s life, the overwhelming sense that accompanies my departure is that of pride.
It has been both an honour and a privilege to work for Wales’ national publisher and I have met some wonderful and inspiring people during that time, not least my colleagues here at the Press, members of the Press’ advisory board and the University Council. Much of what has been achieved during the last 7 years was a team effort and I am grateful that the challenges we faced were invariably met with grit, determination, good humour and humanity by my colleagues. The Press’ place amongst University Presses in the UK and further afield has been affirmed, as has its commitment to Wales and the Welsh language. At a time when the sector as a whole is facing far reaching and fundamental changes, the Press is well placed to tackle and embrace those: it has dedicated and experienced staff, modern, efficient operations and most importantly its value to the nation was publicly acknowledged in the Diamond Report and referenced in the latest HEFCW draft 10 year strategy. The latter was the direct result of authors, organisations and the Welsh community at large lobbying tirelessly on our behalf to highlight the vital role the Press plays not only as the main academic publisher for the Study of Wales but as an important national institution ideally placed to support academic enquiry and endeavour by offering print, digital and open access publishing opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable. Though the financial terms and settlement for the Press are yet to be determined I remain hopeful that it will secure its position after the merger of the University of Wales and UWTSD in acknowledgement of not only its proud past but the unique added value and service it will be able to offer its parent institution and the entire HE sector in Wales.