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Closing Publications Services

March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27

Over the past two years, as part of our ongoing endeavors to examine our business models and practices across the Division, Business Services has undertaken a thorough assessment of Penn Publication Services. After reviewing the results of that effort, we have made the difficult decision to close the department at the end of this Fiscal Year.

This decision directly relates to the significant changes that have transformed the printing and publications business. These include the huge shift from printed to electronic materials; a more diffuse marketplace that includes film, video, social marketing; QR (quick response) advertising codes; and software programs that allow more flexibility for end users to create high quality materials on their own, to name a few. These market changes and expanded options have led to more demands on our resources while also contributing to an increasingly significant proportion of our clients requiring supplemental services from external providers.

Despite these challenges, which have impacted the entire industry, Publication Services has continued to make significant contributions to the University. They have been leaders in sustainable printing and the development of electronic alternatives to paper, collaborated on innovative projects such as the interactive exhibit for the atrium of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and have won numerous awards including the USA American In-house Design Award which showcases work by outstanding in-house design departments. Since the department was first created over 30 years ago to assist with the University’s basic printing and graphic needs, Publication Services has demonstrated a continued commitment to the Penn community and we commend the staff for their accomplishments and their dedicated service.

The direct service provision model of the current Publications department will be replaced with a system akin to the way we currently obtain many other services on campus. A robust and highly qualified set of preferred providers of design, print, mailing and advertising services will be made available through a newly designed easy-to-use web tool. Each provider will be required to have staff members who are assigned to support the Penn community. In addition, the University will have dedicated staff available in the Purchasing department with detailed knowledge of the providers’ capabilities to help individuals find the best provider for their specific project.

During the transition, from an in-house service to the new specialized purchasing model, we will work closely to ensure customers are being transitioned smoothly and to provide guidance for jobs which fall outside the June 30th timeframe. As all jobs are unique, staff will be scheduling meetings with our clients to discuss specific needs.

—Marie Witt, Vice President of Business Services


Almanac - March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27