About URMA

The University Research Magazine Association promotes excellence and professionalism among those who write, edit, design, and produce print and online magazines, e-newsletters, social media, videos, and other communications about the research and scholarly activities of a university, nonprofit research center, governmental funding agency, or institute. These publications — aimed at general audiences with an interest in higher education — offer the inside story on a range of disciplines, from music and medicine to earth sciences and engineering.

Benefits of Membership

  • Access to the URMA listserv, an electronic discussion group where members trade information and share best practices regarding the day-to-day production of university or institution research magazines.
  • Opportunity to attend URMA’s annual conference.
  • Resources — talks, documents, articles — on magazine management, design and layout, writing and interviewing, editing, working with freelancers and students, media relations, social media, video, podcasts and many other topics.

URMA’s Goals

  • Facilitate the circulation of ideas and best practices among URMA members.
  • Improve policies and procedures affecting the publication of research magazines and related materials
  • Serve as a national forum and source of visibility for professionals working in this field

Officers and Board of Directors

  • President: Joseph Kays, University of Florida
  • Vice President: Catherine Zandonella, Princeton University
  • Treasurer: Kathryn Jepsen, SLAC/FermiLab
  • Secretary and Website Manager: Karen Cotton, Prairie View A&M University
  • Listserv Manager: David Pacchioli, Penn State University
  • Past President: Rachel Coker, Binghamton University
  • Membership Chair: Laura Perry, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing


2575 Sand Hill Road, MS 58
Menlo Park, CA  94025


URMA traces its beginnings to Minneapolis in July 1981. A dozen editors of the then-new and growing field of university research magazines created an informal organization to share knowledge and support. William Kell, then a magazine editor for the Graduate School, University of Minnesota, organized the 1981 meeting. He believed that magazines reporting on research from universities and research institutions required an organization centered on needs specific to this medium. The twelve in attendance concurred and coined the acronym URMA.

Those attending were Jean Akhtar (Wisconsin, Madison), Harlan Berger (Penn State), Robert Fauteux (Minnesota), Carol Hatfield (Texas, Austin), Mary Jones (Rutgers), Leslie Lin (Michigan), Joan Marionni (Maryland), David Mathis (Virginia Commonwealth), Eric Rosenthal (Drexel), Alan Swatek (Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and Robert Toomey (Delaware). Until 1997, URMA members met in conjunction with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) meetings entitled “Communicating University Research” and, in 1995 and 1996, at the “New Horizons in Science” Briefing of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW).

In January 1997, URMA members gathered for the organization’s first independent meeting in Tucson, Arizona, on the campus of the University of Arizona. URMA annual meetings have continued. Conferences are hosted by a member of the organization.

URMA is classified as a nonprofit educational organization. It is run by volunteers and has no paid employees.