Meet the Judges: Danielle Dominguez and Michelle Head

Next up in our Meet the Judges series are Secondary sector judge Danielle Dominguez and Tertiary sector judge Michelle Head. Read on to find out what the judges are looking for when they’re reviewing the entries, and the experience they bring to the task.


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Danielle Dominguez, Publishing Editor, Cengage Learning

Danielle works across a range of subject areas, including the arts and mathematics. Before joining the publishing team, Danielle was senior editor for languages at Cengage Learning. Previously, Danielle worked in editorial and commissioning roles at Cambridge University Press, and at Pearson, where she had roles in several areas of the business, including customer service, permissions, editorial and publishing. Much of Danielle’s time at Pearson was spent managing the production and development of new content for Pearson Custom. This is Danielle’s first time judging the awards. 

Danielle, how do you feel about being asked to judge the awards? Very honoured. In understanding the amount of work that goes into producing any kind of educational resource, be it print or digital, I take the judging process quite seriously and hope to do the resources justice in my appraisal of them.

Why do you think the awards are important for our industry? It provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on what we have produced, and to feel proud of the resources we create for students. It also presents a chance to assess the products each of us create within our respective organisations in comparison to those of our competitors, in order to ensure we are creating the best possible resources and to keep setting the bar higher.

Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? Keeping up with curriculum changes is an ongoing challenge – not always enjoyable but often leading to opportunities for new resources to be created.  Aside from that, the creative process in imagining and developing a functional and meaningful educational resource is the thing that I enjoy most.

What do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? After working in the industry for a little while, and now reviewing resources for the EPAAs, I believe that all of the educational publishers produce high quality resources, often with similar product offerings across a given subject area. In light of that, I often look to the design to set a product apart from the rest; one in which the overall design is engaging, progressive, educationally sound and perfectly pitched at the respective market. Clever use of digital supplements to enhance and support learning from printed resources is also an imperative consideration for me.

What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? Probably the Obento series, given the sheer amount of work involved in producing each component and the large and talented team who worked tirelessly to see it through to fruition.

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Michelle Head, Publishing Editor, Higher Education, Oxford University Press

Michelle began her career in the publishing industry as a sales and marketing assistant for Oxford University Press in 2005. Since then she has worked in a variety of roles and teams, and in 2011 she was promoted to publishing editor. Michelle primarily has responsibility for Oxford’s range of undergraduate law texts, as well as sociology, criminology and politics texts. This is Michelle’s first time as an EPAAs judge. 

Michelle, why do you think the EPAAs are important for our industry? A lot of great work is being done here in Australia to meet the unique needs of our students. The awards remind us of the calibre of the resources that we are producing. We tend to spend a lot of time discussing the future of our industry, but it’s important that we also take time to recognise our significant achievements.

Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? It’s important that each product helps teachers teach, and students learn. Finding an author who shares this vision – and then creating a product that genuinely does this – is very rewarding.

What do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? It depends on the subject area. What’s great for a public health book might not work for a law book. A great educational resource is developed with an understanding of what the customer needs. Any additional resources should be aligned with the overall aims of the resource – not just be ‘tacked on’.

What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? There are a couple in the works that I can’t wait to see come to market! Of published books, there are many, however if I have to choose one… it was a great honour to work with Julia Davis on Connecting with Tort Law, which took a risk in being different to ‘traditional’ torts books. It was shortlisted for the EPAAs in 2012.