Meet the Judges: Penny Martin and Fiona Hammond

For our penultimate Meet the Judges interview, we talk to two Tertiary sector judges: publishing consultant Penny Martin and and Senior Publishing Editor Fiona Hammond from Cengage.

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Penny Martin, independent publishing consultant

Penny’s research Masters at Macquarie University in 2002 focused on the complementarity of digital ancillaries with print products in textbooks, and their effectiveness. She has extensive industry experience in both educational, professional and trade publishing, and was a convener and lecturer in the Post-graduate Diploma of Editing and Publishing at Macquarie University, where is she is currently an Honorary Associate and Visiting Fellow. Penny has been a judge on the Tertiary panel for several years. 

Penny, how do you feel about being asked to judge the EPAAs? The EPAAs make a highly significant contribution to educational publishing in Australia; it’s always an honour to be invited to join the judging panel and to learn from the association that judging brings with other publishers.

Why do you think the EPAAs are important for our industry? Since their creation by Professor Mike Horsley and their inception in 1994, the EPAAs have made a vital contribution to educational publishing in Australia by raising professional benchmarks through their focus on pedagogical excellence, innovation and suitability for market, so encouraging ever higher standards.

Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? There are many! The Australian market is minute by global standards and it is highly segmented, so most major educational publishers in Australia walk a continual tightrope of balancing miniscule budgets against the expectations of their international masters, who are in the main based offshore and who expect the majuscule results that they receive elsewhere. Walking that tightrope is a major challenge in itself. Another is managing the fierce competition for authors in the small Australian market, and the consequent careful relationship management that is so important in that part of the publishing equation.

What challenge do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? It is exciting to see innovation that is founded in sound pedagogy and to envisage the consequent positive educational outcomes for students.

What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? That’s a really hard call – there’ve been so many fantastic publications in both Australia and New Zealand that it’s very difficult to nominate just one. I think I’d have to nominate Nga Tamariki Iti o Aotearoa, a New Zealand series of Maori legends published in both Maori and English, designed to be used by a wide range of readers in both languages. I learned so much from that series; it was culturally such an enriching and valuable experience to work on it.

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Fiona Hammond, Senior Publishing Editor, Higher Education, Cengage Learning

Fiona has worked in the publishing industry for 10 years and has been with Cengage Learning for six years. She began in publishing as a sales representative in higher education at Pearson, and moved to Cengage Learning as a publisher in 2008. This is Fiona’s first time as a member of the judging panel for the Educational Publishing Awards.

Fiona, why do you think these awards are important for our industry? I think the EPAAs are important because they give us a chance to look at the best new ideas and interesting work that people are doing specifically to help students have a better experience with educational resources. Anything that helps students succeed at such a challenging time of their life, helps build a stronger community. As a judge, I’m excited to see behind the curtain as to how these things work and to see exciting new product developed by everyone in our industry.

Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? Finding, enticing and keeping good authors is the biggest challenge, especially with all the other demands on their time.

What do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? I value consistent and clear pedagogy and design that helps students navigate more easily through educational resources, whether in print or digital. And I always love a really striking design.

What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? I’m attached to all my projects so it is hard to choose. I guess I’m most proud of my Serway Physics adaptation in two volumes because our whole team, including our great authors, worked hard to make something that students could really use.