Meet Thuong Du from Cambridge Uni Press

The judging is finalised and preparations are being made for the Educational Publishing Awards shortlist announcement and awards ceremony. The EPAAs this year will be broadcast via YouTube on 9 September.

One member of the SEPC, who oversee the EPAA, is Thuong Du, Publishing Manager at Cambridge University Press. Thuong has been with the company for 13 years after an internship placement during her studies. Thuong has been an EPAA judge in 2015 and 2016 and even won an award alongside her team in 2020.

We chatted with Thuong about her career progression and her involvement with the EPAA awards over the years.

Thuong Du, Publishing Manager at Cambridge University Press.

You were an intern in one of the very first APA Publishing Industry Internship Programs. Can you tell us how that opportunity set you on a path in publishing (and at Cambridge)?

I graduated with a Media and Communications degree from the University of Melbourne and completed some publishing subjects during my last semester which opened my eyes to the field as a career path. For one of the assessment tasks, I discussed the future of the book – how digital technologies were changing our understanding of the book, how the book of the future might differ from books of the past and how they might be packaged, marketed, and sold – a topic still relevant for publishers today. 

After doing some research, I discovered the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Internship Program. Before the program, there was no means of linking interested graduates with publishers wishing to hire interns. I recall the APA Project Manager, Libby O’Donnell, stating that the program had received over 700 applications from across the country! I was extremely grateful to have been offered one of five internship placements and to eventually be promoted to a senior role at Cambridge University Press.

You mentioned that your parents weren’t so sure about you starting a career in publishing. Why was that and why did you do it anyway?  

They didn’t know much about careers in publishing and, to be fair, neither did I at the point! However, they’ve always encouraged me to follow my interests – I was taught that passion + hard work would lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. I’m lucky they were supportive, patient and believed in me (even when, at 15 years old, I told them I wanted to be an artist and signed up for a life drawing course at the local community centre…that’s another story!).

Tell us about your job now. What do you do on a day to day basis? Why do you like it?

I work closely with the Publishing Director, Linda Kowarzik, to manage a team of staff and ensure the successful delivery of a publishing program for the Australian secondary education market. I’m also responsible for the management of a list area(s). On a day-to-day basis, you’ll usually find me in meetings, preparing manuscripts for handover, responding to customer queries, briefing authors etc. One of them asked recently, “how many others (authors) do you work with?” It was 43 by my count last year!

Looking back on the last thirteen years from intern to Publishing Manager, I feel a tremendous sense of pride to have worked on many challenging and interesting projects. The Press has endured for almost five centuries and, much like the Press, I’m still learning and growing every day. I truly believe in the organisation’s motto – advancing knowledge, learning and research – and it is a privilege to work alongside colleagues who are passionate and strive for quality and excellence in serving teachers and learners. The organisation is filled with people who really care and encourage innovation and knowledge sharing.

What’s something that most publishing degree graduates don’t know about the educational publishing sector that they really should? Is it a place where they could exercise their skills learnt at uni?

Publishing is a fast-paced, deadline-driven, constantly changing environment that requires innovative approaches to overcoming challenges. Colleagues and authors are driven by a genuine commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. I think you can only be happy if the organisation’s values align with your own and it is important to love what you do – this is what will keep you motivated and sustained, and ensure success, along with exercising the skills learnt at university. 

You were part of the judging panel a few years ago. What did participating as a judge do for your professional development?

I was a judge and Chair of the panel for the EPAAs from 2015 to 2016. It’s a rigorous process but I really enjoyed my experience. As well as celebrating excellence in educational resources, it’s a wonderful opportunity for educational publishing professionals to meet new colleagues, network, and share expertise and knowledge. It’s also a time of the year where we all get the chance to take a step back from our day-to-day tasks, recognise our hard work and give ourselves a pat on the back! 

You’ve been part of a team that’s won an EPAA award. Which resource/s was it for? How did it feel to win? How do you benchmark what makes an excellent resource? 

Last year, our years 7–10 science resources, Cambridge Science for the Victorian Curriculum won in the category ‘Secondary Student Resource – Junior – Mathematics/Science’. Our Publisher, Naomi Sutanto, delivered a brilliant series and it was great to see our enthusiasm for it reflected in this win. We strive to publish resources that raise the benchmark for quality, innovation and excellence. The judges said that the series “has a fresh, engaging design and is easy to follow, with seamless integration of digital and print products…a large variety of high-quality questions and activities, along with real-world investigations to enrich curious students’ learning”. It was the good news staff needed whilst enduring very tough lockdown restrictions!

You’re now a member of the Schools and Education Publishers Committee. What’s the biggest thing that needs to be addressed for the growth of educational publishing as a whole? How do you hope to help while on the committee? 

I recently joined the Schools and Education Publishers Committee and am excited to participate in this forum. I think one of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed in education publishing is our engagement with important stakeholders in the educational arena. We need to work collaboratively to ensure the industry’s contribution is better understood and appreciated and to allow us to produce the best resources possible – resources that innovate, are published in a timely manner, and address the requirements of local curricula.

Who from the industry would you say has been the biggest support to you in your career? Who would you like to give a big shout out to?  

This is a no-brainer. Biggest shout out goes to Linda, my boss. It’s important to develop great relationships at work and to look for mentors who can support you along the way. Linda took me under her wing since starting at the Press. I’ve always been inspired by her confidence in my abilities and felt supported throughout my career. I have a lot of respect for her – she’s a doer and leads by example. And I’ve always admired her ability to ruthlessly prioritise and deliver with urgency. She also loves a good quote and I know she’ll be reading this, so this one’s for her: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Subscribe to the APA’s YouTube channel to get updates on the awards ceremony. Make sure you are a subscriber at the APA too.

The EPAA shortlist announcement will be made on 19 August 2021.

Mike Horsley Award open for nominations

Nominations for this year’s Mike Horsley Award are now open.

This award is named after the founder of the EPAAs and recognises outstanding service to educational publishing (primary, secondary and/or tertiary).

Nominate someone you know who has demonstrated long-standing and exemplary service to the educational publishing field.

Past winners include Peter van Noorden and Peter Stannard. Past winners include Peter van Noorden and Peter StannardNominations can be made here until 31 July 2021 – being called Peter isn’t a prerequisite! 

Feedback sought on Australian educational publishers and learning resources

Educational Publishing Awards Australia Screenshot

Educational publishers are requesting the feedback of booksellers, educators and librarians about their service to the education sector.

If you buy, sell or use educational resources, we want you to cast your vote in the Publisher of the Year survey. It will help decide this year’s Australian Primary and Secondary Publishers of the Year. More importantly, however, the information provided informs us of the needs of the education sector. It’s part of an ongoing process of consultation with the education community and continual improvement in the educational publishing sector.

As a thank you for participating, you will automatically go into the draw to win a $500 David Jones gift card or one of three EPAA prize packs full of books! 

Wherever you are, we welcome you to tune in to the Educational Publishing Awards winners announcement on 9 September.

Have your say here!

About the Awards

The Educational Publishing Awards Australia celebrates excellence and innovation in educational publishing. The event recognises publishers’ pursuit in creating cutting-edge, groundbreaking and pedagogically sound resources for teachers and students.

More on the survey

Please complete the short survey here. You will be asked to rate publishers on five areas: product quality, field services, company services, marketing and innovation.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes. It closes on Friday,  9 July 2021 at 11:59pm. AEST.

The survey will ask for your email address, to ensure we only receive one response per person. However, the survey data is completely anonymous.

The awards and the survey are organised by the Australian Publishers Association, and if you have any problems, please contact awards@publishers.asn.au

Follow us via: edpubawards.com
twitter.com/EPAs_Aus

Publisher of the Year survey

How to make a video for your entry

The EPAA committee highly encourages the inclusion of video submissions as part of your entry. This is your chance to really highlight what makes your product stand out, and help tell a story to the judges of why you should win.

We will be showcasing the submitted video entries for winners during the awards ceremony. In the case that no video is submitted for a winner, we will create our own video content through what has been submitted for both print and digital entries to use for the awards ceremony. You can see the examples of this in last year’s video.

If you have video content already available that you think is suitable, please feel free to use that; however, if you’re making a new video, here are some tips to help.

The video should:

  • Be concise, no more than 2 -3 minutes. (It will be cut down to a 20-second clip for the broadcast in the event your product wins.)
  • Highlight key features of the product to illustrate what you are submitting in the written form
  • Work well without audio, as videos of winning products will be played with judges’ comments read over the top. You can include audio if you think it will help the judges, but it won’t be in the broadcast.

Recording options

Digital resources

Screen capture is a good option for digital resources. You should:

  • Use a product like Loom or, on Mac, the screen-record/screenshot tools
  • Make the resource full-screen before recording the video if possible. (The APA can help do a basic top and tail edit.)

Physical resources

Our preference for physical resources is someone filming in landscape using a smartphone. You should make sure to have:

  • Adequate lighting
  • Natural light 
  • A plain background
  • No branding, straps or graphics on the video.

If you have a blended product and are not sure how to manage these two together, please get in touch with the APA. We want to help you showcase your entry in the best way possible.

Please see here for more information about entering.

2021 Educational Publishing Awards: entries opening soon

Entries open soon for the 2021 Educational Publishing Awards. 

Submissions open on Friday 30 April for learning resources published between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The 2020 Educational Publishing Awards are now open for entries.

The 29th Educational Publishing Awards Australia will be held as a special digital event on Thursday 9 September 2021 – save the date to join us virtually.

Please read the conditions of entry and judging criteria before submitting your nomination here.

Entries from publishing companies of all sizes are welcome. Whether you are submitting from a traditional publishing company, a small publisher or a start-up, we are excited to receive your submission.

Award categories include Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary, TAFE and Vocational Education, as well as the Primary and Secondary Publishers of the Year.

Browse the full list of 2021 awards categories here, as well as last year’s winners.

How do I enter?

Entries are made digitally via Award Force, opening on 30 April. Judging will be conducted remotely, so resources must be provided in a digital format. 

We highly encourage video submissions as part of your entry. This is your chance to highlight what makes your product stand out and tell the judges the story about why your product should win. Video entries for winners will be showcased during the awards ceremony. If no video is submitted for a winning entry, we will create our own video content based on your submissions for both print and digital entries to use as part of the awards ceremony. You can see examples in last year’s video.

Nominations must be submitted by COB Friday 4 June 2021.

POTY EOI

Submit your Publisher of the Year expression of interest by 7 May. More information here.

Video Broadcast

With the success of last year’s EPAA broadcast and ongoing uncertainty around large events and travel, the EPAA committee once again looks forward to bringing you an online production all about excellent educational publishing.

Educational Publishing Awards Australia Screenshot

Any questions should be sent through to gillian.haines@publishers.asn.au.