The MPub Experience: Student to Staff


John Maxwell
Roberto Dosil
Monique Sherrett
Suzanne Norman
Mauve Pagé
Leanne Johnson

Beware—even if you finish MPub, MPub may not be quite finished with you. Sometimes, you might be called back as an industry guest to talk to bright-eyed publishing students; but for some, the call is much more insistent.

Many of the publishing staff at SFU are former MPub graduates, so we thought we’d investigate further and ask them about their MPub experience from both sides of the program.

What was your career before you came to MPub as a student?
John Maxwell (Director)—I was an early web developer; it was the early 90s; there wasn’t that much going on, and so I lived from small contract to small contract.

Why did you choose to enroll in the MPub program?
Suzanne Norman (Publishing Workshops)—I had a young family and knew journalism (investigative) was not the greatest fit with family life. It is very time intensive, random hours, and too much travelling.

How was your career affected after you graduated?
Roberto Dosil (Design)—There were no immediate effects, however, it gave me the impetus to develop a book project that became the foundation of Stanton Atkins & Dosil (SA&D) a small house dedicated to publishing Canadian history.

What led you to return to Publishing at SFU in a teaching role?
Mauve Pagé (Design)—I love publication design and there are not many design programs that teach book design specifically. I like working with young designers and getting students that initially didn’t think they had any design skills to see the potential of using design in their work (even if it isn’t specifically design-related).

How does being an MPub alum affect the way you teach MPub cohorts/publishing students?
John Maxwell (Director)—Mostly sympathy for those in the midst of the Book Project experience, I think 🙂 More broadly, I think those of us who have been on the student side have a bit of built-in context about who we are and what we’re doing. This goes as well for the many industry guests who are also MPub alumni… they know who they’re talking to when they come in.

Besides being part of the Publishing faculty at SFU, how else are you involved in the publishing industry?
Leanne Johnson (Management and Marketing)—I am an art-book publisher. My small press is called Gave and Took Ink and we produce art books. In the past 6 or 7 years, I have become fascinated with the process of creating electronic literature, which has become a central focus of my art. So I am still working at it!

What would you say to incoming students is the best way to approach the MPub program?
Monique Sherrett (Online Marketing)—Be open to experiencing and understanding all facets of the industry before committing to only one discipline. I came to the program as an editor, looking to be a publisher. I left with design and management skills, and ended up working in marketing and sales. Then I became an entrepreneur.