On Thursday evening, the conference Awards dinner took place, during which this year’s ABT awards were presented jointly by Stephen Lotinga and Tim Godfray, who took the occasion to prove his talent as a singer-songwriter and presented a musical welcome.
As they did last year, OUP won the “Best Academic Publisher” award, and Julie Fisher from Palgrave Macmillan won the trophy as “Rep of the year”. Blackwell’s won the Academic Chain Bookseller award, and also the Bookshop of the Year, which went to Blackwell Sheffield. Glyn Littlewood of Blackwell Sheffield also won the Individual Bookseller Award, sharing it with Hilary Piert of O’Mahony’s. Roger Horton, CEO of Taylor & Francis was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is only given very occasionally for exceptional service to the industry. Many congratulations to all the winners!
The second day of the conference was opened by Simon Walker, Head of Educational Development at the University of Greenwich. He talked about student engagement and the involvement of students in the creation of content. He said that essentially student engagement happens when there is a move away from talking to students as consumers to working with them as partners. Simon also involved the audience in an online audience engagement exercise. Mark Toole, Head of Libraries and Learning Resources of Nottingham Trent University, spoke about his university’s approach to student engagement, which is much more data-driven. He laid out how data analytics can increase student engagement at an early stage and therefore increase retention rates. The two presentations represented opposites on the teaching / learning continuum and therefore provided excellent foils for each other.
Heather Sherman, Head of Technical Library Development at Dawson Books, gave a quick overview of Resources Provision and the TEF before the concluding, and arguably most entertaining, part of the conference: the “ABT Strictly” competition: a publisher, a bookseller and a librarian presented their future plans on resource delivery to 3 student judges. The first 10-minute presentation was given by Andrew Robinson, Director of Higher Education at Cengage. Next up was Will Williams, Head of Academic Sales at Blackwell’s, followed by Martin Gill, Head of Academic Services at University of Huddersfield.
After a short Q&A session, during which the students could question the presenters, the students finally rated the presenter on a scale from 1 to 10 in a “strictly”-fashion. The winner was Martin Gill; the students were asked to justify their scores, and their views were very illuminating. It was fantastic listening to such an engaged student panel – tank you to Nguyen Hoang (University of Reading), Harriet Lowe (University of Greenwich) and Kiu Sum (University of Westminster).
After two interesting days of conversations, presentations and discussions about a topic that will stay important for Academic Publishing in future the delegates headed home (in pouring rain this time). We are looking forward to next year’s conference and the continuation of our work on the TEF in the meantime!