Center for Publishing, aka “Pub Hub,” Moves Forward

The+student-run+publication+infographics%2C+designed+by+Parker+Derick+%28Graphic+Design+and+Visual+Communication+Design%2C+%2723%29.

The student-run publication infographics, designed by Parker Derick (Graphic Design and Visual Communication Design, ’23).

Tanya Lee Stone, Professional Writing Program Director, has just completed a semester-long faculty fellowship with the Emergent Media Center, with the primary goal of evaluating and improving the function of Champlain’s Center for Publishing (CFP) and student-run publications.

The CFP will be the hub for these publications, earning its new nickname, the Pub Hub. It lives in the Center for Communication and Creative Media Division, giving students a centralized place to find information on how to get involved with the three student-run publications on campus (The Crossover, Chivomengro, and Willard and Maple) as well as CCM’s professional magazine, Weathervane. These publications give students a chance to develop skills like writing and editing, art and graphic design, and marketing and public relations.

Since former CFP director Kim MacQueen departed and COVID began, the CFP has been in hibernation. Stone, who took on the role of Program Director for the Professional Writing program at the beginning of the fall semester, knew that assessing the purpose of the CFP and how it could best serve all of Champlain’s students was high on her list of priorities. Student-run publications were struggling to get readers interested in their content, gain contributors, and fill their staff positions. 

“I was prioritizing the things I wanted to tackle in my first year as PD, and helping support our student-run publications was really important to me, based on feedback I had been getting from Pro Writing students like Haley Seymour (The Crossover’s Editor-in-Chief), and others,” Stone said. “That’s when I saw the EMC email about their Faculty Fellowship. It was a lightbulb moment. The EMC was providing a perfect opportunity for me to be able to carve out the space needed to work with stakeholder students on this fairly large, time-intensive issue.”

To make faculty aware of the fellowship opportunity, EMC Interim Director Sarah Jerger sent out an email with details at the beginning of the year. 

“By working with the EMC on fellowship a full time professor is able to attain a course release and explore a faculty lead project through the center,” Jerger wrote. “The chosen fellow is welcome to suggest students they would like to work in collaboration with for their project; and the EMC encourages fellows to be involved in selecting their student team for the term.”

Stone began conversations with the EMC about the fellowship in the Fall 2020 semester, and by Spring 2021, they had fleshed out a plan and were ready to begin work on what Stone had proposed. EMC Senior Technical Project Manager Adam Walker said, “We determined that Tanya’s Fellowship proposal offered the EMC an opportunity to further integrate the EMC with academic programs. We also had not directly collaborated with Professional Writing faculty previously.” 

The goals of the fellowship were to assess the CFP’s role as a resource for students, as well as increase awareness, readership, and participation from students and faculty campus-wide in the student-run publications. Currently, the majority of students making up the publications come from the Professional Writing program. With the work the fellowship team did this semester, the hope is that a much wider swath of the student body will be involved beginning in fall 2021. 

“Having involvement from students with a diverse set of skills and talents will provide a service to the whole college by improving the publications and creating opportunities for students to engage in cross-disciplinary, experiential learning,” Stone emphasized. “In other words, it’s absolutely not just for writers!”

The fellowship team took a pronged approach to accomplishing those goals. They put a lot of work into improving external communications about the publications, rewriting the school’s web pages depicting them to include more accurate and up-to-date information, and beginning a partnership with Erik Esckilsen and the SMART Space to create a place in the Champlain Writing Center website as a resource for students who want to write for publications.

Through extensive communication with surveyed students and alumni, faculty members, and publication staff members, the team also put together a comprehensive outreach and marketing plan for publications to use in the future. Supplementing the plan, they facilitated a slight rebrand and new logos for each publication, created a Handbook-in-Progress (HIP) for student publications that is full of outreach and communication tips, and built a Google Shared Drive of resources for those directly involved with publications.

“There is a renewed energy behind the Pub Hub, and a clear plan to help support all our student-run publications moving forward. I’m excited to think of the publication staff members welcoming new students from across majors and divisions to have a thriving, bustling Pub Hub full of writers, editors, designers, artists, and marketing folks,” Stone said. “We’ve already added an amazing Social Media Manager to the Crossover, Gabrielle Mastropolo, who learned about the opportunities through this Fellowship team’s outreach, and jumped right in!”

In the fall, staff members from all three publications will be spreading the word about the opportunities they offer for students during Orientation, visiting classrooms throughout the year, and generally welcoming anyone who wants to get involved.

“I couldn’t be happier with the work this team did and am so grateful to the EMC for providing faculty this fantastic fellowship opportunity,” Stone concluded. “It energized the Pub Hub and set it up for continued success.”