The Teaching Press at UW-Green Bay published its second book, recently—The Green Bay Way, a 194-page, non-fiction historical perspective of UW-Green Bay women’s basketball. Written by Peter Kraker, a father of a Phoenix (Mehryn Kraker) the book chronicles the story and stories (with nearly 100 players, staff, family and fans interviewed) of one of the most successful programs in the history of college women’s basketball.
A lifelong educator, Kraker chose the undergraduate-led, The Teaching Press to design, edit, and prepare the book for printing. As the Press’s second project, the book served as a “nearly-athletic challenge, but a good one” for 20 interns, who gained unparalleled professional experience on the project, according to Press Director Rebecca Meacham. Support was also provided by UW-Green Bay Archives.
What were the challenges?
The Teaching Press is made for challenges. That’s our imperative: giving students problems to solve in client engagement, funding, production, copyediting, design, workflow, and more. But we were extra-challenged by the pandemic and by staff turnover (due to graduation—the best reason!)
Keep in mind this was our second project, ever. The Teaching Press launched in March 2019 with The Village and the Vagabond—a lovely, slim volume of poetry and sketches by Tim Weyenberg. It was a perfectly-sized first project to edit, design, and print.
In April 2019, Peter approached us with a 300+ page manuscript in Google docs. The manuscript included 330 player, coach, and affiliated names (and maiden vs. married names); 220+ photos from multiple sources; sports terms that frankly, none of our Press team knew. It was a complex, multi-stage, editing and design project that would have to be outsourced for printing.
Two weeks into March 2020, we were just hitting our stride: interns were copyediting the text, and graphic design student Ya-Ching Kuo was working with Peter on the look of the book. Peter, Ya-Ching, and I had just met to finalize colors, fonts, and formatting. Peter had brought us albums of team photos for scanning. Days later, the pandemic closed campus. And no one entered the press room again for more than a year.
Our Press team scattered all over the state. The project was derailed. I moved our intern meetings online, and we completed Spring 2020 with the book design finalized and three chapters mocked up… and our book designer graduating.
In Summer 2020, I led new interns online through interviewing Peter for the press kit, copyediting, and beta readings. But due to the pandemic, the UW-Green Bay Archives, which provided most of the photos and the expertise of Deb Anderson, was closed, so we couldn’t source names or photos, or rescan images. Our staff had no book designer. We were in a holding pattern.
Throughout Fall and Spring 2020-21, our team got back on track via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. New book designer Kori Koehler, two chief copyeditors—Dani Gottfried and Danielle Lemke, and two more teams of interns met for hours with Peter and me to guide the manuscript into its final form. As our region reopened, our team collaborated with Deb Anderson and the Archives crew, as well as Lynn Heslin at Seaway Printing, who Peter hired to print the book.
What kind of experience did it provide?
We all learned how to be flexible through unprecedented challenges in communications, collaboration, workflow, and staffing. Interns gained hands-on skills in copyediting, proofreading, collaborating, creating style guides, book design, layout, client engagement, donor relations, fact-checking, working on deadline, project management, marketing, and more.
The real triumph is that every intern can hold a copy in their hands and say, “I helped make this book.” Each student editor and designer can point to their name, right there on the page, in Peter’s gracious “Acknowledgements”.
What’s ahead for The Teaching Press?
We’ve been producing files for—and are going to print in-house, on our own machines—three more wonderful books set to launch this Fall. The Teaching Press is also moving to a new location. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and blog for updates on our book launches, new home, and more!