SFU Publishing senior lecturer Mauve Pagé wins Excellence in Teaching Award

March 07, 2024
Excellence in Teaching Awardee and publishing design senior lecturer Mauve Pagé. (Photo Credit: Charles Ferguson)

SFU Publishing senior lecturer Mauve Pagé has been recognized with the 2023 SFU Excellence in Teaching award for her commitment towards fostering a non-traditional and culturally-inclusive learning space for students. An advocate for student-led pedagogy, Pagé is dedicated to implementing de-colonized ways of knowing in design education, all the while advancing her students’ professional and personal growth.  

“I feel very humbled and thankful, and in some ways undeserving of this recognition. I still think that I am learning a lot about teaching. I’ve learned so much from my peers in the publishing department, and I think I need to thank them for helping me on this journey. At the same time, it's incredibly exciting to be recognized for teaching because it, honestly, is a lot of work. You need dedication, hard work, and the time to figure out how to reach your students and how to keep them engaged. So, this award is an important reminder to myself to keep going, and that I am on the right path, and that I got this.” 

For Pagé, teaching publication design is all about tapping into a student’s creativity. “I really like the idea of working with our hands. Even if a lot of book design is actually on the computer, I try to stay away from that. I think it is easy to learn any software, which is constantly changing, but what I enjoy most, and want to teach, is creativity. That is very much rooted in experiential learning.” 

When asked about what she wants students to take away from her courses, Pagé replied, “I just want them to have fun! If you have fun, you become more open to the experience, and then the learning just sneaks in.” As she reflects on her practice, Pagé discusses her unconventional methods, which are both intentional and impactful. “I am constantly trying to revise some of the projects, especially if I’m bored grading them or giving feedback because then I’m thinking about how doing them (projects) must be equally boring (for students).” 

Pagé’s journey at SFU began as a student in the Master of Publishing program. Although it has been sixteen years since she graduated from the program, her ongoing (and almost a decade long) career and role as senior lecturer in the program is a beautiful reminder of life coming full circle. She shares how her own experiences as a student have influenced her approach as a teacher.

“It feels like a lifetime ago!” She adds, “Today, I teach a wide range of students. While some of my undergraduate students are already good designers and often have a solid background in design, my graduate students may not have as much experience in that regard, especially since the MPub isn't necessarily a design program. I personally know how intense the it can be, which is why I do my best to support our students in whatever way I can - be it flexibility, working around their schedules, or other deadlines.” 

While Pagé is aware of her privilege and the responsibilities that come with it, she believes she isn’t the only expert in the classroom. “Design is so subjective. Who am I to tell someone that their work isn’t good enough? For example, there are certain rules when it comes to design. Let's consider branding. You are told that there's one primary color and one supportive secondary color that you can use, but when you are exposed to other cultures, you learn the unique ways in which they explore and perceive color. Their design practices are vibrant, beautiful, and unrestrained, you know? It's beautiful." 

As an educator who is constantly striving to do better and expand her own lens, Pagé values the idea of working together. She shares how enriched she feels anytime a student’s work reflects their unique personalities and cultural inspirations.

“Last year, Taylen, a student in my PUB 431 class, did a cookbook with her grandmother for one of the publication design projects and it was amazing! I think it was called A Chinese-Canadian Cookbook Memoir by Taylen Lee-Chin. For the project, she hung out with her grandmother, took pictures of the foods she made, and shared her traditional cooking techniques. It was incredibly soulful. When I saw what she’d created, I immediately thought, ‘Should I really be the one grading your book because I think it should actually be your grandmother!’”. 

Pagé’s profound commitment towards introducing alternative ways of knowing and learning transcends the classroom. While discussing her vision and what she hopes to achieve in the next few years, she mentions how an "experimental publishing lab" - something her colleagues in the publishing department have been conceptualizing - is in the works. A passion project, if you will. 

“That is what I am most excited about. I look forward to creating a space where we can experiment with distinct ideas and ways in which we think about publishing. A place where we invite publishing students as well as people outside of the SFU community to come together, collaborate, and possibly create fun publishing art. That would be interesting!”. 

The publishing department at SFU congratulates Mauve Pagé on this well-deserved recognition!