Branded Content for Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand have learned many lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the most important was that a professional, evidence-focused and dedicated public service is irreplaceable.
Contemporary public sector leaders need both depth and breadth. They must be capable of critical thinking, collaboration, communicating with stakeholders and the public, and have an intimate understanding of the political environment in which they operate - as well as a laser-like focus on serving the public.
We don't know what the next great crisis may be, another pandemic, an economic crash or something completely unexpected, but at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), we remain committed to offering contemporary education and evidence-based research that builds public services' capability to respond to crises.
How ANZSOG adapted to the impact of COVID-19
For ANZSOG, 2020 was a challenging year where we worked both to adapt our programs to the online world and to develop new offerings which provide public sector leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to respond to COVID.
One of our biggest challenges was shifting our 'intellectual spine', the two-year post-graduate Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) degree online, while ensuring it remains a global leader in post-graduate public administration programs.
The EMPA exposes participants to a unique mix of leading academics and practitioners, to give high-performing potential senior leaders the critical thinking and craft skills they need to take the next crucial step in their careers.
Led by its academic director, Dr Chris Walker, the EMPA is always adapting as we identify new public sector trends and issues and respond to feedback from governments, but the changes ANZSOG made in 2020 were the biggest in our almost 20 years of delivery. We engaged experts in education technologies to work with Subject Leaders to convert subject material and develop online teaching methodologies. Students were given individual support to ensure they were able to adapt to the technology and, like previous cohorts, participants were able to work in teams online and build a valuable network to last them the rest of their careers.
The result was that when students assessed the subjects overall to date each individual subject received an average of 4.4 with a range of 4.04-4.68 on a five-point scale. A major independent review recently commissioned into the EMPA (which assessed the degree against the Higher Education Standards) stated that:
"It is evident from the material considered that the EMPA is fit for purpose, that it has high standing with the relevant stakeholders, that it has an exceptionally well qualified academic staffing profile, and that ANZSOG's framework for delivery is also fit for purpose."
We have continued to teach online in 2021 because of the uncertainty of COVID. We know online teaching works and we will end up with a flexible, blended approach which mixes online and face-to-face teaching, and synchronous and asynchronous learning, and gives us access to a broad mix of local and global experts.
Take on the EMPA challenge
The EMPA is not for the faint-hearted, it is a rigorous course designed for capable and ambitious people who already have a high degree of experience and content knowledge.
We work closely with our partner universities to deliver the degree, and our core courses are led by renowned academics such as Professor Ross Guest, Professor Janine O'Flynn, Professor Paul 't Hart, Professor Kimberley Isett, Professor Michael Macaulay, Dr Jo Cribb, Professor Arie Freiberg, Professor Suresh Cuganesan and Dr Zina O'Leary.
Participants often say the EMPA gives them a 'toolkit' to solve problems, a set of skills to evaluate information, and new frameworks to think critically and strategically about where their role fits in the bigger picture, as well as a renewed focus on public value.
There is currently an increased demand for capability building and for professional development across the public sector. All of ANZSOG's courses offered online in 2021 are receiving higher-than-usual interest, including the Executive Fellows Program and Towards Strategic Leadership program which will be offered in the second-half of 2021.
Applications for the 2022 EMPA are now open and the program remains the best and most comprehensive program available, the trials and tribulations of COVID have only made it stronger.
Applications for the 2022 Executive Master of Public Administration can be submitted here. Express your interest for the next Executive Fellows Program in the second half of 2021 here.
Express your interest for the next Towards Strategic Leadership Program in late 2021 here. Find out more about ANZSOG programs and free webinars at our Education and events page.
- Professor Ken Smith AO is the Dean and CEO of Australia and New Zealand School of Government.