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ANZSOG 2020: New research program, new people, refreshed courses

11 March 2020

News and media


lady holding a policy handbook with microphones around

ANZSOG has entered 2020, with new staff, a reinvigorated research program, and refreshed education programs.

ANZSOG Dean and CEO, Professor Ken Smith, said ANZSOG was continually adapting to meet the needs of its students, university partners and owner governments.

“We have seen a summer of unprecedented challenges for the public sector – with devastating bushfires in Australia and the COVID-19 outbreak across the world,” Professor Smith said.

“This highlights the importance of having a public sector that can adapt quickly to meet challenges which cut across portfolios and maintain its focus on improving the lives of citizens.”

Professor Smith said ANZSOG is being proactive in its response to the COVID-19 virus and would continue to monitor the emerging response.

“We are considering the need to defer programs or put in place other strategies for engagement, such as online, which do not necessitate domestic or international travel.

“We have already made the decision not to proceed with components of the Executive Master of Public Administration, which were scheduled to be delivered in Singapore, and have deferred our Executive Fellows Program, which requires Singapore and trans-Tasman travel, until 2021.

“We will continue to monitor the situation until the short and long term impacts of the virus are clearer.”

“ANZSOG is continually working to ensure our education courses, research and thought leadership meet the ever-changing demands of the public sector,” Professor Smith said.

“Our courses, which offer a mix of academic and practitioner expertise, have helped thousands of public sector leaders increase their capability and knowledge.”

The impact of ANZSOG courses is highlighted by the fact that nearly 200 members of ANZSOG’s alumni have gone on to hold roles as CEOs or Secretaries of government agencies in Australia and New Zealand, providing value to their agencies and the communities they serve. In addition, a further 200 have gone on to hold roles as Deputy CEOs and Deputy Secretaries.

ANZSOG’s education schedule for 2020 includes our refreshed foundation programs, as well as short courses featuring senior practitioners and academic experts from across the world.

Professor Smith said that in addition to its public educational offerings, ANZSOG also worked directly with public sector agencies to address specific workforce development needs.

“Our deep understanding and first-hand experience of government mean we can tailor programs to meet current and future needs of agencies or governments,” he said.

Evolution of Foundation programs

Professor Smith said that ANZSOG’s foundation program, the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) would feature a renewed emphasis on strategic thinking, leadership, innovation and communication skills, combined with its longstanding focus on the concept of public value.

“This two-year program, offered in eight short four-day modules and with three electives delivered by our university partners, is designed to propel the careers of individuals already exhibiting high potential and help them maximise their impact as confident, critical thinkers who can manage complex challenges and drive change,” he said.

Applications are still open for the Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL) program, which is designed to help public sector leaders prepare for executive roles by strengthening their strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience, and capacity to reflect and learn.

Expressions of interest are welcome for the Executive Fellows Program (EFP), which prepares senior public servants to rise to the top of the ranks of the public service by honing their ability to effectively lead in an increasingly complex operating environment.

“In addition, ANZSOG offers a range of master-classes and short workshops designed to help public sector leaders hone their strategic, practical and critical thinking capabilities.

“Topics include leadership, strategy, regulation, and communications and engagement. Our faculty includes world-renowned experts such as Harvard’s Professor Malcolm Sparrow and leadership expert Dr. Dana Born.”

ANZSOG will again hold a  CEO Forum in 2020 which will provide an opportunity for senior leaders to reflect on the challenges of their work and discuss issues with a network of peers in a confidential forum.

New staff and research

ANZSOG has continued to expand its footprint across Australia and New Zealand, and to boost its research capacity as it shifts its research program to one based around producing research with practical application through partnerships with universities and governments.

“We have made two significant research appointments with Professor Ariadne Vromen appointed as the new Sir John Bunting Chair of Public Administration at the Australian National University, commencing in June. And Professor Shaun Goldfinch was appointed last year as the inaugural ANZSOG WA Government Chair in Public Administration and Policy at Curtin University in Perth,” Professor Smith said.

“These two appointments will help us continue to build relationships with universities and governments and help to set research priorities.

“We’ve also significantly increased investment in our research program, working with governments and other partners to design major pieces of collaborative research that can be of practical assistance to governments and the communities they serve.”

ANZSOG’s annual research budget has been increased from $250,000 to $750,000 and will operate on the basis that every dollar is at least matched by a government, university, foundation or other partners. This will result in at least $1.5 to $2.25 million in funding for research into public administration and public policy issues each year. ANZSOG is developing a new model for undertaking such research projects and will continue to consult with governments this year.

First Peoples

Professor Smith said that ANZSOG was on a journey to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and viewpoints into its daily work, and to work to improve outcomes in Indigenous affairs policy across Australia and New Zealand, by encouraging genuine partnerships with First Peoples.

“This work began in 2017 with the Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration: Can’t We Do Better?” he said.

“We built on this success in 2019 with  Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms, held in Melbourne and attracting more than 450 attendees.

ANZSOG had planned a third conference, on the theme of “Proud Partnerships in Place” to be held in Brisbane on 26 and 27 May this year, but Professor Smith said ANZSOG had reluctantly decided to postpone it until there was greater certainty about the impacts of COVID-19.

“We remain committed to working with First Peoples communities to promote and prioritise the perspectives and contributions of First Peoples,” Professor Smith said.

Read ANZSOG’s 2020 Education Summary on the ANZSOG website.