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Executive Master of Public Administration students celebrate graduation

30 March 2021

News and media



It has been a long and disrupted journey, but ANZSOG’s 2019 Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) cohort have celebrated their graduation at a virtual event earlier in March.

The cohort has seen the EMPA course shift online, and their government employers scramble to adjusted to a disrupted environment as they worked to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

After two years of working together to address problems, and learn new skills from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best academics and practitioners, the group will join more than 3600 ANZSOG alumni, many in key positions within the public sector.

James Goodwin, from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority was voted as Dean’s Prize Winner and delivered the valedictory speech on behalf of the cohort.

He said that: “I suspect, though, that most of us had no idea how much the world would change over the course of our EMPA and how much our journey would be shaped by those changes.”

“To me, it seems so long ago that we first came together as a cohort in Melbourne to learn about Public Value and explore the challenges we faced in a VUCA world.

“At the time, it felt like EMPA would equip us to be better leaders in an increasingly complex and uncertain world.”

He said that he wanted to thank his fellow students for their role in sharing their experience and supporting each other.

“I know that for many of you, COVID transformed your work demands, whether it was through leading frontline responses, developing additional support for the community, redesigning your service delivery or in other ways,” he said.

“This must have made it even more challenging to find time for EMPA, and you did it! I am particularly inspired by the resilience of the Victorian cohort given the additional constraints you experienced last year.

“Groupwork was also central to our EMPA experience. A big thanks to the almost 30 of you who were in one or more of the groups I was involved in. You all brought different perspectives and ideas to each groupwork task, and I learnt so much from that.”

EMPA participants are nominated by their agency to undertake the challenging program, which integrates theory and practical application in a unique cross-jurisdictional classroom setting.

The course is constantly evolving to incorporate new ideas in public management and respond to the changing demands of the public sector and ANZSOG’s owner governments.

In 2020, the EMPA was able to shift to online delivery while continuing to give participants the chance to work closely together, share ideas and build a strong network that will last for the rest of their careers.

The 2021 EMPA cohort has already begun its journey, and expressions of interest are now open for the 2022 EMPA.

For the 2019 EMPA cohort Prizes were also awarded for the best performers in each subject as follows:



Jurisdiction and Department 

Delivering Public Value (DPV)

Nigel McMillan

NZ – Ministry of Social Development

Government in a Market Economy (GME)

Samuel (Sam) Hamilton

CTH – Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Designing Public Policies and Programs (DPPP)

Nigel McMillan

NZ – Ministry of Social Development

Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU)

Kate Petrie

QLD Department of Health

Managing Public Sector Organisations (MPSO)

Louise Evans

VIC – Department of Health and Human services

Governing by the Rules (GBR)

Ben Kong

VIC – Department of Health and Human Services

Leading Public Sector Change (LPSC)

Kirsten Nelson

WA – Corruption & Crime Commission

Public Financial Management (PFM)

James Goodwin

NSW – Environment Protection Authority

Work-Based Project (WBP)


Tania Wilson – CTH

Matt Tibble – VIC

Sumit Sinha-Roy – WA

Kirsten Nelson – WA

Jason Crean – NSW

Nijole Szabo – CTH

CTH – Dept of Home Affairs

VIC – Mental Health Reform Victoria

WA – Dept of Health

WA – Corruption & Crime Commission

NSW – Dept of Primary Industries

CTH – Dept of Education, Skills and Employment

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