ANZSOG Executive Master of Public Administration embraces online environment

Graphic of woman doing at a press conference
  • Published Date: 01 July 2020

COVID-19’s impact has been felt across all sectors of our society, and has highlighted the importance of high quality, evidence-based and transparent public management and service leadership – the things ANZSOG was founded to support. COVID-19’s impact has been felt across all sectors of our society, and has highlighted the importance of high quality, evidence-based and transparent public management and service leadership – the things ANZSOG was founded to support. 

At the same time ANZSOG, like other education providers, has been facing the challenge of shifting its Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program online due to the restrictions affecting face-to-face teaching. 

EMPA academic director Dr Chris Walker said the COVID-19 environment had been challenging on a personal, professional and organisational level, and that ANZSOG had worked with students and teaching faculty to quickly adapt the EMPA to solely online delivery. 

“With much uncertainty for governments and individual students around travel, we do not anticipate studies returning to full face-to-face delivery until 2021 and remain committed to providing education continuity for our students regardless of the delivery mode,” Dr Walker said. 

“ANZSOG surveyed all current EMPA students to inform its decision-making on the mode and timing of subject deliveries, and I thank them for their open and honest feedback on the best approach to progressing their studies. 

“The survey results demonstrated an appreciation for the traditional face-to-face delivery of the EMPA, but also indicated a strong willingness to pursue delivery in an online format. 

“Importantly, a majority of students indicated they were keen to progress their studies in 2020, as opposed to deferring subjects to 2021.” 

Each EMPA subject in 2020 (with the exception of Work Based Project which was already designed to include an online component before the COVID-19 impact was felt) is being delivered online. 

“We’ve kept the mix of academic and practitioner expertise, and the depth and quality of that expertise that makes the EMPA an outstanding experience. 

“ANZSOG has worked with experienced eLearning designers and our Subject Leaders to develop an online delivery model that will continue to provide the world-class education which ANZSOG is renowned for and, as part of that, an EMPA that centres on learning and collaboration.” 

Prior to COVID-19, ANZSOG had already begun embracing online components of the EMPA, including providing students with options to work together remotely on challenges before their first face-to-face session. 

In the new online format, subjects commence with an orientation session for students a week before teaching begins, followed by four designated teaching days which will include live online sessions with faculty and students. 

For each subject the focus of assessments remains consistent with authentic tasks that require students to draw on their professional experience, engage with contemporary research and collaborate with peers.  
Professor Zeger van der Wal, an Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and a contributor to ANZSOG programs, has long described the 21st century public service environment as the ‘VUCA world’ – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken VUCA to a new level, with governments required to make drastic decisions on limited evidence, and create new structures to deal with a fast-moving crisis. 

The EMPA will continue to provide students with the tools, values and analytical capacity to deal with this uncertainty, and whatever challenges the future holds. 

“We believe in uncertain times like this, our mission is more important than ever,” Dr Walker said. 

Find out more about ANZSOG’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA)