This is the transcript for the video Local Government Leadership UTS Open Day 2020.

Facilitator: Hello and welcome to Open Week. Thank you for dropping by. I’m here to talk to you about leadership, particularly in the public sector. I run leadership courses, the postgraduate leadership courses, at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance. So I’m going to spend a bit of time today just talking to you about the course that we run, some of the teaching strategies that we have, some of the people that come to our types of courses and then talk a little bit about what leadership means in relation to public sector and the work that you do.

So to give you a bit of background, I have been with the Institute for Public Policy and Governance now for 10 years and have been running graduate certificate courses in leadership across that time, plus professional development and training courses. I love work with postgraduate students. I really think that the skills of being able to lead well, the professional skills of being able to lead well, are really important to keep developing as you progress through your career. I really enjoy the types of people that join us on our programs. I have been – as I said, been with the institute for 10 years. The Institute for Public Policy and Governance is a leading group of researchers and practitioners and lecturers.

We specialise in the areas of public administration and policy, social research, evaluation, stakeholder engagement and, of course, leadership. We also are home to the Centre for Local Government, which is very much a core part of IPPG as well, so some of our subjects, as we will explore in a little while, also are very much related to local government, as well as the wider public sector and people who work in those public-sector facing roles. Part of the interest that I have in developing courses for postgraduate students is that the IPPG strategy is really to be the thought leader in public policy and administration.

We want to be known for high-quality, high-impact research advisory and educational services, so my strategic aims and activities are all guided by these aims of IPPG. So we have innovative and relevant education programs that are really tailored for people working in the public sector. I mean, we work very closely with public sector organisations to improve sector capabilities and foster best practice. We work very hard with our students and organisations to enable greater impact on the work that you do. So some of our courses at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance, we have a whole range of short courses, professional-development programs.

We have a Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership and Management, which I run, which is a four-subject course. That also filters into our graduate diploma and master’s degrees in our local government and our public policy streams that we offer as well through the institute. So the Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership and Management is a really, I think, great opportunity for people who are interested in embarking on a post-degree program, but are not quite sure where they want to specialise in yet. So it articulates into a range of higher-degree programs that gives you that foundational kind of thinking around what does it mean to lead effectively in the public sector.

So some of the subjects that we have. So in the Graduate Certificate for Public Leadership and Management, we have two core subjects. These are called Leading for Public Good, which very much is about the contextual considerations around leading in public sector organisations, what does public value mean, how do we create it, what does placed-based leadership mean? How do we tailor into – connect into the values of our stakeholders and our communities to ensure that we are generating public good outcomes?

The second core subject in this course if Professional Skills for Public Managers, so we all know that there are those brilliant professional skills that we could all do with developing and reminding ourselves of our learning opportunities around communications, strategic planning, being able to deal and manage with change, being able to negotiate conflict, all of those crucial skills that we need to be able to really do our roles well. We also have some specifically tailored-leadership electives within the graduate certificate for people who are interested in team building and leadership or community leadership in specific ways.

We also have a great opportunity with councils and also with agencies where we can recognise leadership programs that you’ve already done as a subject credit point, subject to some – maybe some additional assessment criteria. We also have micro-credentialing opportunities through some of our smaller tailored professional-development programs and we have electives in our suite of programs that include leadership-related modules. So the Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Leadership and Management has two core subjects and then you get to choose from a range of options for your remaining two electives.

What we’ve created is some personalised learning streams, depending on your specific areas of interests. So, for example, it might be leadership that you really want to continue with. You’ve done your two foundational leadership courses and now you’re going to continue and do the elective leadership subjects, maybe the team building and leadership and the community leadership, or you may think, actually, I really want to specialise now in the local government stream and so we have a whole range of electives from our Graduate Diploma in Local Government and also our Master’s of Local Government.

There’s some brilliant electives there that you might choose to do as part of this graduate certificate and maybe you might dabble in thinking about moving on to the graduate diploma and the master’s. We also have some great public policy courses as part of our graduate diploma and our Master’s in Public Policy. Again, you can choose ones the ones that you think will be particularly interesting for you at this stage and you might choose to continue on that learning path as well. We’ve also got a fantastic range of different courses across the university that we can also tap into through this course.

So you might be specifically interested in project management or in planning or in business, so we have some electives that we can choose from across those programs at UTS as well. So we really design this course, this postgraduate course, with the professional in mind who really wants to hone in on a specific area of interest. Now, UTS 2027 is a fantastic strategic direction that we all have across the university and I’ve certainly designed my course and I know that my colleagues have designed their courses to really fit in with this strategic vision that we have. We make sure that we have personal-learning experiences in our courses.

We provide fit-for-purpose learning. We know that people in the public sector have different specialist areas and so we help you to develop your leadership and management capability alongside these. We see that leadership is a continual process that forms part of a lifelong learning journey and so leadership is just not something that you can just learn for a little while and then put on a shelf. It’s something that is a continual process and we recognise that. We structure the course and the content that allows for cross-functional teaching and we want pathways for you that encourage collaboration and maybe innovation in your field.

Connected research. We use the expertise of our advisory and academic teams to provide content and vice-versa, so we have a brilliant advisory team that does all sorts of consultancy projects that we can use as case studies in our teaching. Similarly, we can provide supports back into the advisory services through our teaching program. Social change, that is what our aspirations are to really impact outcomes for public good. So meaningful and sustainable social change requires capable people, which is why we’re so keen to offer this Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership and Management to help develop the people across those sectors.

I also just want to quickly touch on our UTS model of learning. Now, I know that this might be a lot of words, but I think it might help you to see the kind of – things that we are really keen on when we are designing our programs. We really, really consider this course to be really integrated with professional practice. We design the programs in close consultation with academics, with practitioners and with government stakeholders. We use new knowledge all the time. So every year we will adapt and update the content, depending on what’s going on in the world and what’s going on for particular public sectors.

Our strategy promotes collaboration with stakeholders and we have targeted inclusion of really some fantastic guest presenters with great experience from across the government sector. So they can help with our practice-based learning and we have a – one of our subjects, a lovely little option for a leadership clinic with practitioners and leaders in the sector for you to really get that special one-to-one time of really understanding what it takes to lead well in the fields that you’re interested in. The other two areas of the model of learning is professional practice situated in a global workplace. We don’t want to be just in our silos or in our small frames of view.

We know that people need to have much more generic abilities to lead across diverse sectors. We include policy and governance studies from around the world, because we want to have a global perspective of what public leadership really is. Also, learning is research inspired and it’s got great academic rigour. We have a lovely lot of academics that we work with that have particular specialisms in local-government policy, evaluation, strategy and they really contribute to the design and delivery of this particular course. Again, this practice of leadership is framed by this concept of lifelong learning and adult education concepts.

We want this to be really relevant to the work that you’re doing. A very busy slide, but just to give you the flavour of the types of things that we dabble with in our courses, we have a range of content and assessment and activities in all of the subjects. We’ll have presentations and lectures. We’ll have workshops; online activities using our learning management system, Canvas; individual and group work; reflective learning journals. Of course, we have academic assignments. We encourage you to do presentations, either face-to-face or online. We encourage you to contribute to forums using our learning management system.

Part of the assessment process requires you to interview leaders, so it gives you again a great excuse to perhaps have the ear of somebody that you might not normally have with the intent of your learning. Producing project plans, simulated scenarios, discussions and debates, exhibiting some project work. Particularly we do the community leadership subject. Some group work projects and some community projects. So we have a real range of different course content and assessment in both our face-to-face and our online teaching, but we are also really conscious that online activities are becoming more and more prevalent for all of us.

The development of students’ professional, physical and virtual skills are really, really important, particularly in you’re in these roles where you’re directly accountable to the public, so anyway as a government professional, so your virtual ability and capability is just as important as your physical. So some final thoughts about why we are passionate about leadership at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance. First of all, we really, really think that capacity building is an important component of outcomes and progress at systemic and sectorial levels. We know that being able to build up professionals’ competence areas in leadership and being able to partnerships to build consortiums is really important.

We know that you need to navigate policy legislation and strategy and aligning those, having the ability to align those is really important for the capacity building in the public sector. We want things to be evidenced based and driven. We need them to be embedded in community and human needs and aspirations. We want to be strategic. We want to align with frameworks and innovation initiatives and we need to be able to report success. So all of this leadership development work that we integrate into our courses is very much with that capacity building at a sectoral level in mind. But we also know that it’s about the individual.

So for you as an aspiring person on our courses, we want to be able to develop your capability. You’ve already got some fantastic strengths and skills and know, but recognising that these can always be developed and honed even more, so capability is really about the knowledge, the skills and the abilities that professionals in the public sector must demonstrate to perform their roles effectively. Then finally we want to then really strengthen your competence, so competence starts with capability, but it’s also the improve in abilities and the improved capacities and skills that you gain as a result of attending these courses.

Now, we are regularly reviewing competency and capability frameworks that public sectors use, so that we know that we’re aligning our courses to the professional frameworks that are used in your workplaces around skills, abilities, behaviours and attitudes and we really know that learning programs build competency and capability levels, particularly if they integrate this professional-based action learning and learning-by-doing oriented program. So I really hope that that gives you a flavour of what we do here at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance around building leadership capability for public sector professionals.

As I said before, I thoroughly enjoy engaging with my postgraduate students in our subjects and really learn from them around what’s happening in their workplaces. So we very much see it as a great collaborative process of learning. There’s lots of discourse. Lots of chat and lots of fun as well. So I hope that’s given you some ideas. If you want any more information or you’d like to chat through maybe your options for enrolling on this course or what your electives might be or what your pathway of learning might be, then please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks very much.