Georgia Impact

Governor honors Certified Public Manager graduates

Twenty-nine state and local leaders who graduated from the UGA's Certified Public Manager program on June 28. Gov. Nathan Deal addressed the group. (Shannah Montgomery/UGA)

Leaders strengthen supervisory skills in courses presented by Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Gov. Nathan Deal knows that effective government stewardship helps Georgia remain America’s top state for doing business.

Deal emphasized his commitment to good governance in his address to 29 state and local leaders who graduated from the University of Georgia’s Certified Public Manager program on June 28. Deal encouraged the graduates—managers from 12 state agencies and two municipal police departments—to practice the elements of superior leadership.

“To be a good leader, it takes hard work, surrounding yourself with talented people and the ability to listen. I congratulate all of you for being part of this program, and I congratulate you further in wanting to make yourselves better leaders,” Deal said.

UGA’s Certified Public Manager program, with 300 hours of curriculum, helps state and local government managers enhance their leadership skills through in-class learning, independent study and a capstone project that addresses an issue affecting their individual agencies. Courses explore how self-awareness impacts leadership and collaboration, effective ways to establish a collaborative work culture and proven methods to improve performance and engagement. Participants earn nationally recognized certification.

Program graduates like Olivia A. Duke, a policy coordinator with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, gained a greater understanding of the difference between self-image and public perception.

“My biggest takeaway was that my perception of myself and how others see me can be quite different,” Duke said. “Now, my colleagues recognize that I’m more receptive to feedback. That gives them more buy-in and helps them feel like they’re having an influence in decision-making.”

The June 28 graduation ceremony recognized the first class that included a mix of state and local government managers. The Georgia Certified Public Manager curriculum is accredited by the National Certified Public Manager Consortium and is provided exclusively by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Managers who earn certification are fluent in leadership skills that typically aren’t taught in traditional academic programs, said Walt McBride, faculty member at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and CPM program director. McBride works closely with Marci Campbell, lead instructor and curriculum director for the Georgia Certified Public Manager program to ensure the courses remain relevant and robust.

In spring 2018, the UGA School of Public and International Affairs recognized the program’s academic rigor by agreeing to award three hours of course credit to Master of Public Administration students who attain CPM certification.

Members of the recent graduating class were keenly focused on public service, Campbell said.

“This group was an interesting mix of people who have been in management positions for a while with people who are relatively new to management,” Campbell said. “They were really bound by this intense belief in the value of service.”

UGA President Jere W. Morehead said the Certified Public Manager program exemplifies the university’s commitment to public service.

“The University of Georgia works hard to provide meaningful continuing education to leaders throughout Georgia,” Morehead said, “and CPM is an invaluable resource to help government managers engage their colleagues in best practices and lead the way to more efficient, effective government.”

One hundred public managers, including those in this class, have graduated from the current Certified Public Manager program since it began in 2016. Class speaker Steve Fanczi, deputy executive director of the Georgia Building Authority, said the experience allowed him to watch fellow leaders grow and develop.

“CPM gives you a great foundation in the basics and principles of leadership,” Fanczi said.