• Class Number 4538
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Robert Costanza
    • AsPr Ida Kubiszewski
    • Prof Robert Costanza
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

To a large extent, policies drive   environmental outcomes.  Accordingly, we need to develop ways to   consider how policies create and deal with pressing environmental issues as   well as mechanisms to force actions in order to improve outcomes.  This   course provides students with an understanding of the theory and practice of   key Environmental Assessment (EA) approaches that are the principle means of   integrating environmental considerations into governmental decision-making.    Course participants study how EAs have evolved since the 1960s to become   important strategies for institutionalizing environmental reform, the role of   public participation and science in environmental decision-making, and how   political, social and economic dynamics affect decisions.  Drawing upon   involvement by industry, state and civil society practitioners, participants   will learn to apply the basic principles of environmental assessment to   critically assess development proposals, develop public consultation   strategies, evaluate monitoring and mitigation in environmental management   plans. Following recent shifts to approaches informed by ecological   modernization and new environmental policy instruments, participants will   also consider the processes of categorizing social and environmental impacts,   of carrying out assessments, and of setting out minimum management standards,   have been extended beyond the conventional EA processes to environmental   management systems and standard and market- based regulation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the theoretical principles and conceptual development of Environmental Assessment.
  2. Demonstrate an appreciation of tools and processes for, and practice of, environmental assessment and management;
  3. Demonstrate skills in assessing development projects, policies and program documents;
  4. Drawing on key social science readings, analyze and evaluate environmental problems and policy problems affecting EA practices.
  5. Evaluate the role, strengths and limitations of various assessment tools among a suite of policy approaches used in environmental decision making.
  6. Demonstrate understanding of how complex socio-political and economic contexts affect environmental decision making
  7. Identify, assess and articulate how social relationships and political contexts affect how assessment practices function, especially in shaping the trade-offs that occur between competing interests during assessment processes.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What is Environmental Assessment?
2 Environmental Goals: Human and Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. Summary Paper
3 Ecosystem Services.
4 Governance Summary Paper
5 Scenario Planning
6 Legal Background for EIAs Summary Paper
7 Systems Thinking.
8 Risk and Uncertainty Summary Paper
9 Cost-Benefit analysis with examples
10 Alternative Indicators
11 Institutions
12 Summary Final paper

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will be during the last hour of class

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Summary Papers 40 % * * 1,2,6
Final paper 60 % 03/06/2020 02/07/2020 3,4,5,6,7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,6

Summary Papers

Write four short summaries for policymakers (400 words) that identify the key reading's contributions/ideas and what they mean for environmental assessment policy and practice. This is not intended to be just a reiteration of what's in the report, but a critical and creative assessment for policymakers. What's relevant, what needs improvement, how could it be done better?

Due: 11 March, 25 March, 22 April, 6 May

Length: 400 words each

Return of assessment date: Week after submission

Assessment Task 2

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 03/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5,6,7

Final paper

For your final paper, choose a real-world development project that has a completed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which you can access (read or download). This development project can be in the country of your choosing.

Analyze this completed EIA. How could it be improved upon? Based on both the UNEP report and things you learned in class that go beyond this report, how would you have done the EIA or IEA for this development project?… Include a discussion of the political, cultural, scientific, and other constraints and opportunities. Be critical but also be creative. Can an IEA help make projects better and more sustainable? Assessment criteria will be available on Wattle.

Length: 2000 words…

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Robert Costanza
01 6125 6987

Research Interests

Transdisciplinary integration, ecological economics, ecosystem services, landscape ecology, integrated ecological and socioeconomic modeling, energy and material flow analysis, environmental policy, social traps and addictions, incentive structures and institutions.

Prof Robert Costanza

Thursday 13:00 14:00
AsPr Ida Kubiszewski
02 6125 5706

Research Interests

AsPr Ida Kubiszewski

Prof Robert Costanza
02 6125 6987

Research Interests

Prof Robert Costanza

Thursday 13:00 14:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions