• Class Number 7606
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Dr Adam Henschke
    • Dr Adam Henschke
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course assesses the political and security significance of infectious diseases and biological weapons. Whether one contemplates historical experiences with smallpox, plague and cholera, or the contemporary challenges posed by new diseases like HIV/AIDS and SARS, it is clear that pathogenic micro-organisms exercise a powerful influence over civilized humankind. The course concentrates on areas in which human health and security concerns intersect most closely, including: the threat posed by biological weapons; responses to fast-moving disease outbreaks of natural origin; security-oriented ethics for biological scientists; and the relationships between infectious disease patterns, public health capacity, state functioning and violent conflict. The overall aim of the course is to provide students with a stronger understanding of the scientific and political nature of these problems, why and how they might threaten security, and the conceptual and empirical connections between them. Course activities and assessment tasks are designed to encourage critical thinking and intellectual autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

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

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will be able to:

1.   Demonstrate a critical understanding of disease-related security and policy issues, drawing on the fields of international relations, strategic studies, political science, ethics, law, biology and public health.

2.   Conduct research in archives, libraries, and using internet resources.

3.   Communicate effectively in verbal, written and group contexts to a professional standard.

4.   Demonstrate a capacity for critical reflection so that the assumptions underpinning security concepts and policies can be effectively scrutinized.

5.   Formulate, analyse and evaluate security policy options in relation to disease-related security challenges.

6.   Exercise attention to detail and analytical rigour in academic writing.

Required Resources

Students should ensure they are familiar with how to access e-journals from the ANU library. There is no assigned textbook for the class, as we will be drawing on multiple journal articles and chapters from various texts. One text that chapters will be drawn from regularly is: Rushton, Simon and Jeremy Youde (eds), Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security, (Oxon: Routledge, 2015).

Essential readings will be made available through Wattle.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel et al, “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19”, New England Journal Of Medicine, March 25, 2020.


WHO, Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection, World Health Organisation, 10th May 2020, https://www.who.int/publications-detail/surveillance-strategies-for-covid-19-human-infection

Berlinger et al, “Framework for Health Care Institutions Responding to Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19: Guidelines for Institutional Ethics Services Responding to COVID-19”, Hastings Center Report, March 16, 2020.


Meredith Celene Schwartz (ed) The Ethics of Pandemics, (Broadview Press, 2020)


Simon Rushton and Jeremy Youde (eds) Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security (Oxon: Routledge, 2015).


Kamradt-Scott, Adam, and Colin McInnes. The securitisation of pandemic influenza: Framing, security and public policy. Global Public Health 7, S2 (2012): S95-S110.


Stern, Alexandra, and Howard Markel. What Mexico Taught the World About Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Community Mitigation Strategies. Journal of the American Medical Association 302, 11 (2009): 1221-1222.


Rushton, Simon. Global Health Security: Security for Whom? Security from What? Political Studies 59, 4 (2011): 779-796.


Schuchat, Anne, Beth Bell and Stephen Redd. The Science behind Preparing and Responding to Pandemic Influenza: The Lessons and Limits of Science. Clinical Infectious Diseases 52, S1 (2011): S8-S12.


WHO. World Health Report 2007: A Safer Future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century. (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2007).


Stern, Alexandra, and Howard Markel. International Efforts to Control Infectious Diseases, 1851 to the Present. Journal of the American Medical Association 292, 12 (2004): 1474-1479.


Davies, Sara. Securitizing infectious disease. International Affairs 84, 2 (2008): 295-313.

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.

Other Information

To pass the course, students must submit all assessment items and achieve an overall mark of at least a Pass, and attend at least 50% of classes. Students are welcome to make an appointment to receive advice and or feedback from the convenor on any of the assessment tasks, however planning and feedback will not be conducted over email. Note that assessments received late will receive numerical feedback only.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Week 1: Introduction: Diseases, pandemics And health as security issues
2 Week 2: The science of Covid-19
3 Week 3: Influenza Pandemics
4 Week 4: A brief history of modern pandemics
5 Week 5: The ethics of pandemics and reponses
6 Week 6: Policy responses to pandemics Part 1
7 Week 7: Policy responses to pandemics Part 2
8 Week 8: Pandemics and social resilience
9 Week 9: Pandemic planning and resilience
10 Week 10: Lessons learnt and trust in policy
11 Week 11: Pandemics and security: Traditional security issues arising from Covid-19
12 Week 12: Pandemics, misinformation and conspiracies: national security communication in the age of disinformation

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Critical assessment of Covid response 20 % 27/08/2020 30/08/2020 L1, L2, L3, L5
Research Essay 40 % 02/11/2020 09/11/2020 L1, L2, L3, L4, L6
Time limited short answers 30 % * * L3, L4, L5, L6
Class participation 10 % 30/11/2020 * L3, L4

* 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: 20 %
Due Date: 27/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2020
Learning Outcomes: L1, L2, L3, L5

Critical assessment of Covid response

This is a 1,000 word essay which in which the students will critically assess a particular response to Covid-19, identifying the key features of that response, giving an assessment of why that response was successful or not, by reference to national security.

This assessment tests students' ability to undertake a detailed analysis of a health security challenge, summarise the relevant scientific and public health literature, and distil this information into an accessible format.

NB: Brief assessments must be submitted on-time via Turn-It-In. Assessments submitted late will receive numerical feedback only. Assessments/policy briefs submitted two (2) weeks after the due date will not be accepted and a mark of zero will be awarded.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 02/11/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: L1, L2, L3, L4, L6

Research Essay

Students will write a 3,000 word research essay from a list of questions distributed within the first week of lecture and made available online.

More details about the project will be provided in class, and a detailed assessment outline will be available on the Wattle site.

NB: Essays must be submitted via Turn-It-In. Assessments submitted late will receive numerical feedback only. Essays submitted two (2) weeks after the due date will not be accepted and a mark of zero will be awarded.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: L3, L4, L5, L6

Time limited short answers

This assesment will be similiar to a traditional exam, in that students will be given a series of short questions, and be expected to answer them briefly and to the point. The questions will be given afte the teaching period has ended, and will be expected to be returned within four days. The questions will cover a range of topics covered in class.

NB: no extensions will be granted for this assignment.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 30/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: L3, L4

Class participation

This assessment will look at how students have accessed the online materials, and how they have engaged with the other students during the course program.

NB: no extensions can be granted for this assignment.

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).
Dr Adam Henschke

Research Interests

Dr Adam Henschke

By Appointment
Dr Adam Henschke
6125 5201

Research Interests

Dr Adam Henschke

By Appointment

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