- Class Number 4232
- Term Code 3230
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Topic On Campus
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- AsPr Elise Klein
- AsPr Elise Klein
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 21/02/2022
- Class End Date 27/05/2022
- Census Date 31/03/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
With the world rapidly changing and populations around the globe faced with crisis as well as ongoing inequalities, the study of public policy and the ability to do it well, matters. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of contemporary public policy making. Students will explore core debates in policy studies and consider concepts, models and tools for understanding, designing, implementing and evaluating public policy for a rapidly changing world. To provide a deeper understanding of the policy process, students will be introduced to analytical perspectives on the policy process with the aim of provoking critical inquiry into policy practices and outcomes. Students will consider a variety of policy actors, power relations, and inequalities in the policy process, and reflect on how competing values and interests influence what issues get policy attention, how they shape decisions, outcomes and evaluation procedures.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms, concepts and ideas in the study of public policy;
- Analyse and critically evaluate how public policy issues come onto the agenda, how they are framed, defined and managed;
- Understand and critically engage in core debates in the field of policy studies including on policy decision-making, implementation, evaluation, governance, power and inequalities in policy, policy transfer and the globalisation of public policy;
- Demonstrate the ability to think independently, reflectively and persuasively on the politics and practices of implementing and evaluating public policy.
Staff FeedbackStudents 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 FeedbackANU 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.
|Summary of Activities
|Week 1: Public Policy Within and Beyond 'the State' This introductory session has three components. First, we discuss the course rationale, structure, and assessment. Second, we ask ‘what is public policy?’ and explore some of the nuances of this fundamental question. Third, we consider a number of the key concepts that we will be using throughout the course, including ‘the state’, policy actors and notions of 'the public'.
|Week 2: Making sense of public policy This session will explore some of the ways that scholars of public policy have sought to make sense of how the policy process works, and how decisions are made. In particular we will examine different kinds of policy models. For example, we examine models that aim to describe how policy actually works, those that provide normative guides on what ought to happen, and those that try to explain why things occur the way they do. Our discussion will also explore the debate between rational and incremental models of decision making, and consider the notion and effects of bounded rationality.
|Week 3: Power and the policy process Policy and policy processes do not impact everyone the same. Considering the role of power in policy processes is crucial and develops our way of thinking about the' public' and 'population'. In this session we specifically consider the role of power and inequalities examining specific issues around race, class, gender, (dis)ability and intersectionality, and how considering relations of power brings important perspectives to the policy process.
|Week 4: Policy Problems, Agenda Setting and Framing Defining public problems is not a neutral act. It involves selecting certain facts and values as important in one’s representation of the world while dismissing others. At any given time, different groups push their problem definitions into the public and political realm. They work to ‘frame’ problems and issues in order to grab the attention of key power brokers (such as the mass media) and policy makers. Without this attention, even the best-argued case for policy reform can fall flat. In this session we consider how the scarce resource of ‘attention’ is allocated in political systems. We begin by considering the significance of values and value conflict in public policy. We then consider what sort of issues receive attention and why. Finally we consider how policy agendas are formed and altered, and discuss various mechanisms used to keep issues off the agenda.
|Assessment 1: Tuesday 22 March 2022
|Week 5: Governance, Policy Co-ordination and Engagement Most policy arenas in most political systems can be characterised as shared power worlds: no single actor can make binding decisions about policies and programs alone. This means that whatever substantive disagreements they may have, all actors (politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, and citizens) in policy processes know that they are (at least in part) mutually interdependent. In this session we explore the concept of governance and consider the increasing role of policy networks in making, implementing and evaluating public policy. This will lead us into a discussion about the issues surrounding interactive forms of policy making where governments attempt to work collaboratively with a host of non-government actors (e.g. business groups and NGOs), and the broader public. We also consider recent attempts to democratise the policy process through the application of more deliberative and inclusive forms of citizen engagement.
|Week 6: The Tools and Instruments of Policy In this session, we look at the building blocks and behavioural assumptions behind the various types of policy interventions that governments may consider. They constitute the ‘tools’ or ‘instruments’ of government. We will discuss the logics underlying policy instruments and consider their likely desired and undesired effects among and beyond ‘target populations’.
|Week 7: Policy Transfer and Learning in a Global Context In this session, we explore the concepts of policy learning and policy transfer which are used to 'make sense' of the movement of ideas and programs between jurisdictions and nations. We will also discuss the increasingly global context in which policy issues emerge and are addressed.
|Assignment 2: Monday 25th April 2022 by 11.55pm
|Week 8: Knowledge, Uncertainty and Policy Analysis In this session we examine the role of knowledge in the policy making process. In our discussion we will explore the contribution that different kinds of policy analysis can make to the policy process. We also discuss the heavily contested concept of 'evidenced-based policymaking’. Increasingly policy controversies and problems emerge in contexts where knowledge is ambiguous, uncertain, and contested. In such contexts, what are the prospects for making informed, rational, fair and legitimate policy decisions? In exploring this question we discuss the potential role of public deliberation, argumentation, negotiation and judgment.
|Week 9: Policy Implementation In this session we explore issues relating to policy implementation. In particular we consider why many polices on the ground differ from what they were intended to do. Our discussion will also explore the discretion and legitimacy of front-line or ‘street-level’ public servants.
|Week 10: Centralising and Decentralising Public Policy In this session we will explore the distinction between, and variations in, centralised and decentralised systems of government and the impact these arrangements have on the policy development process. We will explore the differences between federalism and unitary systems and discuss the basic features, benefits and problems that different systems can present for public policy development. We will consider the arrangements that federations such as Australia put in place to facilitate coordination and cooperation between the different levels of government, and ways in which unitary systems ensure the needs of regions are met by centralised policy making. International trends towards decentralisation and ‘subsidiarity’ will be addressed.
|Week 11: The Purpose, Process and Politics of Evaluation In this session we ask: Why evaluate policy? We consider the stages involved in standard (rational-oriented) evaluation methodologies and explore how they might inform as well as impede lesson-drawing in public policy. We then consider alternative approaches to the standard (rationalist) approach to policy evaluation, including case-study and participatory approaches. We reflect on the politics of evaluation: ultimately, the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of public programs is in the eyes of the beholder, and therefore, prone to exactly the same kind of framing battles and pulling and hauling between policy actors that we encounter in the problem-definition and policy implementation stages of the policy process.
|Week 12: Public Policy in a Connected World (no tutorials this week) In this final session we will collectively draw out the main lessons from the course. We will consider some of the emerging themes in policy studies, such as how can states develop effective and legitimate public policies in an increasingly global context. The class will reflect on some of the key differences between making and evaluating public policy in the developing and developed world. Are these differences becoming more or less significant in an increasingly connected world? Assessment 3: in class assessment task (no tutorials this week)
|Assessment 3: Monday 23rd of May by 11.55pm
You will be asked to sign up for a weekly tutorial (both online and face to face options will be available to choose from).
|Return of assessment
|1, 2, 4, 5
|1, 3, 4, 5
|Policy Transfer Essay
|1, 4, 5
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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Assessment RequirementsThe 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 AssessmentMarks 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
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5
Equivalent to 500 words. Learning outcomes: 1
The quiz is designed to provide formative feedback to students on their comprehension and understanding of key concepts covered in the lecture and reading materials. It will comprise of 5 questions requiring short answer responses on specific concepts covered in the first 3 weeks of the course.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 5
1500 words. Learning outcomes: 2, 3, and 4
This assessment builds student’s skills in analysing policy problems, critical reading and reflection, connecting policy theory with practice, applying the language of policy studies and writing effectively. Students are required to write a 1500-word analysis paper that draws on student’s own engagements with policy and knowledge from the readings and lecture materials. In this assessment students are asked to identify and discuss how different policy actors have framed a ‘policy problem’.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1, 4, 5
Policy Transfer Essay
2500 words (NOT including reference list)
This assessment builds on your skills in analysing policy programs, critical reading and reflection, connecting policy theory with practice, applying the language of policy studies and writing effectively.
You are required to write a 2500-word essay in which you analyse the transfer of a real world policy program of your choice within or to your home country.
In your essay you need to:
Briefly describe the policy program that has been transferred and what case was made to transfer it (what and why)
Outline how the policy was transferred.
Analyse the impacts of the transfer, specifically outlining who was impacted (intended and unintended), paying particular attention to gendered, racialised, class, disability and Indigenous groups.
The Policy Transfer Essay is designed to assess learning outcomes 1, 3, 4, and 5. It will be assessed against the following criteria:
focus on the set task
demonstrated understanding of key concepts (policy actors and policy transfer)
critical analysis of the policy program
capacity to make relevant connections between practice and theory
evidence of your own reflections, ideas and perspectives
accurate citing of sources (readings/media/online sources/reports)
presented your ideas and arguments succinctly with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar
Before submission, please ensure that your Policy Transfer Essay has:
at least 2cm margins
at least 1.5 spaced text
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