• Class Number 7219
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Stephen Sherlock
    • Dr Stephen Sherlock
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces students to frameworks and theories for understanding the political and institutional context of contemporary policy making. Particular emphasis in the course is given to how various political, regulatory, administrative and communicative institutions shape the process and outcomes of public policy. Throughout the course students will engage critically in ideas on the structures of policy making, including the role of constitutions, the executive, the bureaucracy, the judiciary and other regulators, political parties, elections and the media. The public policy consequences of different jurisdictional arrangements is also examined looking at the benefits and challenges of centralisation and decentralization. Students will also consider how globalization and the proliferation of transnational policy issues are challenging national systems of government.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the political and institutional context of public policy;
  2. reflect critically on how institutions shape the process and outcomes of public policy;
  3. demonstrate a critical understanding of the role and changing nature of state and non-state institutions (including global institutions) in contemporary public policy;
  4. develop convincing arguments and recommendations on the most appropriate governance structures for achieving particular policy goals; and
  5. demonstrate the ability to think independently, and persuasively communicate ideas in relation to the institutional and governance aspects of public policy institutions.

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 Week One Mapping the institutional context of public policy
2 Week Two Regime types
3 Week Three Varieties of democratic government
4 Week Four The executive: political rulers and the bureaucracy
5 Week Five The role of legislatures in public policy Critical Review I
6 Week Six Parties, elections and public policy
7 Week Seven The judiciary Critical Review II
8 Week Eight Policy-making in Indonesia
9 Week Nine Essay preparation (no lecture or tutorial this week)
10 Week Ten The jurisdictions of policy-making: federalism and decentralization
11 Week Eleven The media in public policy
12 Week Twelve The international and global institutional context of public policy Essay

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Critical Review I (1,000 words) 20 % 23/08/2022 05/09/2022 1, 2, 5
Critical Review II (1500 words) 30 % 19/09/2022 03/10/2022 1, 2, 5
Essay (3,000 words) 50 % 31/10/2022 01/12/2022 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* 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: 23/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 05/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Critical Review I (1,000 words)

Due Date: Monday 23 August, 11:55pm

Details: There is a vast literature which examines the role of institutions in public policy. This assessment requires students to engage closely with a key text.

The review should:

Describe and critically reflect on the argument, whilst identifying the broader debate which this paper forms part, and situate it within this debate. If the paper is older be sure to include discussion of the development of this debate since the paper was written.

  • Article for review will be advised in Week 2

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 19/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 03/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Critical Review II (1500 words)

Due Date: Monday 19 September, 11:55pm

Details: The Critical Review should:

Describe and critically reflect on the argument, whilst identifying the broader debate which this paper forms part, and situate it within this debate (N.B. the approach the authors take in assessing the impact of institutional landscape on policy serves as a guide for how students are expected to approach the final essay). In your review please note how the authors deal with structure versus agency.

Text: Article for review will be advised in Week 4

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 31/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Essay (3,000 words)

Due Date: Monday 31 October, 11:55pm

Details: You are required to write a research essay. You will be expected to engage with academic debate on the issue. In addition, you will be required to support your answer with an example or examples. The task is:

Choose a recent policy initiative or reform in a country of your choice and explain how the institutional landscape influenced the policy process and outcome. You may choose to use a 'new' institutionalist approach in your analysis. Regardless of whether you do so or not, it is important that you do not simply identify the agencies responsible for the initiative, but that you demonstrate how the wider institutional landscape shaped the reform. More guidance on the essay will be provided in course seminars.

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.

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 Stephen Sherlock

Research Interests

Stephen Sherlock is a specialist on political governance in the Asia-Pacific region, with a research interest in Indonesian politics and governance, especially the role of the parliament.

Dr Stephen Sherlock

By Appointment
Dr Stephen Sherlock
02 6125 2178

Research Interests

Dr Stephen Sherlock

By Appointment

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