• Class Number 1589
  • Term Code 3320
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Sharon Bessell
    • Prof Sharon Bessell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 06/02/2023
  • Class End Date 14/04/2023
  • Census Date 24/02/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 06/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

Social policy has long been shaped by the global flow of ideas, as ideologies and models have been exchanged between countries; exported by colonial powers to their colonies; or imposed by external donors in the name of reconstruction or development.  Yet, social policy is often understood as the policies, processes and services provided by governments, without sufficient consideration of the global context.


This course examines social policy in the global context of the twenty first century.  We will analyse the impact of ideas, models and approaches developed within the international arena on social policy within nations.  We will also explore the ways in which approaches to social policy are transferred and shared between countries.  We examine key international trends in social policy and the values on which they are based – as well as key critiques of and opposition to those trends.  This course will include some comparative analysis of the influence and response to globalised ideas, models and approaches across different countries.


Global Social Policy moves away from the traditional silos of ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, whereby social policy is considered the domain of the former and development the domain of the latter.  Rather, we will examine key approaches to social policy, evidence on ‘what works’, and major debates and controversies across the constructs of the ‘Global North’ and the ‘Global South.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the ways in which the global flow of ideas has shaped and continues to shape social policy within and across nations
  2. Understand the governance structures for, and effectiveness of, global social policy-making
  3. Understand the (sometimes competing) agendas and roles of major global actors in the area of social policy
  4. Be able to analyse key ideas and objectives that underpin the social policy models advocated by key international agencies

Research-Led Teaching

My own research revolves around issues of social justice, equality, and human rights. My research focuses on three broad areas. First, social policy for children who are living in difficult circumstances; I am currently leading two projects on multidimensional child poverty - one in Australia and one in Indonesia. The second area of focus is the gendered and generational nature of multidimensional poverty. The third is childhoods across generations. You can find out more about that research at http://childrenspolicycentre.org/ or http://sharonbessell.com

Over the past thirteen years, I have led research on new approaches to assessing and responding to multidimensional poverty. You can find out more about our work at immp.crawford.anu.edu.au. The third are of focus is gender equality, and particularly women's political participation.

A great deal of my research focuses on the ways in which domestic policy, international frameworks (particularly around human rights and social policy), and global debates/campaigns/ideas intersect. Much of my research has focused on the influence of international human rights treaties (particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This course focuses on the role that international organisations and actors have in shaping social policy, and the ways in which ideas travel. It is also shaped by my own research on the role of international ideas and frameworks in shaping policies for individuals and social groups considered to be marginalised or disadvantaged (often due to structural barriers or systems failures).

Field Trips

Sadly, we have no field trips!

Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

There is no specific material or equipment required, expect a laptop or computer. If you are in the online class, your computer will need to have a microphone. You will need internet access, as some of our class activities use online platforms. Please contact Professor Bessell if you have any concerns.

Required Resources

Recorded lectures

Pre-recorded lectures for each topic discussed are on our Wattle site. This is an intensive course, and you may not have time to listen to every lecture - but the more you listen to the more you will be able to engage in class discussions and the more you will gain from the course. The lectures are provided as resources - you are expected to listen to at least one lecture for each topic and advised to listen to all lectures for topics that you are interested in (and certainly listen to all lectures for any topics on which you plan to use for your assessment tasks). There is information on the Wattle site to help you decide which lectures you are most interested in and to help you prioritise your listening.


There is no text book for Global Social Policy, but key readings will be available on our Wattle site.

Most topics have several readings - and our Wattle site will make clear which are expected and which are optional.  It is not compulsory that you read every article - but the more you read, the more you will gain from the course. Ideally, you should go beyond the readings provided - particularly for your assessment tasks - and explore the literature more broadly. Of course, if you do not do any reading, you will not gain maximum benefit from the class.

Videos and podcasts

There is an enormous range of excellent videos and podcasts available on the topics we will be discussing. Some of the most powerful or interesting are posted on our Wattle site as additional resources that you may wish to use. These may be especially helpful for your assessment tasks.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Monday 6 February The Big Debates In our first session together we will initially discuss what we mean by key concepts of social policy, globalisation, and global social policy. We will then turn our attention to the big debates that underpin thinking about social policy globally, including universalism/residualism; human rights/needs; growth/sustainability; state/market; individual/collective. These debate - and where actors are positioned within the - determine the policy that are advocated by various international agencies. They also shape the extent to which nation states are prepared to adopt the recommendations and policy prescriptions of international agencies. DETAILS, INCLUDING READINGS AND PRE-RECORDED LECTURES, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
2 Thursday 9 February The Big Ideas ?In this session, we examine the ideas that underpin global social policy. How has the idea of the welfare state influenced global social policy, and what have key actors advocated about the role of the state. How are labour standards related to global social policy? What role do social protection floors have? How have ideas of human development and wellbeing shaped global social policy? In this session, we will address these questions and map and analyse the big ideas of global social policy. DETAILS, INCLUDING READINGS AND PRE-RECORDED LECTURES, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
3 Monday 13 February How Ideas Travel The contemporary world is characterised by transnational flows of ideas, people, popular culture, goods, services, and money. Policy too travels across national boarders - through learning and sharing between nation states, global agendas of key international institutions, and coercive practices of the powerful. Today, we focus on the ways in which social policies travel around the world and at the nature and influence of global agendas, focusing on the actors that facilitate policy transfer, learning, and exchange and the actors that seek to shape agendas. We examine the theories that seek to explain how and why policies move across national boarders. DETAILS, INCLUDING READINGS AND PRE-RECORDED LECTURES, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
4 Friday 17 February Implementing Global Social Policy Ideas In this session we look at the ways in which global ideas have been implemented within nation states. We examine how policies changes as they move from the global to the national or local. We explore how and why some policies become the 'darlings' of international agencies (and some governments). We consider what explains the basis of their popularity - is it evidence, or ideology, or a combination? We focus on some concrete examples of policies that have been particularly influential. DETAILS, INCLUDING READINGS AND PRE-RECORDED LECTURES, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
5 Friday 24 February Global Social Policy Conference The GSP Conference is the highlight of our course and central to peer-learning and the sharing of ideas. More information will be available on our class Wattle site. The GSP Conference is scheduled to run over two days, but the length will depend on class numbers. DETAILS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
6 Monday 27 February Global Social Policy Conference Day 2 of our GSP Conference DETAILS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.
7 Friday 3 March The Future of Global Social Policy In our last session together, we will recap on our discussions over the course - and what we learned from the GSP Conference. We will consider what the future of global social policy might be - including discussing the ideas of 'deglobalisation'. We will discuss how important global ideas around social policy are in a COVID/post-COVID world. DETAILS, INCLUDING READINGS AND PRE-RECORDED LECTURES, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE COURSE WATTLE SITE.

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Briefing Paper (Indivdual Task) 20 % 20/02/2023 10/03/2022 2, 3, 4
Conference Presentation (Group Task) 15 % * * 1, 3, 4
Conference reflection (Indivdual Task) 15 % 06/03/2023 20/03/2022 1, 2, 3, 4
Analysis Paper (Indivdual Task) 50 % 20/03/2023 30/04/2023 1, 2, 3, 4

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Participation in all classes is expected. As this is an intensive course, so it is difficult to catch up on missed classes. Attendance at and participation in the Global Social Policy conference is required for course completion.


There are no examinations for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 20/02/2023
Return of Assessment: 10/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4

Briefing Paper (Indivdual Task)

In this task, you are asked to take one of the ‘big debates’ we talk about in session 1 and writing a briefing note for the incoming Social Policy Minister. Details of the debates will be on our Wattle site.

You need to:

Identify the key global actors and the positions they advocate, and present the main pros and cons of each side of the debate. In your conclusion you should make a recommendation on the position the Minister should take and your reasons for the recommendation. Your paper should be concise and should be fully referenced (reference list is not included in the word count). 


Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Conference Presentation (Group Task)

Your GSP presentation is a group task, and there will be some time to work on it during class. 

The presentation will focus on a policy or approach adopted by one key global social policy actor. You will have a list to choose from.

You need to provide an abstract of 100 words by Wednesday 15 February. The abstract will appear in the conference program, and is a course requirement.


Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 06/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 20/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Conference reflection (Indivdual Task)

After the conference, you are asked to provide a reflection on three other presentations. The reflection should be concise and focus on what you have learned from the three presentations, and how they have contributed to your knowledge of and thinking about global social policy. 


Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 20/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/04/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Analysis Paper (Indivdual Task)

In your analysis paper, you should choose one of the big ideas of global social policy. These ideas are discussed in our second session – and there will be a list available on our Wattle site. If there is another idea/topic you would like to work on, please discuss with your course convenor. 

In your analysis paper, you need to provide an overview of the idea which global actors advocate it. You then need to analyse how that idea has ‘travelled’ (been influential in, or implemented in) specific contexts (ie: national government, local government, civil society organisations). 


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 Sharon Bessell
02 6125 6562

Research Interests

Sharon’s research interests revolve around issues of social justice and human rights, focusing on three broad areas: (i) the first is social policy, social justice and the human rights of children; (ii) childhoods over time and intergenerational relations; and (iii) the gendered and generational dimensions of poverty.

Prof Sharon Bessell

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Sharon Bessell

Research Interests

Prof Sharon Bessell

By Appointment
By Appointment

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