Governance & Australian Public Policy

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Governance & Australian Public Policy

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Pacific Studies, Public Policy Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Recommended Prerequisite

    8 credits of political science courses

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course is structured around four debates which characterize the study of governance and public policy. The first is the government to governance debate. Are we now in an era of governance in which state power and traditional modes of government have been hollowed out? The second debate is between representative democracy and more participative forms of policymaking. In the face of declining trust and support for traditional representative institutions, should we be searching for answers in mechanisms which include citizens more often in policymaking? The third debate is between structure and agency. How can we square this circle theoretically so that we might explain governance and policymaking with respect to both? Finally, rational versus post-rational knowledge. What types of knowledge and ways of knowing are best for the formulation and implementation of policy? As we weave through these debates we rely on a range of policy examples (environmental policy, water management, indigenous policy, disaster management) and invite policy practitioners from government into our class to discuss their experiences.
    Course Introduction
    Public policy can be defined as purposeful decision making by governments to achieve a policy goal. Governance is somewhat similar but usually implies governments using a wider set of instruments and/or relationships (often with non-government actors) to achieve policy outcomes. Hence, governance is broader than public policy, implying a larger tool kit. In this course, we define governance as the tools, strategies and relationships used by governments to help govern.
    Interest in governance has increased in the last decade or more as governments have searched for new ways of governing and dealing with problems which confront society. Interest in governance has in part been spurred by the view that governments should experiment more with ?non-governmental? mechanisms in dealing with pressing problems, for example, through the use of market mechanisms, or by forging collaborative or partnership relationships with business, civil society or community organisations.
    The course is designed around four large debates which are central to understanding contemporary modes of governance and modern policymaking in the state. These are: 1) state-centric v society centred views of governance; 2) participatory v representative modes of governance; 3) structure v agency; 4) rational v post-rational knowledge. Generally, we will explore each debate in theoretical terms and then apply the theory to Australian and international case studies. The course also invites former and current public servants to give an insider?s view of the course content.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • understand and comment upon debates about the nature and limitations of governance
    • comment upon and understand why different OECD countries have adopted differing governance strategies
    • understand the limits of various governance strategies whether markets, states or community engagement
    • understand how various social science disciplines have contributed to the study of governance
    • apply concepts and ideas that have engaged academics with the study of a practical policy issue or problem
    • digest and summarise complex theoretical material relating to governance
    Class Contact
    2 Lecture hours, 1 Tutorial hour
    Assessment Summary
    Presentation: 20%
    Essay: 50%
    Final Exam: 30%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.