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PICT705 – Understanding Strategic Concepts

2017 – S1 Evening

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer
Tom Waldman
Contact via 02 9850 1431
Dept of Security Studies & Criminology, Level 2, Building Y3A
by appt
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides postgraduate students with an understanding of the key concepts defining security and strategic studies. Using empirical case studies, students will explore concepts such as strategy, grand strategy, coercion, intervention, arms races, pre-emption, stability, strategic culture, victory, geopolitics and geostrategy, law and the use of force, civil-military relations, and human security. At its conclusion, students will have acquired the critical skills and necessary foundational knowledge to successfully pursue their postgraduate studies.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  2. Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  3. Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  4. Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Engagement 15% Ongoing, Weeks 2-13
Critical Topic Review 35% Week 6 (7 April 2017)
Research Essay 50% Week 12 (2 June 2017)

Engagement

Due: Ongoing, Weeks 2-13
Weighting: 15%

Engagement involves demonstrating critical thinking and understanding of the required readings, as well as an ability to take an active role in learning, to communicate effectively with peers, and to substantively address the topic area making use of all unit materials. Effective engagement enhances what we can learn from each other and promotes cooperative, constructive and informed dialogue.

A minimum of ten weeks of participation is required between weeks 2 and 13, either in-class for internal students or online for external students.

Internal students must attend at least 10 in-class sessions. Beyond mere attendance, this includes, when required, constructive engagement and contribution to class discussions, debates, activities and group work. Students should come to class well prepared, listen and respond respectfully to the views of others, and be prepared to ask or answer relevant questions in a focused manner.

External students will be expected to contribute to, at minimum, 10 online discussion forums. Students will be assigned to a discussion group consisting of around 10 students. Each student is required to make two meaningful contributions of at least 100 words each. The forum will be open for precisely one week (Monday-Sunday) - participation will not be counted beyond the allocated timeframe. Postings should demonstrate constructive engagement with the topic, readings and their peers, enabling students to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter, as well as effective reasoning and communication skills. 

PLEASE NOTE! This assessment task is pass/fail - no partial credit will be awarded. 10 weeks of completed participation must be recorded.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading scholars, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Critical Topic Review

Due: Week 6 (7 April 2017)
Weighting: 35%

This mid-term paper will take the form of a short 1,500 word essay and will primarily be based on the teaching materials provided for the relevant week, in-class and online discussions, and the student’s independent research.

Research for the paper should go beyond the required readings (ideally starting with the recommended readings), and the aim is to demonstrate critical understanding of the topic under consideration, key arguments presented in the relevant literature, and the topic’s applicability to real-world strategic cases.

Students must choose one topic from weeks 3-5, which includes:

  • Week 3: Politics, policy and reason
  • Week 4: Uncertainty, intelligence and surprise
  • Week 5: Passion, irrationality and emotion

In terms of content, the review should establish the essential features of the topic; demonstrate why and in what ways the topic is important in terms of strategic theory and practice; critically consider different perspectives on the topic as presented in the literature, reflecting on the relative merits of different approaches; and, evaluate the relevance of the topic through reference to empirical historical and contemporary cases.

Students are free to interpret their chosen topic in their own way, approach it from a specific angle, or focus on one or more key aspects pertaining to it, but ideas and arguments should be supported with evidence and insights from the relevant literature.

Details of the criteria and a detailed grading rubric will be made available on ilearn.

The deadline for submission is 7 April 2017.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading scholars, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Research Essay

Due: Week 12 (2 June 2017)
Weighting: 50%

The completion of a 3,000 word Research Essay allows students to develop core disciplinary knowledge, enhance research skills, show effective written communication skills, and demonstrate originality and critical thinking.

The essay should flow logically from the introduction to the evidence in the main body to the conclusion. It should reflect wide reading across a diverse body of academic literature, and should demonstrate critical analysis and objectivity.  

Details regarding the assignment will be released by the end of Week 7 on the iLearn site.

The Essay will be marked according to set assessment criteria with a focus on comprehension, analysis and argument, written expression, structure and organisation, and referencing. A marking rubric for this assignment will be available on iLearn.

The deadline for submission is 2 June 2017.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading scholars, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Delivery and Resources

DELIVERY AND RESOURCES

 

UNIT REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS

  • You should spend an average of 12 hours per week on this unit. This includes listening to lectures prior to seminar or tutorial, reading weekly required materials as detailed in iLearn, participating in Ilearn discussion forums and preparing assessments.
  • Internal students are expected to attend all seminar or tutorial sessions, and external students are expected to make significant contributions to on-line activities.
  • In most cases students are required to attempt and submit all major assessment tasks in order to pass the unit.

 

REQUIRED READINGS

  • The citations for all the required readings for this unit are available to enrolled students through the unit iLearn site, and at Macquarie University's library site.  Electronic copies of required readings may be accessed through the library or will be made available by other means.

 

TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED

  • Computer and internet access are essential for this unit. Basic computer skills and skills in word processing are also a requirement.
  • This unit has an online presence. Login is via: https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/
  • Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.
  • Information about IT used at Macquarie University is available at  http://students.mq.edu.au/it_services/

 

SUBMITTING ASSESSMENT TASKS

  • All text-based assessment tasks are to be submitted, marked and returned electronically.  This will only happen through the unit iLearn site. 
  • Assessment tasks must be submitted as a MS word document by the due date.
  • Most assessment tasks will be subject to a 'TurnitIn' review as an automatic part of the submission process.
  • The granting of extensions is subject to the university’s Disruptions Policy. Extensions will not in normal circumstances be granted by unit conveners or tutors, but must be lodged through Disruption to Study: http://www.students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/manage_your_study_program/disruption_to_studies/.

 

 

LATE SUBMISSION OF ASSESSMENT TASKS

  • If an assignment is submitted late, 5% of the available mark will be deducted for each day (including weekends) the paper is late.
  • For example, if a paper is worth 20 marks, 1 mark will be deducted from the grade given for each day that it is late (i.e. a student given 15/20 who submitted 4 days late will lose 4 marks = 11/20).
  • The same principle applies if an extension is granted and the assignment is submitted later than the amended date.

 

 

WORD LIMITS FOR ASSESSMENT TASKS

  • Stated word limits include footnotes and footnoted references, but not bibliography, or title page.
  • Word limits can generally deviate by 10% either over or under the stated figure.
  • If the number of words exceeds the limit by more than 10%, then penalties will apply. These penalties are 5% of the awarded mark for every 100 words over the word limit. If a paper is 300 words over, for instance, it will lose 3 x 5% = 15% of the total mark awarded for the assignment. This percentage is taken off the total mark, i.e. if a paper was graded at a credit (65%) and was 300 words over, it would be reduced by 15 marks to a pass (50%).
  • The application of this penalty is at the discretion of the course convener.

 

REASSESSMENT OF ASSIGNMENTS DURING THE SEMESTER

  • Macquarie University operates a Grade Appeal Policy in cases where students feel their work was graded inappropriately: http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html
  • Conformably to the Grade Appeal Policy, individual works are not subject to regrading.

 

STAFF AVAILABILITY

  • Department staff will endeavor to answer student enquiries in a timely manner. However, emails or iLearn messages will not usually be answered over the weekend or public holiday period.
  • Students are encouraged to read the Unit Guide and look at instructions posted on the iLearn site before sending email requests to staff.

Unit Schedule

Week 1 - Introduction

Week 2 - The fundamentals of strategy

Week 3 - Politics, power and reason

Week 4 - Uncertainty, intelligence and surprise

Week 5 - Passion, irrationality and emotion

Week 6 - Context, circumstance and culture

Week 7 - Making strategy

Week 8 - Civil-military relations

Week 9 - Strategic forms and approaches

Week 10 - Coercion and the diplomacy of violence

Week 11 - Asymmetric strategy and irregular war

Week 12 - Strategy and intervention

Week 13 - The future of strategy

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Comprehend the challenges and complexities of strategy-making as well as the main features, applications and relative merits of various strategic approaches.
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to analyse and critically evaluate real-world historical and contemporary strategic decisions, cases and issues.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of key concepts, theories and contemporary issues in the field of strategic studies, aligned with the field’s leading thinkers, texts and paradigms.
  • Apply critical thinking skills in order to cogently and effectively defend intellectual positions and to produce well-reasoned, theoretically informed and empirically substantiated written work.

Assessment tasks

  • Engagement
  • Critical Topic Review
  • Research Essay