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SOC 810 – Developing Social Policy

2017 – S2 Evening

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Dr. Adam Stebbing
Contact via Email
By appointment
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MPASR or GradDipPASR or GradCertPASR or MAppAnth or MSocEntre or MPlan or MGlobalHlthDevStud or GradCertGlobalHlthDevStud or MPH or MDevStud
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
SOCI 704 Developing Social Policy
Unit description Unit description
This unit introduces and advances major topics in social policy – the policies that governments make to improve individual and public welfare. The idea of social policy can be narrow, involving giving cash benefits and social services to the most needy. But our understanding of social policy might be broader, and encompass the provision of social infrastructure – health, housing and education services. Sometimes, social policy can be 'disguised' in other policies entirely, such as the policy of life-long employment promoted in industrial Japan, minimum wages in Australia, and guaranteed prices for food staples. This semester, we consider how different social policies shape different welfare states. The unit will have three parts. The first part engages with key concepts of social policy and the welfare state. The second part outlines three historical welfare models (Australia, Sweden, and the United States) and offers tools for classifying welfare states. The third part looks at the contemporary political and social dynamics surrounding welfare states. Across the semester, we keep a focus on welfare policymaking in Australia and recent social policy changes.

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. critically assess, use and synthesise information
  2. discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  3. locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  4. further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  5. challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  6. demonstrate effective time management and work organisation skills
  7. apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner
  8. develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments
  9. contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments

General Assessment Information

Submission and return of assessments

Written assessments need to be submitted online using the Turnitin link on the SOC810 iLearn page. Assignments will be marked using Grademark. Where possible, feedback and results will be made available online within 3 weeks of the assessment being submitted (excluding assignments submitted before the due date) via Turnitin.

 

Late submissions - penalties and disruption to studies

Assessment tasks worth 10% or less of the overall grade for the unit. Students who have not submitted the task prior to the deadline will be awarded a mark of 0 for the task, except for cases in which an application for Disruption to Studies is made and approved. No extensions will be granted.

Assessment tasks worth more than 10% of the overall grade for the unit. Students who submit late work without an extension will receive a penalty (5 per cent for the first day or weekend, 1 per cent for each day thereafter ). This penalty does not apply for cases in which an application for Disruption to Studies is made and approved. No extensions will be granted.

 

Assessment Grades

GRADE

RANGE

STATUS

DESCRIPTION

   HD

85-100

Pass

Provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality, insight or creativity in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application as appropriate to the program.

   D

75-84

Pass

Provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality or creativity in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the program and the audience.

   CR

65-74

Pass

Provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; convincing argumentation with appropriate coherent justification; communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the program.

   P

50-64

Pass

Provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the program; routine argumentation with acceptable justification; communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the program. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.

   F

0-49

Fail

Does not provide evidence of attainment of learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the program.

 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Policy Brief 30% 18th September
Research essay 60% 11th November
Workshop Engagement 10% Ongoing

Policy Brief

Due: 18th September
Weighting: 30%

The first assignment for SOC810 requires you to write a policy brief. Writing policy briefs is a particular skill, used widely in government and non-government agencies to provide guidance to policy makers. There are many types of brief - but, we ask you to provide a brief intended for an internal audience (that is, for the Minister and senior staff within the department). This type of brief would generally not be published. The aim is to give a short summary of an issue (as it is discussed in a report), canvass arguments for and against, identify the parties involved and their opinions, to highlight any possible implications for government policy and recommend possible courses of action. The brief should strictly remain within the 1,500 word limit, but they may refer to additional material that can be supplied as an attachment.

For this brief, imagine that you work in the relevant government department. Do some research here - address the brief to the appropriate Minister and Department at State or Federal level. Your job is to read ONE report, provide a 'neutral' summary, and to let your Minister know if there is any action needed. You will find a list of reports to select between on the course iLearn page. This report selected (and the social policy issue it canvasses) should be the primary (but not only) focus of your brief. 

In practice, an action could be as simple as advising the Minister to 'note' the report, but we want you to be more inventive here. It might involve some government action, such as putting together an advisory committee on the issue, organising meetings with stakeholders and/or considering whether a discussion paper should be commissioned to canvass funding or policy changes. You are welcome to choose your own report, but the issue needs to relate to social policy (such as housing, health, education, welfare, etc) and you need to email the unit convenor to ensure it is relevant before proceeding. 

N.B. While the policy brief is primarily concerned with one article on one issue, you need to read more widely to familiarise yourself with existing policies, the nature of reforms, current debates and the positions of key stakeholders. This is a research task and should involve consideration of relevant government policy. You should also select a different social policy issue for the two written assignments! And, please follow the format outlined in the template - it is closely adapted from the template from a department in the NSW public service.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • critically assess, use and synthesise information
  • locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  • further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • demonstrate effective time management and work organisation skills
  • apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner
  • develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments

Research essay

Due: 11th November
Weighting: 60%

 

 The major assignment for SOC810 is a research essay. This individual research task is designed to assess your ability to apply concepts taught in the unit to the essay question, your ability to find and use good evidence when discussing policy details, and your skills and efforts as a writer. You are required to provide a critical response to ONE of the essay questions that will be made available on iLearn from week 6. These questions will relate to broad themes that are central to this course and a specific social policy domain(s) that you will be required to undertake research on. 

This assignment should be written in the format of an academic essay, which require an 'argument' (a direct response to the research essay question) that is coherent and supported by evidence. We will assess how your essay balances theoretical explanation with policy description when presenting the argument. Academic essays should have a clearly defined introduction, body and conclusion. You should write in paragraphs and double-space your work. You also need to write clearly and use formal language. Take care to use jargon and headings appropriately. 

This is a research assignment. Course materials should be your starting point. But, you are expected to draw on readings and material beyond course readings. This should include some of the material listed as 'additional readings' and also include other material you identify yourself. All material should be properly referenced, preferably using the Harvard style of referencing. Please do not draw directly on lecture notes (rather consult the sources that they draw on).

N.B. More information will be provided on the course iLearn page over the semester. 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • critically assess, use and synthesise information
  • discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  • locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  • further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • demonstrate effective time management and work organisation skills
  • apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner
  • contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments

Workshop Engagement

Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 10%

The weekly workshops are compulsory. To meet the requirements of this course, you are required to attend at least 80 per cent of workshops. In addition to attending, you are also expected to actively participate. As an incentive, 10 percent of your final mark will be awarded for your attendance and your participation. We will look for evidence that you have done the readings and your ability to engage respectfully with other students. 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  • further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner
  • contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments

Delivery and Resources

Delivery

This course is delivered as a two-hour seminar on Thursday evenings from 6pm in E6A 109 during semester.

Required and recommended resources

There is no required textbook for SOC810. The following text is recommended, particularly if you are finding the course difficult.

McClelland, A. and P. Smyth (eds.) (2014) Social Policy in Australia: Understanding for Action, 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press: Melbourne.

Other required readings will be available via the 'unit reading' tab on the Library webpage, online thru the Library webpage or on the world wide web. Most are already available.

Before contacting teaching staff, make sure that you try searching for the course code 'SOC810', 'SOCI 704' and the author's surname of the relevant reading in Unit Readings (search for each separately) on the library website.

Other recommended texts that should help you throughout the semester. These sources are online and can also be ordered through the Co-op bookshop:

Alcock, P. and. G. Craig (2009) International Social Policy: Welfare regimes in the developed world, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

Fawcett, B., Goodwin, S., Meagher, G. and R. Phillips (2010) Social Policy for Social Change, Palgrave Macmillan: Melbourne.

Marston, G., Macdonald, C. and L. Bryson (2013) The Australian Welfare State: Who Benefits Now? Palgrave Macmillan: South Yarra.

Pierson, C. and F.G. Castles (2010) The Welfare State Reader, 2nd Edition, Polity Press: Cambridge.

 

Technology used

The following technologies are used in this course...

Email

Make sure that you regularly check your student email for correspondence with teaching staff and course announcements.

iLearn

Important information about the weekly schedule, course readings and assessment are all available on the course iLearn page. If you do not have access, please contact IT help. You are required to check iLearn and your student email regularly for course updates and information.

Turnitin

All written assessments need to be submitted online via Turnitin only. A link to Turnitin is available via the Assessments tab on the iLearn page. Please contact the convenor if you cannot find it (do not leave it until the day of the assessment). There is no need to submit a hard copy of the assessment or to include a cover sheet.

Grademark

Feedback will be made available online via GradeMark. It will take four majors forms (in no particular order): specific comments in the text of your paper; overall comments; a score on a qualitative rubric (that cannot be used to calculate your mark numerically); and a numeric score. Once you have received your assignment back, please make sure that you have access to these forms of feedback. 

 

Unit Schedule

Wk

Seminar Topics

Date

1

Introduction to Developing Social Policy

3 Aug

2

An Australian Story: From the wage-earner's welfare state to beyond

10 Aug

3

Alleviating Poverty? The 'functions' of poverty and welfare

17 Aug

4

On Work & Welfare: Social policy for full employment?

24Aug

5

Social Policy for Social Citizenship? Rights, obligations and solidarity

1 Sep

6

Managing Social Risk? Dealing with state and market failures

7 Sep

7

Understanding Social Policy Developments: From structural functionalism to historical institutionalism

14Sep

                                                          Mid-semester study period

8

The Macro Dynamics of Welfare State Change: Contesting welfare, markets & the state

5 Oct

9

The Micro Dynamics of Welfare State Change: Policy cycles or 'muddling through'?

12 Oct

10

The Rise of Conditionality: 'Workfare' vs. the 'new paternalism'

19 Oct

11

The Shift to Markets: Neoliberalism, marketisation and financialisation

26 Oct

12

Closing the Gap? Persistent inequalities and Indigenous social policy

2 Nov

13

Course Conclusion

9 Nov

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 (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

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.

Macquarie University provides a range of health and wellbeing services for students. For details, visit:

http://students.mq.edu.au/support/health_and_wellbeing/

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 - 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

  • discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments
  • contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments

Assessment tasks

  • Policy Brief
  • 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

  • critically assess, use and synthesise information
  • locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner

Assessment tasks

  • Policy Brief
  • 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

  • critically assess, use and synthesise information
  • demonstrate effective time management and work organisation skills
  • develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments

Assessment tasks

  • Policy Brief
  • Research essay

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

  • critically assess, use and synthesise information
  • discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  • locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research

Assessment tasks

  • Policy Brief
  • 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

  • discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  • further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  • demonstrate effective time management and work organisation skills
  • develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments

Assessment tasks

  • Research essay
  • Workshop Engagement

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

  • challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  • apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manner
  • contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments

Assessment tasks

  • Research essay
  • Workshop Engagement

Changes since First Published

Date Description
24/07/2017 Dates changed in unit schedule One learning outcome updated