University of Technology Sydney

15640 Public Engagement in Decision-Making

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Institute for Public Policy and Governance
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

The right for communities to participate in public decision-making is one that is enshrined in many modern democracies. Governments, statutory authorities and corporations all facilitate the involvement of communities in their work, motivated either by legislative requirements and/or a genuine desire to be transparent and accountable to their communities, resulting in better strategy and policy. The practice of involving the public has expanded considerably as a result of: increasing legislative requirements; increasing demand from communities; increasing complexity of public issues; and the desire to manage risk. The practice has expanded beyond the public sector and now includes the private and not-for-profit sectors and is considered a specialist area with its own skills and competencies. The practice methods have become more sophisticated, no longer just public submissions and public meetings; they also include online methods, deliberative methods and co-design methods.

The subject introduces students to key theories, concepts and approaches in citizen engagement. It considers the historical context as it relates to involving citizens in public decision-making. It explores participatory and deliberative democratic theory and principles for practice. Students have the opportunity to gain knowledge of key techniques and develop practical skills in the design, delivery and evaluation of engagement processes. They are encouraged to think critically about the practice and the challenges and future it faces.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Identify, examine and evaluate literature, concepts and arguments which are informing contemporary public engagement practice
2. Critically reflect and develop new ideas in relation on the challenges and opportunities in delivering public engagement, considering a wide variety of contextual factors such as communities, public institutions, legislative environments.
3. Apply advanced understanding of theories and debates to the identification and evaluation of an innovative public engagement process.
4. Critically reflect on their own views and values that relate to public engagement.
5. Effectively communicate understanding of key concepts and their complexities.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Reflect on personal views and values in the development of professional judgement and practice (A.3)
  • Synthesise and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types (C.2)
  • Develop critically informed and innovative approaches to understanding local government and intergovernmental issues in domestic and international contexts (I.1)
  • Apply processes of organisational practice and review for a broad range of policy fields across diverse types of organisations, relating to local government (P.1)
  • Apply an advanced understanding of theories and debates in local government and intergovernmental relations, including Indigenous perspectives, and articulate this understanding across a range of organisational types (P.3)
  • Consider, analyse and evaluate complex arguments and multiple interests within specific contexts, particularly as they pertain to local government and intergovernmental relations (R.1)
  • Conduct independent applied research to develop a deep understanding of complex policy problems and innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions pertaining to government and its stakeholders (R.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is run in block mode comprising four days of intensive workshops that are conducted via Zoom. Extensive online support is provided in this mode, both prior to and following the block.

This mode incorporates a range of teaching and learning strategies including interactive presentations, discussion of readings and case studies, and peers working together in small group activities. The zoom classes are comprised of teaching/learning sessions that require you not only to be present, but also to fully participate. The readings both presage and consolidate and challenge your understanding of the content presented and students are encouraged to utilise the discussion board available on Canvas where you and your peers can continue discussion each topic.

Content (topics)

The course consists of four interconnected modules.

Module 1 – Theory and Principles of Participatory and Deliberative Democracy

Drawing on key texts, we will explore key concepts and theory in of participatory and deliberative democracy. We will track the development of public engagement practice and identify its key principles. Students will examine how the theory and principles apply in practice and be invited to critically reflect on how they relate to engagement with first peoples.

Module 2 – Context of Public Engagement

This module explores the context of public engagement. Students will focus on legislative drivers and the nature and constraints of public institutions, decision-makers. They will then explore the broader context, considering the participation infrastructure (eg. places, technology, media) that is needed to foster and enhance public engagement.

Module 3 –Design and Delivery of Public Engagement

This module uses best practice evidence to explore the practicalities of designing and delivering engagement. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of: the design-based process for developing approaches to public engagement; the role and practice of facilitation, including group decision making; the opportunities and challenges of online engagement and key concepts and types of evaluation used in public engagement. Case studies will be used for explorations.

Module 4 – Professional Practice and Future Trends

The professionalisation of public engagement practice has implications for public institutions and practitioners. This module will invite students to reflect on the role of the practitioner and their importance in public engagement processes. The course concludes with a session on how public engagement may continue to develop into the future.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Learning Journal

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.3, C.2 and R.1

Type: Journal
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%
Length:

250-300words X 2

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
The student skillfully summarises and synthesises their learning and reflections in written from. Text is well structured and easy to read. 20 5 C.2
The student demonstrates insight as both a learner and practitioner, critically reflecting on their own personal views and values. 60 4 A.3
Reflecting on the content covered and the learning experience, the student demonstrates detailed understanding of the concepts, arguments and viewpoints of community engagement and its practice. 20 1 R.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Essay

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.2, I.1, P.3 and R.1

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Length:

2000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
The student presents complex concepts, themes and arguments in well structured, readable written format. 20 5 C.2
The student demonstrates an advanced understanding of key theories and debates surrounding public engagement. They carefully consider the practical application of normative principles of public engagement. 20 3 P.3
The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of public engagement, its role and its practice, through the consideration, analysis and evaluation of public engagement principles using literature from a wide range of sources which are appropriately referenced. 40 1 R.1
The student questions, challenges and develops new perspectives and approaches on public engagement by applying concepts/principles from the evidence/literature when considering the complexities of the practice. 20 2 I.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Case Study

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.2, I.1, P.1 and R.3

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Length:

3000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
The student synthesises and presents complex information, ideas and arguments in a well-structured, readable written format suitable for a diverse audience. 20 5 C.2
Drawing on research evidence and debates in the literature – the student’s case study applies relevant concepts and arguments relating to practice issues. Analysis is anchored within broader trends in theory and practice 30 3 P.1
The student conducts independent applied research to develop and present a thorough understanding of a complex policy problem that utilises an innovative public engagement approach. The case study draws on diverse literature, to illustrate key concepts and applied analysis. The case study is appropriately referenced. 30 1 R.3
The student questions, challenges and develops new perspectives on innovative public engagement by carefully considering the evidence when considering the complexities of their chosen case study. 20 2 I.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.

Required texts

There are ‘core’ and ‘additional readings and references’ for each session. These are made available to students online via Canvas – see ‘Reading List’.