Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2011 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2011 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Professor Thea Brown


This unit will introduce students to an understanding of leadership in the human services in Australia as a requirement for social work practice, one that is not always understood or accepted professionally. The human services sector is expanding in the numbers of its component organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, and in the size and complexity of the component parts. Leadership of social change and social justice in the human services is now at a premium, having been given little attention in the past or currently. Little is known of leadership requirements in this sector particularly as contrasted with other service sectors. Students undertaking this unit will be introduced to theories of leadership of humanservice organisations, their programs and policies, and leadership of the new organisational phenomena in this sector, large community service departments, non-governmental consortia, and advocacy organisations. They will also be introduced to other notions of leadership in social work - leadership through research, advocacy and community action.

Subsequently, theories of leadership will be placed against the experiences and views of current social work leaders in this sector, who will be active participants in this unit, so that students gain some understanding of what leadership comprises, what priority actual leaders place on the various aspects of leadership, and what research and theory underpins actual leadership in the policy development, planning and delivery of social services today. Student learning will be reflected in the development of a compendium of theoretical and practice material about leadership to be developed during the teaching semester.


  1. Describe leadership within a professional social work framework through analysis of historical and current leadership examples from the human services sector
  2. Critically analyse theories of leadership for the human services in Australia.
  3. Contrast leadership theories with selected leaders' experiences and identify and analyse the differences.
  4. Articulate where leadership opportunities and responsibilities exist within the human services sector.
  5. Identify the components of leadership in the humanservices sector and the distinguishing features of leadership in the human services field.
  6. Develop a compendium of materials on leadership in the humanservices.


Students will be required to complete two written assignments:
1.A critical analysis of contemporary leadership theories in the light of presentations in the classroom and conveyed online, from social work leaders during the unit (2000 words, 40%). This assessment is formative and summative and relates to objectives 1,2 and 3.
2.An assessment of their own actual and potential contribution to social work leadership, based on critical reflection on practice experience, analysis of a compendium of leadership material collected during the semester, current data on leadership in a specific field of practice and analysis of relevant literature (2500 words, 60%). This assessment is summative and relates to objectives 4, 5 and 6.Students must pass both assessment tasks in order to complete the unit successfully.

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Thea Brown

Contact hours

The unit runs for 8 weeks for on-campus students.
On-campus students are expected to undertake 156 hours per semester study. Students are expected to use their study time to attend on-campus lectures and workshops, undertake weekly readings as set out in the Unit Outline, and to complete three assignment tasks. This unit will be taught in a total of 36 hours' contact time over 8 weeks following the completion of the second fieldwork placement (SWM5108) for full-time students.

Off-campus attendance requirements

The unit runs for 13 weeks for off-campus students.
Off-campus students are expected to undertake 156 hours per semester in private study, completing readings and other tasks as outlined on the Blackboard site in the off-campus Unit Guide, and to complete three assignment tasks. Off-campus students are required to attend a compulsory on-campus workshop for successful completion of this unit, where social work practice skills will be taught.


SWM5100, SWM5101, SWM5102, SWM5104





Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: