Risk Management and Public Participation

Subject GEOG90020 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

120 total time commitment

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)
Email: 13MELB@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject will provide students with the skills needed to examine, analyse, and report on risk management and public participation. The subject addresses the primary challenge of risk management, which involves determining what stakeholders want, analysing how they interpret risks, and understanding how their knowledge(s) shapes their behaviour. Added to this very complex topic is the question of how government can attempt to reshape that behaviour.

The subject will be available to social and physical scientists whose interests and/or research involve risk, vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience. It will also appeal to students interested in how research can inform governance.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students will:

  • understand and be able to compare a range of risk theories;
  • be able to apply numerous methods designed to elicit and assess perceptions relating to risk;
  • be familiar with different risk framings, included the debate over expert-lay knowledge;
  • be able to synthesise risk perception data;
  • be aware of the complicated process of risk communication and management (i.e. government-stakeholder interactions);
  • understand approaches to risk management or to public resistance to risk management.

1. Book Review: in the second week of class, students will be required to review one of 3 classic risk texts (worth 30% of final grade). This 1000 word review will provide students with a foundation in risk management and/or public participation – should students wish to propose alternate texts they must be given approval from the coordinator.

2. Presentation: each student (in groups if needed) will be required to lead an activity and discussion once per term (worth 30% of final grade – 10% as marked by students using the PRAZE system, and 20% by the coordinator). These (40 minute) presentation and activities will allow students to develop, present, and lead discussion and debate exploring the topic of the week.

(a) Alternatively, students will be given the option to present a poster at the 2014 IAG conference being held at the University of Melbourne. This would replace the 20% of final grade from the coordinator.

3. Essay on Research Topic of Student’s choosing: This 2000 word final assessment (worth 40% of the final grade) will explore a risk and public engagement topic of the student’s choice. It will require concise, clear writing and analysis. Students will have the option of conducting empirical research (i.e. a pilot study) should they wish, or draw on their Masters Research to inform the analysis. Topic and methodology will be chosen by the student, but in consultation and subject to the approval of the subject coordinator. This will be due two weeks following the final lecture.

It is a hurdle requirement that students attend 9 out of 12 weeks of tutorials. Attendance will be taken using peer feedback of student presentations.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject pack will be assembled that draws together readings from academic journals, academic books, government policies, and public documents.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students will develop skills relating to:

  • qualitative research methods and analysis, particularly those associated with public participation;
  • critical thinking, having to engage with complex socio-ecological problems;
  • writing and presentation skills, including academic and government-oriented policy writing;
  • risk and environmental governance, including the expert-lay, public-government relationships.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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