Leading Change in a Complex World

Subject MULT30014 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 5 hours of seminars/workshops per week
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


150 credit points of undergraduate study



Recommended Background Knowledge:
  • Ability to work in groups
  • Knowledge of sustainability principles
  • Ability to reflect
  • Writing, speaking and research skills
Non Allowed Subjects:


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


Prof David Shallcross


Prof David Shallcross

Email: dcshal@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:


This subject aims to engage students in the process of designing a proposal to lead change in a “real world” complex problem.

How do you develop personal and professional practice that actively contributes to creating sustainable environments for future generations? This subject will prepare you for work and broader life challenges, where you may be called upon to lead or manage what are often called ‘wicked problems’. Examples include challenges in the areas of sustainable resourceor responding to climate variability. In these situations there are incomplete or contradictory requirements that are interdependent. Further, the range of stakeholders will likely have very different views of the ‘problem’ and will tend to change their minds with emerging circumstances. The ‘problem definition’ may not be agreed until a solution is formulated and attempts to solve these types of problems typically cause further ramifications.

Through a four stage process, you will work with other students in your tutorial class to explore a problem from various stakeholder perspectives and from various disciplinary perspectives. You will then consider a range of “solutions” in order to make a recommendation for action.


Topics covered include leadership, community development, teamwork, the design process and reflective practice. Processes include reflective writing, teamwork, and proposal development.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Show evidence of grappling with complex problems through the lenses of your own and others' perspectives
  2. Demonstrate increasing self-awareness, including being able to articulate the things that shape your thinking
  3. Demonstrate tolerance and awareness of other viewpoints, including to create new viewpoints (different foci, criteria)
  4. Demonstrate confidence and flexibility in dealing with uncertainty
  5. Demonstrate learning consultative skills with stakeholders
  6. Demonstrate the ability to make a case to lead change, taking into account your own and others’ perspectives
  7. Demonstrate the use and integration of the knowledge developed over the course of your degree


1. Reflective journal (30%). This includes:

  • a weekly reflective journal entry requiring 1-2 hours of work per week (10-13 hours in total) (10%)
  • a meta-review of reflective journal writing, due in week 7 and requiring 5-7 hours of work (5%)
  • a meta-review of reflective journal writing, due in week 14 and requiring 15-20 hours of work (15%)

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 to 7 are all addressed in the reflective journal.

2. Active participation (20%). This includes:

  • Class attendance and participation in seminar/workshop processes in weeks 1-12, including contribution to the wiki (each team will have a wiki).

ILOs 1 to 7 are addressed through active participation in classes.

3. Stakeholder needs analysis due around week 5 requiring 10-13 hours of work (10%). This individual submission with form part of the team Final Report.

4. Design option due around week 9 requiring 10-13 hours of work (10%). This individual submission with form part of the team Final Report.

5. Final Proposal (30%):

  • One team-based assignment due in week 14, with each team member committing 30-35 hours of work over the semester. The Final Proposal builds integrates the work over the semester and includes the stakeholder need analysis and design option of each tream member. Each team to have between 3-5 team members. The mark for the Final Report will be adjusted for each team member based on peer review (PRAZE).

ILOs 1 to 7 are all addressed in the final proposal.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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

At the end of this subject students should have developed:

  • The ability to work in teams
  • Leadership potential through practising, initiating and implementing constructive change
  • Approaches to dealing with uncertainty
  • Knowledge across and between the disciplines
  • Understanding of social and cultural diversity – including Indigenous cultures; valuing different cultures
  • Global citizenship skills by advocating for improving the sustainability of the environment.



This is a project-based design subject. A series of multidisciplinary lectures address leadership, change process, wicked problems and community development. Students work in small teams to complete a proposal for leading change in a “real world” problem. Students are expected to attend all classes and to keep a weekly reflective journal.


Students will have access to lecture notes and lecture slides. The subject LMS site also contains a range of resources about leadership, the design process, reflective practice, teamwork, and community development. A private Facebook group will be created on the University of Melbourne Facebook page where resources about the individual team projects will be shared.



Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environments Discipline subjects

Download PDF version.