Administrative Challenges in Practice

Subject PADM90001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 20-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 23-May-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 10-Mar-2016
Census Date 18-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 22-Apr-2016

This class will run from 9am until 5pm on each scheduled day.

Note: the first week of the teaching period is prior to the first on-campus session. During the first week of the teaching period, all material will be made available through the LMS and the subject coordinator will be available as neccessary, to support students submit their first piece of assessment.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject is comprised of seminars and workshops delivered as an intensive over 5 weeks (approx 48 hours total)
Total Time Commitment:

340 hours


Admission to the Master of Public Administration program and successful completion of the following subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Previous study in public policy, political science, management, law, business, economics, international relations, non-profit management or cognate area.

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:


Prof Helen Sullivan


Subject Overview:

Administrative Challenges in Practice is a capstone subject in the Melbourne Master of Public Administration, bringing together expert contributors from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Business and Economics. The Melbourne MPA is an interdisciplinary, globally-focused degree program for managers that work within or with government. This subject brings together learning from the three discipline core subjects, the three professional core subjects, and The World of Administration in a subject that addresses the management and administrative challenges that confront managers in a global world.

Drawing on leading scholars from across the faculties of Arts, Law and Business and Economics, the subject provides a unique opportunity to bring together theory and practice through the selection of a specific case/s which highlight the interdisciplinary nature of administrative and management challenges at the local, regional, and global level. Syndicate groups work together prior to the subject and during it, to address the challenges of a specific case of administrative/managerial action drawing together their learning from previous subjects and professional expertise.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Understand the management and administrative challenges that confront public managers;
  • Appreciate the interconnected nature of these challenges, and the power of applying interdisciplinary approaches to them;
  • Understand the strategic environment in which managers operate and the relationships they develop to deliver on complex public policy goals; and
  • Explore the local, national, regional, and global factors that impact on these managers and their environment.

Assessment Task 1: Case diagnosis paper of 1500 words where students undertake an initial diagnosis of the challenges presented in the case for the subject; due in the first week of teaching (Note: this is prior to the first on-campus session) (20%)

Assessment Task 2: Syndicate project (group presentation and individual paper):

  • Group presentation equivalent to 2000 words per student; due in the second week of the teaching period (20%)
  • Group strategy paper of 2500 words per student setting out their group strategy to address the case challenge; due in the fourth week of the teaching period (20%)

Assessment Task 3: Strategy paper of 4000 words where students explore the strategy, or a specific part of it, from the syndicate project work during the intensive; due in the final week of the teaching period (40%)

Hurdle requirement: As this is an intensively-taught subject, Lecture/Seminar attendance is compulsory for all classes. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

All readings will be provided via the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On Completion of this subject students should have:

  • A comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the interconnectedness and complexity of the theory and practice of public management and administration in a global environment;
  • An ability to combine theory and practice in order to address local, national and global managerial challenges, analyse contemporary issues of administration, and reflect critically on one’s own professional practice, applying learning from previous subjects in the MPA;
  • Well-developed interpersonal and communication skills necessary to a range of professional activities including report writing, workplace discussions, negotiation and management and lobbying strategies;
  • The ability to draw upon an extensive repertoire of advanced professional skills including skills in leadership, negotiation, decision analysis and strategic management, in order to most effectively address administrative and managerial challenges that emerge at the local, regional and international level;
  • With creativity and initiative in combining theory and practice in order to address the complex challenges of management, working autonomously and in teams and taking an interdisciplinary approach.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)

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