Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Social Policy Seminars

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Social Policy and Social Work

DESCRIPTION This unit is intended to help students achieve synthesis and integration among themes within and across study units, bringing together what they have learnt through the academic curriculum of previous study-units to improve readiness for professional performance in the near future.

It aims to improve readiness for work through the consolidation of policy-related skills and by helping students apply knowledge to problem based tasks as a bridge between theory and practice. The unit will be delivered in a seminar format and will be based on participatory methods and problem-based learning.

It will make use of skills workshops, case studies, applied policy scenarios, guided reading and critical and academic articles from refereed policy journals that are relevant to the local social and policy context.

Study-unit Aims:

- Engage students with social policy as a dynamic and actual lived experience;
- Familiarise students with relevant policy-related skills and policy-related activities;
- Provide students with a venue for critical reflection and skills appraisal in a safe setting;
- Reinforce the notion that learning is both an active and reflective process;
- Expand their knowledge of the social policy sector through personal, reflective and communicative work;
- Help them reflect critically on the evidence-base of social policy and how research is utilised in policy decisions;
- Encourage them to look at themselves as developing professionals within the social policy sector;
- Equip students with the ability to analyse policy and practice situations and design solutions for the real world.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Comprehend different theories and models of decision making, negotiation, advocacy and problem-solving;
- Appreciate the way policy sectors vary in their legacies, operations and procedures;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the broad social, political and economic context where policy making and implementation is carried out;
- Deepen their knowledge on various policy issues and the dynamics of policy learning and change;
- Develop an awareness of ethical questions and dilemmas that may arise in practice;
- Acknowledge better the relationship between theory and practice;
- Describe and analyse why and how knowledge of social policy process models are important for practice.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply policy-related skills such as professional decision making, negotiation, advocacy and problem-solving in problem-based tasks;
- Carry out policy-related activities such as running effective meetings, planning workshops, writing policy briefs and carrying out structured and engaging presentations;
- Utilise case-studies as a tool to critically analyse information and develop a thorough assessment leading to well thought out solutions;
- Critically appraise academic research and apply findings to policy situations in the local context.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Brest, P. & Hamilton Krieger, L. (2010). Problem solving, decision-making and professional judgement: A guide for lawyers and policy makers. Oxford University Press.
Fisher, R. & Urry, W. (2012). Getting to yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in.
Davies, T.O., Nutley, S.M., Smith, P.C. (2000). What Works? Evidence based policy and practice in public services. Bristol Policy Press.
Gambrill, E. & Gibbs, L. (2009). Critical thinking for helping professionals: A skills-based workbook. Oxford University Press.
Jansson, B. (2008). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. Oxford University press.
Mintrom, M. (2003). People skills for policy analysts. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Cambridge Online Journals. Journal of Social Policy.
Cambridge Online Journals. Social Policy and Society.
Sage Online Publications. Critical Social Policy.
Sage Online Publications. Journal of European Social policy.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 No 15%
Presentation SEM1 No 15%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 35%
Case Study (Take Home) SEM1 Yes 35%

LECTURER/S Andreana Dibben

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.