Course Title: Leadership in Human Services

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Leadership in Human Services

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013


Bundoora Campus


360H Education


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016

Course Coordinator: Trevor Skerry

Course Coordinator Phone: Reception: +61 3 9925 7480

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Students are assumed to be at a level where they have the capacity to mentor students in their 1st year of University study. Students will usually have completed Professional practices in disability 2a and 2b prior to enrolling into this course.

Course Description

When working in positions of responsibility in human services organisations and agencies, it is vital that managers know how to get the best from their staff. As supervisors of staff, or as part of a team environment, graduates will need to have skills that allow them to understand and relate to the behaviour of individuals and groups in human service organisations.

The graduate will be working alongside other professionals as part of a combined effort to provide high quality services to people in the human services sector. This role will require graduates to engage in partnerships with people from a wide range of areas including people with disabilities, significant others in the life of the person with the disability, and other service providers. It is imperative that they are able to negotiate their way through this process, and to provide a pathway for others to follow. The importance of effective mentoring will be a key concept which will be covered theoretically as well as in practice through a mentoring project with 1st year students.

Graduates will need to have an awareness of how their practice can impact on others and develop a framework for ensuring that their staff learn from this process. A key element in the course will be the reflection of each student on his/her own values and capabilities, and those of their fellow team members, in a wide range of leadership and management issues including problem solving, communication, delegation and staff development issues.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The capabilities to be developed are;
• the ability to recognise and make informed judgments about the impact of the profession on the sustainability for policy and practice for individual and community capacity building.
• the ability to appreciate levels of risk based on a clear understanding of relevant legal and regulatory frameworks.
• the ability to apply knowledge to diagnose and solve problems in situations that range from simple and discrete to complex and ill-defined
• the ability to clearly articulate and apply an ethical position that guides personal behaviour in all aspects of professional practice
• the ability to contribute to organisational practices with a planned approach

Learning outcomes include

• Skills in identifying how and why management strategies are developed and the factors that influence this.
• The ability to describe and discuss the current legislation which impacts on service delivery within Victoria and Australia
• Experience in mentoring inexperienced colleagues in a range of areas
• Skills in identifying what factors might lead the manager to determine if a problem exists at the workplace.
• Demonstrating the application of a problem solving approach to staff management
• The ability to contribute to discussions about values and how they may impact on personal opinion and behaviour.
• The ability to describe how effective outcomes can be achieved through management techniques and practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning in this course requires students to consider management and staff training for people in human services organisations within the theoretical and practical frameworks applied in different times and in a variety of contexts. Learning activities will be based around a series of case studies/problem based activities, scenarios and/or role-plays, and presentations. These are designed to provide students with an opportunity to appreciate the breadth of management and training issues faced by agency leaders in contemporary service delivery and community settings.

Emphasis will be placed on group work. Students will be provided with opportunities to debate and discuss with other students the issues and implications related to the organisational goals of individuals and groups. Through critical analysis of the evidence students will make informed judgments about the relevance and appropriateness of approaches and practices adopted by service providers in meeting these needs and aspirations.

Reflection will be an important part of the learning process. The learning activities will need to challenge each student to reflect on their personal values and practices and assess these in relation to the values and practices of the human service profession and the community more broadly. This is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop a stronger sense of what it means to them to be a professional in contemporary service delivery environment.

Encouraging students to focus on his/her own strengths and weaknesses as a learner and as a member of a team will be a key component of the learning experiences in this course and students will be encouraged to look beyond the materials taught in class, through further reading, practice situations, and other research.

Students will be encouraged to focus on self-knowledge; through exploring their own beliefs and behaviours and understanding the connection between the two. They will need to utilise self-reflection and apply the learnt principles to new situations.


Overview of Learning Resources

The students will be able to access course information and learning materials through MyRMIT and will be provided with reading lists or other sources of information. Students will also use the library resources and University computer facilities.

Overview of Assessment

The overall intention of the assessment is to enable staff, students and others (eg mentors) to provide critical feedback to students on their understanding and reflections of key organisational leadership theory and practice.

A range of opportunities for formative assessment will be provided throughout the semester. The learning outcomes linked to theory and practice are descriptive and can be effectively assessed by written assignment, presentations, short answer question or multi-choice examination.

The more complex learning outcomes requires each student to demonstrate an awareness of how their own practice can affect an organisation and the staff within it. These higher level outcomes involve gathering, analysis and interpretation based on analysis of real incidents, scenarios or role plays, with a focus on management and/or staff training issues.

Students will use self-assessment to demonstrate how they have used evidence from the literature and the input and feedback from team members, other students, staff, etc to deepen their understanding of the similarities/differences between their personal values and practices and those held by other people including , disability professionals and the community.

Students will develop skills in reflection including; stepping back from personal experience, deriving representations or abstract principles concerning behaviour in hindsight, and applying these to new situations and relating this to management and leadership theories. A critical aspect of working as a a group will be understanding and respecting others contribution to a discussion.

Students will develop an understanding of the principles of giving and receiving feedback and skill in developing this ability in team settings and in others. The learning experience will involve significant teamwork where all students will work together to a desired outcome. Students will be engaged in setting team goals, monitoring progress towards those goals, reflecting on the team processes, and the impact on the desired outcome. The issues teams will work on will involve theoretical practices that will require them to make judgments based on their own reflective practice.