Leadership & Influence in a Complex World

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Applications for Semester 1 2023 close 20 February 2023.
Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible.

A practical leadership program where you implement your idea to improve your community. Working with ANU Below Zero and other areas in 2023.

2023 Guides:


Leadership and Influence aims to give ANU students who have demonstrated potential as change-makers a wide understanding of styles of leadership and influence and an opportunity to implement a leadership project. Creating real, long-lasting change in the organisations and communities that we care about is challenging. This course’s main aim is to develop your own values-based repertoire to “lead through influence” so that you can better create change now and into the future.

Leadership & Influence partners with ANU Below Zero, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below zero by 2030. L&I Projects may be on any topic, community or interest area, but there will be a special emphasis on considering factors associated with ANU Below Zero’s strategic goals.

The course is by application. Undergraduate and postgraduate students who are in, or intend to take up in the future, leadership positions in ANU student organisations such as ANUSA, PARSA, Residents Committees, and student clubs, societies, community and industry links are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications that address a key strategic area in I.D.E.A (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) will be prioritised in the application process.

L&I will be divided into two key activities, outlined below.

Workshop/Seminar Series

The focus of the first six weeks of the course

Seminars will typically involve collaborative preparation and self-organised discussion, synthesis and presentation of materials. Where appropriate, it will also involve input and discussion with subject-matter experts.

We define leadership very broadly to include a wide range of different ways of energising, enabling, influencing and motivating people to pursue collective goals. On this broad definition, leadership can be exercised with or without formal leadership roles, in one-to-one interactions, in small groups & teams, and (in terms of organisational structures) upwards, downwards, and through covert and overt actions.

The course syllabus is divided into three topics:

  • Change, understanding, generating, responding to and resisting change
  • Collaboration, how to work successfully in a team and to harness (and manage) the diversity in a team
  • Decision-Making, effective decision-making processes

The goal of the Workshop/Seminar series will be to construct a repertoire of ideas for your ‘leadership toolkit’ on these topics, collectively shared by the class.

Leadership Project

The focus of the final half of the course

The main task in this course is to design and implement an individual or collaborative leadership initiative at ANU or the broader Canberra community. We have partnered with the ANU Below Zero Strategic Initiative, who are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below zero by 2030. However, we welcome students to work on projects outside of this area, with any organisation and at any level.

The key criterion for selecting a project is that it provides an opportunity to “lead through influence” to motivate action towards a positive change or development at the ANU, within a particular area of the university (i.e. a course, Residential Hall, Academic College, club, society, sector), across the University, or within the Canberra community and industry.

Though you may need to do some background research to get a better understanding of a need or issue, the primary goal of the project should be to use this course as a means to set up the conditions to ensure that you can realise positive change within the ANU or the Canberra community into the future. The project should be one in which you play a leadership role and can motivate others to help bring about this change.

Learning Tasks & Completion

There are three key learning tasks in this course:

  1. Seminar Facilitation (focus in first half)
  2. Collaborative Leadership Project (focus in last half)
  3. Final Portfolio (over the semester)

Students who successfully complete the deliverables will receive a final grade of “Course Requirements Satisfied” and will be presented with a certificate of completion.

Project Ideas

Students may propose their own ideas to implement, or workshop ideas with ANU staff involved in your community. Anyone can have a great idea, but in the interest of developing meaningful change, we encourage students to align their project ideas strategic directions of teams within the university.

A list of key ANU staff and units are below. You may like to reach out to these units for project ideas, or throughout the course.

Other areas of the university useful for projects:

Application Process

Please see the Application page for more details on the application process.


Chris Browne (he/him), PhD
Convenor, ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Courses

Updated:  20 Feb 2023/ Responsible Officer:  VC Courses Convenor/ Page Contact:  Webmaster