Leadership & Influence in a Complex World

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Applications for Semester 1 2021 have closed.
Late applications will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

A practical leadership program where you implement your idea to improve your community

2021 Guides:


Leadership and Influence aims at giving 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.

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 and societies 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 three key activities, and culminate in a project showcase:

  • a 6-week Seminar series, where different models of values-based leadership will be presented, discussed and explored with experts across ANU (to be held via Zoom in 2021)
  • a 12-week Leadership program, where we will learn together and support each other in small groups to develop our own leadership capability, values and styles (optional Zoom or face-to-face in 2021)
  • a 12-week Leadership project, where students will design and implement an individual or collaborative initiative on campus or in the community

Seminar Series

A short seminar series by invited guests will help to frame our understanding of leading through influence during the first six weeks of course. Seminars will involve a combination of presentation and Q&A 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.

Topics covered will include Models of leadership, Leading through influence, Leading and managing yourself, I.D.E.A principles, and Women in leadership.

Leadership Program

To provide an opportunity for co-learning and sense-making, we will host a weekly small-group workshop to consolidate learning and share progress. The program content will be responsive to the current and emerging needs of the cohort, but will primarily focus on building your ‘leadership toolkit’.

Each session will comprise a series of interactive activities in which participants will share, explore and clarify their ideas about leadership, and practice a range of leadership skills.

During each session, participants will be encouraged to frame action-plans to run experiments in leadership for developing their project, implement these plans between sessions, and report back each week.

Leadership Project

The main task in this course is to design and implement an individual or collaborative leadership initiative at ANU or the broader Canberra community based on I.D.E.A (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) principles. Students will be supported through the class offerings, and will be paired with an ANU staff mentor to realise the potential of the project.

Students may devise their own project, or adopt an idea from within their community or interest area. 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 (e.g. a course, Residential Hall, Academic College, club or society), across the University, or within the Canberra community.

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 needs to on implementing a positive change within the ANU or the Canberra community. The project should be one in which you play a leadership role and can motivate others to help bring about this change.

Deliverables & Completion

The primary focus of the course will be to bring about a positive change or development through the project. It is expected that during the course of the semester you will make significant headway on the project. However, in recognition that we are primarily focussed on creating meaningful, ongoing change, we do not expect that the project will deliver on its full potential during the semester.

Students will have a structured set of deliverables in the Leadership Program each week to provoke discussion and encourage progress on your project. These deliverables will primarily be short reflections submitted through Wattle, which will be shared with your peers.

The final deliverable will be to present your project at an end-of-semester Showcase, where you will be able to present your project to ANU executive and staff.

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.


Dr Chris Browne
Convenor, ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Courses

Updated:  20 Feb 2021/ Responsible Officer:  VC Courses Convenor/ Page Contact:  Webmaster