Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit





Unit rationale, description and aim

Educational Leaders have the responsibility of not only administering an organisation, but also nurturing the human growth of the school community. Promoting learning is a values-based mission.

This unit offers students an understanding of Educational Leadership as a discipline of practice and research. The unit engages with the histories of the field because they offer contextual explanations for current initiatives and behaviours. The unit also critiques philosophies underpinning, leadership perspectives, especially critical approaches, feminism, Organizational Ecology, and First Nations. The importance of values, behaviours, vision, and mission are interrogated in the practice of leadership.

The aim of the unit is to promote in students a critical appreciation of the foundations of educational leadership, management and administration and how these may be authentically adopted in education contexts, particularly with Catholic and/or faith-based organisations.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Understand and distinguish between major research traditions in Educational Leadership, Management and Administration (GA4; GA5; GA8; APSP 1, 3)

LO2 -  Explain recent developments in Educational Leadership, Management and Administration in consideration of the field’s foundations (GA2; GA3; GA4; APST 6.2 (Lead); APSP 2, 4, 5)

LO3 - Explain and justify their stance on Educational Leadership, Management and Administration grounded in scholarly literature (GA2; GA3; GA5; GA10; APST 7.1 (Lead); APSP 3, 4, 5)

LO4 - Explain and justify how particular perspectives in educational leadership are especially appropriate in pursuing the mission of faith-based organisations (GA2; GA3; GA4; GA5; APSP 1, 2, 4, 5)

LO5 - Explain and justify leadership beliefs on philosophical, faith and/or professional values. (GA1; GA2; GA3; GA4; GA10; APST 6.1 (Lead); APSP 1, 3, 4, 5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

6.1 - Identify and plan professional learning needs

Use comprehensive knowledge of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to plan and lead the development of professional learning policies and programs that address the professional learning needs of colleagues and pre-service teachers

6.2 - Engage in professional learning and improve practice

Initiate collaborative relationships to expand professional learning opportunities, engage in research, and provide quality opportunities and placements for pre-service teachers.

7.1 - Meet professional ethics and responsibilities

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community.


In addition to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers this unit addresses the following Professional Practices: 

APSP 1- Leading teaching and learning

Principals create a positive culture of challenge and support, enabling effective teaching that promotes enthusiastic, independent learners, committed to lifelong learning. Principals have a key responsibility for developing a culture of effective teaching, for leading, designing and managing the quality of teaching and learning and for students’ achievement in all aspects of their development. They set high expectations for the whole school through careful collaborative planning, monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of learning. Principals set high standards of behaviour and attendance, encouraging active engagement and a strong student voice.

APSP 2 - Developing self and others

Principals work with and through others to build a professional learning community that is focused on continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Through managing performance, effective continuing professional learning and feedback, they support all staff to achieve high standards and develop their leadership capacity. Principals support others to build capacity and treat people fairly and with respect. They model effective leadership and are committed to their own ongoing professional development and personal health and wellbeing in order to manage the complexity of the role and the range of learning capabilities and actions required of the role.

APSP 3 - Leading improvement, innovation and change

Principals work with others to produce and implement clear, evidence-based improvement plans and policies for the development of the school and its facilities. They recognise that a crucial part of the role is to lead and manage innovation and change to ensure the vision and strategic plan is put into action across the school and that its goals and intentions are realised.

APSP 4 - Leading the management of the school

Principals use a range of data management methods and technologies to ensure that the school’s resources and staff are efficiently organised and managed to provide an effective and safe learning environment as well as value for money. This includes appropriate delegation of tasks to members of the staff and the monitoring of accountabilities. Principals ensure these accountabilities are met. They seek to build a successful school through effective collaboration with school boards, governing bodies, parents and others. They use a range of technologies effectively and efficiently to manage the school.

APSP 5 - Engaging and working with the community

Principals embrace inclusion and help build a culture of high expectations that takes account of the richness and diversity of the wider school community and the education systems and sectors. They develop and maintain positive partnerships with students, families and carers and all those associated with the wider school community. They create an ethos of respect taking account of the spiritual, moral, social and physical health and wellbeing of students. They promote sound lifelong learning from preschool through to adult life. They recognise the multicultural nature of Australia’s people. They foster understanding and reconciliation with Indigenous cultures. They recognise and use the rich and diverse linguistic and cultural resources in the school community. They recognise and support the needs of students, families and carers from communities facing complex challenges.


Topics will include:

  • The history of educational leadership, management and administration as a field of research and practice, including but not exclusively: classic management theories; the Theory Movement, the Greenfield revolution, critical approaches, feminism, postmodernism, and First Nations perspectives; and
  • Contemporary ways of thinking about educational leadership, management and administration, including but not exclusively, popular adjectival leadership (e.g. transformational, servant, authentic), biographic and reflective approaches, emancipatory approaches, school effectiveness and school improvement or successful schools (including instructional leadership), and the Indigenous management movement. The way in which these approaches and perspectives can be appropriated in Catholic and faith based educational organisations so as to enhance their identity and mission will be considered.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered in online, on campus or in blended learning modes. The use of LEO will be integral to the unit in exploring concepts and testing understandings and propositions. Strategies used may include lectures, engagement with the literature, self-directed learning, critical reflection against relevant professional standards, case studies, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application of learning to current professional contexts.

 This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes. In addition, the tasks represent an opportunity to align with the particular needs of students and their professional contexts.

To successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge related to perspectives on wellbeing in a creative and practical manner. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assignment 1

You are to explore in depth one perspective in educational leadership addressed in this unit. You do this by critically reading an appropriate book of substance. The assignment invites you to explain and justify how your insights generated from your critical reading, enhance your understanding of leadership. 


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assignment 2

From studying the topics in this unit, you are to write an assignment that explains and justifies your understanding of Educational Leadership. 


LO1,LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references


Belmonte, A., & Rymarz, R. (2021). Leading Catholic schools: A practical guide for emerging leaders, Garratt Publishing.

Blane, H. (2017). Principles of transformational leadership: Create a mindset of passion, innovation and growth, Red Wheel/Weiser.

Branson, C.M., & Marra, M. (2021). A new theory of organizational ecology, and its implications for educational leadership. Bloomsbury.

Connors, C. (2020). Emotional Intelligence for the modern leader: A guide to cultivating effective leadership and organisations, Rockridge Press.

Cooper, B., McCray, C., & Coffin, S. (2017). Why schools need vision: Managing scarcity, mandates and conflicting goals for education quality. Rowman & Littlefield.

Damousi, J., Rubenstein, K., Tomsic, M., (2014). Diversity in Leadership: Australian women, past and present, ANU Press.

Duignan, P. (2021). Leading educational systems and schools in times of disruption and exponential change: A call for courage, commitment and collaboration, Emerald

Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2016). Learning leadership: The five fundamentals of becoming an exemplary leader. San Francisco, CA: Wiley

Palestin, R. (2013). Feminist theory and educational leadership: Much ado about something! Rowman & Littlefield.

Macdonald I., Dixon, C. & Tiplady, T. (2019). Improving schools using systems leadership: Turning Intention into reality. Taylor Francis.

Ma Rhea, Z. (2015). Leading and managing Indigenous education in the post- colonial world. Routledge.

Murphy, J. (2017). Professional standards for educational leaders: The empirical, moral and experiential foundations, Sage.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs