AGB555 Managing Rural Change (8)

This subject exposes students to the forces of change in rural organisations and communities. Students will learn about the characteristics of change at the personal, the interpersonal, the objective and the inter-objective domains. Students will learn about the history of change before exploring change in an evolutionary context.
Distance Education students are required to attend a compulsory residential school as a requirement for this subject.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Orange Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: AGB555. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to explore the history of change and its impact on life today.
  • Be able to interpret change in a scientific context by comparing the mechanistic worldview with a systems thinking worldview.
  • Be able to interpret change and its effect on the personal, interpersonal, objective and inter-objective components of life.
  • Be able to apply soft systems methodology as a tool for determining interventions in a problem solving context.
  • Be able to analyse change from a first person perspective when attempting a project which the student designs.
  • Be able to assess the most appropriate methodology for researching change of a personal nature.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Change in relation to the subjective/individual (I)
  • Values and change management
  • Change and the collective subjective (We)
  • Change and the individual objective (It)
  • Change and the collective objective (Its)
  • Soft Systems Methodology. Research methodologies and change management.
  • Weaving the text “A Systems View of Life” into the discourse as required.

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school is run in conjunction with AGR353 in order to (a) cover the concepts that are common to both subjects, and (b) assure that a critical number of students are present in the class for interactive sessions.

On this basis the Residential School has overlapping objectives with what is stated in AGR353. They are to:

  • Acquaint students with the language of holism and systems thinking in the context of an ecological approach.
  • Explain the various models that constitute an ecological approach and to engage in debate on aspects of them.
  • Engage in in-the-field work regarding observational skills that are part of the subject's major assignment.
  • Explore imagination and creativity in an experiential manner in the context of an ecological approach.

In addition the school will:

  • Explain the language of change management re personal change, community change, and organisational change.
  • Explain the language and methodology of soft systems and its role in interpreting complex issues.

Activities to include:

  • An outline of the models and theories pertaining to sustainability based around the writings of Ken Wilber and Brian Swimme.
  • Basing the framework of the model to explore sustainability in a practical exercise and to introduce the new language of holarchy and holons which assists in the interpretation of sustainability.
  • Using Hoffman's methodology to develop observational skills as part of the students 2nd Person engagement with the environment.
  • Introducing a visual exercise in the context of the main assignment re the writings of Laura Sewall and her principles of ecological thinking.
  • Using a three dimensional model the Gregory Bateson model of learning is explained and used to create debate around holism and sustainability.
  • A practical exercise on values based on the Brian Hall model and the significance of values in impacting on systems thinking and imagination development.
  • Using the thoughts of philosopher Henri Bortoft to explain holism: an interactive session
  • The use of videos to set the context for issues mentioned above.
  • Reflection on the success of the Residential School to challenge students' thinking and the assumptions that drive thinking and therefore decision-making.

Additional exercises include:

  • The methodology of soft systems and its application to a conflict issue.
  • The models of change and their application to management decision making.

Special Resources

Students are required to attend the compulsory residential school which will involve travel expenses and a time commitment.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.