The U of A Advantage Program

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pausing this program for the remainder of 2020. Instead, we are sharing e-learning and online learning resources and opportunities through our professional development mailing list. Subscribe to the PD mailing list to stay informed about professional development resources and opportunities.

Purpose and Intended Audience

The U of A Advantage Program is a personal leadership program that provides a unique learning experience designed to help employees acquire and enhance knowledge and skills that are universal and transferable to a variety of professional and personal situations; rather than teaching skills only useful in one particular position. The U of A Advantage Program is a professional and personal development opportunity designed with high performing Support Staff interests in mind. It provides practical but high level learning experiences leading to enhanced job performance and personal development. The program presents the knowledge and skills needed to be a more positive, effective, resilient and self-reliant employee regardless of the role you play on campus today.

The U of A Advantage Snapshot

The U of A Advantage program supports learners in making a difference through the enhancement of these key personal competencies that are critical in today's workplaces:


  • Being more aware of yourself, others, your work unit and the organization
  • Knowing what to pay attention to within your work and life context
  • Seeing things from a different perspective


  • Using good judgment in dealing with co-workers and in taking action
  • Choosing actions or behaviours that are suitable to your context
  • Anticipating consequences of the choices you make
  • Using guidelines or rules to guide your choices and decision making


  • Demonstrating initiative, innovation, and creativity
  • Taking the initiative, being self-motivated and accountable
  • Taking personal accountability and self-assessment of your actions


  • Internalizing learning by forming habits of mind
  • Enabling continuous professional growth
  • Being able to reflect critically on your own behaviour
  • Integrating reflection and learning into new patterns of work
  • Transferring skills and knowledge into new contexts by knowing how to learn and apply your knowledge in different ways.

Why Get Involved?

  • Workplace Transfer - The topics, tools, activities and discussions will help you deal with real workplace situations and issues and transfer what you learn to new situations.
  • Rewarding - The transformational experience is an award winning workplace learning program that is practical, relevant and deals with critical thinking skills that make sense in your workplace today.
  • Growth - This program is intended to help you enhance your workplace performance and gain personal and professional success.

What to Expect

Participants are expected to:

  • Attend all 6 days of the program. There will be one session held per week. So, the entire program is approximately 6 weeks long.
  • Complete a Learning Opportunity Project that leverages the knowledge and skills learned during the program. Participants most often base their project on a workplace opportunity, and some work time is anticipated to be invested as a result. Regardless of project type, weekly meetings with your manager/supervisor are recommended to discuss progress. Time needed for the project will vary depending on participants learning pace and style, as well as the project type.
  • Participants can expect to spend up to 1 additional hour per week outside of class time on 'homework'. Homework will involve class preparation/reading, completing of assignments, and engagement in online discussions. Time needed will vary depending on participants learning pace and style.

Managers are expected to:

  • Attend the orientation (first day) with their staff member and participate in a program overview, learning project guidelines and online component orientation.
  • Be knowledgeable about the program content for discussion and coaching purposes.
  • Provide support to the learner throughout the program by enabling conditions in which the learner can practice and transfer elements he or she is learning.
  • Provide ongoing feedback and mentoring to the learner as she or he completes program activities.
  • Commit to supporting a learning opportunity project applicable to your work area.
  • Attend program wrap up and celebration (last day), to observe your participant's project presentations.

What are people saying about the Advantage Program?

"The discussions generated were great! I like the variety of tools used in each session - combination of movies, discussions, games, going through course material, group presentations etc."

"Thanks for offering this valuable program. I hope it will be continued to be offered for years to come."

"It was recommended to me and it was the best advice ever so I will definitely recommend it to a friend."

"I'm finding it very enjoyable and the course facilitators are just excellent - energetic, encouraging and very supportive. I'm thrilled my supervisor suggested it!."

"This is a very useful program that if approached with an open mind, a willingness to really look at yourself critically and adopt different ways of approaching problems, could be like a breath of fresh air into your work life and personal life as well."

"I love it. One of the best classes I have taken."

Guidelines for Applying

Supervisor/Manager Endorsement Form