Gold College

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Gold College

Inspire. Challenge. Transform.

Gold College is a comprehensive leadership program designed for academic leaders, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and VP (Academic) in partnership with Human Resource Services.

The University of Alberta recognizes the importance of enhancing leadership capacity to achieve a shared vision. This program is shifting the culture at the University through values-based experiential learning. The overarching goal of the program is to develop the mindset and skills needed to be agile academic leaders. From identifying challenges and understanding your own strengths, to building accountability and managing conflict, you will explore theories and practices of effective leaders.


Gold College runs over a 10 months period and is comprised of thirteen learning modules over 15 days, plus Orientation and Graduation sessions. Each session has been designed to address key areas of academic leadership within the University of Alberta context. The curriculum is sequenced to develop leadership from three connected perspectives, each outlined below:


  • Leveraging personal values to align behaviours, priorities and choices as leaders
  • Creating a personal leadership narrative to inspire and engage others
  • Utilizing emotional intelligence to enhance leadership efforts
  • Leveraging different approaches to leadership


  • Actively working towards inclusion and creating psychologically safe work environments
  • Building high-performing teams and enabling people and groups to achieve desired results
  • Employing facilitative practices to engage people, create conditions for innovation, build agreement and foster commitment
  • Engaging in effective conversations to resolve conflicts
  • Building skills to coach others


  • Aligning organizational priorities through strategic planning
  • Planning for facilitating change and ensuring adoption of new initiatives
  • Seeing how organizations fall into self-limiting patterns, and how to address them
  • Evaluating and enhancing leadership strengths based on 360 degree feedback

The program is supported by online resources and readings, as well as informal and self-directed small group meetings.

What to expect?

In order to complete the program, participants are required to complete the following:

  • Attend the mandatory sessions (Values-Based Leadership and Adaptive Leadership)
  • Complete seven assignments:
  1. Complete a values inventory and debrief coaching
  2. Complete an emotional intelligence self-assessment
  3. Identify and plan a project to complete during the program
  4. Write and get feedback on a leadership philosophy
  5. Share a strategic narrative
  6. Complete a 360° feedback process
  7. Present on learnings from the project and program

Who should attend?

The program is intended for any academic staff who are in a position to lead or influence teams, departments, transformative initiatives, or projects. This includes, but is not limited to: APOs, faculty members, Chairs, Directors, Associate Deans, Associate Vice-Presidents, FSOs. The University of Alberta is committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. It is important that those in leadership roles, those aspiring to leadership roles, or those potentially considering opportunities in leadership roles, are representative of the general population and are aware of issues relating to diversity and inclusion in the practice of leadership. We are committed to ensuring diversity within Gold College cohorts and offering opportunities for diversity in the learning environment.

How are participants selected?

The course is open to any academic staff member who is in a position to influence others and who is accountable for leading change within the organization. A small selection committee will review applications. Applicants who meet the following criteria will be given priority:
  • Specify a current and pressing project or change initiative that would allow immediate application of the skills learned in the course
  • Applicants who have formal, direct reports
  • Clear articulation of what the applicant hopes to gain from the program
  • In order to ensure diversity and wide representation from different areas of the organization, each Faculty and VP portfolio will have a guaranteed number of spaces. If there are multiple applications that meet the criteria from the same Faculty or portfolio, applicants will be selected to ensure the diversity of the cohort. Faculties and VPs may be consulted to aid in selections.
  • Did the person apply in the previous year? If the above criteria are met, previous applicants will be prioritized.

What some previous participants are saying?

"This has just been such a great opportunity and I take the time to thank you for supporting it."

"I didn't know what to expect, but this program changed me as a leader and as a person."

Program Dates and Application

The application for the 2019-2020 cohort is now closed.