Service Excellence Training Program (SETP)

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The University of Alberta’s new administrative structure is focused on enhancing the delivery of services to students and employees. To meet the desired service culture, it is imperative that all employees have a common language and understanding.

Service excellence is a shared commitment to continuous improvement. It is about the way we serve colleagues, students and external stakeholders. With that in mind, the Service Excellence Training Plan (SETP) has been developed to create consistency and outline expectations for service competence across all service streams at the U of A. More importantly, SETP will help you and your team develop the competencies, processes, and collaborative effectiveness needed to offer the highest standard of service possible within your service area or unit. 

Tailored to the University of Alberta context, the SETP will equip leaders and staff to:

  • develop core competencies needed to provide service to a high standard;
  • create an empowered and user-focussed service culture; and,
  • collaborate and continuously improve our services.

The SETP is the first step in an important series of conversations that will enable us to Lead with Purpose and to emerge from the restructuring stronger and committed to our core mission of teaching, research, and community engagement. 

Shift our culture and grow your career by developing transferable competencies. Enrol in the SETP today.

Program Overview 

SETP combines self-paced online learning with live, virtual application sessions. Complete the module videos at your own pace and then attend a live session where you will have the opportunity to apply your learning, engage in conversations with other university staff, and ask questions. Have questions about the program? Review this FAQ document

Why get involved?

Grow our strengths - Identify and enhance competencies.

Enhance our processes - Leverage synergy and enhance efficiency. 

Shift our culture - Grow collaboration and interdependence.

Module 1

Upon completion of Module 1, participants will be able to: 

  • Summarize essential elements of service excellence 
  • Identify competencies necessary for delivering excellent service 
  • Outline the importance of providing service excellence at the University of Alberta

Self-paced, online learning (3.5 hours total) 

  • Program Introduction: University of Alberta for Tomorrow--Leading with Purpose
    • University’s history, mission and values, the new structure, and how the SETP will support the university’s transformation. 
  • Defining service
    • Foundational service elements in a post-secondary setting 
    • Five key service steps for use in the university context
  • Creating a Culture of Service Excellence 
    • Importance of a consistent service brand and how every employee impacts the user experience 
  • Identifying Service Competencies 
    • Service competencies that are critical for specific roles
    • Self-assessment tools for service competencies 

Interactive, virtual session (2 hours) 

Active engagement to reflect, practice and apply critical lessons from Module 1.

Module 2

Upon completion of Module 2, participants will be able to: 

  • Develop and deliver messages that enhance service excellence 
  • Illustrate how to meet the varying needs of diverse clients 
  • Provide opportunities for self and team care 

Self-paced, online learning (2.25 hours total) 

  • Service Efficiency 
    • Maintaining efficient service without sacrificing quality and client engagement
  • Service Consistency
    • Pros and cons of using scripting and developing scripts
  • Managing Stress 
    • Strategies to manage personal and team stress through the demands of providing a culture of service excellence 

Interactive, virtual session (2 hours) 

Active engagement to reflect, practice and apply critical lessons from Module 2.

Module 3

Upon completion of Module 3, participants will be able to: 

  • Effectively communicate with clients
  • Recall necessary strategies for managing challenging customers
  • Differentiate between managing difficult situations and customers individually or when escalation is needed 

Self-paced, online learning (2.75 hours total) 

  • Active Listening and the Conversation Cycle
    • Four phases of the conversation cycle, navigating unclear requests, and avoiding jargon 
  • Challenging Conversations
    • Saying “no” and delivering bad news by managing emotions and moderating expectations 
  • De-escalating Difficult Clients 
    • Difficult “types” of clients and managing potentially volatile situations 
    • Best practices for ensuring safety and escalating situations to gain support 
  • Decision-Making and the Escalation Strategy 
    • Identifying when to use escalation strategy 

Interactive, virtual session (2 hours) 

Active engagement through practice and role-playing that applies Module 3 concepts.

Module 4

Module 4 (For leadership, supervisors, and managers)

The design of the SETP recognizes that managers and leaders of service centres will require more specialized training, tools, and strategies to sustain and enhance service excellence on an ongoing basis. Additional synchronous training will be offered to assist leaders, supervisors, and managers strengthen their ability to lead, coach, and model service excellence for their teams. 

4 hours. Details coming soon.

register for a setp cohort

Please be aware that registration is full for all Cohorts. We are scheduling more options to meet the demand and will advertise through the Professional Development newsletter (sign up here) when registration opens for additional sessions. The program will also be offered on an ongoing basis in the new year.

In the meantime, you can add yourself to the program waitlist by completing this Google Form and you will be notified when additional sections are added.

Each module's asynchronous courses need to be completed before attending the corresponding live application session. Please register for your live application sessions below, we encourage you to register with the same cohort for all sessions if possible to build relationships. If you are unable to attend all the listed dates for one cohort, you are welcome to select dates from different cohorts. Please also be aware that some cohorts are restricted by audience.

Supervisor notification of your participation

Supervisors play a critical role in the  development of their team members. In order to support and reinforce your learning through the Service Excellence Training Program, your direct supervisor will be notified of your registration and will be encouraged to discuss the program and application of service competencies with you. 


It has come to our attention that some of the confirmation emails that are sent automatically through the LearnCentre learning management system have been delayed. We are working to resolve the issue, however, if you have not received a confirmation message from LearnCentre 48 hours after registration, please email us at Please check your spam/junk folder for the confirmation email before contacting us.