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Capability Development

03 November 2023

Our staff development programme makes sure our Academic and General Staff are in a position to contribute to the University’s strategic priorities. We view professional development as an investment that benefits individual employees and the University. Find out more about opportunities for staff at UC.


Plans are shaped in a partnership with Managers/Heads through our Professional Development and Review Process (PD&R).

Key Functions

  • Provide a professional development programme adapted to the UC context and available to all staff.
  • Facilitate the provision of appropriate and timely learning solutions.
  • Provide resources and options to assist managers and staff on development needs, including UC's Professional Development and Review process.
  • Facilitate timely and relevant induction programmes.
  • Develop, implement and improve policies and processes which support the overall strategic goals and direction of the University.
  • Provide opportunities to upskill using online learning content from LinkedIn Learning.

As a staff member you can access more information on our Capability Development & Training intranet page (staff only).

A range of core learning and development programmes have been established for all staff, including:

  • Growing Personal Resilience
  • Tangata Tū Tangata Ora workshop
  • Te Reo workshop
  • A wide choice of Health & Safety workshops
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • NZ Women in Leadership Programme

A range of core learning and development programmes have been established for academic staff, including:

  • Career Planning for the Early Career Academic
  • Early Career Academic Staff Mentoring Programme
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching

UC provides practical advice and services on teaching, assessment, personal and professional development and research with a view to improving student success.

UC supports and encourages the personal and professional development of our staff members by offering study assistance provisions for staff. Assistance available to eligible staff may include fee waivers, and reimbursements of tuition fees.

Refer to the UC Services Portal (HR Service Delivery) - staff only, for further information on how to apply for study assistance.

The University of Canterbury offers a range of awards for both Academic and General staff to recognise excellence. These include:


Health Safety & Wellbeing Award

Annually there is an opportunity for a recipient or team to apply for an award of up to $2,500 who demonstrate commitment to achieving an improvement or initiative in health, safety & wellbeing at UC.  The awards are in recognition for campus wide good ideas, superior systems, great initiatives and they acknowledge hardworking people who have made a difference in health, safety or wellbeing. Read more on the Health & Safety web section.


Capability Development Scholarship

For Technical and Professional/General Staff Success 

The Capability Development Scholarship For Technical and Professional/General Staff (staff only) are designed to enable access to meaningful development for individuals and/or teams of Technical and General/Professional Staff. They provide a means to access development that will enable staff to build skills and capability to best support the success of Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora, UC Strategy 2020 – 2030. The Scholarships should also enhance wellbeing, and support innovative and forward-thinking learning, whilst being Ngā Uara | UC Values aligned. 

These scholarships are intended to be provided over and above the expected professional development supported in work areas and role specific learning.  


UC Teaching Awards & UC Teaching Medal

There is an opportunity for Academic staff or teams to be recognised through a number of teaching awards that are granted annually.  The UC teaching awards recognise excellence in teaching in both undergraduate and graduate programmes, with a new category of Outstanding Teaching Practice recognising special contributions by a UC teacher (up to two awarded annually).  The UC Teaching Medal is our highest award and is presented in recognition of outstanding teaching and leadership.

The bequest by John Angus Erskine enables up to 70 visiting international senior academics to lecture at UC each year to undergraduates and postgraduate students (Erskine Fellowship). Around 25 UC academics are also awarded grants which enables them to travel to overseas institutions to enhance their skills and knowledge (Erskine Grants). Erskine Programme Fellowships are teaching fellowships, not research fellowships, and intended for more senior academics.

Departments not eligible for an Erskine Fellowship or Grant are eligible to apply for one of the other Fellowships or Grants administered by the Erskine Programme Office. These awards are made annually on a competitive basis. Learn more about The Erskine Programme here.

Academic staff members have the opportunity to apply for a period of sabbatical from their role.  This is an opportunity to put aside teaching and administration responsibilities so as to concentrate on increasing ones knowledge and expertise in areas that will benefit the staff member, the Department or School and the University.  Details are available in the Academic and Associated Staff Collective Employment Agreement.

Refer to the UC Services Portal (HR Service Delivery) staff only, for further information on how to apply for sabbatical.

PD&R aims to help staff make that difference. It does this by giving them the opportunity to discuss with their immediate managers how they can further their careers with the support of the University, and to plan future professional development needs. Secondly, it provides an opportunity for discussion about how their efforts contribute to their work area’s efforts, and to the overall efforts of the University.

More can be learnt about the PD&R process on the Professional Development and Review (PD&R) - staff only.

As an academic staff member there is also the yearly opportunity to apply for academic promotion. Our framework for academic advancement is one of progressive development increasing academic professional competence.   

If you are an early career academic, enrol in the L&D programme Planning your Career Advancement - a 2-day workshop designed for the Early Career Academic  at the end of their first to third year. 

Once you have participated in this you gain entry to our early career academic staff mentoring programme which matches academics who are in the early stages of their career with more senior academics who are outside of the mentee's Department/School or College.


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