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RRC Polytech embraces bold new identity and plan to support innovation, recovery and growth

October 5, 2021

Today, the province’s largest college unveiled a bold new strategic direction and embraced its identity as Manitoba’s polytechnic — by bringing that word into its name, as Red River College Polytechnic, or RRC Polytech.

In order to continue growing into the post-secondary institution that Manitoba needs today, and into the future, RRC Polytech is redefining itself. This evolution will enable RRC Polytech to continue to modernize apprenticeship training and expand in areas that are hallmarks of a polytechnic education, including applied research and work-integrated learning, allowing students to seamlessly transition from the classroom to their careers. 

The new identity recognizes RRC Polytech’s evolution into a unique kind of post-secondary institution — one that blends deep, theoretical learning with applied, hands-on experience, and highlights the important role its graduates will play in growing Manitoba’s economy as the province recovers from the pandemic and looks to the future.

“For more than 80 years, Red River College Polytechnic has been a driving force to keep our province moving forward — economically, socially and culturally — by working on the cusp of what Manitoba needs now, and as we look towards the future,” said the Hon. Wayne Ewasko, provincial Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration.

“With this new identity and strategic direction, RRC Polytech is well-positioned to continue to meet the goals of the Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy, which provides an important framework for post-secondary institutions to prepare students for in-demand, good jobs, while accelerating our economic recovery and growth.”

The term polytechnic is used around the world to identify institutions that focus on strategic workforce development and applied research, and offer a variety of credentials, from micro-credentials to bachelor’s degrees. The polytechnic model enables RRC Polytech to build on its strong foundation as a post-secondary institution and grow and expand its current offerings.

Read More →

RRC and IBM Canada give tech industry a boost with new micro-credentials

September 8, 2021

Joining the IT crowd has never been easier, thanks to a trio of micro-credentials offered by Red River College this fall to fill urgent workforce gaps in Manitoba’s information technology sector.

The new online courses are taught by experienced industry professionals and cover three skills — mobile app development, security intelligence, and predictive analytics modelling — that are highly sought-after by tech sector employers.

Two of the three courses — Security Intelligence Tech and Predictive Analytics Modeler — are being offered by RRC through a strategic partnership with IBM that will develop and deliver the curriculum through its Learn@IBM skills training platform.

“Red River College’s strong ties with Manitoba’s fast-growing tech sector ensures we are creating more accessible, flexible learning options that channel homegrown talent into workforce gaps with speed and precision,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic and Research at RRC.

“Micro-credentials such as these in support of the IT sector continue to position Red River College as the go-to source for rapid, relevant programming that meets student and labour market needs.”

RRC’s new Android Mobile Development course starts on the first of each month from September to December. The first mobile computing micro-credential to be offered in Manitoba, it covers the foundations of native mobile application development, including user-interface, notifications, event-driven programming, development environments, APIs, and tools such as emulators.

Students who complete the course earn a digital badge from RRC. Alumni of the College are eligible for a 10 per cent discount.

The other two courses, Security Intelligence Tech and Predictive Analytics Modeler via Learn@IBM, start Sept. 20. Security Intelligence Tech introduces learners to concepts of security intelligence necessary to identify threats to networks and assets.

Predictive Analytics Modeler prepares students to learn analytics models to collect and analyze data efficiently. Learners who complete each course earn a globally recognized IBM digital credential. Read More →

RRC offers new micro-credentials to support reconciliation and relationship-building

September 8, 2021

A suite of new social innovation micro-credentials is the first offered by Red River College to help businesses and professionals build skills in embedding reconciliation efforts through effective and respectful consultation processes and relationship-building.

Micro-credentials are shareable endorsements of knowledge, skills or competencies that are awarded as digital badges. Under the umbrella of Social Innovation, RRC’s Indigenous Community Consultation and Engagement micro-credentials provide the knowledge and understanding to drive positive social change through strong, relationship-focused engagement with Indigenous nations and communities and a deeper understanding of the diversity of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous sovereignty, policies, principles and Treaty rights.

“When we look at reconciliation and Indigenous worldviews, it’s all about relationships,” says Carla Kematch, RRC’s Manager of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement. “We can provide industry and professionals the foundation to build strong, reciprocal relationships with Indigenous peoples using guiding principles and processes, while simultaneously responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action in their work.”

The Indigenous Community Consultation and Engagement courses are open to both individuals — to start a rewarding career in community development and social innovation, or obtain necessary communications skills used in many professions — and to businesses, to help streamline processes, provide a competitive advantage, and guide work with Indigenous communities for mutual success.

Businesses and professionals will learn the historical and current colonial context — including the Indian Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — and how this impacts Indigenous communities and projects within their communities. Read More →

Going electric in the sub-Arctic: RRC and Frontiers North unveil EV Tundra Buggy

August 24, 2021

Today, Frontiers North Adventures and Red River College unveiled a new zero-emission vehicle technology initiative. The Electric Vehicle Tundra Buggy® is a collaborative, proof-of-concept project that oversaw the conversion of a Tundra Buggy in Frontiers North’s touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric.

The EV Tundra Buggy was made possible through the province’s new Conservation and Climate Fund, and the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) — a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector — and through in-kind support and technical services from RRC’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC).

“The Manitoba government is committed to supporting environmental projects like the EV Tundra Buggy that beautifully blends our commitment to environmental sustainability, green energy and the entrepreneurial spirit of our province,” says Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard.

“We remain committed to making Manitoba the cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province in the country, and projects like this can help make that happen.”

The project’s goal of reducing environmental impact and protecting Manitoba’s sub-Arctic landscape will help to create a culture of sustainable tourism in Churchill, one of the province’s top year-round destinations.

“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and environments,” says John Gunter, President and CEO of Frontiers North.

“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs. We are also excited to provide our touring guests a silent EV Tundra Buggy experience amongst wild polar bears and beneath the northern lights. For their support of this project we thank Manitoba, Vehicle Technology Centre Inc. and Red River College.”

The EV Tundra Buggy project builds upon research, testing and demonstration VTEC has undertaken for the shift of transit buses to electric. The battery used in the buggy is repurposed from an e-bus. By tapping into VTEC’s in-house technical expertise and using a repurposed e-bus battery, Frontiers North was able to confirm their vision of shifting from diesel to electric was feasible. Read More →

RRC partners with Winnipeg and Indigenous Chambers of Commerce to provide free reconciliation training for businesses

August 3, 2021

In honour of the 150th anniversary of Treaty 1, Red River College, the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce have come together to make truth and reconciliation training more accessible for business owners by offering one free month of the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education e-modular training program to Chamber members.

This initiative is focused on helping businesses learn their role in Call to Action #92 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and will create a foundation of knowledge for businesses and their teams to build on. The 4 Seasons program has been offered to RRC staff and faculty for nearly a year, and is part of the College’s truth and reconciliation training, which is complemented by engagement and events.

“Red River College has long worked with industry to anticipate the training needed next to advance our province,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “As a leader in preparing Manitoba’s workforce and as a partner to the business community, we are committed to building and offering learning opportunities that will advance reconciliation and respectful working relationships in our communities, and we will have more to offer in the coming year.

“We are proud to play a part and contribute to educating our community on the history and truths of the past and present, and the landscape of reconciliation in Treaty 1, but we also acknowledge that reconciliation will not look like one action or initiative. It will be a fluid, ongoing process that will need to adapt as we learn, and it will take time to heal relationships and make the necessary changes.”

The initiative will start with a panel discussion, Reconciliation in Action: Understanding Call to Action 92, on Tue., Aug. 31, so members have an opportunity to learn more about the program and the responsibility of businesses in truth and reconciliation before gaining access to 4 Seasons in September.

Chamber members and RRC staff will also be invited to attend two debriefing sessions on Tue., Sept. 14 and 28, to discuss the training content, learning experiences and next steps in a safe, supportive environment. Read More →

Red River College and New Media Manitoba offer first-of-its-kind Queer Coded youth summer camp

July 15, 2021

Calling all rainbow gamers interested in learning game development and new skills!

Red River College and New Media Manitoba are launching a Queer Coded youth summer camp — the first-of-its-kind to be offered by the two organizations. The camp will be taught by 2SLGBTQIA industry professionals and allies in a safe and supportive environment, with the goal to open more doors for interested youth and diversify this growing industry in Manitoba.

“With the expansion project of our Exchange District Campus opening this fall, and the exponential growth of the digital and tech sectors in Manitoba, we know the demand for diverse and skilled grads in areas like game development, interaction design and development, and film production will continue,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic and Research.

“Red River College is committed to fostering an environment where all individuals are and feel welcomed, respected, safe and supported in their ideas, perspectives and participation. We are proud to offer a series of camps and provide opportunities to open our doors, virtually, to invite future students on campus and expose them to these growing industries in a fun, safe and inclusive way.”

Youth with a passion or talent for drawing, writing, animation, music or programming are all welcome to this virtual youth camp that will give participants an opportunity to meet and work with peers, create art and tell interactive stories in their own way.

The camp will be offered virtually over two weeks. The first week of the camp will focus on character design, what works and what doesn’t work (exploring favourite games and genres), storytelling, and creating sprites and backgrounds. In the second week, participants will learn about implementing characters and backgrounds into a story with mechanics using a game engine, creating narrative games and/or visual novels, and using a visual game creator. Read More →

Going green: College launches Energy Advisor program to support sustainable energy efforts

July 13, 2021

Female energy advisor takes outdoor meter reading.Red River College, in collaboration with the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA), is the first post-secondary institution in the province to launch an Energy Advisor program.

The 15-week, part-time micro-credential program was developed to meet the need for Energy Advisors (EAs) to help deliver the one million EnerGuide rating services for eligible homes in Canada, as per the federal government’s Greener Homes initiative.

With the roll-out of the government’s Greener Home initiative and the nation-wide shortage of EAs, there’s an increased demand for specialized training, and in turn an immediate opportunity for employment for skilled labourers in Manitoba.

“The Energy Advisor micro-credential program was created to address and meet industry demands,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice President, Academic and Research. “By leveraging the in-house expertise at RRC’s dynamic research facilities — including the Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) — along with our partners at MEIA, we’re delivering specialized skills training to prepare Manitobans for immediate employment in the growing sector of sustainable infrastructure.”

The micro-credential courses are targeted for Manitobans currently working in the fields of construction, trades or engineering, to provide necessary up-skilling. The program was designed to help learners acquire the knowledge and specialized skills to get certified as an EA and pass the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) federal examination.

Once NRCan-certified, EAs can also add other NRCan services to their qualification, including EnerGuide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings and ENERGY STAR for New Homes. Read More →

Library and Academic Services Warm Up Week recognized by American Library Association

June 21, 2021

Red River College Library and Academic Services Warm Up Week is one of five projects to receive the 2021 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.

Warm Up Week was developed by RRC Library and Academic Services, in partnership with College stakeholders, to provide support and mental health services for RRC students. The event was conceived to address the many challenges the pandemic has posed to post-secondary institutions, including students’ experiences adapting to changes in course delivery, staying connected with their peers and instructors, and obtaining mental health and academic supports from home.

For 500 RRC students, the Winter 2021 semester was delayed by one week to hold the first-ever Warm Up Week, Jan. 4 to 8. The week-long event gave faculty time to pivot to online program delivery and provided students with a supportive online environment to develop co-curricular and academic skills, helping ensure their success heading into the winter semester.

“To address challenges the pandemic has added to students’ academic experience, the College continues to develop innovative solutions to support our students,” says Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic. “Warm Up Week is an important initiative that addresses mental health concerns while also boosting students’ confidence and preparedness in their educational journeys.”

The event consisted of seminars, workshops, help desks and self-guided learning opportunities. Some of the Warm Up sessions included: Technology Skills for Online Success, Online Learning Strategies, and Intercultural Competence.

Partnerships with the School of Indigenous Education, Mental Health and Wellness, the Centre for International Education and Global Partnerships, Employment Services and the RRC Students’ Association provided access to additional supports such as Indigenous Elder drop-ins, resumé-writing workshops, mindfulness sessions, and more. Read More →

Business Administration grads named 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipients

June 18, 2021

Every year, Red River College awards up to four Lieutenant Governor’s Medal awards to graduating students who excel in academic and technical achievement, involvement in College and/or community activities, and good character.

This year, Red River College is proud to award two winners who embodied every aspect of the award:

RRC grad Laura Dyer with certificateLAURA DYER: Business Administration – Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online learning was a challenge for many students — Laura Dyer included. Throughout the last 15 months, Dyer remained committed to her studies – completing her final exams with a cumulative GPA of 4.23, and to her community throughout her academic journey.

Community involvement has always been important to Dyer. She has been a volunteer with Motion Ball for Special Olympics and Larche Winnipeg, organizations supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities, for three years. She describes these volunteer experiences as life-changing because of the selfless and kind people she has had the honour to develop relationships with.

She is also an active member of the RRC community, participating on both the women’s soccer and futsal teams.

Recognizing the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic was having on people’s mental and physical health, she volunteered her time as an online fitness instructor five days a week to provide home workout videos to individuals in the community.

Dyer is described by her nominators as an ambitious, motivated, enthusiastic leader, and an “outstanding performer with a shining personality.”

RRC grad Sadie Tait with certificateSADIE TAIT: Business Administration – Accounting

After a successful career working as an insurance broker, Sadie Tait was ready for the next challenge and enrolled in the program at RRC’s Portage la Prairie Campus.

In her first year in the program, Tait excelled — achieving perfect scores on several exams and tutoring her peers. When the College transitioned to online learning as a result of the pandemic, Sadie maintained her high grades and transferred to the Steinbach Campus for her final year to pursue an accounting major.

The summer before her final year, she learned she was pregnant with her first son. She maintained her grades and worked hard to complete her program online, and she and her husband welcomed him into the world two weeks before she completed her final exams in April 2021.

While completing her studies, Tait served as an elected councillor for the Municipality of North Norfolk, worked part-time, and volunteered for several organizations in her community, including the MacGregor and District Kinette Club, the MacGregor-Austin Senior Support Program, the MacGregor Curling Club, and the MacGregor Chamber of Commerce.

She received five glowing letters of recommendation in support of her nomination, describing her as a leader, professional, hard-working and an essential asset to her community.

Graphic Design instructor named Teacher Award of Excellence recipient for 2021

June 17, 2021

Graphic Design instructor Darren StebeleskiEach year, the Red River College Students’ Association presents a Teacher Award of Excellence in recognition of an instructor’s outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students.

Typically, the RRCSA receives approximately 100 submissions for this award. This year, they received over 450 submissions from students whose instructors made a difference in their learning — in a year like no other.

The 2021 RRCSA Teacher Award of Excellence has been awarded to Darren Stebeleski, a Graphic Design instructor in Creative Arts, who has been with the College for 10 years this August.

After a successful career working in the graphic design industry, Stebeleski was drawn to teaching because he realized he enjoyed talking about and studying design even more than he liked practicing it. It was then that he pursued his master’s degree with the goal of teaching design.

When asked what inspires and excites him most about teaching, Stebeleski says he loves introducing students to the idea that design is everywhere around us.

“I love teaching my students the rules of graphic design in the first year, then watching them skillfully bend — and even break — these rules during the rest of their time at the College.”

“What inspires me personally is graphic design that is done in the service of people, versus commercial or corporate work. I am always interested in the work being done in the area of social justice, work that is helping to amplify the voices of people’s movements or that is demanding an end to an injustice.” Read More →