Hours of operation and alternate delivery methods ›

News

Alumni

Red River College welcomes students back — to virtual learning and delivery

March 24, 2020

This week, Red River College and its students took their first steps into new territory as courses resumed following a week-long study break.

The same social distancing practices public health authorities are asking everyone to follow to combat the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — including cancelling all gatherings — make it impossible for students and instructors to gather in classrooms, workshops and other facilities where learning normally takes place. So, the College has turned to virtual program delivery to get the job done.

“Luckily, three of our greatest strengths as a College community are resilience, agility and innovation,” says Aileen Najduch, Acting Vice-President, Academic. “RRC leadership, faculty and staff came together last week to put those strengths to work in developing alternative forms of program delivery.”

Each program is different, and so is each approach to virtual program delivery. Some instructors are using online meeting platforms such as WebEx and Microsoft Teams to facilitate virtual classes and chats. Others are using Skype, Zoom, and YouTube group forums to connect and discuss course topics. Still others are sharing narrated PowerPoint presentations with students.

“I’ve already heard from an instructor who says the WebEx class they held for one of their Marketing courses this morning had full participation,” says Kirk Johnson, Dean, Business and Applied Arts, and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Many of RRC’s virtual program delivery tools were already in use before the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re simply being deployed more extensively now, says Johnson. For example, Business Administration students are using a networking app called Riipen to connect with real-world clients on projects.

As well, all RRC students have free access to LinkedIn Learning, an enormous database of online courses — a virtual asset Johnson says instructors will rely on more heavily in the months ahead. Although the College cancelled all practicums to protect the safety of its students, some programs are developing virtual practicum activities and experiences, including case studies with industry partners.

In addition to switching to alternative program delivery, RRC has reminded students that College supports and services are available online or over the phone if they need help coping with stress or anxiety, or if they require special accommodations for completing coursework. The College has also launched a coronavirus webpage to serve as a resource and news hub for staff and students.

For now, says College leadership, the “how” may have changed, but the “what” remains the same: helping students achieve their academic goals. RRC has committed to its alternative program delivery model until May 1, when the winter term ends. How the College proceeds from there will depend entirely on the pandemic, and the advice of provincial, national and international health authorities.

“Even though our hallways have never felt emptier,” says Najduch, “the compassion and creativity we’ve seen from our community gives us great hope that we will get through our current challenges and emerge stronger than ever.”

Manufacturing, Nursing grads earn Lieutenant Governor’s Medals

February 4, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant Governor’s Medals, who were honoured at our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremony on Monday., Feb. 3.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to graduating students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Jessica Burzminski with her Lieutenant Governor's Medal Jessica Burzminski – Manufacturing CAD

Jessica believes in encouraging women to pursue education and careers in trades. She is not only a two-time Gold Medal recipient — having previously excelled in the College’s Manufacturing Technician program — she’s also a two-time silver medalist at Skills Manitoba’s CNC machining competition. She is currently working as a CNC programmer at Price Industries.

During her studies, Jessica tutored classmates in computer numerical control theory. Outside of school, she volunteers in junior dog handling and cheerleading, and for the Blue Bomber Cheer and Dance Team, where she provides events and marketing supporting.

Her instructors praise her drive, creativity, leadership and ability to connect with people of all ages. According to one of her volunteer supervisors, she sets an example for others through her commitment to excellence.

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Michelle Queue with her Lieutenant Governor's MedalMichelle Queau – Bachelor of Nursing

Michelle Queau has demonstrated a true commitment to helping others become their best selves. When she returned to school following an 11-year career in academic research, she balanced studies and volunteer work with parenting a young son. She received the Nursing Legacy Award in 2017 and the peer-nominated Nursing Leadership Award in 2019.

In addition to mentoring and tutoring her peers, Michelle has volunteered countless hours for organizations where she can bring new ideas about nursing curriculum and practice to the table. According to one of her referees, “When facing a challenge, Michelle perseveres. When given a choice, she always chooses kindness.”

She works as a registered nurse in cardiac sciences at St. Boniface Hospital, and as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

Public health advocate to receive RRC’s first honorary degree in nursing

January 29, 2020

The recipient of Red River College’s first-ever Honorary Degree in Nursing has dedicated herself to enhancing equity, promoting public health, and shaping the nursing profession in Canada.

Dr. Claire Betker’s nursing career has taken her from public health and primary health care to education, research, administration and advocacy. In each new role, she has reached across professional disciplines and levels of leadership, finding innovative solutions to challenges facing health-care policy and delivery.

“I believe in the power of nursing,” she says. “All nurses are leaders. Over more than 40 years, I’ve seen real change take place because of the influence of good, solid nursing at all levels.”

Among her own remarkable accomplishments, Betker led a team at the Public Health Agency of Canada charged with defining core competencies still used today for public health practitioners working in public health organizations, academia, workforce development and professional associations.

And as Executive Director of the Population and Public Health Branch, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, she helped develop public health policy, standards, programs and services that have been adopted across the province.

“This honorary degree is extraordinarily meaningful to me personally because it brings me full circle,” she says. “Starting with my bachelor of nursing degree, education has opened countless doors and prepared me well to meet the challenges ahead.” Read More →

True North to debut new jerseys featuring logos designed by RRC grad

January 16, 2020

The Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose will take to the ice this weekend in jerseys bearing Indigenous-inspired logos designed by a Red River College graduate.

Leticia Spence, who completed RRC’s Graphic Design program last year, created the logos while on a work placement with True North Sports + Entertainment.

They’ll be featured on warm-up jerseys worn by the Jets during their pre-game skate on Friday, Jan. 17, and on game jerseys worn by the Moose on Saturday, Jan. 18. Friday’s game coincides with the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets, and Saturday’s game with the Moose’s Follow Your Dreams Day.

Leticia Spence (centre) with WASAC participants“It’s pretty surreal to me,” Spence told CBC News last week, when the teams’ new gear was unveiled at the Neeginan Centre as part of the NHL’s “This Is Hockey” initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.

When Spence first designed the logos, she wanted to avoid resorting to feathers or circles with four points, symbols she felt were overused in representing Indigenous culture. Instead, she reviewed artifacts, researched the work of modern Indigenous artists, and turned to members of her family and home community — Pimicikamak First Nation — for inspiration.

“Each tribe has a visual language to express their views of the world,” she said at the time. “I wanted to show that we’re united by including motifs, symbols and patterns from many different Indigenous cultures and tribes in the logos.”

Funds raised from last year’s WASAC Night and Follow Your Dream Day went to support WASAC events taking place this weekend, when 60 students from northern First Nations will travel to Winnipeg to take part in tours and activities, including a group skate with Indigenous role models such as Olympian Brigette Lacquette.

When the new logos were first unveiled last year, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief said his initial response was amazement and pride.

“I felt proud of being Indigenous, proud of the mentorship and support from RRC, proud of the partnership between Leticia and the team at True North, and proud to be able to showcase her work on this scale,” he said.

Inset photo credit: Gary Solilak, CBC News Winnipeg

Masonry master named Apprenticeship Manitoba’s Instructor of the Year

December 9, 2019

The office of Brian Gebhardt, a Masonry instructor at Red River College, is reminiscent of the classrooms adjacent to it: surrounded by projects and artwork made of bricks, with a layer of dust on every surface.

Gebhardt is everything one would expect from a mason — covered in the same dust that cakes his office, with calloused hands hardened from almost 45 years in the trade.

For 30 of those years, that dust has been a byproduct of his work at RRC, and this year he received the highest honour an apprenticeship instructor can achieve when he was named Instructor of the Year by Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Gebhardt doesn’t let a little dust bother him; after all, he’s been working with bricks since his first construction job right out of high school, where time spent watching and talking with masonry veterans sold him on the trade.

“They seemed to enjoy what they were doing, and wage-wise it was what I was looking for,” he says.

To get a foot in the door, Gebhardt cold-called as many masonry contractors as he could to ask for a job, which he eventually landed — through what he’s convinced was a real-life game of Telephone.

“I phoned them and said, ‘I want to be a bricklayer,’ and I think he thought I said, ‘I am a bricklayer.’ And he said, ‘Have your tools tomorrow at 1700 Taylor,’” Gebhardt recalls with a smile.

“I picked up some tools — I had none — and I showed up at the job.” Read More →

Flame and fortune: Design grad named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

October 31, 2019

Amanda Bushe, Coal and Canary co-founderA Red River College grad behind one of the city’s most popular startups has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women Business Owners of Manitoba (WBOM).

Amanda Buhse, co-founder of Coal and Canary Candle Company, was both the overall winner and in the Global Reach category at this year’s Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, held Oct. 24 at the Metropolitan Event Centre.

A 2006 graduate of RRC’s Graphic Design – Advanced program (now called Communication Design), Buhse launched the Coal and Canary brand with best friend Tom Jansen in 2014. The pair expected to start slow, selling a few hand-poured candles to friends and family, but mere months later were scrambling to fill Oscar and Grammy Awards swag bags while meeting the rising demand from their first retail clients.

These days, they’re a regular presence at pop-up shops and makers’ markets throughout the city, and their candles — made from high-quality soy and vegetable wax, with scents running the gamut from Don’t Be Chaito The Cider Made Me Do It— can also be found at their storefront in The Forks Market.

Buhse was working full-time as a web designer when she and Jensen first began brainstorming ideas for their business. She’d been encouraged to pursue graphic design training at RRC by a high school guidance counsellor, and while she found the program “surprisingly hard,” she’s eternally grateful for the advice. Read More →

Apprenticeship grad takes top honours at international culinary competition

October 10, 2019

Junior sous chef Darnell BanmanA Red River College grad served up the winning entry at a prestigious international culinary competition last month, spinning his home turf advantage into a mouth-watering win for Canada.

Winkler-born Darnell Banman, who completed his Apprenticeship Cook training with a Red Seal designation in 2014, beat out competitors from 22 other countries at this year’s La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition, which took place Sept. 19–22 in Calgary.

The black box-style challenge gives participants four and a half hours to create and prepare a four-course meal using surprise ingredients.

Banman’s winning menu included a pickerel bar with prawn mousseline, shallots, puffed skin and sauce beurre blanc, pan roasted beef tri tip with crispy potato, braised beluga lentils, jus and butter-poached quail breast, and for dessert, dark chocolate mousse, lemon thyme sable, poached saskatoon berries, candied acorn squash and peach gel.

“I was shocked, but also very excited when I found out I won,” says Banman, who currently serves as sous chef at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club, where he’s spent the last year prepping for both the national and international versions of the competition under the tutelage of Chef Cameron Huley.

“It’s always been something that I’ve dreamed of achieving.” Read More →

Culinary grad hoping to plate a victory at prestigious international competition

August 15, 2019

A Winkler-born Red River College grad will represent Canada at a prestigious international culinary competition this fall.

Darnell Banman, who completed his Apprenticeship Cook training with a Red Seal designation in 2014, will face off against more than 20 chefs from around the world at the 2019 La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition, taking place in Calgary from Sept. 19–22.

Once there, he’ll be given four hours to create a four-course meal during a black box-style challenge in which chefs have to build menus using surprise ingredients. Banman (shown above, at centre) has some experience in this department, having won the national version of the same competition last October.

“It has a lot to do with telling a story — everything needs to make sense,” Banman told the Winnipeg Sun. “There needs to be colour, there needs to be texture and flavour. You don’t want to duplicate ingredients — you want everything to be different.”

Banman got his first taste of the culinary life while working as a dishwasher at a Winkler golf course. Shortly after moving to Winnipeg, he was hired at the St. Charles Country Club, where he trained under executive chef Takashi Murakami, a member of the Order of Canada and a 2011 recipient of an honorary diploma from RRC. Read More →

No cutting corners: Apprenticeship Carpenters showcase skills at annual competition

June 20, 2019

It was a race against the clock, but the contestants who took their time fared best at Red River College’s annual Carpentry Competition.  

The 25th edition of the contest took place June 7 and 8 in the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. 

This year’s event featured nine graduates of the College’s Level 4 Carpenter Apprenticeship program, each battling to be the best builder. On day one, the competing carpenters wrote an extensive exam worth 30 per cent of the challenge. Day two of the competition saw contestants tasked with building an elaborate “hug bench” with limited time and materials. 

Alex Mackenzie, of PBR Construction in Niverville, Man., was named the competition’s top carpenter, while Walker Enns and Caleb Gossen finished second and third, respectively. 

“A couple guys went right to the last minute. Actually, the last two guys that finished at the last minute, literally, they placed first and second,” says Jeff Martens, the core instructor of the Level 4 Carpentry Apprenticeship program. 

“It’s amazing, the attention to detail. And of course, detail takes time. They used every second that they had.”

Mackenzie (shown above) won a $1,500 shopping spree courtesy of Bosch, while second and third prize were worth $1,400 and $1,000, respectively. The six other contestants all went home with $500 worth of portable power tools and accessories.  Read More →

Childhood Education, Construction Management grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s medals at Convocation

June 14, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who received their awards as part of our 2019 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 4 and 5.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Adele Petri, Spring ConvocationAdele Petri — Early Childhood Education Workplace

Adele Petri helps kids to be the best they can be.

A graduate of RRC’s Early Childhood Education Workplace program, Petri is a supervisor at Starting Blocks day care centre in Stonewall. In 2015, she co-founded the Stonewall support group Families for Autism Awareness & Support.

In 2014, Petri’s son Tanner was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.

“When you’re a parent of a child that’s diagnosed with autism, you really aren’t given any direction. You really have to be an advocate for your child,” says Petri, 47.

“There wasn’t a local support group here in town, so that would mean parents would have to travel to the city. Parents are already tired, so we wanted to provide a safe place where they can come.”

Petri says the support group allows families to compare notes on how best to navigate the vast spectrum of autism information and services.

“It goes both ways. I see what the support does for other families and I’m also getting support from them,” she says.

As an early childhood educator, Petri believes her career goes way beyond babysitting.

“You’re there to bring out the best in children and foster all the things children need to flourish,” she says.

Allison Enns, Spring ConvocationAllison Enns — Construction Management

Don’t tell Allison Enns she can’t do something.

After she was told in university to drop every course that had “reading, writing and numbers” because of her learning disabilities, Enns did what anybody would do: she enrolled in the Civil Engineering Program at Red River College.

Years later, Enns is still putting it to her naysayers, having graduated from RRC’s Construction Management program. She is currently working as a site coordinator at Akman Construction.

“I applied to engineering at Red River kind of out of spite, and to prove to them and myself that my learning disabilities don’t define me,” says Enns, 24.

“The school helped me understand my learning disabilities. My GPA skyrocketed from university to Red River because I finally understood how my brain works.”

Enns, who has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD, spoke at RRC’s recent REDx Speaker Series about her struggles and successes with learning disabilities. She was also a member of an RRC advisory group where she helped to create guidelines on how presenters should format workshops so that they’re accessible to everyone.

“Whatever limitations people put on you, your only real limitation is yourself,” she says. “You can be you to get where you want to be.”