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Students throughout Manitoba face pandemic head-on: Regional campuses committed to meeting industry demands

August 12, 2020

Much has been made over the last few months of the rapid changes, pivots and personal sacrifices made to minimize the impact of COVID-19-related disruptions on students at Red River College.

And while many of those changes relate to operations at RRC’s primary campuses in Winnipeg, the same measures were in play at regional campuses throughout the province, where for years staff and students have been rising to industry demands at a growing rate.

“We believe in thinking big,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic. “By continuing to innovate and keeping a focus on the future, RRC now has eight campuses across the province — each equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable, talented instructors. By listening to Manitoba’s communities, we are empowered to support industry growth, employ more Manitobans, strengthen our communities, and extend the standards of RRC educations, which our province has learned they can trust.”

As Watson explains, the College’s commitment to establishing roots in Manitoba communities accounts for a significant part of its overall identity and impact.

“We need to provide pathways to education and training that meet students where they are, and where they want to go,” she says. “For some, the ability to live, study and work in their hometown is essential.” Read More →

Start your own side hustle with help from webinar or 12-week course

June 23, 2020

Red River College has partnered with The Maker’s Collective to offer Manitoba Side Hustles, a free webinar and paid course for beginner side-hustlers, freelancers or entrepreneurs, or anyone looking to turn their skills and passions into successful business ventures.

The free 90-minute webinar, Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle Starter Kit, guides you step by step through the basics of getting your side hustle off the ground. You’ll hear from a panel of experienced side hustlers about their journeys, including local guest speakers who have walked the walk and are operating their own side hustles right here in Winnipeg. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get coaching from the panel.

The paid 12-week course takes a more in-depth look into getting your side hustle off the ground. It offers a community to support, a template to follow and resources to help you set up your business and thrive in today’s economy.

The Maker’s Collective is a Canadian business development hub and community for creative entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, freelancers and makers.

FREE WEBINAR
Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle Starter Kit

  • Wed., July 8, 2020
  • 7 to 8:30pm
  • Location: Online
  • Price: Free
  • Register now

COURSE
Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle 101

  • Begins Thu., July 23; runs for 12 Thursdays
  • 7 to 9pm
  • Location: Online
  • Price: $179.97
  • Early Bird Price $134.97 (25% off) if you register by July 12
  • 10% discount for RRC alumni after July 12
  • Register now

C.P. Loewen Family Foundation donates $50,000 to help southeast Manitoba students affected by COVID-19

June 17, 2020

John Loewen, executive director, C.P. Loewen Family FoundationRed River College students in Manitoba’s southeast region who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief, thanks to a $50,000 donation from the C.P. Loewen Family Foundation.

The College will award 50 bursaries, valued at $1,000 each, to students living in southeast Manitoba who complete a general scholarship application form and include a one-page statement outlining financial hardships they’ve faced due to the pandemic.

“This contribution from the Loewen Foundation will have a tremendous impact,” says interim RRC President Dr. Christine Watson. “We know that students have been struggling, and receiving this bursary could make the difference in someone’s decision to continue with their studies in the next term.”

“Red River College is thankful for the donors, staff, alumni and community members that have stepped up over the last few months to ensure our impacted students receive the relief they need.”

John Loewen, executive director of the Foundation, says the decision to donate was easy, and that he knows the support will have an immediate impact on students’ lives, allowing them to focus on their goals in education and training.

“If you consider a foundation and endowment as a rainy-day fund, well, it’s raining right now,” says Loewen (shown above). “We were very impressed with how quickly the College moved to support its students, and looked to past donors who could redirect their support.” Read More →

Red River College to host Virtual Indigenous Celebration

June 5, 2020

Today at noon, Red River College will host a Virtual Indigenous Celebration on Facebook Live to recognize Indigenous students and their accomplishments. The event will be held in lieu of the annual Pow Wow to ensure staff and students maintain social distancing and safety during COVID-19 restrictions.

“RRC’s annual Pow Wow has been a point of pride for the College for nearly 20 years and has been a tremendous way to honour, celebrate and make Indigenous culture more accessible for the College community. Although we are not yet able to be together physically, we still are, and will always be, dedicated to advancing Indigenous achievement and embedding Indigenous ways of knowing and being,” says Isabel Bright, Acting Dean, School of Indigenous Education.

“We are excited to create a place online that makes our students feel special, acknowledges their achievements, and holds space for Indigenous culture and teachings.”

The virtual event will feature messages from community leaders and dignitaries, senior leadership, instructors from the School of Indigenous Education, Indigenous Support Staff, and even some special performances that highlight the diversity of Indigenous cultures.

Students of First Nation, Métis and Inuit ancestry were invited to register to be recognized in the Celebration and receive a mailed gift, which includes the Indigenous stole they would have received at Pow Wow.

“It’s really important that we do what we can to help students mark this important moment in their lives,” says Bright. “The RRC Pow Wow is a powerful experience for those of us who work in Indigenous Education because it’s a space where Indigenous culture, knowledge, ceremony and protocol lead.”

“It’s important to show our students that these things hold a high value, and in turn celebrate those values within themselves. It says your achievements matter, and who you are matters. We want to ensure we are doing what we can to help students celebrate important milestones and remind them that they are part of a community.” Read More →

More supports needed for RRC students impacted by COVID-19

April 21, 2020

Red River College is appealing to its donor community, alumni and partners to help provide additional funding for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

The RRC COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund, launched April 9 and nearing $140,000 in donations, has received an overwhelming number of applicants and can’t meet the needs of all those who have applied.

“Since opening up this fund to our students last week, we’ve seen numerous applications come in showcasing how dire the need is to support our students through this pandemic,” says Dr. Christine Watson, the College’s interim President and CEO.

“The recent support we’ve received from the RRC Students’ Association and from our staff and donors will allow us to transfer vital funds to the deserving many who need our help.”

The Students’ Association (RRCSA) pitched in $20,000 to help fellow students struggling with financial hardships.

“Supporting our students is our highest priority and this a tangible way we can do that,” says Josh Roopchand, Students’ Association president (shown above, second from left, with other members of the RRCSA executive last November). “We are pleased to join this effort and thank all the partners for responding so quickly to students in need.”​

The donation is just one example of the RRCSA’s commitment to supporting students. A long-time partner of the College, the groups funds a number of bursaries and awards. In recent years, they also contributed $200,000 to the student-run coffee shop at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, as well as $50,000 to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at the College’s Exchange District Campus. Read More →

CreComm grad goes viral with Lego makeover for Prime Minister’s speech

April 15, 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, ‘going viral’ has some iffy connotations. But for Red River College grad Tyler Walsh, the digital equivalent has proven a pretty cool experience.

On March 22, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadian children in a customized press briefing, Walsh and his two sons decided to do something fun: refresh the PM’s speech with Lego.

The result? A stop-motion video that resonated with people around the world and garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media.

“The reaction from parents and educators has been the best part of this,” says Walsh. “Having them tell me that it’s opened up new doors for them to talk with kids about this unprecedented time is heartening.”

A journalism major while enrolled in RRC’s Creative Communications program, Walsh’s work experience at Global News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press gave him the freedom to explore fresh approaches to storytelling, including two previous stop-motion Lego projects.

“Throughout my entire career, I’ve always sought out ways to tell a story differently — to take a look at what’s been done and try to build on that or find a new way to put the information out there,” says Walsh.

“I got to ‘play’ with technology and figure out ways push our stories further.” Read More →

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. Read More →

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