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Getting it done, at home: Winkler Campus allows RRC student to reach career goals

September 15, 2020

Suzy DueckAfter dropping out of high school to help support her family, Suzy Dueck didn’t think she’d be someone who could pursue a post-secondary education.

But next spring, she’ll graduate from Red River College’s Bachelor of Nursing program at the Winkler Campus. Having the accessible option to study and train in her home community — without needing to move or commute to Winnipeg — is what she says gave her the chance to do it.

In 2014, Dueck took the first steps to becoming a college student by enrolling at RRC’s Winkler Community Learning Centre (WCLC) to receive her high school diploma.

“The instructors were very supportive — and the fact that it was self-directed was helpful. The flexibility to be able to come during the day or during the evening — there was always somebody there to answer questions and help,” she says.

Not long after Dueck graduated from the WCLC, RRC announced it would be permanently delivering its Nursing program in Winkler and Portage la Prairie beginning in Fall 2018.

“I quickly applied and I got in,” she says. “I did my anatomy and physiology, psychology, stats, pretty much all of the prerequisites were available in Winkler, which was amazing.”

Now 31, Dueck had been working jobs in customer service, fitness and hospitality — which allowed her to make a positive impact on people’s daily lives — when her husband, Albert, planted the seed in her mind that she might enjoy being a nurse.

“I ended up working in a care home and I really fell in love with taking care of people and making a difference,” she says. “My husband is my biggest fan, he’s actually a firefighter and he feels very passionate about helping people. He’s the one that has been pushing me to do more — I feel like he’s my cheerleader and the person that nudges me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do.” Read More →

New RRC president hits the ground running, with an eye to the future

September 3, 2020

Fred Meier has spent his first few weeks as Red River College’s president and CEO focused on making connections and building momentum towards a fall academic term unlike any other in the College’s 82-year history.

Adjusting to any new leadership role can be challenging enough. But taking the reins during a time of global upheaval and transformation amped up the need for Meier to make every minute count.

“I arrived on day one knowing I was joining an institution that has shaped the lives of many Manitobans and contributed a great deal to our province’s economy,” he says. “What I saw right away was a community of people who have innovated and adapted unbelievably fast to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep our students learning.”

Knowing how deeply students and industry partners depend on RRC for skilled training, workforce needs and applied research, Meier invited the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, on a tour of RRC’s Notre Dame Campus to highlight how the College has prepared its facilities to safely welcome back students for hands-on learning.

“The Minister told me he was impressed by the work we’ve done. I was impressed, too, by the ingenuity of our staff and students and their dedication to moving forward safely.”

Meier says that his leadership vision places a heavy premium on engaging employees, and on ensuring faculty and staff are listened to, valued and supported in their work.

At the end of August, he unveiled the College’s new online Staff Forum, a website designed for employees by employees to connect them with information, resources and collaboration tools quickly and easily.

“Strong internal communication and collaboration are the bedrock of our success as an organization. While this has always been true, the disruptions to our business by COVID-19 make employee engagement a higher priority than ever. Adopting new tools, technologies and strategies to share and learn from one another will continue to be near the top of my list.” Read More →

RRC welcomes new Vice-President, Finance and Administration

August 18, 2020

Red River College is excited to announce that Lynn Zapshala-Kelln has been hired as the institution’s next Vice-President, Finance and Administration.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lynn to our team,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Her expertise and extensive background in Manitoba’s post-secondary system and our province’s public sector will strengthen Red River College’s capacity to keep moving forward in a time of change, and help us continue to do what we do best — produce job-ready grads to help businesses innovate and stay competitive in our new economy.”

Zapshala-Kelln joins the College after holding the Vice-President (Administration) role at the University of Manitoba, where she provided leadership in all administrative areas, including financial, business and investment interests, ancillary services, security, fair practices and legal affairs, physical plant and property, risk management, human resources (including labour relations) and information systems and technology services.

At RRC, she will oversee all current aspects of the finance and administration portfolio, including finance and campus services, capital projects, campus planning and sustainability. She will work directly with the College’s Chief Information Officer and Executive Director, Finance and Campus Services.

“I am a collaborative leader and I look forward to getting to know my team, building on RRC’s successes, and overcoming our challenges as we continue to face this pandemic,” says Zapshala-Kelln.  “Red River College has done a tremendous job modernizing their systems to better support our employees and our students. I look forward to building on that success so we can continue to support the academic mission of the College to ensure that our people — and most importantly, our students — continue to shine.”

Zapshala-Kelln previously served in the senior ranks of the Province of Manitoba’s civil service for almost two decades, and has extensive board experience. A Chartered Professional Accountant, she holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Regina.

She will start her new role at RRC on Tue., Sept. 8.

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 →

Safety top priority as College prepares for students, staff to return to campuses

August 5, 2020

With the Fall 2020 academic term just around the corner, Red River College offered an on-campus preview today of what students can expect when they return to school next month.

Attended by the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, today’s media tour showcased a number of applied learning activities currently taking place on the Notre Dame Campus, and highlighted new measures the College is taking to protect the safety of an increasing number of students and staff coming back to school.

RRC President Fred Meier says the College’s response to COVID-19 — and the quick pivot to online and blended learning this past spring — has positioned RRC to continue to meet industry needs and help drive Manitoba’s economic recovery.

“COVID-19 has handed our province an unprecedented set of challenges to overcome. I continue to be impressed by how organizations across all sectors have found innovative ways to meet those challenges head-on,” says Eichler (shown above, at left). “Red River College adapted quickly to support its students, made valuable contributions to our community efforts against COVID-19, and — thanks to hard work — prepared itself to play a vital role in Manitoba’s economic recovery.”

The tour provided a look at the catch-up, hands-on training currently underway at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, along with its Indigenous Culinary Skills, Dentistry and level four Carpentry programs, and a tour and demonstration by students in the new Medical Radiologic Technology lab.

While the majority of catch-up training is happening at the Notre Dame Campus, Culinary Arts students are equally busy at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Earlier this summer, a number of the College’s regional campuses welcomed students back to complete hands-on learning to wrap up their studies, as well.

“Although we’ve been working incredibly hard since March to deliver our programs online, we’re very excited to have people moving through our halls, our labs, our offices and classrooms again,” says Meier (shown above, at right). “As Manitobans, we have managed the impacts of COVID-19 better than many other regions, and that — along with the tremendous leadership and hard work of our employees — has made it possible for us to continue preparing students for careers in industries that will need their knowledge and skills more than ever.” Read More →

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 →

College marks 10th year as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers

June 16, 2020

For the 10th year in a row, Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. To mark the milestone, the College is inviting staff and the public to use their backyard gardens to “grow a row” to help those in need.

“Red River College takes to heart the belief that sustainability is a journey without a final destination,” says Sara MacArthur, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability at RRC. “We’re proud of today’s recognition because it highlights not only the past year’s achievements, but our long-term commitment to a greener future. Our staff and students planted the seeds of our sustainability initiatives, nurtured them, expanded our garden — and now we see the results flourishing.”

“Growing a better, greener future is a high priority for the entire Red River College community,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Office. “Our achievements are a testament to the leadership of our Sustainability team, who engaged and focused the efforts of RRC staff, students and partners across eight campuses and over an entire decade. We couldn’t be more proud.”

This year’s award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs, and staff engagement in wide-ranging sustainability efforts such as reducing waste and energy consumption, campus greening, composting programs, community maker markets, environmentally friendly building management, and sustainable transportation.

The College is inviting everyone to join in this commitment by literally growing a garden of their own. RRC is once again participating in Winnipeg Harvest’s annual Grow-a-Row project by planting vegetables in their on-campus garden and donating the harvest to Winnipeggers in need, including Red River College students. Read More →

College to celebrate graduates with virtual convocation

June 11, 2020

Red River College will celebrate its 2020 graduates by hosting a virtual convocation. Graduates, along with their friends and families, can watch this special event on Tuesday, June 30 at 1 p.m., by visiting rrc.ca/convocation.

“Convocation is an important milestone for our students and the College community as a whole. The time and energy invested in acquiring a credential is worth celebrating,” says RRC’s interim President, Dr. Christine Watson. “We want to honour and acknowledge the accomplishments of our students and the support of their network. Even though it is not possible to cross the stage as we typically do, we’re excited about exploring a new way to recognize the hard work of our graduates.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College made the difficult decision to postpone convocation ceremonies that were originally planned to occur in June. Even though official ceremonies have been postponed, eligible students will still graduate with a Red River College degree, diploma or certificate.

“Our graduates are going to achieve great things. While this celebration will look a little different than our usual ones, it was important to find a way to honour and celebrate our students,” says Anna Hughes, Director, Enrolment Services and Registrar.

The virtual celebration will feature messages from community leaders, dignitaries, alumni and senior leadership, and will honour outstanding achievements and special award recipients. It does not replace in-person convocation ceremonies, which will be rescheduled for a later time.

A convocation package including students’ parchments and other important pieces of information will be mailed to their home addresses in advance of the ceremony. Graduates are encouraged to watch the virtual celebration, wear their new RRC alumni pin, and share photos of their individual celebration by tagging @redrivercollege and #rrcalumni on social media. 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 →

Fall 2020 term to be delivered online

May 20, 2020

Red River College announced today that academic programs and services for the Fall 2020 term will be delivered online. This cautious but agile approach will allow RRC to continue providing high-quality educations to students, while preparing graduates to help Manitoba’s economy emerge from the current global pandemic.

“I remain incredibly grateful to our faculty, staff and students as they adjust to our new way of teaching and learning,” says interim President Dr. Christine Watson. “As we prepare for the fall term, our approach will put the safety of our staff and students first, while providing meaningful, high-quality learning experiences for students at every step of their academic journeys.”

While the College is focused on online delivery for the fall, planning is also underway to quickly pivot should public health directives change, to allow for the delivery of some courses on campus. Priority will be given to hands-on learning that was delayed due to the pandemic, in order to help students who are close to graduating get caught up and complete their programs.

“Over the past few months, we’ve learned a great deal from our experiences transitioning to online program delivery,” says Aileen Najduch, acting Vice-President, Academic. “We’re building on that foundation to ensure Red River College continues arming our graduates with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to help support our partners in industry and rebuild our economy.

“Online learning will help prepare our graduates for a new age of disruption by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in industry and in workplaces that are undergoing a digital transformation.” Read More →