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College to continue alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes remain suspended until fall

April 3, 2020

Red River College will continue providing alternative delivery models for programs and services for the upcoming spring and summer terms, which means there will be no on-campus classes or public events until September.

Work integrated learning (practicums, clinical, work experience) will continue to be suspended except for those instances that can be completed using online or alternative approaches. Co-op/industry placements will continue at the discretion of the workplace employer.

Today’s announcement extends the timeframe that students, faculty and staff are expected to work off-campus in order to meet increasingly stringent public health directives aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “With public health advice changing regularly, we felt that it was important to make a decision that allows for planning certainty throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

Watson lauded the hard work, commitment and creativity of faculty and staff in making the transition to alternative delivery over the past few weeks.

“We have seen our faculty and staff re-imagine their work via technology in a way — and at a pace — that we never thought possible. I also know that we have students who are struggling to adapt to this new reality. We are thankful for all of those who are working together to find a way through this unprecedented situation.

“We would love to be able to re-open our doors and go back to the hustle and bustle of our vibrant campuses. But that simply isn’t an option. We also know that when we begin to rebuild our economy, Manitoba will need Red River College — students will need training to get jobs and launch their careers, and industry will depend upon our grads to fill their workforce needs.

“Our core mission has never been more important to the future prosperity of Manitoba.”

Watson said she is proud of and inspired by RRC employees. In addition to working remotely and taking care of family and loved ones during an uncertain time, many in the RRC community continue to go above and beyond the call of duty.

She cited several examples, such as the 14 Health Information Management students who are helping public health track the spread of the coronavirus data, the TACAM and Smart Factory equipment being used to manufacture wheel bases for IV stands, and the donation of nearly 1,700 N95 respirators from Safety and Health Services to help health-care workers on the front lines.

“Not everything we are trying is going to work perfectly — but what we’re doing is working and working hard to help our students, our employees and our province get through an unusual and unpredictable time. We know there will be disruption. We also know that if we persevere, we will be well positioned to quickly resume regular operations once it is safe to do so.”

The College continues to operate in accordance with public health directives and is in regular contact with the Province of Manitoba.

As the situation is fluid, the College will revise and update its operating procedures and policies as needed. This includes the possibility of re-opening RRC campuses to classes prior to September if public health advises that it is safe to do so.

The College will continually update faculty, staff and students; the latest information will always be available at rrc.ca/coronavirus.

Jordin Tootoo shares story of hope, hockey and mental health at RRC

February 6, 2020

“I owe my life to this game.”

That’s how Jordin Tootoo summed up his 15-year NHL hockey career when he retired in 2018. Thanks to teammates who helped him grieve the loss of a brother to suicide, Tootoo went on to thrive on the ice for the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

On Wednesday, he shared the story of his journey with Red River College students, instructors and staff.

Tootoo’s visit is part of RRC’s college-wide mental health strategy, Healthy Minds Healthy College, which was established five years ago to foster mental health and enhance mental health literacy at the College.

Jordin Tootoo talks to RRC studentThe need for more mental health resources is urgent, says Tootoo:

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide. These issues are a national epidemic.”

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is the NHL’s first Inuk player. As an Indigenous athletic leader, he says he has long understood his responsibility as a role model. He spoke openly and honestly to an audience of more than 300 RRC students and staff about the growing need for mental health resources, and the importance of fighting taboos around discussing mental illness.

Following his retirement from hockey, Tootoo devoted his time to charity and community outreach, especially in northern communities. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics such as addiction and suicide. 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

RRC research chair among latest Order of Canada appointees

January 13, 2020

Portrait of Jan SandersonA Red River College research chair has been named a member of the Order of Canada, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the health and well-being of young children.

Jan Sanderson, a research chair with the College’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services, was among 120 new companions, officers and members of the order announced by the Governor General in December.

Sanderson was recognized “for her leadership within Manitoba’s pubic service by promoting improved quality of life and health for children.” She was one of only three Manitobans to receive the designation, along with physician and researcher Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg and TV and film producer Louis-Frederic Paquin.

Sanderson says she grateful to those who nominated her for the honour, but noted the irony of being singled out for work in the field of early child development, where “every success depends on partnerships and collaboration.”

“I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with amazing, committed people across multiple sectors — government, non-profit, academia, health and education — to support children and their families,” she says.

“And now the opportunity with the research team at RRC seems like the icing on the cake. The work that is done by this quiet but mighty team is impacting on children’s well-being locally, nationally and around the world.” Read More →

TACAM harnesses aerospace manufacturing technology in fight against cancer

November 20, 2019

Close-up of carbon fibre panelIt may not look like much, but the panel pictured at left — built by staff at Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) — is a powerful weapon in CancerCare Manitoba’s fight to save lives.

Dave Austin, a program facilitator for TACAM, says the panels are fabricated by hand using the same materials, equipment and processes that students in RRC’s Aerospace Manufacturing program use to create aircraft paneling.

“The process is simply a matter of getting the materials (graphite and aluminum) cut into the size they need, and pressing them together to create a solid piece.”

The compressed sheet is heated in an oven for 90 minutes and then cooled, removing the air to ensure the plies bond. The result is a quarter-inch, 30-ply aerospace-grade sheet of carbon fibre.

From each panel, CancerCare fabricates indexing bars designed to help cancer patients maintain the same body position across multiple radiation treatments.

Chad Harris, a member of the Department of Medical Devices at CCMB, says the carbon fibre has unique properties that make it especially useful for radiation treatment.

“When you’re firing a beam of radiation at a tumour, it’s critical to maintain an exact distance between the beam and the tumour each time you do it.” Read More →

Opportunities await: Students help streamline operations for employment aid organization

November 4, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space is opening new doors for Equal Opportunities West.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

Students in the interactive workshop recently created an application for Equal Opportunities West (EOW) to automate its scheduling system. The organization provides support services to people with work barriers — such as physical and intellectual disabilities or mental health issues — to help secure competitive employment or start businesses of their own.

The non-profit also runs a day program for people with intellectual disabilities.

“We as an organization have expanded so much over the years,” says Susan Morgan, EOW’s executive director. “We really felt it was getting difficult to schedule everybody and get everything on paper. Just physically keeping track of everybody was becoming a daunting task.”

“We had an idea for an app. We heard about the ACE program and we went down to meet with them and they certainly thought it was something they could help with. I had looked at these canned apps, but they were mostly for the restaurant industry. There are lots of good scheduling apps out there, but nothing quite as in-depth and comprehensive as what we needed.” Read More →

Better angels: RRC students partner with non-profit providing support to grieving families

October 21, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space has been touched by an angel.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

This past summer, students in the interactive workshop created an application for Manitoba Angel Dresses to digitize its inventory system. Manitoba Angel Dresses is a non-profit organization that provides families who are grieving the loss of an infant with items crafted from donated bridal and bridesmaid gowns.

Diane Monkman, a spokeswoman for the organization, says the students and staff at RRC were very supportive of the project.

“The College was so helpful, so open and so accepting of the project,” Monkman says. “It can be very hard to start a conversation saying what we do, because a lot of people shy away from that, but it’s a needed service.”

“One instructor at the College, he just touched us so immensely. We had brought the items in one day so the students could see exactly what they’re doing. One of the instructors, it touched him so much that he got a little bit emotional.” Read More →

RRC’s staff team pulls out a win for United Way Winnipeg

September 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Red River College staff and students rolled up their sleeves for United Way Winnipeg’s 16th annual Plane Pull — in which RRC’s staff team logged the fastest time for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules pull.

The team of employees — made up of administrative staff, educational assistants, instructors, and College leaders — pulled the plane 20 feet in 11.12 seconds. The RRC Stevenson Campus student team pulled the Boeing 727 the same distance in 16.45 seconds, for a sixth place finish.

“I was happy to be part of a great team from Red River College” says Joan Machendagoos, administrative assistant for Skilled Trades and Technologies at RRC. “This gave us the opportunity to meet staff that we only see in emails, and to bond as a team. Giving back to the community was a bonus.”

RRC's staff team pulling planeRRC’s Stevenson Campus was once again the proud facility sponsor, providing the campus hangar and volunteers for the fundraising event, which launched the 2019-20 United Way Annual Giving Campaign. This year, the organization announced it’s seeking a goal of $21.6 million for more than 100 agency partners, all of which benefit Winnipeg residents.

The Stevenson Campus — a 55,000-square foot training facility, complete with aircraft hangar — is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs, making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull to take place each year.

“Next year we hope to have a few more teams so we can not only be the top team for the best pull time, but also have the highest fundraising teams,” says Machendagoos.

More than 80 teams participated in the 2019 Plane Pull, raising more than $88,000 towards United Way’s campaign goal.

New pollinator garden the ‘bees’ knees’ for sweeter honey yields this summer

July 29, 2019

The bees are back in town, and Red River College is sweetening the deal for its insect friends this year, having added a new pollinator garden to the grounds of the Notre Dame Campus.

For four years, the College has partnered with Beeproject Apiaries to bring hives of honeybees — not to mention the delicious honey they produce — to the rooftops of RRC. Urban beekeeping is one of the many innovative and green initiatives offered by the College as a way to engage staff and students in sustainability efforts on campus and at home, and has contributed to RRC being named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the ninth straight year.

Pollinator garden, Notre Dame CampusBecause pollination is so important to the sustainability of honeybeew, the College opted to complete a new pollinator garden project under the leadership of its Grounds crew this year.

“Staff and student engagement is critical for the success of any of the sustainability projects that RRC initiates, and we’ve seen that many areas of the College are eager to get involved and make sustainability a priority within their departments,” says Sara MacArthur, RRC’s Director of Sustainability.

“We were fortunate to partner with the Grounds department, who went over and above to create this beautiful pollinator garden at the Notre Dame Campus for everyone — not only our pollinator friends, but also students and staff — to engage with and enjoy.”

The pollinator garden is located along the walking path on the southeast grounds of the campus, and features a number of diverse species of flowers and plants in order to support as many different pollinators as possible. These include: Read More →

Skilled trades students build multi-purpose shed for Oak Hammock Marsh

June 26, 2019

If you’re planning a nature walk along the trails at Oak Hammock Marsh this weekend, you may spot a new cabin-like structure along the path.

This week, staff and students from Red River College’s skilled trades apprenticeship programs donated a new multi-purpose shed they’d designed and built for the interpretive centre.

“As Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning and research, we take a hands-on, learn-by-doing approach to education, and this shed is a true example of this at work,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“We are proud to donate this structure to the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, and to share the talent and craftsmanship of our students and staff with the community to use and enjoy for years to come.”

The shed project was an assignment for students in the Level 3 Carpentry, Level 2 Roofing, and Pre-Employment Electrical programs as part of their academic learning goals. Twenty-four students led by four instructors worked on the structure over five weeks between classroom theory sessions and time in the lab. The windows and doors were supplied by Jeld-Wen and the delivery of the structure was donated by Greg’s Tilt Deck Service.

“This assignment is such an important learning opportunity for the students because it’s often the first time many of them will work together across multiple trades disciplines to apply their knowledge in a collaborative way — much like they will once they graduate and go on to work in industry,” says Carpentry instructor Rob Masi.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to share the students’ completed work by donating the structure to a non-profit organization that could utilize it in a meaningful way, and we are thrilled that the shed has found a permanent home at Oak Hammock Marsh. We hope to work with more community partners who could benefit from a project like this in the future.” Read More →