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Interlake Campus business instructor makes marketing a ‘family’ affair

January 10, 2019

When it comes to career, Carmen Kaethler always accounts for family.

Kaethler is the lead instructor of the Business, Accounting and Management certificate program at Red River College’s Interlake Campus in Selkirk.

A mother to two young daughters, she also works part-time from home as an accountant for Elite Sports Injury, a network of physiotherapy clinics in Winnipeg.

Kaethler began instructing at RRC in 2017, and now spends about 12 hours a week teaching such courses as Financial Accounting 1 and Introduction to Canadian Business.

“I like the flexibility because it allows me to continue to give real-world experience to the students,” says Kaethler, who’s been a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) since 2013. “I’m still practising in a current local business, so I can give relevant examples to [my students] in class, instead of just talking about my past.”

Kaethler brings approximately 17 years (and counting) of office- and business-related experience to her classrooms.

“I love teaching and I love business, so being able to show that to students — to help them understand accounting, and make them see that it’s not that scary — I find it enjoying and quite rewarding,” she says.

In addition to accounting, Kaethler also has an entrepreneurial side. She’s a local publisher for Macaroni Kid, a website that publishes “hyper-local” e-newsletters and websites promoting products, events, activities and destinations for moms, kids and families.” A Transcona resident, Kaethler focuses on family events in east Winnipeg. Read More →

All systems go: Aircraft maintenance mentor named Instructor of the Year

November 20, 2018

A Red River College instructor is flying high after being honoured for his efforts by Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Gary van der Zweep is the academic coordinator of the Apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Journeyperson (AMJ) program at RRC’s Stevenson Campus in Southport, just south of Portage la Prairie.

Earlier this month, he was named Instructor of the Year at Apprenticeship Manitoba’s Awards of Distinction gala, held at RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

“It’s nice to get kudos here and there,” says van der Zweep. “I’ve been told by other teachers that you take it when you can get it, because it doesn’t come around all that much.

“It’s a great honour and it’s a nice recognition for both myself and the school, for all that we do.”

The AMJ program provides students who are already employed in the aviation and aerospace industries with the training they need to acquire their Transport Canada aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) license. It’s the only Transport Canada-approved AME apprenticeship program in Canada.

Though van der Zweep has taught at Stevenson for almost 18 years, his time there actually predates RRC’s involvement with the training centre. In 2002, Stevenson Aviation merged with RRC to form the Stevenson Campus.

“I’m working with some of the students that I taught,” van der Zweep says. “It just shows how old I am. I’ve been around so long they’re already teachers themselves.

“It’s a lifestyle. It’s fulfilling when you can see the lights going on in a student’s eyes, when they’re finally getting certain theory they were struggling with. It’s just like getting an airplane ready to fly. You’re doing the same thing with the students. You’re getting them fixed up and ready to go.” Read More →

Police academy: Veteran cop to head new course after ‘writing the book’ on modern law enforcement

October 24, 2018

Staff Sgt. Bob Chrismas, a 30-year veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service, is the newly appointed instructor of RRC’s Justice and Public Safety program, available via part-time or online delivery.

“They (the College) reached out to me. They said they needed an instructor for a course called Policing in the 21stCentury,” says Chrismas, now 56.

“I called back and said ‘Are you kidding? I literally wrote the book.’”

He’s not joking. In 2013, McGill-Queen’s University Press published Chrismas’ book Canadian Policing in the 21st Century: A Frontline Officer on Challenges and Changes. It was the runner up for best non-fiction at the 2014 Manitoba Book Awards.

Like the book, RRC’s Policing in the 21st Century course will examine the history of policing and changes in policing philosophy, while also exploring what law enforcement may look like in the future.

“Some major issues are how we engage technology, centralizing versus decentralizing, and being proactive as opposed to reactive — community-oriented rather than just reacting to issues,” Chrismas explains.

“My passion that’s developed within the police service is trying to be more proactive and preventative. You get a much better bang for your buck out of crime prevention in the long run. With reacting, you’re often not addressing the root of the problem. You’re just reacting and arresting people.” Read More →

Rising through the ranks: New Dean’s background brought to bear on design, construction of STTC

September 17, 2018

In both his early career and its latest evolution, Derek Kochenash learned a lot about climbing ladders.

A Red Seal-endorsed Sheet Metal Worker, Kochenash has spent the last decade rising through the ranks at Red River College.

A 2001 Apprenticeship grad, he began working at the College in 2006 as a Related Math and Sciences instructor, and in 2010 became academic coordinator of the Related Math and Sciences Department.

Two years later, Kochenash was named Chair of the Electrical, Math and Sciences Department, and in 2017 took on the role of acting Dean of the School of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing.

Now, Kochenash is Dean of the School of Skilled Trades and Technologies, the newly amalgamated entity comprised of the School of Engineering and Construction Technology and the aforementioned School of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing.

“I never did have this as a goal. Each time that I’ve taken on new roles and moved up into larger responsibility positions, I’ve never ever predicted the future throughout the process,” says Kochenash, who also holds a M.Ed. from the University of Manitoba

“I’m very humbled and excited about the opportunity to be the Dean of this school, considering I started my career as a sheet metal worker and took my training here at RRC.”

“I’ve always taken on leadership roles. I love working with people to solve problems. I love trying to resolve conflicts. I’m passionate about that kind of work and that’s what drives me to take on these roles. Many people think I’m crazy, my wife included. ‘Why do you like that?’ I don’t know, but I do.” Read More →

Open door policy: Health Information Management instructor nabs Teaching Award of Excellence

May 29, 2018

She’s going out on a high note.

When Eileen Oleski retires next year, she can rest assured she’s had a positive impact on her students. The coordinator of Red River College’s Health Information Management program is the recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence.

Each spring, the RRCSA recognizes an instructor for their outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students. In the nomination submission that led to this year’s honour, Oleski’s students praise her knowledge of subject material, her fun and flexible style of teaching and her eagerness to go the extra mile.

“Eileen always made sure her door was open to students,” one student wrote. “She often reminded [us] that if we ever needed extra help or guidance, she would always be there to make sure we succeed. I personally have taken her up on this offer and am glad I did. Eileen gave me the boost of confidence I needed.”

Oleski, who has taught at RRC since 2008, says her enthusiasm for the program comes directly from her students.

“They say I inspire them, well, they really inspire me,” she says. “You’re in the classroom, it’s all about them and their future. I always say, ‘I just set the foundation.’ The rest is theirs to build and take to where they want to go. The possibilities are there.”

A certified HIM professional through the Canadian Health Information Management Association, she earned her B.A. in Allied Health Sciences from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, worked in HIM roles at Seven Oaks General Hospital from 1981 to 2003, and was a health record consultant for the Manitoba government before arriving at RRC.

“I still do a lot of networking with a lot of my colleagues from my past, ensuring that the industry standards are being adhered to,” Oleski says. “We’re trying to teach the students what’s currently out there, and with technology changing, we’re constantly changing here, as well.” Read More →

Challenge accepted: Academic coordinator strives for personal bests — in the classroom and beyond

May 7, 2018

Michael Whalen, Red River College

Be it academic or athletic, Michael Whalen is always up for a challenge.

Whalen is the academic coordinator of the Related Math and Science department, teaching into the various trades at Red River College. He’s also an avid cyclist and cross-country skier, going to great lengths to put himself to the test.

The 57-year-old says sport has had an influence on his scholastic style.

“I expect that everyone is in class to do well and work together, and has that common goal of performing to their best,” he explains.

“One of my mottoes is that ‘Every student deserves to be challenged.’ Whether it’s the weakest in the class who is challenged just to meet the standard, or someone who is more gifted and could easily meet the standard. I try to push them too, by giving them more advanced problems.”

Originally from Montreal, Whalen started teaching at RRC in 1996, after earning a B.P.E. in Physical Education from the University of New Brunswick and a M.Sc. in Biomechanics from the University of Manitoba.

For about a decade, he taught a health and wellness course to students in the College’s Community Services programs, while also running Recreation Services programs. Facing a reduced role due to restructuring of the Community Services programs, Whalen applied for an instructor position in the Related Math and Science department, and landed it. Read More →

Family affair: Construction Management instructor inherits father’s affinity for engineering

April 23, 2018

Ellowyn Nadeau, Red River CollegeLike father, like daughter.

Ellowyn Nadeau, an instructor of Red River College’s Construction Management degree program, has engineering in her blood. Her dad, the late Dr. Alexander Thornton-Trump, was a long-time professor in the mechanical engineering department at University of Manitoba.

“My guidance counsellor in high school said ‘Oh, you’re good at math and science. You have to go into engineering.’ So, you know, 17, 18 years old, go with the flow, right?” Nadeau says with a laugh.

“I ended up taking civil engineering versus mechanical because I didn’t want to be taught by my dad. That’s just not right!”

Despite her initial aversion, Nadeau remains well-versed in the family vocation.

After obtaining a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from U of M in 1994, she started her professional engineering career a year later at Wardrop Engineering. Since then, she’s gained a wealth of experience in engineering and construction, having held such titles as preventative maintenance inspector at Winnipeg School Division, assistant manager of purchasing services at U of M, and project director at Stuart Olson.

Nadeau also earned her Supply Chain Management Professional designation in 2010.

“I really like being able to pass on my industry knowledge to the students, giving them a very practical look at what the expectations will be of them once they start working full-time,” says Nadeau, who began teaching at RRC in October 2015.

“I’m giving them tricks of the trade in a lot of cases. I tell them, ‘You know what? I’m passing on information to you that took me five to seven years in the industry to figure out. So you guys are going to get a leg up.’

“I just love that (my students) seem to have a passion for the same industry that I do.” Read More →