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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.

Red River College supports community fight against COVID-19

March 25, 2020

In the midst of a rapid shift to alternative program and service delivery this week, Red River College is dedicating expertise and resources to support the community-wide public health effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

“We get through times like these by contributing everything we can to the common cause,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Interim President and CEO. “Like all Manitobans, our faculty, staff and students are resilient, compassionate and innovative. There’s a tremendous need out there for everything we have to offer, from materials and equipment to knowledge, resourcefulness and expertise.”

This week, 14 students in the College’s Health Information Management program responded to a call for support from Manitoba Health. The students are now employed by the department of epidemiology and surveillance, collecting data on COVID-19 cases, which will help with tracking efforts in our province.

The work the students are doing will be critical for program planning and supporting public health during challenging times, says instructor Amanda Burridge, noting the employment opportunity will count as credit towards the practicum component of their program.

“Health Information Management professionals are the people who ensure that Canadians’ health information remains accurate, accessible and secure, which is vital during an outbreak,” she explains. “Our students will be a pivotal part of the team, ensuring that the most accurate information is available when it’s needed.”

The students will support the WRHA until the beginning of May, unless the status of the pandemic extends the need for their services.

N95 respirator maskThe College is also contributing supplies to combat COVID-19. RRC’s Safety and Health Services department has donated 1,669 N95 respirators to the WRHA to be distributed among frontline health-care workers to help address the shortage of critical supplies.

And on the public awareness front, the College is donating radio and digital inventory and external signage to help spread the word about social distancing guidelines, prevention tips and COVID-19 information. The information being shared is part of the Province of Manitoba’s 3P’s public awareness campaign.

On Monday, RRC transitioned to alternative program and service delivery in order to protect the health and safety of students and employees, while also helping students continue their studies. During this time of social distancing, the College has cancelled all in-person classes and public events on campuses.

For the latest news and information about RRC’s response to COVID-19, visit rrc.ca/coronavirus.

College to implement alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes suspended until May

March 18, 2020

Red River College is moving forward with the transition to alternative delivery models for programs and services starting Mon., March 23.

This means education and training will continue for RRC students, who are currently on a study break. However, no classes will be held on campus until the end of the winter term (up to and including May 1). All practicums are being cancelled for this term as a result of widespread disruption in workplaces across the province.

This approach will help bring greater consistency and certainty to the operational planning that is underway, and will meet the directive for social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Developing alternative delivery models for our many diverse programs is a significant undertaking that can only be done on a program-by-program basis. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that we can adopt in this unprecedented situation,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC.

“We are working very hard to find the balance. We want to protect our students, faculty and staff and meet public health guidelines for reducing the number of people on campus. We also want to support students so they can continue their studies.”

Watson says RRC faculty and staff have pulled together quickly to work on transition plans.

“I cannot say enough about the hard work, dedication and creativity of our workforce here at Red River College. This is a very difficult and stressful time for everyone and it is incredible to see so many people rise to the challenge before us. We are very fortunate to have such a strong College community to rely upon during trying times.”

Watson notes the transition to alternative delivery methods will require patience and flexibility. Because each program is unique, no two transition plans will look exactly alike. All options are being explored, including using online learning, simulated training, overlapping terms, and adjusting curricula to delay practicum and lab work.

While academic programs will resume next week, all RRC campuses remain closed for in-person classes and public events. Faculty and staff are either working remotely or in small numbers on campus in order to practice social distancing and help slow the transmission of COVID-19.

As news and information regarding the virus becomes available, the College will continually update faculty, staff and students. The latest information will always be available at rrc.ca/coronavirus.

Red River College implements Study Week for students in response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020

In order to reduce the number of people on campus and help protect students, faculty and staff, Red River College is implementing a Study Week for students, effective end of the day today and extending through all of next week.

This Study Week for students will allow the College to undertake several critical functions:

  • Reduce the overall number of people on campus, in accordance with public health recommendations to increase social distancing and reduce both the size and frequency of crowds and gatherings.
  • Review College programs and services, and plan for alternative delivery models for when classes resume, including increasing online learning. Not all programs can be fully delivered online, but increasing online or alternative methods of delivery where possible will help RRC manage the return to classes.
  • Determine which staff can work remotely without impacting the College’s core operations.
  • Perform a deep clean of campus facilities – an operation that is scheduled for next week and will be easier to conduct with fewer people on site.

“One of the key recommendations from public health is to reduce the number of people at gatherings — and this includes our campuses,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “Study Week for students will allow us to immediately reduce our numbers and allow staff and faculty to focus on developing plans for alternative delivery when classes resume.

“We recognize that many programs cannot be delivered remotely. However, the goal is about limiting and reducing personal contact, so there are changes we can make that will reduce this contact overall while ensuring students are able to complete their studies.”

During Study Week, the campus will be closed to students and the public. Only those visitors doing approved business with the College (such as contractors and vendors) will have access. Senior Leadership and RRC’s Incident Management Team will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with public health authorities and may extend Study Week if that is deemed necessary.

Students are encouraged to use Study Week to work on assignments, prepare for upcoming course assessments and exams, utilize online resources and other avenues to research and complete academic term papers, and hold web-based team meetings to work on and complete assigned projects.

This step announced today by RRC is in addition to other recent measures including the suspension of all international and domestic travel outside of Manitoba; cancelling of all College events and large gatherings; and restricting the number of meetings to only those that are essential to core operations.

“The health and safety of our students, staff and faculty are paramount, so we are trying to find creative ways to operate in a fluid, rapidly-changing environment. As public health authorities note, social distancing practices are a vital part of preventing the spread of COVID-19 so this step is also about RRC doing its part for the community at large.”

Watson said as news and information regarding COVID-19 continues to unfold, the College will continue to ensure that staff, faculty and students are informed and that RRC takes the necessary steps to help reduce the transmission of the virus.

The latest information will always be available at rrc.ca/coronavirus

Where’s Watson? RRC’s interim President launches behind-the-scenes video series

February 25, 2020

Dr. Christine Watson, Red River CollegeEver wondered what a typical day looks like for Red River College’s President? Now you can find out.

Armed with an iPhone and a plan, Dr. Christine Watson — RRC’s interim President and CEO — has launched a new video series where she’ll share a behind-the-scenes look at what she’s up to on campus.

The “Where’s Watson?” series will be recorded entirely by phone, so it’ll be as real and raw as it gets.

What can you expect to see? Think tours with community leaders and industry partners, major events happening all over the College, celebrations with staff, faculty and students, and what Watson is up to in the community (and maybe even a sneak peek underground a campus or two).

We’re excited to provide you with an inside look and a new way to engage with Watson as she documents the work of an interim President. You can connect with her directly on LinkedIn to watch her videos, which will also be shared on other platforms for those who don’t have a LinkedIn account.

Check out the first instalment in the series, taken right before Watson hosted her first Breakfast with the President. These breakfasts happen monthly and give employees from all areas of the College an opportunity to chat with the President one-on-one, share what’s going on in their worlds, and bring new ideas to the table.

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 →

College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

College opens doors to new state-of-the-art Smart Factory

June 28, 2019

Today, with the help of collaborative robots Baxter, Sawyer and UR10, Red River College officially opened the doors to its brand new Smart Factory, a state-of-the-art learning facility and applied research space that will directly support Manitoba’s growing aerospace and manufacturing industries, and RRC’s applied research initiatives.

“Red River College has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. The opening of the Smart Factory ensures that our students are well-equipped to face the challenges that the future workforce may hold, and to thrive in ever-changing environments,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right).

“These expansions have significant impacts in our community and beyond, as we provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge resources for our partners in the aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Located inside RRC’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, the Smart Factory is an experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site. It combines emerging technologies in metals additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation, high-speed 3D laser metrology, industrial networking, and many more.

The new facility will enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings. It will also provide Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, research and innovation expertise, and faculty and students — in order to evaluate, develop, demonstrate and implement new and emerging technologies.

The Smart Factory is the result of a $10-million investment — previously announced in 2017 — by the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada. In addition to supporting the development of the Smart Factory, this funding also supports the Phase 3 expansion of RRC’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), located at StandardAero in Winnipeg. 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 →

Honorary Diploma recipient celebrates lifelong link to RRC

June 5, 2019

Marilyn Kenny, portraitFamilies, friends and guests of Red River College will gather this week to watch their loved ones cross the stage and accept their degrees, diplomas and certificates — signaling the completion of their academic journey as students.

As these 2,000 new grads look ahead to their careers, the College looks back on its history, and proudly announces former board member Marilyn Kenny as this year’s Honorary Diploma recipient.

“Marilyn Kenny has truly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Red River College, and to learning,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“From her dedication to women’s employment initiatives to her work with the development of language training, Marilyn has been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the College for her entire career, and we are honoured to recognize her achievements.”

Kenny will receive her Honorary Diploma in Community Development/Community Economic Development. She now joins the ranks of fellow recipients such as Gail Asper, Ray St. Germain and Ace Burpee — all of whom have demonstrated high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements, and whose local, national and international accomplishments qualify them for such a recognition.

“I was honoured and overwhelmed when I learned that I had received the award — I think it was the first time anyone at the College has ever heard me speechless,” says Kenny. “When I look at where my career has taken me, Red River College has always been a part of it in some way or another — and I guess I’ve always been a part of Red River.”

Kenny says her career really began when she tried to help a little girl who’d been in and out of difficult situations and hospitalizations, but was unsuccessful because she didn’t have the proper credentials. She was later devastated to learn the girl had passed away.

Around the same time, she learned of RRC’s Social Welfare Services program, which her husband and family encouraged her to apply for.

“At the time I was driving in from Ashern in the evenings for my classes, but it felt like this was what I was meant to do. Red River College put the wind beneath my wings and gave me what I needed to keep going.” Read More →