Inaugural Inclusion Week celebrates equity, diversity and inclusion at RRC Polytech

October 31, 2022

RRC Polytech is strengthening its commitment to embodying equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) with the launch of its inaugural Inclusion Week.

From today until Friday, Nov. 4, the College is hosting a series of virtual and in-person events designed to inspire staff and students to live out the values of EDI at work, in class and in their personal lives.

“The principles of EDI are embedded into everything we do at RRC Polytech, and they make up an important pillar of our Strategic Plan,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO. “Rather than just talking about how important these values are, Inclusion Week gives our community the chance to experience these teachings first-hand through a variety of events they can attend throughout their typical work or school week.”

“One of our strengths as an institution is that we care deeply about the people who work and study here. Inclusion Week helps to foster a respectful, equitable atmosphere for our entire community.”

RRC Polytech is committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action within its operations and in its work to advance Indigenous education in Manitoba. This commitment is a critical foundation for the College’s work in pursuing EDI within the institution and its partnerships — because those goals cannot be advanced without doing the work of reconciliation.

Inclusion Week builds off the momentum of RRC Polytech’s Truth and Reconciliation Week, held at the end of September, to further provide staff and students with opportunities to engage in the principles of EDI.

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Walter and Maria Schroeder recognized with Honorary Bachelor of Education degree

October 20, 2022

Walter and Maria Schroeder, founders of The Schroeder Foundation, are the recipients of an Honorary Bachelor of Education degree from RRC Polytech, in recognition of their dedication to removing barriers to education for Manitoba youth.

“We are elated to present Walter and Maria Schroeder with an honorary degree to celebrate our shared commitment in removing learning barriers,” says RRC Polytech President Fred Meier. “The additional support they provide students helps set them up for success. Transitions to post-secondary can be challenging, but the Foundation’s efforts to engage directly with students and their families helps youth thrive during their time here and beyond.”

The Schroeders grew up in Winnipeg and have always believed in helping others. In 1976, Walter created a new Canadian-based bond rating agency called Dominion Bond Rating Service, which became one of the world’s premier agencies. After selling their company, the Schroeders focused their energy on philanthropy and created The Schroeder Foundation.

“We believe in the power of education, and access should be available for all,” says Walter. “We are so grateful to be receiving this honorary degree from RRC Polytech.”

“When we were young and growing up in Winnipeg, we benefited from the generosity of others, and now it is our turn to extend that same support to students in our hometown,” adds Maria.

Since 2019, The Schroeder Foundation has funded 135 full scholarships to RRC Polytech, with wrap-around supports such as tutoring, guidance and academic coaching. The Foundation has devoted its resources to improving health and education services across Canada, with a particular focus on supporting Winnipeg’s high school students in the North End.

Over the last two years, the Foundation has provided 190 full post-secondary scholarships to RRC Polytech, the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. The Foundation also awards over 10 full scholarships to Vancouver Film School each year to extraordinary students in Sisler High School’s CREATE program. This is in addition to the 700+ merit awards provided annually to students at St. John’s High School, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute and Sisler High School.

College opens Truth and Reconciliation Week with signing of Indigenous Education Protocol

September 26, 2022

Truth and Reconciliation Week is an opportunity to reflect and honour the victims and survivors of Canada’s Residential School system, ensuring they are never forgotten.

To begin Truth and Reconciliation Week, Red River College Polytechnic today joined the members of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) as a signatory of a national Indigenous Education Protocol.

This comprehensive document underscores the importance of structures and approaches required to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs and to support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities.

“We have dedicated ourselves to reconciling a broken trust in our education system and recognize that advancing Indigenous achievement requires organizations to listen, embrace new ways of learning and work together to prompt meaningful change,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“By upholding this agreement, RRC Polytech and its CICan partners will continue to create opportunities to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into student and faculty supports, to inform our administrative processes, and to build collaborative partnerships that elevate reconciliation.”

Indigenous Education Protocol signatory institutions agree to:

  • Commit to making Indigenous education a priority.
  • Ensure governance structures recognize and respect Indigenous peoples.
  • Implement intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples through curriculum and learning approaches relevant to learners and communities.
  • Support students and employees to increase understanding and reciprocity among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
  • Commit to increasing the number of Indigenous employees with ongoing appointments throughout the institution, including Indigenous senior administrators.
  • Establish Indigenous-centred holistic services and learning environments for learner success.
  • Build relationships and be accountable to Indigenous communities in support of self-determination through education, training and applied research.

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College opens new Elgin Plaza, providing community greenspace for students downtown

September 1, 2022

Students returning to classes at RRC Polytech’s Exchange District Campus will have a new outdoor space to enjoy while studying and connecting with classmates.

Today, Red River College Polytechnic officially opened the Elgin Plaza, nestled between the new Manitou a bi Bii daziigae building and the existing Roblin Centre. The block of Elgin Avenue between Princess and Adelaide Streets was closed to vehicles, with support from the City of Winnipeg, to create a pedestrian plaza.

“We are proud to work with our partners to create a pedestrian connection between buildings, transforming learning spaces and making it feel like a community campus where genuine connections and shared experiences occur,” says RRC Polytech President Fred Meier (shown above, at centre). “Developments like this allow us to build on our partnerships and strengthen our shared vision to enhance the student experience.”

The space was designed by HTFC Planning and Design, and includes outdoor gardens, seating areas, recreational space, removable bollards that allow access for food trucks, a new projector to showcase student work and create community art, and ping pong tables and power outlets to help host outdoor events from students and community members.

When looking up, anyone standing in the Elgin Plaza will have a stunning view of local artist Jackie Traverse’s ceiling installation, which extends from Manitou a bi Bii daziigae’s fourth floor. The Elgin Plaza also features one of the College’s new rainbow walkways, which were unveiled earlier this week.

“The opening of Elgin Plaza is significant for Winnipeg’s downtown,” says Mayor Brian Bowman (shown above, at left). “The City of Winnipeg and RRC Polytech have a longstanding partnership and spaces like this help to bring people downtown and revitalize Winnipeg’s Exchange District. I’m pleased to see another space like this added in our downtown because spending time outdoors and in greenspaces has a positive impact on the well-being of residents in our community.” Read More →

College launches new IT program for Indigenous students as part of RBC Foundation gift

June 20, 2022

Today, Indigenous learners interested in pursuing a career in Manitoba’s information technology (IT) sector will have access to a new program offered at RRC Polytech, thanks to a $450,000 gift from RBC.

This most recent gift — alongside funding for other programs and platforms that connect diverse students to their ideas, potential, and one another — makes for a million-dollar friendship.

“When community partners like RBC connect with RRC Polytech to create globally needed programs, we’re ready to answer the call,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“This new pathway program is designed to equip Indigenous Manitobans with the skills and support required to transition into selected programs at RRC Polytech. With the move to remote and hybrid work and heavy reliance on technology, the world of IT operations is growing every day, and RRC Polytech’s students are in high demand.”

RBC has been a longstanding partner of RRC Polytech, and today, both organizations are celebrating over $1M in support. These gifts have provided mentorship and internship opportunities for students through such initiatives as Ten Thousand Coffees and Riipen, and sponsorship for the annual Directions Conference. They have also made possible a series of Reaction by Collision events, the latest of which served as host to today’s announcement about the new Pathway to Information Technology Programs offering.

“We at RBC are delighted to support the new Pathway to Information Technology Programs with this gift,” said Kim Ulmer, RBC’s Regional President. “Representation in industry, access to education, and tapping into the incredible talents of Indigenous people matters to all of us. We are so proud to further deepen our longtime friendship with RRC Polytech, while helping give space to new and innovative ideas in areas of information technology.”      Read More →

College honours pioneering doctor who worked through AIDS crisis to save lives

June 14, 2022

With a career spanning multiple decades, Dr. John Richard Middleton (Dick) Smith has made an enduring mark on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Winnipeg.

Smith was one of the first doctors in Winnipeg to support patients diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, saving countless lives through treatment and education. Now, RRC Polytech is celebrating his efforts by presenting him with an honorary diploma in Community Development.

“Dr. Smith represents the embodiment of caring and giving back to your community — a value we work to instil into every one of our grads,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“We are proud to honour Dr. Smith for his tireless work advocating for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. His work teaches us if something doesn’t yet exist in the world but is necessary and positive, then be fearless and pursue it.”

Smith moved to Winnipeg from England in 1972. After seeing the need for specialized health care and safe spaces, he helped found the Winnipeg Gay Community Health Centre, the Village Clinic and Nine Circles Community Health Centre. He brought his activism and leadership to other roles as President of the Manitoba College of Family Physicians and President of Medical Staff for Misericordia Hospital.

“Receiving this recognition from RRC Polytech is a great honour,” says Dr. Smith. “Working with people has been the touchstone of my career and I’ve been so fortunate to forge many valuable connections here in Winnipeg while doing something I love. I hope that RRC Polytech graduates find something they love to do and find wonderful people to work alongside.”

In 2016, Dr. Smith came out of retirement to help open a multidisciplinary organization called Our Own Health Centre, which specializes in providing medical and well-being care to members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Read More →

Province to add 30 new training seats to RRC Polytech’s Nursing program

June 9, 2022

The Manitoba government is investing over $830,000 to add 30 new nurse training seats to help sustainably increase the number of nurses working in the province in the years to come, Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes announced yesterday.

“Our government is strengthening health care,” said Gordon. “Investing in nurses who are an integral part of our health-care team is building our province’s health human resource capacity. We have been working closely with post-secondary institutions to sustainably increase the capacity of existing nursing programs throughout the province.”

“Our government’s multi-faceted action plan is responding effectively to labour market shortages in the health-care system that were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Reyes. “This investment brings us even closer to fulfilling our July 2021 commitment to add 400 seats in nursing programs at post-secondary institutions across the province.”

Funding will add 30 new seats to the Nursing program at RRC Polytech. It will help renovate necessary learning spaces, add laboratory equipment and support new staffing, supplies and other operational needs, the ministers noted.  

“The work we do at RRC Polytech anticipates and aligns with the nursing and health-care needs of Manitoba, and this announcement recognizes the importance of investing in post-secondary institutions that provide highly trained graduates,” said Fred Meier, president and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“We are ready to grow and expand our programs as needed to prepare students to contribute on day one and in turn strengthen our province. We expect that all 30 seats will be filled by the end of the 2022-23 academic year.”

With this latest expansion, the Manitoba government has committed more than $30 million to establish 289 nursing seats that will support recruitment for the health-care system. The ministers noted work remains underway on the next phase of the plan to further expand training to meet the 400-space commitment made in 2021.

Learn more about RRC Polytech’s Bachelor of Nursing program.

RRC Polytech hosts in-person Pow Wow for graduating Indigenous students

May 9, 2022

Last Friday, RRC Polytech welcomed back its in-person Pow Wow to celebrate graduating Indigenous students, with a day-long event that included a traditional pipe ceremony, drumming, dancing, singing, feasting and an Indigenous makers market.

Approximately 170 Indigenous students registered for the event, the largest number in RRC Polytech’s Pow Wow history. The event was also live streamed.

For the past two years, the College’s Pow Wow has been held virtually, with students signing up to be recognized in a live stream filled with Indigenous performances and messages of congratulations. Including the two virtual celebrations, this year’s event marked the College’s 22nd Pow Wow.

“Nothing can replace celebrating our students in-person and creating these memories that help mark a special moment in their lives and where their cultures are celebrated,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech. “Indigenous success is vital to all areas of our College and is just one of the ways we will contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation. We’re seeing Indigenous students register for this year’s Pow Wow from across all programs areas: health, business, trades, and many in between.”

“This past fall, we launched our new strategic plan: In Front of What’s Ahead. Of the plan’s three commitments, the second is to commit to Truth and Reconciliation and pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. Our work will begin with listening.

“Just this year, we have welcomed a Knowledge Keepers Council to help advise on our strategic initiatives, and we’ve welcomed Jamie Wilson as our Vice-President of Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development, which will increase our capacity for partnerships with Indigenous students, businesses and communities, and help further embed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and training.” Read More →

RRC Polytech unveils artwork by KC Adams at opening of Roundhouse Auditorium

April 29, 2022

Today, RRC Polytech unveiled Anishinaabe/Nêhiyaw/British artist KC Adams’ Morning Star design — which is embedded within the floor of the College’s new Roundhouse Auditorium — at the official opening of the space at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.

“KC Adams really captured what our College and this building represent,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech. “Not only did she so thoughtfully include distinct histories and cultures that are part of these lands, but she also integrated what type of learning will happen here. It pays homage to history, but it’s here in the present and looks to the future.”

Located on the second floor of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, RRC Polytech’s newest building at the Exchange District Campus, the Roundhouse Auditorium is a 210-seat space that will be used for events, ceremonies and collaborative learning. It is sound-proof, ventilated for the use of traditional medicines, and features a curved, panoramic projector to display videos and create an immersive experience.

“This space brings together so many aspects of RRC Polytech’s guiding principles: transforming to meet emerging needs, committing to reconciliation and diversity, and deepening our partnerships to maximize prosperity,” says Meier.

“The uniqueness of the Roundhouse will create more opportunities to gather, innovate, collaborate and invite the wider community in. It’s spaces like this that set RRC Polytech apart and show we can be really proud of how our College continues to contribute to the changing landscape of the Exchange District, Winnipeg and Manitoba.” Read More →

WOW! Hospitality’s Doug Stephen receives Honorary Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

February 24, 2022

For more than 40 years, Doug Stephen, founder of WOW! Hospitality Concepts, has been an integral part of the Winnipeg dining and hospitality sector, bringing smiles and building memories for thousands of people each year.

He’s also provided countless opportunities for RRC Polytech students to gain hands-on industry training and experience, making him a particularly fitting recipient of the College’s honorary diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

“RRC Polytech is proud to recognize the many contributions Doug Stephen has made to the dining and hospitality sector, as well as the education of future culinary, hospitality and tourism leaders in our province,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“There’s an ideal we aspire to as a polytechnic institution, which is to match in-class know-how with the highest quality of work-integrated learning available. That’s because we believe our students deserve the very best — just as Doug Stephen believes Winnipeggers deserve the very best in their dining and hospitality experiences.”

Born in Dauphin, Stephen showed early signs of entrepreneurial leanings. At age 14, he was managing a fleet of Winnipeg Free Press carriers in Clear Lake. A year later, a chance meeting with the owner of Clear Lake’s pizza parlor saw him learning to cook and quickly taking over management duties at the restaurant.

After high school, Stephen came to Winnipeg to pursue his science degree at university, intending to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician. While enrolled, he worked as a server at the Old Spaghetti Factory (OSF). After completing his studies, he took a break year and never really looked back, leaving Winnipeg to gain hospitality training and experience in Toronto, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Ottawa, before returning to take over OSF and Brandy’s in 1980.

“I am so honoured that RRC Polytech has decided that I have given back and that I have contributed to the community,” Stephen says.

“It took a lot of work and perhaps some mistakes along the way. I have been very, very lucky because I’ve done what I have loved my entire life. Along the way I’ve had some great mentors and wonderful opportunities.” Read More →