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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 →

Award-winning flavours and fava on the menu at Prairie Research Kitchen

June 15, 2020

Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen has won the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Research Partnership Award, for its ongoing work with Manitoba food start-up Prairie Fava.

The award ceremony was originally scheduled to take place at CARA’s annual conference in Vancouver last month, though the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prairie Fava has been a great partner of ours since the beginning. Working with them has showcased our ability to bring a chef’s experience and perspective to applied research,” says Mavis McRae, Director of the Prairie Research Kitchen, which is RRC’s newest federally funded Technology Access Centre.

“We’re so grateful for their support, and thankful to have grown alongside each other over the years. It’s an honour to be recognized for this mutually beneficial relationship.”

Hailey and Cale Jefferies co-founded Prairie Fava in 2015 as a way to tie their family seed business, Jefferies Seeds, into a new venture that showcased the duo’s passion for healthy food with their existing knowledge and experience in agriculture. Prairie Fava was recently awarded the Start-Up of the Year Award at the 2019 Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable the research and development work done by the Prairie Research Kitchen team is for a small company like ours,” says Hailey Jefferies (shown above), the company’s President. “They provide great expertise while being cost effective. We have appreciated being able to leverage the creative talents of RRC students to do both market research and great food photography. We have not been able to find this kind of diverse food research elsewhere.” 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 →

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 →

College hires Fred Meier as next President and CEO

May 5, 2020

Photo portrait of Fred MeierRed River College’s Board of Governors has announced that longtime public servant Fred Meier will serve as RRC’s next President and CEO, effective July 6, 2020.

Following a nation-wide search led by MNP and guided by the Board’s selection committee — one that captured input from staff, students, faculty and industry — the unanimous decision was made to hire Meier for the organization’s top role.

“Fred brings a tremendous amount of senior leadership experience to the role,” says Board chair Loren Cisyk. “A successful College relies on strong leadership and we look forward to how Fred’s experience, leading at a high-level, will translate into new opportunities for our students and our province.”

Meier is a proud Manitoban who brings considerable senior leadership experience to the new role. In his current position as cabinet secretary and clerk of the province’s Executive Council, he has championed measures towards building a positive and inclusive culture, with a focus on employee engagement that better supports innovation and collaboration to the benefit of all Manitobans.

“Red River College is a highly respected organization with a proud history and an incredible future. I am excited to serve in this new role,” says Meier (shown, at left). “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside such talented people, whose passion and dedication continue to move this College forward. I’m extremely honoured to join such an important Manitoba institution at a time when it will play an important role in rebuilding our economy.”

While the search was underway, the Board appointed Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-president, Academic, as interim president and CEO. Watson led the College through its transition to alternative delivery models in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We can’t thank Christine enough for her leadership during this time,” says Cisyk. “No one expected the kind of disruption to our lives that COVID-19 would bring. Her hard work — and that of the Senior Leadership Team — ensured the College was able to continue to operate during this pandemic, and that our students and faculty were supported. This work was essential to our operations, and as Manitoba begins to re-open its economy, we know that Red River College will be instrumental in rebuilding it.” Read More →

More supports needed for RRC students impacted by COVID-19

April 21, 2020

Red River College is appealing to its donor community, alumni and partners to help provide additional funding for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

The RRC COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund, launched April 9 and nearing $140,000 in donations, has received an overwhelming number of applicants and can’t meet the needs of all those who have applied.

“Since opening up this fund to our students last week, we’ve seen numerous applications come in showcasing how dire the need is to support our students through this pandemic,” says Dr. Christine Watson, the College’s interim President and CEO.

“The recent support we’ve received from the RRC Students’ Association and from our staff and donors will allow us to transfer vital funds to the deserving many who need our help.”

The Students’ Association (RRCSA) pitched in $20,000 to help fellow students struggling with financial hardships.

“Supporting our students is our highest priority and this a tangible way we can do that,” says Josh Roopchand, Students’ Association president (shown above, second from left, with other members of the RRCSA executive last November). “We are pleased to join this effort and thank all the partners for responding so quickly to students in need.”​

The donation is just one example of the RRCSA’s commitment to supporting students. A long-time partner of the College, the groups funds a number of bursaries and awards. In recent years, they also contributed $200,000 to the student-run coffee shop at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, as well as $50,000 to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at the College’s Exchange District Campus. Read More →

College launches emergency support fund to help students impacted by COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Red River College is launching a COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund to help students who require extra financial assistance as a result of the global pandemic.

The new fund has been kickstarted by donations from the Princess Auto Foundation, Powerland Computers and the Women in Trades Fund. It is available to students who require support for costs such as food, housing and internet access for those who do not have a connection, as well as other financial hardships as a result of COVID-19.

“One of the many domino effects of COVID-19 has been students losing part-time jobs or dealing with unexpected financial stress due to the ever-changing circumstances,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim President and CEO of RRC. “We want to do everything possible to support our students so they can complete their studies and lessen their worries about food or rent.”

The Princess Auto Foundation, which has a long history of supporting RRC students, donated $50,000 to the fund.

“We know that support for students goes a long way in ensuring success,” says Ken Larson, President and CEO of Princess Auto Ltd. “Like many Manitoba companies, we rely on RRC grads to help drive our workforce. We will continue to need RRC grads when the economic turmoil recedes and our province begins the important work of rebuilding our economy.”

The sentiments were echoed by leaders at Powerland Computers, which contributed $10,000.

“We’re fortunate to be in a situation where we can offer support to students who may be struggling during this unprecedented time,” says Ashley Penner, CEO of Powerland Computers. “Red River College is a strong partner, and an important contributor to Manitoba’s IT and technology sectors. We are proud to be able to help in any way we can.” Read More →

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. Read More →

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. Read More →

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.” Read More →