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RRC joins fight against COVID-19: New training launched to increase testing capacity in Manitoba

October 14, 2020

Red River College, in partnership with the Province of Manitoba, is proud to announce the creation of a new micro-credential course that will provide essential training to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity for Manitoba Public Health.

“Protecting the health and safety of Manitobans remains our number one priority,” says Premier Brian Pallister. “Our government is committed to expanding our COVID-19 testing capacity to reduce wait times to get a test. This partnership with Red River College will enable us to provide essential training opportunities to highly skilled health-care workers, who can now our efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

The course — which takes as little as five hours to complete — is designed to train a number of health-care workers and students studying for careers in health care to safely conduct a nasal swab to collect samples to test for the virus. It will be offered tuition-free to students through RRC’s School of Continuing Education, and will be a blended delivery model, which will include essential theory offered through online delivery and a hands-on training component.

The course was designed to fit with a ministerial order that comes into effect today, enabling more health-care professionals and students training for careers in health care to perform this function at COVID-19 testing sites, including:

  • students in at least the second year of one of the following regulated health professions:
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine at the University of Manitoba, including medical students and physician assistant students
  • students enrolled in an approved paramedicine or respiratory therapy program
  • people qualified to practice in one of the following regulated health professions in jurisdictions outside Manitoba or Canada (based on the presentation of valid credentials):
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine
  • health-care aides
  • medical laboratory technologists
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • pharmacists

Read More →

Soup’s on! RRC partners with Winnipeg Harvest on healthy soup mixes for community, students

October 5, 2020

Thanks to a partnership between Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen and Winnipeg Harvest, nutritious Hamper Healthy™ soups will soon be distributed to vulnerable Manitobans. Students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program created the dehydrated mixes this summer, and officially handed off the donations — 3,000 packages worth — to Winnipeg Harvest this morning.

The partnership provided valuable work placement hours for RRC students and engaged them in a project that will deliver healthy, high-protein foods to people in need.

“When most local restaurants temporarily closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program were unable to receive the work placement hours needed to graduate,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“Our solution was to use more of our space to scale up the recipes and provide nutritious storable food for people negatively impacted by the pandemic. This partnership with Winnipeg Harvest and the generous support from our donors demonstrates the value of working together to support our community and find creative ways to support our students.”

The students safely worked alongside RRC research chefs to transform raw vegetables into three soup mixes: Mulligatawny, Chicken Noodle Vegetable, and Smokey Baked Beans. Dehydrating the soups was also a great way to process surplus vegetables from suppliers who were not able to use them during the pandemic. Read More →

RRC adopts groundbreaking sexual violence reporting tool

September 30, 2020

REES posterRed River College has partnered with EVA (Ending Violence Across) Manitoba to launch a new online tool that will empower students, staff and instructors to anonymously report sexual assaults on campus, and access the support they need.

The College joins 10 other Manitoban post-secondary institutions in adopting the REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors) reporting tool, offering a customized version of the platform that links to specific RRC supports, information and resources.

“Our students and staff have a right to learn and work in an environment that is free from sexual violence in all its forms. REES will help ensure that our campuses are safe places, and that survivors are heard and supported,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College.

The REES platform also helps individuals who have experienced sexual violence complete a reporting form that captures all the key information about an incident through a secure online form.

The user chooses what happens next: they can keep the report for their personal records and never share it, or they can decide to provide a copy to their educational institution or to the police.

The decision to report is a personal one, says Jess Spindler, RRC’s Resource and Resolution Advisor.

“No one should feel pressured to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable, but reporting does mean the matter can be addressed. When you make a report, the College must look into the matter, support your safety, and take appropriate corrective action to stop inappropriate behaviour and prevent future reoccurrences.

“The current North American data tells us that 1 in 5 female-identifying students experience sexual violence while attending post-secondary. The real number is likely higher because sexual violence is significantly underreported. Statistics Canada has noted that more than 8 of every 10 sexual assaults in Canada are never reported to police.” Read More →

New RRC president hits the ground running, with an eye to the future

September 3, 2020

Fred Meier has spent his first few weeks as Red River College’s president and CEO focused on making connections and building momentum towards a fall academic term unlike any other in the College’s 82-year history.

Adjusting to any new leadership role can be challenging enough. But taking the reins during a time of global upheaval and transformation amped up the need for Meier to make every minute count.

“I arrived on day one knowing I was joining an institution that has shaped the lives of many Manitobans and contributed a great deal to our province’s economy,” he says. “What I saw right away was a community of people who have innovated and adapted unbelievably fast to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep our students learning.”

Knowing how deeply students and industry partners depend on RRC for skilled training, workforce needs and applied research, Meier invited the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, on a tour of RRC’s Notre Dame Campus to highlight how the College has prepared its facilities to safely welcome back students for hands-on learning.

“The Minister told me he was impressed by the work we’ve done. I was impressed, too, by the ingenuity of our staff and students and their dedication to moving forward safely.”

Meier says that his leadership vision places a heavy premium on engaging employees, and on ensuring faculty and staff are listened to, valued and supported in their work.

At the end of August, he unveiled the College’s new online Staff Forum, a website designed for employees by employees to connect them with information, resources and collaboration tools quickly and easily.

“Strong internal communication and collaboration are the bedrock of our success as an organization. While this has always been true, the disruptions to our business by COVID-19 make employee engagement a higher priority than ever. Adopting new tools, technologies and strategies to share and learn from one another will continue to be near the top of my list.” Read More →

RRC welcomes new Vice-President, Finance and Administration

August 18, 2020

Red River College is excited to announce that Lynn Zapshala-Kelln has been hired as the institution’s next Vice-President, Finance and Administration.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Lynn to our team,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Her expertise and extensive background in Manitoba’s post-secondary system and our province’s public sector will strengthen Red River College’s capacity to keep moving forward in a time of change, and help us continue to do what we do best — produce job-ready grads to help businesses innovate and stay competitive in our new economy.”

Zapshala-Kelln joins the College after holding the Vice-President (Administration) role at the University of Manitoba, where she provided leadership in all administrative areas, including financial, business and investment interests, ancillary services, security, fair practices and legal affairs, physical plant and property, risk management, human resources (including labour relations) and information systems and technology services.

At RRC, she will oversee all current aspects of the finance and administration portfolio, including finance and campus services, capital projects, campus planning and sustainability. She will work directly with the College’s Chief Information Officer and Executive Director, Finance and Campus Services.

“I am a collaborative leader and I look forward to getting to know my team, building on RRC’s successes, and overcoming our challenges as we continue to face this pandemic,” says Zapshala-Kelln.  “Red River College has done a tremendous job modernizing their systems to better support our employees and our students. I look forward to building on that success so we can continue to support the academic mission of the College to ensure that our people — and most importantly, our students — continue to shine.”

Zapshala-Kelln previously served in the senior ranks of the Province of Manitoba’s civil service for almost two decades, and has extensive board experience. A Chartered Professional Accountant, she holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Regina.

She will start her new role at RRC on Tue., Sept. 8.

Safety top priority as College prepares for students, staff to return to campuses

August 5, 2020

With the Fall 2020 academic term just around the corner, Red River College offered an on-campus preview today of what students can expect when they return to school next month.

Attended by the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, today’s media tour showcased a number of applied learning activities currently taking place on the Notre Dame Campus, and highlighted new measures the College is taking to protect the safety of an increasing number of students and staff coming back to school.

RRC President Fred Meier says the College’s response to COVID-19 — and the quick pivot to online and blended learning this past spring — has positioned RRC to continue to meet industry needs and help drive Manitoba’s economic recovery.

“COVID-19 has handed our province an unprecedented set of challenges to overcome. I continue to be impressed by how organizations across all sectors have found innovative ways to meet those challenges head-on,” says Eichler (shown above, at left). “Red River College adapted quickly to support its students, made valuable contributions to our community efforts against COVID-19, and — thanks to hard work — prepared itself to play a vital role in Manitoba’s economic recovery.”

The tour provided a look at the catch-up, hands-on training currently underway at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, along with its Indigenous Culinary Skills, Dentistry and level four Carpentry programs, and a tour and demonstration by students in the new Medical Radiologic Technology lab.

While the majority of catch-up training is happening at the Notre Dame Campus, Culinary Arts students are equally busy at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Earlier this summer, a number of the College’s regional campuses welcomed students back to complete hands-on learning to wrap up their studies, as well.

“Although we’ve been working incredibly hard since March to deliver our programs online, we’re very excited to have people moving through our halls, our labs, our offices and classrooms again,” says Meier (shown above, at right). “As Manitobans, we have managed the impacts of COVID-19 better than many other regions, and that — along with the tremendous leadership and hard work of our employees — has made it possible for us to continue preparing students for careers in industries that will need their knowledge and skills more than ever.” Read More →

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 →