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Early child development resource continues to grow with global reach

February 3, 2023

It started as a way to reduce the gap between early childhood education and research. Today, RRC Polytech’s Science of Early Child Development (SECD) initiative has impacted the work of early childhood educators (ECEs) both here in Canada and on a global scale.

“There’s been a massive explosion in neuroscience and understanding of the child’s brain and how that has informed early brain development,” says Jamie Koshyk, a research faculty member in the School of Health Sciences and Community Services at RRC Polytech.

“These new discoveries impact your life. It’s a lifelong trajectory that starts very early on.”

SECD began as a partnership between RRC Polytech, the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto and the Aga Khan Development Network. It’s what’s known as a “dynamic knowledge mobilization initiative” — essentially, bridging complex research on understanding a child’s brain and turning that research into resources and courses that professionals and students can easily understand.

“By the time a researcher has a discovery and gets it into a textbook, it’s a process of a number of years,” says Elin Ibrahim, who leads the SECD initiative. “The whole idea of having it online and having it continually updated — and current — was attractive, and one of the major reasons that it all got started.”

Today, the SECD initiative includes four “living textbooks,” as the initiative calls them, which use a multimedia approach to share information. They include expert interviews, images, video examples of children, parents and caregivers, slideshows, websites, readings, questions for reflection, interactive games, activities and much more. It’s a modern way of learning and one that’s in high demand.

“In each of the modules, there’s always an overview, a research section and then there’s links to practice,” says Ibrahim. “That was another goal of ours: to look at how to make research practical. To do that, we organize it through different topics and modules, but also to bring in the practical — both for those working with early childhood students and for anyone working with children.” Read More →

RRC Polytech rises to 11th place in ranking of Canadian research colleges

January 27, 2023

RRC Polytech is once again one of Canada’s top research institutions, as announced earlier this week in Re$earch Infosource’s annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges. The College jumped three spots from last year’s 14th place position.

RRC Polytech ranks first in the prairies in the category Spotlight on College Research Activity – Medium Tier, and third for research partnerships nationwide. The College completed 93 applied research projects in the 2021 fiscal year.

“Partnerships are at the heart of everything we do at RRC Polytech,” says Jamie Wilson, Vice-President, Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development at RRC Polytech.

“We work with industry every day to come up with innovative, sustainable solutions to business problems. Thanks to the support from our partners in the community, industry and government, we can continue to make positive change here in Manitoba and throughout the country.

“This national recognition reinforces that ground-breaking work doesn’t happen in a silo. It takes a community of creative staff, students and industry partners to achieve the results that place us so high on this list.”

An ongoing partnership between RRC Polytech’s Prairie Research Kitchen, Prairie Fava — a Glenboro, Man.-based food startup — and Big Mountain Foods, a Vancouver-based innovator of plant-based consumer packaged goods, that resulted in an award-winning product is just one example of the innovative collaborations completed in the last year.

Another is a recent building airtightness test at Gordon Bell High School completed by RRC Polytech’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) that will help the high school reduce energy costs by 50 per cent. Read More →

Manufacturing new career paths: Gene Haas bootcamps offer hands-on training for youth

January 25, 2023

Starting next month, Winnipeg youths with an interest in 3D printing, manufacturing and robotics will have the opportunity to hone their skills and learn about new technologies through one-day bootcamps at RRC Polytech.

The Gene Haas Manufacturing Bootcamps are open to students in Grades 7 and 8 (ages 12 to 14), along with their parents or guardians. Participants will learn how to create things using industry-standard equipment and technology, while exploring some of the many career options in Manitoba’s rapidly growing manufacturing sector.

“RRC Polytech is excited to partner with the Gene Haas Foundation on these camps because we know there is incredible potential for young Winnipeggers in the manufacturing field,” says Mark Blackner, Chair of Electrical, Mechanical and Manufacturing at RRC Polytech.

“It was important for us to include parents and guardians in these camps because often trades and technologies are seen as a dead-end job or back-up plan, which is not the case. Careers in trades and technologies allow people to create things every day, are high-paying and help our communities function and grow.”

Bootcamps run once a month, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. They’ll provide participants with training in:

• 3D printing
• Computer aided design (CAD)
• Computer numerical control (CNC) machining
• Industrial robotics

Along with the Gene Haas Foundation and Thomas Skinner (Western Canada’s Haas Automation representative), the College has partnered with Career Trek and Skills Canada Manitoba to bring these bootcamps to life. Read More →

Eight RRC Polytech programs granted national accreditation

November 29, 2022

Today, RRC Polytech marked the accreditation of eight of its programs by Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC).

The accreditation is the result of a comprehensive audit that includes a tour of each program’s labs and student support services, and interviews with its students, faculty, alumni and graduates’ employers.

The eight programs that received accreditation are: 

·      Electronic Engineering Technology 

·      Electrical Engineering Technology 

·      Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology

·      Mechanical Engineering Technology

·      Structural Engineering Technology

·      Architectural/Engineering Technology

·      Municipal Engineering Technology

·      Environmental Engineering Technology

“Achieving accreditation for these programs is a real win-win,” says Derek Kochenash, Dean, School of Skilled Trades and Technologies at RRC Polytech. “Not only does accreditation open doors to even more career opportunities for our students, it provides our partners in industry with the essential talent to help their organizations achieve their goals. 

“RRC Polytech is grateful to Technology Accreditation Canada for this acknowledgment. The accreditation reflects the high quality of these eight programs, while enhancing graduates’ credentials as they enter the workforce.”

National program accreditation provides students, industry and RRC Polytech with confirmation their program has met defined standards. 

Accreditation also affords graduates an expedited path to certification through the Certified Technicians & Technologists Association of Manitoba (CTTAM) and provincial certifying bodies across Canada.

“We congratulate each program for its commitment to delivering to students a high quality program that meets the current standards of the engineering technology and applied science profession,” says Stephen Morley, Chair of TAC’s board of directors. 

RRC Polytech celebrates 1,200 graduates at fall convocation

November 8, 2022

Today, at its fall convocation ceremony, RRC Polytech will celebrate more than 1,200 graduates as they enter the workforce prepared to face any challenge head on.

“Tonight’s ceremony is just the start for this resilient group of graduates. Acquiring their skills and credentials in an unprecedented period of constant change has added to their employability — they truly deserve a celebration,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President Academic at RRC Polytech.

“Our convocation ceremonies represent opportunity and optimism, so we’re thrilled everyone can acknowledge this milestone accomplishment together.”

Many of the individuals graduating today completed a significant portion of their learning in a virtual or hybrid setting, and will celebrate their success along with their friends, family and instructors tonight at the RBC Convention Centre.

Among the honorees at tonight’s ceremony is Michael Stewart, RRC Polytech’s 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipient. Stewart graduates with honours from the Applied Accounting Certificate program and inspires everyone around him as a tireless volunteer, support worker and advocate in the deaf-blind community.

“From instructors and interpreters to classmates, I am blown away by the generosity, kindness and top-notch service provided by RRC Polytech,” says Stewart. “My education will open so many doors for me as I work toward becoming a chartered professional accountant and achieving my ultimate goal of changing the stigma associated with the ability of deaf-blind Canadians to work and contribute.” Read More →

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.

Read More →

Journalism students launch website exploring hot-button election issues

October 12, 2022

All 11 mayoral candidates in the upcoming civic election claim their plan will make Winnipeg better, but a quick Google search of the phrase reveals that journalism students in RRC Polytech’s Creative Communications (CreComm) program are already delivering on that promise.

Their project, winnipegbetter.ca, is impacting the city’s race for mayor by giving potential voters exactly what they’ve asked for — a comprehensive website to help them make an informed decision on Oct. 26.

Last spring, CreComm instructor James Turner challenged his small class of journalism majors to offer the community an alternative approach to typical election coverage.

“A frequent complaint from consumers of news is that during elections, the focus is placed on polling and personality conflicts, not the issues that real people are facing,” says Turner.

So, he and his student journalists launched winnipegbetter.ca to cultivate dialogue leading up to decision day and provide a go-to resource on civic issues that voters deem most important.

“Journalism is a public service,” he says. “What this project emphasizes to students is that you work for the readers, the voters and the audience. So instead of letting the politicians tell you what’s important, be the conduit that allows the public to determine what the candidates should be talking about.”

Current second year students spent months gathering people’s viewpoints through in-person interviews, online forms, and social media. They asked a simple direct question: “What do you want candidates to be talking about as they compete for your vote?”

The result is a Citizen’s Agenda of six key issues:

Read More →

RRC Polytech launches new Portage Innovation Centre with contest for young entrepreneurs

September 22, 2022

This weekend, entrepreneurs and innovators (aged 15–30) will have the chance to win $1,000 dollars towards starting their new business, during the Portage Innovation Centre’s grand opening event: Innovate to Launch.

The new Centre, located at RRC Polytech’s Portage Campus, was created through a partnership between the College and Communities Building Youth Futures to provide access to equipment, expertise and training for entrepreneurs and makers in Portage la Prairie and the surrounding area.

“RRC Polytech is a proud partner in this new initiative that will provide office spaces, shared meeting rooms and access to a fabrication laboratory with a 3D printer, Cricut 3 machine, heavy duty sewing machine, laser engraver and a multi-function printer,” says Guy Moffat, Regional Manager at the Portage Campus. “We’re excited to also provide the assistance of RRC Polytech students and human resources support as these young entrepreneurs launch new businesses.”

The Portage Innovation Centre, located in the lower level of the campus, is free/low-cost space for young entrepreneurs and innovators to launch businesses. Community partners will provide free workshops to all applicants on the essentials of starting a business or venture, including legal and accounting advice.

“Finding ways that young people in this community can stretch their entrepreneurial muscles is always a good thing,” says Chuck Davidson, CEO and President, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “When the community is able to come together like this, it allows incredible business ideas to come to life and helps create vibrant communities, economic development, entrepreneurial success and a strong future for Manitoba.”

Innovate to Launch is a three-day (Sept. 22–24) innovation contest hosted by the Portage Innovation Centre where innovators will compete for a $1,000 prize — as well as free office space for a year — by writing a pitch for a new business idea. Each team or individual will be a assigned a mentor to help them with their idea and work through their pitch. Judges will decide on three winners and the top 10 teams will be offered $20 a month towards software or tools to develop their business.

A grand opening of the Portage Innovation Centre will take place on Sat., Sept.24 from 12:00–1:00 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to tour the space, including the fabrication laboratory.

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 →

Careers in science laboratory technology: Lab work puts grads into landscape of research, real-world problem solving.

August 17, 2022

A professional lab environment is something we’ve all become more accustomed to hearing about over the past two years. What’s beyond the headlines, though? Where are those educated in Science Laboratory Technology going after they graduate?

“It’s anywhere that has a small lab in the back or a large lab in the front,” says RRC Polytech instructor Michael Judge, who’s worked in the Science Laboratory Technology program for the past 14 years.

“There’s no such thing as a typical job.”

With foundational knowledge in biology and chemistry, grads can take their skills and apply them to a wide range of disciplines, including chemical analysis, research, quality assurance, pharmaceuticals, or biotechnology in industrial, government or commercial laboratory settings.

As Judge points out, Winnipeg has many top-tier opportunities in the industry, including the National Microbiology Laboratory and the City of Winnipeg’s Water and Waste Department. Students in the Science Laboratory Technology program have co-op opportunities at these labs, as well as with many other employers, which gives them a foot in the door for entry-level positions.

For Colleen Cottam-Birt (shown above), who graduated from the program in 1999, the co-op opportunities provided were, in her words, life-changing.

“In this course, I found out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My first co-op through RRC Polytech was at the University of Manitoba Animal Science Lab. I had a wonderful boss and we developed a friendship that lasted many years,” she says.

“My last co-op was my dream job. I was placed at what was then just simply known as the Virology Lab … I have worked at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases (NCFAD) now for 22 years.”

Cottam-Birt’s experience is familiar to Judge, who has seen many students exit their co-ops with positions they can transition to immediately after graduation.

“One of the big benefits of the co-op is that they’re getting that immersion in the workplace, so they’re networking, they’re getting something on their resumé, and very often, it does turn into full-time employment.” Read More →