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Graphic Design instructor named Teacher Award of Excellence recipient for 2021

June 17, 2021

Graphic Design instructor Darren StebeleskiEach year, the Red River College Students’ Association presents a Teacher Award of Excellence in recognition of an instructor’s outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students.

Typically, the RRCSA receives approximately 100 submissions for this award. This year, they received over 450 submissions from students whose instructors made a difference in their learning — in a year like no other.

The 2021 RRCSA Teacher Award of Excellence has been awarded to Darren Stebeleski, a Graphic Design instructor in Creative Arts, who has been with the College for 10 years this August.

After a successful career working in the graphic design industry, Stebeleski was drawn to teaching because he realized he enjoyed talking about and studying design even more than he liked practicing it. It was then that he pursued his master’s degree with the goal of teaching design.

When asked what inspires and excites him most about teaching, Stebeleski says he loves introducing students to the idea that design is everywhere around us.

“I love teaching my students the rules of graphic design in the first year, then watching them skillfully bend — and even break — these rules during the rest of their time at the College.”

“What inspires me personally is graphic design that is done in the service of people, versus commercial or corporate work. I am always interested in the work being done in the area of social justice, work that is helping to amplify the voices of people’s movements or that is demanding an end to an injustice.” Read More →

Students, staff partner with Solidarity Kitchens to provide meals for food banks across Canada

June 3, 2021

La Tablée des Chefs and its partners — among them, culinary students at Red River College — have announced the launch of the second phase of the Solidarity Kitchens initiative, which will produce over 500,000 meals for food banks across Canada, with production primarily located in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

La Tablée des Chefs is a charity whose mission is to fight against food insecurity and educate young people to develop their food autonomy. Its Solidarity Kitchens initiative began at the start of the pandemic, when the organization was approached by suppliers, farmers, restaurants, hotels and large venue sites who wanted to donate food that would otherwise go to waste. La Tablée des Chefs worked with distributors to deliver the food to revived kitchens, where the food would then be cooked and frozen.

Solidarity Kitchens has already made a significant impact, providing meals to Quebec food banks and community organizations across the region, with 2 million meals cooked and delivered from April to December 2020. This year, the goal is to cook and deliver more than 2 million servings to community food distribution networks in Canada by 2021. The start of this national initiative has been made possible with support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which provided $1.3M in funding to launch Solidarity Kitchens.

“It’s been inspiring to see how Solidarity Kitchens has already helped so many vulnerable Canadians during the pandemic,” says Jean-François Archambault, CEO and founder of La Tablée des Chefs. “We want to sincerely thank all of our valued partners for their support in bringing this initiative to life and joining us in the fight against food insecurity.” Read More →

RRC president, board chair release statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School

May 31, 2021

Statement from Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College, and Loren Cisyk, Chair, Red River College Board of Governors:

Last week we learned the remains of 215 children were discovered in a mass grave on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia.

The discovery of the remains of these innocent children is horrifying, heartbreaking and harrowing. It is a solemn reminder of the pain and suffering caused by the dark truths of Canada’s Residential School system — a history that is not so distant and continues to impact Indigenous peoples, causing generational trauma across our country.

In an act of remembrance to honour the lives lost, Red River College has lowered the flags at all of our campuses for nine days, and beginning Tuesday, with the guidance of our Elders, we will light a sacred fire at our Notre Dame Campus that will burn from Tuesday to Friday.

We must continue to acknowledge and discuss the legacy of the Canadian Residential School system, and to honour the victims. As the Red River College community collectively honours and mourns these innocent lives lost, we will continue our work to strive towards reconciliation, as we face these painful truths and strengthen our commitment to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

This news can elicit strong and extremely painful emotions for many. We must allow space for grief and pay attention to our mental health. Staff and students can visit rrc.ca/wellness to access supports.

Those seeking support can contact the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1.866.925.4419, or the 24-hour Crisis Line: 1.866.925.4419.

Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College

Loren Cisyk, Chair, Board of Governors, Red River College

Canadian Animal Blood Bank celebrates 25 years; partnership with RRC thrives

May 25, 2021

From skilled trades to health sciences, Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus (NDC) is home to a wide variety of growing talents. What many might not know is that, in a quiet corner of the campus’s mall level, dogs have been giving blood and saving lives for a quarter century.

The Campus is home to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (CABB), an organization launched in Winnipeg that’s become the national leader in collecting and distributing life-saving canine blood donations to veterinary clinics across the country. This year, CABB celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“We have a really swanky lab here, considering we basically started in a closet,” says Beth Knight, CABB laboratory director and RRC grad, with a laugh.

“It was a storage space and its phenomenal how weve grown. For that, Canadian Animal Blood Bank can never thank Red River College enough for what theyve done for us, because they give us a roof over our head, a phone, computers, a parking lot, access to a space — the gift they’ve given can never be totally appreciated.”

CABB was started in 1996 as the brainchild of Dr. Ken Mould, a Winnipeg-based veterinarian who saw the need in Canada for canine blood banking, instead of requiring vets to travel to the U.S. border for dated, substandard product. Since the organization’s beginning, when they worked with just a few local veterinary clinics in Manitoba, they’ve expanded into several provinces.

“We’ve grown from one or two clinics to where we are now, with multiple sites across Canada that collect. We have Alberta, Ontario, Montreal — and we’ve recently started looking at expanding into the Atlantic provinces,” says Isabel Bright, current CABB board member and Dean of RRC’s School of Indigenous Education.

As the former Chair of Life Sciences (2011-2021), Bright has seen first-hand how the relationship between RRC and CABB has helped foster that growth, and goes a lot deeper than just brick and mortar. The clinic at NDC is a pragmatic learning opportunity for those in the College’s Veterinary Technician program.

“Students have an opportunity to volunteer and to learn about transfusion medicine from the experts at the blood bank,” says Bright. “There are also some conferences that we’ve shared together so students have an opportunity to learn and hear from experts in different parts of the country for the latest in blood banking and transfusion medicine.”

Read More →

Have laptop, will travel: New virtual projects turning RRC students into global citizens

May 3, 2021

The Government of Canada has chosen Red River College to take part in an innovative pilot project aimed at getting more students involved in international exchange opportunities, especially students facing barriers to working and studying abroad.

The Outbound Student Mobility Program, designed and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan), was launched last year to provide more Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and students facing financial need with opportunities to expand their perspectives and apply the global competencies they gain abroad to the careers they pursue back home.

At least, that was the plan.

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new challenge to the mix: accomplish all of the above, but without the need to physically fly students across borders.

Raeanne Hebert, a Business Information Technology (BIT) instructor at RRC, was about to travel to Brazil to help develop an exchange program there when the pandemic struck, halting the program in its tracks. However, development funding from the Outbound Mobility project gave her the opportunity to pivot the geographic exchange into a virtual one.

That initiative is now well underway: for the past three months, students in RRC’s BIT program have been connecting online with computer engineering students from the Federal Institute of Ceará (IFCE) to develop solutions for local entrepreneurs, including IT for a drone that delivers pesticides, a fitness and nutrition app, and an energy metering device for a power monitoring dashboard. They’ve completed three projects together so far.

“Students from both countries connect in RRC’s virtual Project Space and program together online for about four hours a day,” says Hebert. “They’ve been learning a lot from one another.”

Hebert says international exchanges — virtual or physical — are critical to opening students’ eyes to other cultures and ways of life, to breaking down stereotypes, and to strengthening relationships and connections.

They’re also vital to fostering innovation.

“When it comes to the future of IT, innovation is 1,000 per cent important. Exchanges like these help our students learn how other countries do things. They teach us innovative solutions to the problems we all face.” Read More →

New Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy released; learn more at online forum on April 9

March 31, 2021

Red River College is pleased to share that its new Healthy Minds Healthy (HMHC) College Strategy: A Roadmap for Action 2021-2025 has been approved and endorsed by Senior Leadership and the HMHC Steering Committee — who serve as a catalyst for moving this important work forward — and will carry the College forward for the next five years.

Many staff and students across the College have had opportunities to participate in wellness events and initiatives organized by HMHC — from therapy dogs to paint nights to presentations by guest speakers such as Jordin Tootoo (shown above). If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that supporting healthy minds and creating a healthy College community is so much more than the fun and visible events we enjoy on campus.

“The goal of Healthy Minds Healthy College is to promote an environment of support that provides a sense of well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for all students, faculty and staff,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“We know that personal well-being supports academic and career success, and our personal well-being is often affected by the conditions in which we learn and work. Our HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action recognizes the strengths that are currently in place at RRC, while providing a path forward to guide the work that remains.”

While this work was underway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent events have created new and different stressors, bringing mental health to the forefront of many people’s minds. Further, there is a risk of an “echo pandemic” of poor mental health, caused by widespread social and economic disruption.

The HMHC Strategy acknowledges the need to take a community-wide, systemic approach to promoting well-being. We have built in strategies to promote mental health and well-being amongst all community members, identified additional strategies to support those with concerns about coping, and outlined priorities to support individuals experiencing mental illness or crisis.

“Our HMHC Strategy focuses not only on building individual coping skills and encouraging help-seeking behaviour, but takes a systemic approach, aiming to create interpersonal and organizational conditions that foster positive mental health,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.

“The current strengths and future priorities highlighted in the Roadmap for Action do not belong to one College department or division, as we recognize that becoming a health-promoting institution requires organization-wide collaboration. Students, staff and faculty members all contributed to the creation of this Roadmap, including the selection of priorities.”

To learn more about the HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action and RRC’s immediate priorities, please join Sawatzky for: State of Mind: A Community Exchange on Friday, April 9, from 1–2 p.m. This interactive forum will include a short presentation highlighting key aspects of the strategy, followed by discussion.

College partners with province on solutions to COVID-related workforce challenges in education

January 8, 2021

The Manitoba government is taking action to bolster substitute teachers and educational assistants to sustain classroom education and supports through the 2020/21 school year, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

“As the pandemic continues and in-class learning continues we recognize the demand that this is placing on Manitoba’s classrooms,” said Cullen. “Manitoba Education, along with the Manitoba School Boards Association and school divisions, identified the need to address staffing shortages and reached out to Red River College to explore innovative ways to support in-class learning through the 2020/21 school year.”

The government will support two condensed training programs, created by the College in collaboration with the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents in response to the staffing needs identified by school divisions across the province. These programs are designed to provide consistent and quality training to the individuals hired by school divisions to address COVID-19 staffing challenges in Manitoba’s classrooms.

The Basic Classroom Skills for Limited Teaching Permit Holders program will provide short-term, basic training to prepare individuals hired on a temporary basis to successfully teach in a classroom environment. The Educational Assistant Essentials program will provide short-term, entry level training to new EAs who would then work under the direction of teaching staff.

“Our College community continues to draw on our unique experience and expertise — both with content development and highly skilled instruction in these areas — to create customized solutions to meet the urgent human resource challenges this pandemic presents across various sectors and industries,” said RRC President Fred Meier. “We will continue to leverage our skills and expertise to support critical and essential industries across Manitoba, and we are proud to work with our partners in the K-12 system to create solutions to address educational continuity and the pressing staffing needs identified by the Task Force as we navigate the home stretch of this unprecedented school year.”

Both programs draw on existing training provided by the College and will be offered online, both full-time and part time, in French and English, and will be accessible to individuals across Manitoba. Each program will be approximately 30 hours in duration.

School divisions will continue to hire interested, qualified individuals through their standard processes, and will refer candidates to Red River College for training. Intakes will begin January 18, 2021. School division job postings are available on the Manitoba School Boards Association’s website.

“We understand a key part of maintaining in-class learning during the COVID-19 pandemic requires that members of the school community remain home when sick,” said Cullen. “These programs are part of a $44-million commitment to assist, alongside hiring more teachers and staff and ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, teachers and staff.”

Holiday hours in effect on campuses until Monday, Jan. 4

December 24, 2020

Red River College will once again operate on restricted holiday hours beginning at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24.

During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be available during the following hours:

Date Access
Dec. 24 Open until noon
Dec. 24 at noon through Dec. 26 Closed (no access)
Dec. 27–31 Open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jan. 1–3 Closed (no access)
Jan. 4 Open (regular hours resume)

 

During restricted hours, entry to the Notre Dame Campus will be permitted through the East Plaza door of Building C. Entry to the Roblin Centre will be permitted through the North Atrium doors.

Sign-in and sign-out procedures will be in effect and visitors will need to present their College identification cards upon arrival.

Regular hours of operation will resume on Monday, Jan. 4 at 7 a.m.

We wish you a healthy and happy holiday season.

Robots, rapid prototyping and R&D: College’s applied research enterprise ranks among Canada’s best

December 15, 2020

Red River College is one of Canada’s top five research institutions, as announced today by Re$earch Infosource in their annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges.

The list saw RRC, Manitoba’s only polytechnic, jump nine spots from its placement at 14th last year. This is the highest the College has placed since coming in second in 2011.

“Red River College is a world-class institution that makes significant impacts to applied research every day, thanks to industry-driven partnerships and projects,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Our research enterprise has been making a difference for more than 15 years, and this recognition is a testament to the contributions of our hard-working staff, students and faculty.”

Today’s announcement recognizes RRC’s work during the 2018/19 fiscal year, during which the College completed 105 research projects and employed 37 students for work that falls within the College’s four main research areas: advanced design and manufacturing, clean technology, digital technologies, and health, nutrition and social sciences.

Key projects include an ongoing partnership with Prairie Fava, a start-up business based out of Glenboro, Manitoba that promotes fava flour as a protein-rich gluten alternative; supporting Manitoba’s aerospace and manufacturing sector with an expanding fleet of “cobots” or collaborative robots; and helping to launch the “Genome 360” project with Genome Canada and a network of partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in Manitoba.

The news comes on the heels of RRC’s recent silver win at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence, held in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 29.

“Our work in applied research has an immediate impact and is needed now more than ever,” says Meier. “Being recognized on a national and international level not only reinforces our continued success, but recognizes the immense talent and expertise that we have at the College. Our ongoing collaboration with business and industry means that we’re solving problems and creating new and innovative solutions every day, and I invite industry to come work with us to experience first-hand what we have to offer. Read More →

RRC grads, staff members offer shop-local options for the holiday season

December 11, 2020

‘Tis the season to shop local, and this year, Red River College is proud to share a number of ways the community can support our diverse network of alumni creators, entrepreneurs and innovators.

“Red River College’s alumni community has been creative and resilient throughout this pandemic,” says Katrina Sklepowich, RRC’s Alumni Engagement Officer.

“Alumni business owners continue to raise the bar with ingenious solutions to our new living and working conditions. There are many COVID heroes in our community and we want to thank them for all that they do to keep us safe and healthy, and to keep our economy going. One of the best ways we can show our support for the important work they do is to shop local this holiday season.”

With the current provincial Code Red restrictions, many of our favourite local businesses have had to close up shop and move online where possible, and many holiday market opportunities have been cancelled. These businesses have had to adapt to a new way of doing business and identify creative and innovative solutions to sell their products and services in a safe way.

For the last two years, the Sustainability team and Alumni Engagement have hosted a day-long, Made by RRC Winter Market, where talented alumni, staff and student makers sell their wares and promote their business to the College community.

The event is always well-attended by both makers and shoppers looking for the perfect gift for the special people in their lives.

This year, since we can’t gather physically for the event, the College has compiled a list of alumni and makers who participate in the Winter Market each year, so we can continue to support these businesses this holiday season.

“As a College, we  host several farmers’ and makers markets throughout the year to give staff and students opportunities to participate in low- to no-waste shopping options, as these vendors typically use less packaging on their products and with less travel, they carry a lower carbon footprint,” says Sara MacArthur, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability at RRC.

“While the pandemic has been challenging in a number of ways, it has also provided a valuable learning opportunity for us to think more critically about the purchases we make and the impact they have on the environment and the economy. We are proud once again to support our talented local artisans and alumni and encourage the College community to shop local this holiday season.”

Made by RRC Alumni and Artisans:

Are you an RRC alumni member and business owner? If you’d like to connect with us about future opportunities for collaboration, email alumni@rrc.ca.