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Red River College welcomes students back — to virtual learning and delivery

March 24, 2020

This week, Red River College and its students took their first steps into new territory as courses resumed following a week-long study break.

The same social distancing practices public health authorities are asking everyone to follow to combat the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — including cancelling all gatherings — make it impossible for students and instructors to gather in classrooms, workshops and other facilities where learning normally takes place. So, the College has turned to virtual program delivery to get the job done.

“Luckily, three of our greatest strengths as a College community are resilience, agility and innovation,” says Aileen Najduch, Acting Vice-President, Academic. “RRC leadership, faculty and staff came together last week to put those strengths to work in developing alternative forms of program delivery.”

Each program is different, and so is each approach to virtual program delivery. Some instructors are using online meeting platforms such as WebEx and Microsoft Teams to facilitate virtual classes and chats. Others are using Skype, Zoom, and YouTube group forums to connect and discuss course topics. Still others are sharing narrated PowerPoint presentations with students.

“I’ve already heard from an instructor who says the WebEx class they held for one of their Marketing courses this morning had full participation,” says Kirk Johnson, Dean, Business and Applied Arts, and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Many of RRC’s virtual program delivery tools were already in use before the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re simply being deployed more extensively now, says Johnson. For example, Business Administration students are using a networking app called Riipen to connect with real-world clients on projects.

As well, all RRC students have free access to LinkedIn Learning, an enormous database of online courses — a virtual asset Johnson says instructors will rely on more heavily in the months ahead. Although the College cancelled all practicums to protect the safety of its students, some programs are developing virtual practicum activities and experiences, including case studies with industry partners. 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 →

Red River College implements Study Week for students in response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020

In order to reduce the number of people on campus and help protect students, faculty and staff, Red River College is implementing a Study Week for students, effective end of the day today and extending through all of next week.

This Study Week for students will allow the College to undertake several critical functions:

  • Reduce the overall number of people on campus, in accordance with public health recommendations to increase social distancing and reduce both the size and frequency of crowds and gatherings.
  • Review College programs and services, and plan for alternative delivery models for when classes resume, including increasing online learning. Not all programs can be fully delivered online, but increasing online or alternative methods of delivery where possible will help RRC manage the return to classes.
  • Determine which staff can work remotely without impacting the College’s core operations.
  • Perform a deep clean of campus facilities – an operation that is scheduled for next week and will be easier to conduct with fewer people on site.

“One of the key recommendations from public health is to reduce the number of people at gatherings — and this includes our campuses,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “Study Week for students will allow us to immediately reduce our numbers and allow staff and faculty to focus on developing plans for alternative delivery when classes resume.

“We recognize that many programs cannot be delivered remotely. However, the goal is about limiting and reducing personal contact, so there are changes we can make that will reduce this contact overall while ensuring students are able to complete their studies.”

During Study Week, the campus will be closed to students and the public. Only those visitors doing approved business with the College (such as contractors and vendors) will have access. Senior Leadership and RRC’s Incident Management Team will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with public health authorities and may extend Study Week if that is deemed necessary. Read More →

College takes measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Red River College is working closely with public health authorities and is focused on providing timely information, reassurance and support to our staff, faculty and students as we continue to take necessary measures to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at all of our campuses and to our broader community.

Our campuses are currently open and our classes, labs and exams have not been cancelled — however, our Senior Leadership Team is working with academic program areas to determine alternative program delivery approaches and models that could be implemented in order to further reduce the numbers of students, faculty and staff on site.

Additionally, RRC has suspended all international and domestic travel outside of Manitoba, cancelled all College events and large gatherings, and restricted the number of meetings to only those that are essential to core operations.

RRC’s Incident Management Team continues to monitor the situation closely in concert with our response plans, and in conversation with our colleagues at other post-secondary institutions across the province, and with advice and direction from our provincial and federal public health authorities.

As news and information regarding COVID-19 continues to unfold, the College will continue to ensure that staff, faculty and students are informed and that we continue to take necessary action to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Daily updates are available at www.rrc.ca/coronavirus

RRC recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers

March 9, 2020

Canada's Best Diversity Employers logoRed River College is proud to have been named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2020.

The College joins 74 other Canadian organizations recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for leadership in creating inclusive workplaces for employees from five diverse groups: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples. Today’s award marks the fifth year RRC has been recognized with this distinction.

“This award is an honour because equity and inclusion are at the heart of our workplace culture,” says Melanie Gudmundson, RRC’s Chief Human Resource Officer.

“Red River College is home to thousands of staff and instructors from all backgrounds and virtually every corner of the globe. Each brings unique perspectives, experiences and connections to our classrooms and work spaces. That diversity is one of our greatest strengths — and it’s why we work so hard to provide a welcoming, safe and equitable work environment for all members of our Red River College family.”

Over the past year, RRC advanced a number of programs and initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusivity at the College, including a Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that will serve as a roadmap to fostering a safe campus environment by ensuring everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner. The College hired Priyanji Mediwake, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, to execute this strategy.

To kick off this initiative, a College-wide Diversity Matters poster and communications campaign promoted diversity as one of RRC’s greatest strengths. The campaigns invited staff and students to self-identify as belonging to one or more designated groups: women, racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, persons with a disability, and people of all gender identities. Read More →

Where’s Watson? RRC’s interim President launches behind-the-scenes video series

February 25, 2020

Dr. Christine Watson, Red River CollegeEver wondered what a typical day looks like for Red River College’s President? Now you can find out.

Armed with an iPhone and a plan, Dr. Christine Watson — RRC’s interim President and CEO — has launched a new video series where she’ll share a behind-the-scenes look at what she’s up to on campus.

The “Where’s Watson?” series will be recorded entirely by phone, so it’ll be as real and raw as it gets.

What can you expect to see? Think tours with community leaders and industry partners, major events happening all over the College, celebrations with staff, faculty and students, and what Watson is up to in the community (and maybe even a sneak peek underground a campus or two).

We’re excited to provide you with an inside look and a new way to engage with Watson as she documents the work of an interim President. You can connect with her directly on LinkedIn to watch her videos, which will also be shared on other platforms for those who don’t have a LinkedIn account.

Check out the first instalment in the series, taken right before Watson hosted her first Breakfast with the President. These breakfasts happen monthly and give employees from all areas of the College an opportunity to chat with the President one-on-one, share what’s going on in their worlds, and bring new ideas to the table.

Design for mural celebrating Indigenous traditions unveiled

February 12, 2020

A canvas of colour representing traditional Indigenous teachings and local history was unveiled today at Red River College.

The painting, created by Anishinabee artist Jackie Traverse, will be one of the main design features of the College’s new 100,000 square-foot Innovation Centre, currently under construction on Elgin Avenue in the Exchange District.

The piece will span approximately 1,000 square-feet across the inside and outside of the building’s fourth floor ceiling, and will be visible from blocks away.

“I’ve been wanting to tell that story about Indigenous people having a right to be in the downtown area for so many years,” says Traverse (shown above, third from left). “If you just wait long enough, your visions, and your beliefs in your heart will find a way to come to fruition. And I’m thankful Red River College picked me to do this.”

Traverse is a multi-disciplined Anishinaabe artist who works predominantly with paint on canvas. She was born in Winnipeg and knew she wanted to be an artist from the time she was four years old. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts program, Traverse is known across Canada for her powerful art, which speaks to the realities of being an Indigenous person.

The piece is inspired by The Forks — where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. It will incorporate the 13 moons (which could be interpreted as rocks to represent the Grandfathers), people, bear paws, and the Oodena Celebration Circle. She hopes that each person who views the painting can find their own interpretation or meaning.

“I think it’s really important to have it in downtown Winnipeg,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know the history and don’t understand why there are so many Indigenous people in the Portage Avenue and downtown area. Our people have had a history with this place for thousands of years. It’s in our blood memory and our DNA. We’re drawn to the place of our ancestors and the footsteps they left behind.” Read More →

College announces new partnership with North Forge Technology

February 6, 2020

Red River College, North Forge Technology Exchange and North Forge East are joining forces to help more entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life.

The three organizations announced the partnership today at RRC’s ACE Project Space in the Exchange District; they intend to work together to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial activity, provide real project-based learning opportunities for students, and encourage investment and growth in start-up companies in Manitoba.

“We’re very excited to officially grow our partnership with North Forge,” says Haider Al-Saidi (above, second from right), chair of Applied Computer Education at Red River College. “This will allow us to expand the services we provide to our entrepreneurs-in-residence and provide our students with additional resources and technology to enhance their skills.”

RRC will provide office space, access to its UX labs, and other technological resources, while North Forge will provide access to its Fabrication lab. Each party will also engage in cross-promotion of events, services and news.

The goal of the partnership, made official by the signing of an exchange of services agreement, is to create an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that benefits Manitoba entrepreneurs and enterprises of all sizes — one that includes RRC students and North Forge’s office locations in Winnipeg, Pinawa and The Pas.

“Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are hard-working, determined and have brilliant ideas, but they may need additional help in developing their concepts into products,” says Teresa Dukes (above, at right), President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We believe this partnership with Red River College will provide those businesses with the resources, technology and knowledge needed to grow their products, reach their sales and market goals, and add value to Manitoba’s economy.” Read More →

Jordin Tootoo shares story of hope, hockey and mental health at RRC

February 6, 2020

“I owe my life to this game.”

That’s how Jordin Tootoo summed up his 15-year NHL hockey career when he retired in 2018. Thanks to teammates who helped him grieve the loss of a brother to suicide, Tootoo went on to thrive on the ice for the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks.

On Wednesday, he shared the story of his journey with Red River College students, instructors and staff.

Tootoo’s visit is part of RRC’s college-wide mental health strategy, Healthy Minds Healthy College, which was established five years ago to foster mental health and enhance mental health literacy at the College.

Jordin Tootoo talks to RRC studentThe need for more mental health resources is urgent, says Tootoo:

“It’s part of Canada that a lot of people struggle with mental health and addiction, suicide. These issues are a national epidemic.”

Of Inuit and Ukrainian descent, Tootoo is the NHL’s first Inuk player. As an Indigenous athletic leader, he says he has long understood his responsibility as a role model. He spoke openly and honestly to an audience of more than 300 RRC students and staff about the growing need for mental health resources, and the importance of fighting taboos around discussing mental illness.

Following his retirement from hockey, Tootoo devoted his time to charity and community outreach, especially in northern communities. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Nunavut promoting healthy living and encouraging conversations about difficult topics such as addiction and suicide. Read More →

Manufacturing, Nursing grads earn Lieutenant Governor’s Medals

February 4, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant Governor’s Medals, who were honoured at our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremony on Monday., Feb. 3.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to graduating students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Jessica Burzminski with her Lieutenant Governor's Medal Jessica Burzminski – Manufacturing CAD

Jessica believes in encouraging women to pursue education and careers in trades. She is not only a two-time Gold Medal recipient — having previously excelled in the College’s Manufacturing Technician program — she’s also a two-time silver medalist at Skills Manitoba’s CNC machining competition. She is currently working as a CNC programmer at Price Industries.

During her studies, Jessica tutored classmates in computer numerical control theory. Outside of school, she volunteers in junior dog handling and cheerleading, and for the Blue Bomber Cheer and Dance Team, where she provides events and marketing supporting.

Her instructors praise her drive, creativity, leadership and ability to connect with people of all ages. According to one of her volunteer supervisors, she sets an example for others through her commitment to excellence.

Janice Hyde (vice-chair, RRC Board of Governors) presents Michelle Queue with her Lieutenant Governor's MedalMichelle Queau – Bachelor of Nursing

Michelle Queau has demonstrated a true commitment to helping others become their best selves. When she returned to school following an 11-year career in academic research, she balanced studies and volunteer work with parenting a young son. She received the Nursing Legacy Award in 2017 and the peer-nominated Nursing Leadership Award in 2019.

In addition to mentoring and tutoring her peers, Michelle has volunteered countless hours for organizations where she can bring new ideas about nursing curriculum and practice to the table. According to one of her referees, “When facing a challenge, Michelle perseveres. When given a choice, she always chooses kindness.”

She works as a registered nurse in cardiac sciences at St. Boniface Hospital, and as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.