Portage Campus recognized as chimney swift champion

May 30, 2018

Red River College’s Portage Campus has a vacancy for some feathered friends.

For its efforts in restoring an old chimney to create a hospitable habitat for birds, RRC has been presented with the Swift Champion award from the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI). Over the summer of 2017, two swifts were spotted using the chimney a number of times, indicating the restoration was a success.

“We’re honoured to accept the Swift Champion award and to continue our role in protecting the chimney swifts,” says Guy Moffat, Portage Campus Manager. “It’s been amazing to see the work our facilities team has put in to restoring the chimney, and to be able to witness the swifts flying in and out of their summer home. Part of RRC’s Strategic Plan includes fostering sustainable growth – not just for the College, but for the entire province. This is just one way we contribute.”

The chimney swift is a small brown bird, often described as a “cigar with wings,” that enjoys roosting and breeding in brick chimneys. The species’ population has declined significantly in Canada since the 1970s and is now listed on both the provincial and federal Species at Risk registries.

When a volunteer from MCSI noticed upgrades being made to the Portage Campus chimney in 2016, they let the College know it had been identified as a designated chimney swift habitat.

That awareness resulted in changes to the original repair plans, which would have closed off the chimney with a metal cap. Now the top of the brick chimney remains intact, with an opening that allows swifts to enter and roost. The College’s efforts also ensure toxic gases won’t collect in the nesting area. Read More →

Open door policy: Health Information Management instructor nabs Teaching Award of Excellence

May 29, 2018

She’s going out on a high note.

When Eileen Oleski retires next year, she can rest assured she’s had a positive impact on her students. The coordinator of Red River College’s Health Information Management program is the recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence.

Each spring, the RRCSA recognizes an instructor for their outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students. In the nomination submission that led to this year’s honour, Oleski’s students praise her knowledge of subject material, her fun and flexible style of teaching and her eagerness to go the extra mile.

“Eileen always made sure her door was open to students,” one student wrote. “She often reminded [us] that if we ever needed extra help or guidance, she would always be there to make sure we succeed. I personally have taken her up on this offer and am glad I did. Eileen gave me the boost of confidence I needed.”

Oleski, who has taught at RRC since 2008, says her enthusiasm for the program comes directly from her students.

“They say I inspire them, well, they really inspire me,” she says. “You’re in the classroom, it’s all about them and their future. I always say, ‘I just set the foundation.’ The rest is theirs to build and take to where they want to go. The possibilities are there.”

A certified HIM professional through the Canadian Health Information Management Association, she earned her B.A. in Allied Health Sciences from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, worked in HIM roles at Seven Oaks General Hospital from 1981 to 2003, and was a health record consultant for the Manitoba government before arriving at RRC.

“I still do a lot of networking with a lot of my colleagues from my past, ensuring that the industry standards are being adhered to,” Oleski says. “We’re trying to teach the students what’s currently out there, and with technology changing, we’re constantly changing here, as well.” Read More →

Province to provide free access to SECD resources for early years practitioners and students

May 18, 2018

The province will cover licensing fees to provide students and professionals across Manitoba with free access to the Science of Early Child Development (SECD), a suite of online learning resources developed by Red River College.

SECD includes regularly updated living textbooks and modules that offer current research and links to practice through a convenient online portal, accessible via computer, tablet and smartphone.

“We are making a first-of-its-kind investment in the early years fields in Manitoba to increase professional development opportunities, encourage independent study, strengthen the sectors that work with children and families, and improve the quality of services for Manitoba families,” says Families Minister Scott Fielding.

“Living textbooks are a cost-effective way to continually expand knowledge and provide educational opportunities to everyone involved in the sector.”

The province will provide $365,000 to RRC through the Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government, opening up province-wide access for two living textbooks and three additional modules.

This will eliminate the license fee currently required to register, which will benefit hundreds of students and teaching staff, as well as early learning and child-care professionals, family child-care providers, teachers, public health staff, community organizations and any Manitobans interested in the impact of early experience on lifelong health and well-being. RRC will oversee the initiative and report to government on annual usage. Read More →

Challenge accepted: Academic coordinator strives for personal bests — in the classroom and beyond

May 7, 2018

Michael Whalen, Red River College

Be it academic or athletic, Michael Whalen is always up for a challenge.

Whalen is the academic coordinator of the Related Math and Science department, teaching into the various trades at Red River College. He’s also an avid cyclist and cross-country skier, going to great lengths to put himself to the test.

The 57-year-old says sport has had an influence on his scholastic style.

“I expect that everyone is in class to do well and work together, and has that common goal of performing to their best,” he explains.

“One of my mottoes is that ‘Every student deserves to be challenged.’ Whether it’s the weakest in the class who is challenged just to meet the standard, or someone who is more gifted and could easily meet the standard. I try to push them too, by giving them more advanced problems.”

Originally from Montreal, Whalen started teaching at RRC in 1996, after earning a B.P.E. in Physical Education from the University of New Brunswick and a M.Sc. in Biomechanics from the University of Manitoba.

For about a decade, he taught a health and wellness course to students in the College’s Community Services programs, while also running Recreation Services programs. Facing a reduced role due to restructuring of the Community Services programs, Whalen applied for an instructor position in the Related Math and Science department, and landed it. Read More →

Indigenous learners honoured at annual graduation pow wow

May 3, 2018

Graduation Pow Wow, 2017Staff and students at Red River College will be joined by hundreds of community members, distinguished guests, dancers and drummers tomorrow, at the annual Graduation Pow Wow celebrating the success of our Indigenous learners.

Hosted by RRC’s School of Indigenous Education, this year’s event honours more than 60 graduates from a range of College programs. It gets underway at 10am with a pipe ceremony in Room F20 (Notre Dame Campus), followed by the grand entry in the North Gym at noon, the ceremony honouring grads at 1pm, and a traditional feast at 5pm.

In addition to celebrating student success, the pow wow festivities reflect the College’s continued commitment to making education more accessible for Indigenous learners.

The College aspires to deliver excellence in Indigenous achievement through partnerships and networks, and by incorporating Indigenous knowledge, philosophies, perspectives and content into innovative and relevant programming.

“Supporting Indigenous student success by enhancing the College environment is our number one priority at Red River College, and as we continue to develop and provide more relevant programming for our Indigenous students, this annual event will continue to grow and expand,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“We look forward to continuing a lifelong relationship with each of our students and graduates.

Graphic Design program marks 50th anniversary with student showcase and pop-up shop

May 2, 2018

Design Show logoRed River College’s Graphic Design program celebrates its 50thanniversary in style this week, with a showcase and pop-up shop featuring work created by students.

The ‘Best Ever’ Design Show — comprised of work by RRC’s Graphic Design, Advanced Graphic Design, Digital Media Design and 3D Computer Graphics students — takes place Wednesday and Thursday, May 2 and 3, at the Roblin Centre downtown.

The event also doubles as an anniversary for the Graphic Design program, which first launched 50 years ago in the fall of 1968. Originally called Advertising Art — with a focus on design for print — the program has evolved to incorporate digital design as a core component, preparing students for work in creative fields such as illustration, advertising, web design and app development.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, members of the public are invited to view or purchase students’ work in the Roblin Centre Atrium. The anniversary concludes Thursday with an industry night, where current students can network with RRC alumni and industry guests.

RRC honoured by CiCan for excellence in applied research and innovation

May 1, 2018

CiCan Awards of Excellence 2018Red River College picked up a prestigious award this week recognizing its achievements in the field of applied research and innovation.

The College won gold in the category of Applied Research and Innovation Excellence at the annual Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) Awards of Excellence, handed out in Victoria, B.C., on Mon., April 30.

The awards recognize best practices from institutions across the country, as well as individual leadership and achievements.

In RRC’s case, the honour caps off a marquee year of expansion that saw more than $200 million in infrastructure funding going towards 111,000 square feet of new facilities.

The College has also engaged in 543 applied partnerships with SMEs, large companies, and community organizations from 012 to 2017, resulting in the same number of new or improved products, processes, services and insights. Those initiatives are coordinated by the College’s Research Partnerships & Innovation office, which last year generated more research revenue than any other college in Western Canada.

“It is because of dedicated people working hard every day to improve educational programs and campus life, that colleges and institutes are able to offer such remarkable student experiences and training opportunities,” says CiCan President Denise Amyot.

“We are thrilled to honour these leaders and innovators who make the entire system stronger, more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of students, as well as employers.”

A victory for SpaRRCky: Student-built battery-electric car crosses the finish line

April 27, 2018

RRC Shell Eco-marathon 2018After two and a half years of hard work, a team of Mechanical Engineering Technology students have landed Red River College on the Shell Eco-marathon’s leaderboard for the first time.

The team placed 14th in the battery-electric category at the Sonoma, California event, where they were one of only 55 teams (out of the 100 teams competing) who passed inspection and made successful runs on the track.

“I feel very proud of the team. It’s been a huge commitment and it was amazing to watch SpaRRCky (the College’s battery-electric vehicle) every time it lapped around us on the track,” says Bin Yang, who was the RRC team’s manager until he graduated last December.

Behind the wheel of the car was RRC Automotive Technician student Daren Nuevo, whose teammates described her as “fearless” in the driver’s seat.

Daren Nuevo, 2018“I was more eager to drive the car than I was nervous, and once I was on the road it was more exciting than I imagined,” Nuevo says about the experience. “Time after time the team worked extremely hard, fast and efficiently to meet the inspection requirements, and throughout all the hiccups that came about.”

Those hiccups — including a broken motor, a blown fuse and a loose wheel — were seen by the team as opportunities to make quick repairs on the fly. Using the skills they learned while designing and building SpaRRCky at the College, they were able to stay calm and work together in the moment.

“A lot of the teams end up working together to help each other out,” says Yang, who now works at RRC as a research assistant. “We lent out tools and nuts and bolts to a few teams and were lucky to borrow a few things from other teams. Especially the team from Universidad de La Sabana (in Colombia) who were able to lend us a spare motor.”

To get on the leaderboard, the team had to complete seven laps in under 26 minutes.

“Daren was just flying by,” says Yang. “After we made the fixes we just wanted to make sure we completed a successful run and then worry about strategy later, so she was lapping every car.” Read More →

College announces new programs, positions to advance Indigenous education in Manitoba

April 26, 2018

RRC Indigenous EducationRed River College has announced new and enhanced programs — and more supports for Indigenous learners than ever before — as part of its strategic plan to grow its student population and chart a bold, new path forward for Indigenous Education.

“Red River College is proud to be a key signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, and we are fully committed to providing the student-centred and culturally relevant supports necessary to help aspiring students successfully transition from community to classroom to career,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“Over the last year, we have been working to create better access to programs, new training opportunities, and more pathways to post-secondary education for our Indigenous learners. We have taken important steps forward as a College community to grow and provide our students with the wrap-around supports and services they need to succeed.”

This fall, the College will launch five new programs for Indigenous learners:

  • ACCESS Health Pathway Program
  • ACCESS Engineering Pathway Program
  • Social Enterprise Diploma Program
  • Indigenous Languages Certificate Program
  • Indigenous Culinary Skills Certificate Program

ACCESS programs provide learners with preparatory, exploratory and transitional experience, while the remaining three programs aim to grow Indigenous representation within their respective sectors. The culinary program, for example, will provide courses aimed at developing fundamental culinary and business skills, and will include a cultural component and land-based curriculum. The social enterprise program will focus on the principles of economic reconciliation and how it relates to the Canadian social economy. It will help students address and solve challenges in urban or rural communities. Read More →

Family affair: Construction Management instructor inherits father’s affinity for engineering

April 23, 2018

Ellowyn Nadeau, Red River CollegeLike father, like daughter.

Ellowyn Nadeau, an instructor of Red River College’s Construction Management degree program, has engineering in her blood. Her dad, the late Dr. Alexander Thornton-Trump, was a long-time professor in the mechanical engineering department at University of Manitoba.

“My guidance counsellor in high school said ‘Oh, you’re good at math and science. You have to go into engineering.’ So, you know, 17, 18 years old, go with the flow, right?” Nadeau says with a laugh.

“I ended up taking civil engineering versus mechanical because I didn’t want to be taught by my dad. That’s just not right!”

Despite her initial aversion, Nadeau remains well-versed in the family vocation.

After obtaining a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from U of M in 1994, she started her professional engineering career a year later at Wardrop Engineering. Since then, she’s gained a wealth of experience in engineering and construction, having held such titles as preventative maintenance inspector at Winnipeg School Division, assistant manager of purchasing services at U of M, and project director at Stuart Olson.

Nadeau also earned her Supply Chain Management Professional designation in 2010.

“I really like being able to pass on my industry knowledge to the students, giving them a very practical look at what the expectations will be of them once they start working full-time,” says Nadeau, who began teaching at RRC in October 2015.

“I’m giving them tricks of the trade in a lot of cases. I tell them, ‘You know what? I’m passing on information to you that took me five to seven years in the industry to figure out. So you guys are going to get a leg up.’

“I just love that (my students) seem to have a passion for the same industry that I do.” Read More →