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More supports needed for RRC students impacted by COVID-19

April 21, 2020

Red River College is appealing to its donor community, alumni and partners to help provide additional funding for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

The RRC COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund, launched April 9 and nearing $140,000 in donations, has received an overwhelming number of applicants and can’t meet the needs of all those who have applied.

“Since opening up this fund to our students last week, we’ve seen numerous applications come in showcasing how dire the need is to support our students through this pandemic,” says Dr. Christine Watson, the College’s interim President and CEO.

“The recent support we’ve received from the RRC Students’ Association and from our staff and donors will allow us to transfer vital funds to the deserving many who need our help.”

The Students’ Association (RRCSA) pitched in $20,000 to help fellow students struggling with financial hardships.

“Supporting our students is our highest priority and this a tangible way we can do that,” says Josh Roopchand, Students’ Association president (shown above, second from left, with other members of the RRCSA executive last November). “We are pleased to join this effort and thank all the partners for responding so quickly to students in need.”​

The donation is just one example of the RRCSA’s commitment to supporting students. A long-time partner of the College, the groups funds a number of bursaries and awards. In recent years, they also contributed $200,000 to the student-run coffee shop at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, as well as $50,000 to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at the College’s Exchange District Campus. Read More →

CreComm grad goes viral with Lego makeover for Prime Minister’s speech

April 15, 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, ‘going viral’ has some iffy connotations. But for Red River College grad Tyler Walsh, the digital equivalent has proven a pretty cool experience.

On March 22, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadian children in a customized press briefing, Walsh and his two sons decided to do something fun: refresh the PM’s speech with Lego.

The result? A stop-motion video that resonated with people around the world and garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media.

“The reaction from parents and educators has been the best part of this,” says Walsh. “Having them tell me that it’s opened up new doors for them to talk with kids about this unprecedented time is heartening.”

A journalism major while enrolled in RRC’s Creative Communications program, Walsh’s work experience at Global News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press gave him the freedom to explore fresh approaches to storytelling, including two previous stop-motion Lego projects.

“Throughout my entire career, I’ve always sought out ways to tell a story differently — to take a look at what’s been done and try to build on that or find a new way to put the information out there,” says Walsh.

“I got to ‘play’ with technology and figure out ways push our stories further.” Read More →

College launches emergency support fund to help students impacted by COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Red River College is launching a COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund to help students who require extra financial assistance as a result of the global pandemic.

The new fund has been kickstarted by donations from the Princess Auto Foundation, Powerland Computers and the Women in Trades Fund. It is available to students who require support for costs such as food, housing and internet access for those who do not have a connection, as well as other financial hardships as a result of COVID-19.

“One of the many domino effects of COVID-19 has been students losing part-time jobs or dealing with unexpected financial stress due to the ever-changing circumstances,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim President and CEO of RRC. “We want to do everything possible to support our students so they can complete their studies and lessen their worries about food or rent.”

The Princess Auto Foundation, which has a long history of supporting RRC students, donated $50,000 to the fund.

“We know that support for students goes a long way in ensuring success,” says Ken Larson, President and CEO of Princess Auto Ltd. “Like many Manitoba companies, we rely on RRC grads to help drive our workforce. We will continue to need RRC grads when the economic turmoil recedes and our province begins the important work of rebuilding our economy.”

The sentiments were echoed by leaders at Powerland Computers, which contributed $10,000.

“We’re fortunate to be in a situation where we can offer support to students who may be struggling during this unprecedented time,” says Ashley Penner, CEO of Powerland Computers. “Red River College is a strong partner, and an important contributor to Manitoba’s IT and technology sectors. We are proud to be able to help in any way we can.” Read More →

Working Draft magazine provides CreComm students with professional publishing experience

April 7, 2020

When second-year Creative Communications students were deciding on topics for a project they’d spend the next six to seven months working on, Brianne Jamieson pitched the idea of telling her uncle’s story. Her uncle, Tyler Sneesby — better known as DJ Hunnicutt (shown above) — was quickly losing his vision.

Each of the 54 second-year students in the program were required to write a feature-length story for Working Draft, a new online magazine. The students worked with instructors Emily Cain and Karen Press on everything from determining the magazine’s name, writing the About section, and choosing a theme for the year — in this case, ‘Truth.’

“Truth can be taken so many ways,” says Jamieson. “A lot of people know my uncle, or know of him. Last April, when he started losing his right eyesight (after already losing his left eyesight), he wasn’t really telling anyone. He would run into people out in public, but he couldn’t see them to say hi.”

Jaimeson’s uncle had a huge story to tell, but didn’t really know how to tell it.

The students pitched their feature ideas to a panel of instructors in November, and — if approved — were able to create an outline and begin researching and writing. For the months that followed, the students were put into small groups to workshop and edit each other’s stories. They were also assigned to partners in another class section who would give their story a thorough proofread.

The result is a professional, feature-length story with multimedia components — including audio recordings, video and photography — that can be used as portfolio pieces.

“The idea for this came from a recent program renewal,” says Emily Cain, Writer’s Craft instructor for CreComm. “We were hearing from industry that storytelling is one of the qualities they’re looking for, and we decided to add in more writing courses. CreComm used to have a magazine project in first year, but this allowed us to take it to the next step and make it professional.” Read More →

College to continue alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes remain suspended until fall

April 3, 2020

Red River College will continue providing alternative delivery models for programs and services for the upcoming spring and summer terms, which means there will be no on-campus classes or public events until September.

Work integrated learning (practicums, clinical, work experience) will continue to be suspended except for those instances that can be completed using online or alternative approaches. Co-op/industry placements will continue at the discretion of the workplace employer.

Today’s announcement extends the timeframe that students, faculty and staff are expected to work off-campus in order to meet increasingly stringent public health directives aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “With public health advice changing regularly, we felt that it was important to make a decision that allows for planning certainty throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

Watson lauded the hard work, commitment and creativity of faculty and staff in making the transition to alternative delivery over the past few weeks.

“We have seen our faculty and staff re-imagine their work via technology in a way — and at a pace — that we never thought possible. I also know that we have students who are struggling to adapt to this new reality. We are thankful for all of those who are working together to find a way through this unprecedented situation.

“We would love to be able to re-open our doors and go back to the hustle and bustle of our vibrant campuses. But that simply isn’t an option. We also know that when we begin to rebuild our economy, Manitoba will need Red River College — students will need training to get jobs and launch their careers, and industry will depend upon our grads to fill their workforce needs. Read More →

Red River College supports community fight against COVID-19

March 25, 2020

In the midst of a rapid shift to alternative program and service delivery this week, Red River College is dedicating expertise and resources to support the community-wide public health effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

“We get through times like these by contributing everything we can to the common cause,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Interim President and CEO. “Like all Manitobans, our faculty, staff and students are resilient, compassionate and innovative. There’s a tremendous need out there for everything we have to offer, from materials and equipment to knowledge, resourcefulness and expertise.”

This week, 14 students in the College’s Health Information Management program responded to a call for support from Manitoba Health. The students are now employed by the department of epidemiology and surveillance, collecting data on COVID-19 cases, which will help with tracking efforts in our province.

The work the students are doing will be critical for program planning and supporting public health during challenging times, says instructor Amanda Burridge, noting the employment opportunity will count as credit towards the practicum component of their program.

“Health Information Management professionals are the people who ensure that Canadians’ health information remains accurate, accessible and secure, which is vital during an outbreak,” she explains. “Our students will be a pivotal part of the team, ensuring that the most accurate information is available when it’s needed.”

The students will support the WRHA until the beginning of May, unless the status of the pandemic extends the need for their services. Read More →

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