RRC students launch fundraising efforts for dental mission to Guatemala

May 5, 2017

Dental Assisting students from Red River College’s Winkler and Winnipeg campuses are again gearing up for a dental and medical mission to Guatemala, where they’ll provide free clinical care for residents of remote villages.

As part of their trip to the region, six RRC students — in partnership with Dr. John Baird, North Dakota State Medical Officer — will provide free dental care to up to 1,700 Guatemalans — many of them children and residents displaced from their homes by an earthquake.

“Past team members have personally gained a lot from their experiences, and feel fortunate to have worked with the people they encountered,” says Dental Assisting instructor Athena Wilford. “In spite of poverty and meagre living conditions, the people we met were very gracious.”

This year’s team will spend time working with children at the Shadow of His Wings orphanage in Monjas, as well as an encampment near San Marcos, where hundreds of residents affected by the earthquake are still living in tents. They’ll also provide care to up to 100 residents of a women’s prison in Xela.

The trip takes place July 9 to 20; students have already begun fundraising efforts to offset their travel costs.

Last year, graduates travelled to six different sites, where they worked alongside medical and pharmaceutical teams from Minnesota and North Dakota.

This year’s team will be comprised of Dental Assisting students Madison Smith, Carissa Lariviere, Lauren Martin, Jessica Friesen, Christopher Hiebert and Robyn Knight.

To contribute to this year’s fundraising efforts, please contact Wilford at cawilford@rrc.ca or 204.632.2589.

Business instructor’s social innovation work leads to prestigious CICan recognition

May 2, 2017

Tatjana Brkic, CICan Awards of Excellence 2017A Red River College instructor’s commitment to classroom innovation has earned her a prestigious honour from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Tatjana Brkic (shown above, second from left), an instructor for RRC’s Business programs, received a silver CICan Award of Excellence last night in the category of Leadership Excellence for Faculty. Held in Ottawa, the CICan ceremony recognizes best practices from post-secondary institutions across the country.

“The recipients of our awards of excellence embody the best that colleges and institutes have to offer in a variety of sectors and disciplines,” says CiCan President Denis Amyot. “They are examples of innovation and dedication that make our institutions proud and contribute to the vibrant and welcoming culture found on campuses across Canada.”

In a news release showcasing all 24 recipients, CICan described Brkic as “a leading force in the design of innovative, experience-based learning methods, [who draws] on applied research, business research and social innovation, as well as curriculum development.”

In recent years, Brkic has helped raise the profile of RRC’s Business Administration and International Business programs, through an annual showcase of social innovation-related research work conducted in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

She’ll be sharing details of the ongoing initiative — and other ideas for implementing social innovation in business — at this year’s TEDxWinnipeg conference, taking place Tue., June 6, at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

College awarded nearly $2 million in funding for industry and university partnerships

May 2, 2017

Red River College has received nearly $2 million in federal funding for applied research in aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology, including a milestone for RRC in the form of its first College-University partnership grant.

“This is great news not only for the College but for aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “We are placing a strong emphasis on collaboration, bridging a critical gap between colleges, industry and universities by working directly with the University of Manitoba.”

Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced the grants during an industry breakfast at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Conference in Ottawa.

“I’m so pleased that the government of Canada was involved in such a valuable funding opportunity,” says Duncan. “Uniting Red River College with these sustainable industries will allow for brilliant minds to work towards a bright future for Canada; complete with a vibrant middle class, quality jobs and an innovative economy.”

Both grants were awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The first, worth $113,000, is for a partnership with the University of Manitoba to develop a cost-effective thermally broken concrete balcony. This marks the first time RRC has received one of NSERC’s College-University Idea to Innovation Grants, signalling an ongoing commitment to collaborate with other post-secondary institutions. Read More →

College to add new $95-million Innovation Centre to Exchange District Campus

April 27, 2017

RRC Innovation Centre

Red River College will help create jobs, expand research and foster innovation downtown, having announced plans for the construction of a new $95-million Innovation Centre in the heart of Winnipeg Exchange’s District.

The College will use government and private-sector funding to develop the new facility, the first of its kind in Western Canada. The new Innovation Centre will attract an additional 1,200 students to the Exchange, stimulating economic development and further growth of the historic district.

The Centre will bring together students, instructors, researchers, industry and community members to work on commercialization projects for startups and SMEs. It will also enable social enterprise and Indigenous entrepreneurship, and help ensure students are job-ready and able to thrive in the economy.

“This is a major step forward for the future of Red River College,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown, below). “It represents a modernization and a new approach to teaching and partnerships while still doing what RRC does best — providing job-ready grads to industry and helping to drive economic growth.”

“This historic investment … is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” says Jim Carr, federal Minister of Natural Resources. “That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and startup companies into global successes.” Read More →

Trades and technology students clean up at annual Skills Manitoba championships

April 26, 2017

Congratulations to the 52 Red River College students who scored medals in this month’s Skills Manitoba provincial competition.

Hosted by Skills Canada Manitoba on April 13, the Olympic-style competition drew more than 500 high school and post-secondary students to RRC’s Notre Dame Campus for an impressive display of hands-on expertise, talent and determination.

The event also showcased the diversity of skilled trades and technology in Manitoba, as well as the many promising futures to be found in these fields.

Students competed in over 40 different categories; the gold medal winners from each will make up Team Manitoba, and will go on to compete at this year’s Skills Canada National Competition, taking place May 31 to June 3 at the RBC Convention Centre.

A full list of RRC’s winners is below: Read More →

College named one of Canada’s greenest employers for seventh year

April 21, 2017

Rooftop beekeeping at RRC

From urban beekeeping, to landfill diversion efforts, to active transportation options for staff and students, Red River College shows no sign of ending its Greenest Employer winning streak.

For the seventh year in a row, RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and efforts to engage staff and students in sustainability efforts have resulted in a Canada’s Greenest Employer designation from Mediacorp Canada.

Today, almost 90 per cent of staff and faculty believe that sustainability needs to be a priority in all College operations, and it continues to be a key strategic priority, as well as a fundamental part of RRC’s five-year Strategic Plan.

“Red River College continues to be a champion of sustainability in Manitoba, and I congratulate all members of our College community for their efforts in continuing to cultivate a culture of sustainability at RRC,” says RRC president Paul Vogt. “From our applied research on green construction and vehicle technologies, to our recycling programs, to our state-of-the-art building projects, that culture touches everything we do.”

Feeding into that culture are the many initiatives that support RRC’s commitment to a green environment, including recycling and composting programs, efforts to promote public transit and other active transportation options, and e-waste drives that divert more than 10,000 pounds of electronic waste from landfills each year. Read More →

Spring ceremony marks opening of sweat lodge for RRC students and staff

April 20, 2017

Elders, leaders and students from Red River College came together today in a special ceremony to mark the official opening of the College’s first sweat lodge.

Led by Elders Jules Lavallee and Mae Louise Campbell, the event involved more than 20 participants, many of whom had never taken part in this type of sacred ceremony before.

“Today is a very important day as we continue our work to infuse Indigenous culture, knowledge and teachings across our College,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. “Indigenous student success is a priority at Red River College, and that means providing culturally relevant student supports to help remove barriers and create more pathways to success for our Indigenous learners.”

“We have a significant Indigenous student population at Red River College and this important addition to our ceremonial grounds will have an amazing impact for many years to come.”

The dome-shaped structure represents the womb of Mother Earth, and was made out of willow trees that were collected and prepared last November. Once the branches were in position, they were tied together and the frame was covered with canvas.

Each sweat lodge ceremony has a different purpose, and is led by an Elder or spiritual leader who provides teachings and songs. Through this profoundly personal experience, the body is cleansed, which aids in removing stress and improves participants’ mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Sweat lodge ceremonies are used to give thanks, to heal, to seek wisdom, and to purify the mind, body, and soul. Read More →

Teacher Education grads boost applied learning capabilities for students in Steinbach

April 19, 2017

Selkirk Regional Secondary School staff

James Gibson knows the value of hands-on education.

For one, the vice-principal of Steinbach Regional Secondary School sees his students learning by doing every day – whether they’re chiseling timber frames, installing electrical outlets or painting vehicles in some the school’s 10 vocational areas.

But Gibson (shown above, at centre) also understands how crucial it is for some students to get out from behind their desks – because he was once one of those students himself.

“I’m not a big ‘in the regular classroom’ kind of guy,” says the Red River College graduate. “I like to be up and moving around and doing things with my hands.”

RRC’s Teacher Education program allowed Gibson to do just that. Specializing in Industrial Arts, he was able to expand his knowledge and experience in woodworking and welding, among other areas. Along with the Industrial Arts diploma he received from RRC in 2004, he earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of Winnipeg in 2005, thanks to a joint program between the schools.

“The program gives you the confidence to be able to take something apart and fix it and not be scared about it anymore,” says Gibson, who was born in England and moved to Winnipeg at the age of 13.

After teaching Industrial Arts in Elie, Man., for a couple of years, he moved to Steinbach in 2007 to teach junior high. He later took at position at SRSS teaching carpentry, and more recently stepped into the administrative role of vice-principal.

Even though he’s behind a desk more often than not, Gibson can rest assured the school’s vocational students are receiving top-notch training. That’s because a majority of the hands-on instructors at SRSS are Teacher Education grads, just like him. Read More →

RRC grad awarded inaugural Disability Studies scholarship from University of Winnipeg

April 18, 2017

A Red River College grad who’s now completing a joint honours degree at the University of Winnipeg is the inaugural winner of that institution’s Disability Studies scholarship.

Evan Wicklund, who completed RRC’s Disability and Community Support program in 2013, is now in his final year of study in UWinnipeg’s Disability Studies program. He’ll be the first student to complete the program with an honour’s degree.

Having explored several sub-sectors of the disability field over the years, Wicklund believes the critical engagement made possible by the joint program is key to understanding alternatives to disability as a bio-medical phenomenon.

“If we contextualize ‘disability’ through rights, social constructionist, or intersectional frameworks, we will be afforded the opportunity to think about disability in new and imaginative ways,” he told UWinnipeg.

“As someone engaged with community organizations as well as the academy, I advocate for disability studies because it acknowledges the value of critical thinking and reflexivity, while maintaining the fundamental values of diversity and human rights.”

Wicklund presented his work at the International Initiative on Disability Leadership Conference in Vancouver in 2015, and has a paper accepted at this spring’s annual meeting of the Canadian Disability Studies Association.

He also works as a special projects officer for the Canadian Centre for Disability Studies, having been hired there after completing his work practicum.

UWinnipeg’s new award was established to recognize students who demonstrate academic excellence and community involvement. The Disability Studies program was established in partnership with RRC in 2010, prior to which there was no way to proceed from RRC’s diploma program to UWinnipeg’s degree.

— Naniece Ibrahim, University of Winnipeg

Olympic-style trades and technology competition draws hundreds of young Manitobans to RRC

April 13, 2017

Cabinet making competition

More than 500 students and apprentices will show off their trades- and technology-related talents at Red River College today, as they compete in hands-on, Olympic-style contests as part of the twentieth annual Skills Manitoba Competition.

Many of the individual competition winners will advance to the Skills Canada National Competition, being hosted this year in Winnipeg from May 31 to June 3.

Today’s provincial event is held by Skills Manitoba Canada to raise awareness of the country’s skilled workforce shortage, and of the merits of post-secondary training in trades and technology.

“The skilled trades offer opportunities for positions with great pay, job security and flexibility,” says Maria Pacella, executive director of Skills Canada Manitoba.

“Manitoba’s economy needs thousands of skilled workers going forward, and colleges will play a huge role in filling this demand,” adds RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Competitions like Skills Manitoba and Skills Canada are extremely important, as they showcase the opportunities that exist for meaningful and rewarding careers in the trades. We are pleased to be supporting Skills Manitoba, and are particularly thrilled to be putting Winnipeg on the national stage when [the Skills Canada competition] comes to Manitoba in June.” Read More →