New supports launched to enhance mental health programming at RRC

March 24, 2017

Red River College has announced two new support services as part of the Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative aimed at enhancing mental health programming for students, staff and faculty.

The announcement coincided with a broader awareness-raising event, in which TSN’s Michael Landsberg — one of the faces of Bell Let’s Talk Day — brought his #SICKNOTWEAK talk to the RRC community.

“We’re excited that Michael has joined us to help us announce these new and important initiatives, but to also talk about his personal battle with depression,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Michael’s leadership has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many Canadians.”

The two programs being launched by the College include:

The Red River ReliefLine, a 24/7 online peer support service provided free of charge to all students, who can access trained listeners through their computer, tablet, or smart phone. The College has purchased a one-year license for this service with funds from a Program Innovation Fund. The service is available in a variety of languages and gives students access to simple therapeutic exercises that can enhance coping skills.

The Working Mind, an educational workplace mental health and wellness program developed and endorsed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The program is designed to promote mental health and reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems and illnesses in the workplace. The training helps individuals identify poor mental health in themselves and others, while building resiliency. RRC has committed to training four internal champions who will in turn deliver the program to others.

“As both an educational institution and employer, RRC recognizes that it has a responsibility to create a safe, responsive and healthy environment that supports mental health and well-being for students, staff and faculty,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.

“For students, RRC is where they will learn and practice key competencies that set them up for success in their future workplaces. Learning to support their own positive mental health, and reach out for help when need, are among those competencies.”

CreComm students to host annual telethon in support of Winnipeg Humane Society

March 17, 2017

Red River College Creative Communications students will see months of planning go to the dogs (and cats) next weekend, as they take to the airwaves in support of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

On Saturday, March 25, CreComm students will produce and host the six-hour 1001 Donations telethon, airing live on Shaw (and streaming on the WHS Facebook page) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The second-year students — representing all four streams of the CreComm program (journalism, advertising, public relations and broadcasting) — have already produced a series of pre-recorded pieces that will air during the telethon, and will also serve as technical crew and on-air talent while broadcasting live from the Humane Society’s facility on Hurst Way.

“Our students are extremely talented, and this telethon will give them a well-deserved opportunity to showcase those talents and help a great cause at the same time,” says CreComm instructor Joanne Kelly.

“We’re always looking for opportunities for students to gain real-life experience so they’ll be that much more prepared for the workforce upon graduation. This telethon also helps teach them the value of being connected to your community, and how important it is to give back.”

Red River College is a proud sponsor of the telethon, which is open to the public and will feature appearances from special guests including Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg Blue Bomber Matthias Goossen, and CTV anchor Maralee Caruso, who adopted her dog Jack from the Humane Society. Read More →

College creates new executive director role to provide leadership on Indigenous strategy

March 16, 2017

On the same day Mayor Brian Bowman called on the city to adopt a municipal Indigenous Accord, Red River College announced the creation of a new executive director position to provide leadership on advancing Indigenous education.

The role of the executive director, Indigenous strategy will include providing direction on how best to expand programs and supports for Indigenous students, and to build partnerships with Indigenous leaders and the community.

Advancing Indigenous achievement is one of the top priorities in RRC’s Strategic Plan (2016-2021), as well as a key goal of the Academic Division, which is committed to enhancing the environment supporting Indigenous student success. RRC is also a signatory to the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint (2016) — one of nine post-secondary institutions in the province — following the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

“The TRC report is clear — Indigenous Canadians need access to post-secondary education and supports while in school if we are to close the income and employment gap in our country,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “One of the specific calls to action is to establish senior level positions in order to elevate the priority of Indigenous programming and forge new pathways to success. Today’s announcement is a major step in this direction.”

Christine Watson, RRC’s vice-president Academic, said the new executive director, Indigenous strategy will play a key role in helping RRC meet its strategic and academic goals. The new ED will work with and provide advice to all deans, academic divisions and student support services, as well as lead on enhancing relationships with the Indigenous community and the College’s recently-formed Indigenous Achievement Strategic Council.

The overall goal will be to improve and expand the College’s academic programming and supports for Indigenous students — building on recent recommendations from College staff and faculty during consultations on the Strategic Plan and through such forums as RRC’s Open Cafés.

“RRC has a significant and growing Indigenous student body and it is important that we are proactive in taking steps to ensure student success, to address historic barriers and to fill gaps that have been identified,” Watson says. “We are fortunate to have our Elders and an incredibly engaged, dedicated and experienced staff and faculty group who will provide leadership and a strong foundation for enhancing Indigenous education as we move forward.” Read More →

Red River College chef joins fellow Culinary grads at International Women’s Day gala

March 15, 2017

Claire Snowball, Red River CollegeA Red River College chef was among the coterie of culinary VIPs who marked International Women’s Day by serving up a showcase of their considerable talents.

Claire Snowball (shown at left), a banquet and event sous-chef for RRC’s Food Services, was one of 11 local chefs who prepared gourmet appetizers for a “Women. Wine. Food!” event held March 8 at the Qualico Family Centre.

The event — which served as a fundraiser for the Women’s Health Clinic in Winnipeg — was cooked up by RRC alum Kelly Cattani (Culinary Arts, 2005) now a chef at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites.

Working together with Qualico’s Janet Hamel, Cattani coordinated both the event and its all-woman line-up as a means of benefiting the community-based Clinic, which has supported women through health services, education and advocacy since 1981.

A fellow Culinary Arts grad (2011), Snowball prepared two dishes for the evening: a Dungeness crab encased en gelée and chawanmushi tartlet, and a sour cherry and dark chocolate mousse cup with bourbon whipped cream, milk crumble and raspberry dust.

“The event was a roaring success, selling out early and packing the Qualico Centre with a great crowd,” says Snowball. “It was with pride that I was able to represent Red River College, which celebrates diversity in the workforce and identifies inclusiveness as one of its core values.”

Snowball and Cattani weren’t the only RRC grads involved in the event. The lineup of chefs also included Melissa Makarenko (Resto Gare and Train Bar), Kristel Pastorin (The Grove Pub & Restaurant), Heather Porteous (Boulevard Pub & Bistro), Rachel Isaak (Loaf and Honey, Sam’s Place); Tara Podaima (Segovia Tapas Bar); and Candace Hughes (Qualico Family Centre).

Lawson Foundation honours RRC’s Science of Early Child Development project

March 9, 2017

Early Child Education, Manitoba

Red River College’s Science of Early Child Development (SECD) project has received an award of honour from the Lawson Foundation for Innovation in Early Child Development.

The award recognizes the unique approach RRC has taken in creating multimedia “living textbooks” and online courses to ensure practitioners have the most current information at their fingertips so they can be at the forefront of early childhood education.

The award from the Lawson Foundation — a longtime supporter of SECD — will support necessary enhancements to the online resources and provide the College’s research team with important financial resources to undertake additional research.

“Not only will the financial gift support enhancing SECD, but we will use it to further promote awareness of the program, making it accessible to more practitioners and therefore to more families,” says Jan Sanderson, RRC research chair, Health Sciences and Community Services.

One of the many functions of SECD is to help train new childcare assistants in Manitoba. Currently, new childcare assistants are required to complete 40 hours of training in order to support the learning environment for young children. Through support from the Lawson Foundation, RRC will be able to take a closer look at how this training benefits new practitioners.

“We know the course is very successful and well-received by those practicing in the field — we hear many positive stories all the time,” says Sanderson. “This new funding will help us move beyond anecdotal evidence, to rigorous measurement of the impact of the training on the knowledge, attitudes and practice of childcare assistants. What we learn will help us to improve the existing resources and courses, and add to our repetorie.”

Since 2011, RRC has been a pioneer in developing leading research focused on early child development that has had an important impact across Canada, and in many international communities. Financial support for this initiative has relied on private and public funding from various organizations including the World Bank, the Winnipeg Foundation, the Aga Khan Development Network in Geneva, and the Lawson Foundation.

The Lawson Foundation is a national family foundation that invests in and engages with ideas, people and organizations that contribute to the wellbeing of children and youth and their development as active and engaged members of society.

The Science of Early Child Development is a knowledge translation and mobilization initiative with a global perspective that introduces and synthesizes transdisciplinary research underscoring the importance of the early years.

College partners with province on new training program for refugees

March 7, 2017

A new program at Red River College is providing essential language and construction skills training to newcomer refugees who have arrived in Manitoba over the last year.

Announced today, the new Pathway Program to Construction Skills is one of four pilot employment projects launched recently by the Manitoba government under the Refugee Employment Development Initiative (REDI) for newcomers.

“Red River College is proud to play such an important role in supporting Manitoba’s international, immigrant and refugee community,” says Red River College president Paul Vogt. “This new program is a first in Manitoba and it will not only help our newcomer refugees develop their language and literacy skills, it will also provide them access to trades training and jobs in sectors where our partners have a need for more trained workers.”

The four-month program will help participants develop essential language skills, safety training and basic construction skills training in the areas of drywalling, masonry and flattop roofing. After completing the program, students will participate in a month-long, paid work placement to further refine their skills and gain essential on-the-job experience.

“As we’ve seen in recent months, there’s a growing need to provide support for refugees in a variety of ways, including direct employment and labour market programming,” says Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart. “We commend Red River College for its vision in developing this important program, which will link newcomers with employment opportunities and allow them to develop the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.” Read More →

RRC’s Louis Riel Bursary fund reaches $1.2 million

February 21, 2017

RRC Graduation Pow Wow

In celebration of Louis Riel Day, Red River College and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) are pleased to announce the Louis Riel Bursary fund has reached $1.2 million.

Since 2014, the MMF and the province, through the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, have each contributed $600,000 to the Louis Riel Bursary Fund for Métis students at Red River College. Bursaries are awarded to eligible Métis students enrolled in a certificate, diploma or degree programs.

“[The MMF] government has been privileged to help Métis students reach for and achieve their educational aspirations,” says MMF President David Chartrand. “This has been accomplished by the MMF government investing into bursaries and scholarships designed to help provide opportunities for our students. We know education is key to building capacity within the Métis nation and we are pleased to continue our work and partnership with Red River College.”

Three years ago, the College, the MMF and the Louis Riel Institute (LRI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve opportunities and outcomes for Métis people in Manitoba. The MOU resulted in a joint working group focused on education, business and growing industry partnerships to increase economic prospects for Métis people in Manitoba.

“The MMF and the LRI are important partners in helping us advance Indigenous achievement at Red River College,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “These new funds will continue to support many Métis students’ academic pursuits, and help remove ongoing barriers that may prevent access to post-secondary education. Education is the future and, as signatories to the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint, we play an important role in supporting reconciliation efforts in our province. This ongoing and important partnership with the MMF and LRI will help many Métis students in Manitoba succeed.”

College announces plans to redevelop and expand ACCESS programs

February 14, 2017

ACCESS Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing class

Red River College has announced plans to redevelop and expand its ACCESS programs in order to better meet the needs of its Indigenous and other students, by providing them with an opportunity to enrol in a wider range of offerings.

At present, ACCESS students are restricted to four program areas: Nursing, Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing, Business Administration, and Civil Engineering Technology.

“It’s time for us to modernize how ACCESS programs are delivered at RRC to better meet student, community and industry needs,” says Christine Watson, Vice-President Academic at RRC. “Ultimately one of our main goals is to remove some of the existing program restrictions and provide Indigenous, immigrant and other students facing barriers to education with more training options and new and improved pathways to meaningful careers.”

The ACCESS expansion plan is the result of an internal review and extensive consultations. In order to accommodate the redesign, there will be no intake of students to ACCESS programs for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. This will allow existing ACCESS students to complete their current programs, while a new model is designed for the 2018-2019 academic year.

As part of the process, RRC will work with community and industry partners to ensure the redevelopment is also responsive to their needs.

“ACCESS programs are very important to our students and we want to ensure [they] are accessible, agile and responsive to students who may not have had the opportunity to access post-secondary education due to a variety of factors,” says Watson.

“We know students, given these new opportunities, will contribute great things to their communities and Manitoba’s labour market.” Read More →

Engineering students take top honours for steering design at concrete toboggan race

February 13, 2017

Things went downhill fast (but in the best possible sense!) for a team of Red River College students over the weekend, when their design and engineering expertise paid off handsomely at the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race.

Held Saturday at Adrenaline Adventures near Headingley, the annual showcase of ingenuity and innovation drew teams of post-secondary students from across Canada — and in the case of the RRC team, resulted in a first place win for Best Steering Design.

The largest student-run engineering competition in Canada, the race requires entrants to design and construct a five-person toboggan with a running surface made entirely of concrete, an undertaking that provides ample opportunity to apply and develop skills in design, technical writing and management.

Teams work for months on their toboggans, which must weigh in at less than 350 pounds. All entries must pass a safety inspection before racing, and are judged on the basis of their concrete, frame, steering and brake design, as well as race-day results and team spirit.

RRC’s 15-member team included students from the College’s Structural, Architectural, Environmental, Municipal and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs. In addition to the races on Saturday, the team also took part in a technical exhibition at RBC Convention Centre on Friday.

This year’s event was hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Hot-button issues: RRC staffer rallies support for local Muslim community

February 9, 2017

A Red River College employee is encouraging Winnipeggers to show support for the city’s Muslim community, by literally opening their arms during a time of political turmoil.

Events and Facility Rental Coordinator Krista Michie recently hired RRC grad Kristen Masters (of Lemon Buttons) to design and produce hundreds of buttons bearing the slogan “Free Hugs for Muslims.”

She says the campaign was inspired by the current political climate, which has been further polarized in recent weeks by the attempted U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, continued debate over the plight of Syrian refugees, and a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque that left six worshippers dead.

“I was feeling sad about what’s going on in North America,” says Michie (shown). “It was my way of trying to show love, solidarity and inclusiveness.”

So far, Michie has given out more than 200 buttons, including those shared with fellow marchers at last weekend’s walk for human rights (among them, RRC President Paul Vogt).

She’s also had requests from former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan, who asked for a batch to be dropped off at his downtown eatery, and from friends and acquaintances in Brandon and Saskatchewan.

Michie currently has about 100 buttons left to distribute — either in person, or by mail — but is open to producing a second batch, if there’s demand.

So far, she hasn’t had any requests for hugs — though as the buttons point out, that’s a standing offer.

“Not too sure people will actually take me up on that,” she says. “It’s more about sending the message that Muslims are accepted here.”

To request a button, send Michie an email at kmichie@rrc.ca.