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Indigenous and inner-city youth score thanks to RRC partnership with True North

July 27, 2017

Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement CentreA set of hockey sticks used by members of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose have been given new life at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC), where they’ll be used by local youths dreaming of becoming the next Mark Scheifele or Jocelyne Larocque.

The sticks, which were damaged or broken during game play last season, were donated to Red River College by True North Sports and Entertainment, and repaired to nearly-new quality by students in RRC’s Aerospace Manufacturing program.

As part of the program’s curriculum, the students fixed the sticks using a variety of composite materials, then delivered them to WASAC, which since 1999 has been providing Indigenous and inner-city youth with access to sport and leisure activities.

“The kids and staff at WASAC really represent the spirit of community, and we are thrilled to provide them with this new equipment,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “This project is a fantastic training opportunity for our students, who are learning to work with different composite materials, and as a bonus we are able to provide the younger generation of Winnipeg’s youth with opportunities to grow through sport.”

Vogt was joined at WASAC by RRC instructor Terry Morris (who led the project along with Chris Marek), to present the 18 sticks to WASAC participants, and join them in a game of hockey.

“We are humbled and excited to be recipients of NHL hockey sticks,” says WASAC Kids Camp coordinator Kate Doer. “These sticks were given to our children at summer camp and I know they’ll create many special road hockey memories as the kids imagine themselves as their hockey heroes.” Read More →

TV spot promoting RRC nabs top award for post-secondary commercials

June 23, 2017

A TV spot promoting Red River College as a post-secondary option that stands apart from its peers has been named the best commercial of 2016 by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Produced and released in spring of 2016, RRC’s “The Difference Is Here” spot received a recent Circle of Excellence Gold Award from CASE, beating out submissions from 41 participating higher education institutions around the world.

A panel of judges described the spot — which first appeared as a 30-second trailer in Manitoba movie theatres — as “entertaining, thought-provoking and even disruptive.”

“This commercial spot stands out from the pack … for two really important reasons: RRC knows who they are talking to, and knows their mission,” the judges said.

“Everything in this spot — from the hypnotic drumming of the soundtrack to the style of the images — is selected for a purpose, and the purpose always connects with the target audience and the important take-away message.”

The recognition for the commercial comes weeks after RRC’s 2017 billboard campaign was endorsed by CASE’s Opportunity and Inclusion Committee, for achievement in Best Practices in Communication and Marketing, and for efforts to foster and promote diversity.

College shares Indigenous culture with kids from Early Childhood Education Centre

June 21, 2017

National Aboriginal Day at RRC

As part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations across Canada, Red River College invited a group from its Early Childhood Education Centre to learn more about Indigenous culture through a unique morning experience.

The children were hosted by members of RRC’s Indigenous Student Support & Community Relations team, who read to them from David Courchene Jr.’s book, The Seven Teachings, and taught them about traditional drumming with help from wellness counsellor Sherry Gott.

“It was an honour and a privilege to share the Seven Scared Teachings with the children from our daycare centre here on campus as part of the ongoing process for reconciliation,” says Gott. “Reconciliation is about action and understanding, and this was a great opportunity to share that knowledge with our next seven generations, in a respectful, supportive environment.

Observed on June 21 (the summer solstice), National Aboriginal Day is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

A number of events and activities are taking place throughout Winnipeg to mark National Aboriginal Day, including:

The above activities are free of charge, and open to all audiences.

Rebecca Chartrand appointed executive director of Indigenous Strategy

June 19, 2017

Rebecca ChartrandRed River College has announced the appointment of Rebecca Chartrand as its new Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, to lead in the enhancement of Indigenous education.

Chartrand will oversee a planned expansion of student supports, the creation of new academic programming, and the expansion and deepening of partnerships between RRC and Indigenous communities.

“We are thrilled to add Rebecca to our senior leadership team,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The College is moving forward with a plan to add transition and mentoring services to support the success of Indigenous students across the College, and new programs designed to provide the skills needed in Indigenous communities. Rebecca will lead the process in consultation with our elders and our dedicated and experienced faculty and staff.”

Chartrand, who will start in August, comes to the College from Seven Oaks School Division, where she spent the last seven years as Division Lead, Aboriginal Education. Chartrand is also a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, the president of the Indigenous Peoples Commission for Manitoba, the founder and professional development chair of the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba, and an education advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“Education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Chartrand. “We need to create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. I am excited to be joining a strong Indigenous education program at RRC and a College that is committed to doing even more for Indigenous students.”

With 15 years’ experience in education, Chartrand has created several ground-breaking programs from scratch, including an Ojibwe Kindergarten-to-Grade 3 language school, the first of its kind developed with an urban school board. She also has experience in developing and implementing transitional supports for Indigenous secondary students moving to Winnipeg to attend high school, which in turn has supported their transition to post-secondary institutions. Read More →

Hospitality students explore southern culture on culinary tour of Belize

June 16, 2017

RRC Hospitality students in Belize

A group of Red River College Hospitality students got a head start on their summer this year, travelling to Belize in May for two weeks of culinary exploration.

The six second-year students — from RRC’s Culinary Arts and Professional Baking and Patisserie programs — made the trip alongside 14 students from Vancouver Island University.

While in Belize, the group spent time in five different cities and town, exploring everything from bakeries to banana plantations, marketplaces to Mayan ruins, and spice farms to sustainable nature preserves.

They also got a first-hand look at the region’s version of the farm-to-table movement, learning how the raw ingredients in coffee, chocolate, and corn tortillas (among other products) make their way from farmers’ fields to your plate.

“It was incredibly enlightening,” says RRC instructor Cameron Tait, who accompanied the students on the trip.

“There are very few people in the world who get to go from picking fruit in the jungle to making their own chocolate — pouring their own bars and wrapping the finished product themselves. You may get to see bits and pieces of that process if you’re lucky, so to see the whole thing unfold was fascinating.”

In addition to the cultural component of the trip — which also included visits to animal habitats, organic gardens, jungle tours and rum distilleries — the students were able to incorporate a charitable element, as well.

As part of their fundraising efforts, they collected several suitcases worth of school supplies, which they donated to an elementary school in the village of Blue Creek.

BIT instructor honoured for efforts to promote government transparency and public education

June 15, 2017

Canadian Open Data Awards winners, 2017

A Red River College instructor has received national recognition for his work creating online resources that promote government transparency and accountability.

Kyle Geske, a Business Information Technology instructor at RRC, was in Edmonton this week to pick up an Open Data for Democracy Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit.

He accepted the award on behalf of Open Democracy Manitoba (ODM), a citizen-run community organization that helps educate voters by empowering them to understand the roles and visions of their elected representatives, in order to create a more accountable and respectful democracy.

Geske (shown above in front row, third from left) co-founded ODM with fellow BIT instructor Jody Gillis in 2010; he now serves as its executive director and oversees operations alongside RRC grad Ken Harasym (Digital Media Design, 2006).

Since its inception, OMD has launched two election portals — WinnipegElection.ca and ManitobaElection.ca — that have allowed hundreds of thousands of voters to research their candidates and learn about local democratic processes.

The sites feature ward/constituency maps and statistics, historical information about past elections, candidate profiles and social media links, and links to media coverage of candidates and election issues.

ODM’s latest project, WinnipegElected.ca, was launched last November to provide Winnipeg residents with easy access to city council decisions on reports, motions and bylaws.

WinnipegElected.ca was developed in partnership with the City Clerk’s office; with only a few tweaks, ODM was able to update the city’s existing record-keeping processes, allowing council decisions to be posted on the city’s open data portal.

In addition to the Open Data for Democracy Award, ODM has been recognized previously by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, and a host of national and local journalists and media outlets.

Photo credit: City of Edmonton

Instructor recognized for full-circle approach to students facing barriers

May 30, 2017

Kerry Coulter, Red River CollegeShe’s spent her entire career working with at-risk children and youth.

But in her current role as an instructor for Red River College’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker program, Kerry Coulter gets to re-connect with many of those same kids as they prepare to make a similar difference in the lives of others.

“My students are youth with multiple barriers, so often times they’re kids I used to work with, but now they’re all grown up and seeking access to post-secondary [education], and a supportive environment in which to be successful,” says Coulter.

“It’s full circle. These students want to go back and be helpers in their own communities … They grow up, come to college, and are trained and educated in how to be helpers themselves.”

The recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence, Coulter has been a Youth Rec instructor since 2002. Before that, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (and later, a Masters degree in Education from Central Michigan University), and worked for a number of child and youth care organizations, including Child and Family Services and adolescent treatment centre New Directions.

Each year, the College’s Youth Rec program trains 16 participants — many of whom face socio-economic barriers themselves — to work with inner city youth as recreational leaders. Graduates of the program often find jobs with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (a program partner) and other inner city youth agencies, or as childhood educators and teachers’ aides. Read More →

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 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 →

Culinary instructor lauded with lifetime achievement award

March 31, 2017

RRC Chef Karl Oman

A longtime member of Red River College’s instructional staff has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Culinary Federation of Cooks and Chefs (CCFCC).

Chef Karl Oman, an instructor at RRC since 2006, has been an active member of the CCFCC since 1991, and has acted as the Winnipeg branch treasurer since 2012.

The organization’s award recognizes Oman’s track record of excellence and service to the culinary profession, via a career that began immediately after he graduated with honours from RRC’s Culinary Arts (then Chef Training) program in 1985.

Oman (shown above, with students) went on to work for size years as part of the kitchen team that opened the Sheraton Winnipeg Hotel, working his way from the garde manger area to sous chef.

In 1991, he accepted his first executive chef position with the Holiday Inn Winnipeg South, where he served for 15 years. During that time, he completed his Red Seal certification, and in 1995, went on to complete his chef de cuisine certification. (At the time, he was one of only 17 chefs in Manitoba to do so.)

In 1994, Oman was named Chef of the Year by the local CCFCC branch, and two years later, was invited by the provincial trades advisory committee to participate in the revision of the interprovincial Red Seal exam.

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