Staff

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

May 7, 2018

Michael Whalen, Red River CollegeBe 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 →

RRC named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for eighth year running

April 19, 2018

Honey extraction 2017An expanded urban beekeeping program, a renewed focus on active transportation, and two LEED Gold-designated buildings are just three of the initiatives that landed Red River College on Canada’s Greenest Employer list for the eighth straight year.

The annual award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs, which continue to engage staff in sustainability efforts — on campus and at home. In surveys conducted over the past two years, 90 per cent of RRC staff and faculty said they believe sustainability needs to be a priority in all College operations. The topic continues to be a key strategic priority for RRC, and is a fundamental part of the College’s Strategic Plan.

“Through the efforts of our Sustainability Office, and the commitment of our entire College community, RRC continues to be a champion of sustainability in Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Every day on campus there are innovating and engaging activities that create a sustainable culture and educate our staff and students about the roles they can play. Everything from pledging to power down over Earth Day, to learning about the energy reduction methods we use in our state-of-the-art buildings, to engaging in active transportation strengthens our overall commitment to sustainability.”

Last summer, RRC expanded its urban beekeeping initiative in partnership with Beeproject Apiaries. Three hives were installed on the rooftop of the Notre Dame Campus, complementing the three hives put in place on the fourth-floor patio of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute the prior year.

The new hives doubled RRC’s seasonal yield to more than 150 kilograms of honey, which is used as an ingredient in Culinary Arts and Professional Baking programs, and is sold at the College-run farmers markets held throughout the year. Read More →

Government support helps RRC reach new heights in aviation and aeronautics training

April 16, 2018

Red River College Stevenson CampusThe Province of Manitoba is helping Red River College reach new heights in aviation and aeronautics training by supporting the acquisition of its successful Stevenson Campus, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.

“Our government recognizes the leadership shown by Red River College in the purchase of their campus property, where they provide essential training for Manitobans in a skilled and high-demand industry,” says Wishart.

“This is a fiscally responsible plan that will help ensure many more people can pursue a career in aeronautics and learn in an exceptional environment with industry leaders and experts.”

The provincial government enabled the purchase of the Stevenson Campus by approving RRC’s plan to borrow up to $8 million to acquire the previously leased facility. (The College requires government approval to borrow, as set out by The Red River College Act.)

By purchasing the campus from its landlord, Hubert Kleysen, RRC will save nearly $1 million over the term of the mortgage and will have greater flexibility to grow and adapt its renowned aviation and aeronautics programs.

“Red River College works shoulder-to-shoulder with industry to deliver cutting-edge training at our Stevenson Campus, and to provide students with the job-ready skills they need to compete here at home, and on a national and global stage,” says RRC President Paul.

“By acquiring our campus – with the support of the provincial government – we will continue to provide strong workforce training for Manitoba’s aerospace and aviation sector, which is one of the largest in Canada. This move will make us more agile and ensure that we are successful for generations to come.” Read More →

Red River College shows a ‘ladle’ love at Stone Soup Fundraiser

March 13, 2018

The soup’s on at Manitoba Hydro Place this Wednesday, when Red River College Culinary Arts students will join 11 other local chefs and restaurant staff for the sixth annual Stone Soup Fundraiser supporting the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.

Chef and instructor Karl Oman, together with Culinary Arts students Sophie Thibodeau and Colin Stone, will serve up a newly created ‘Holiday Sweet Potato Turkey’ soup, a cream-based concoction packed with turkey and cranberry flavours that was prepared by 17 first-year students who are currently learning short-order cooking.

The soup will be paired with a stuffing-flavoured focaccia bread created by students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program.

“The Stone Soup Fundraiser is a great opportunity for our students to work together and to apply their learning and culinary skills to make a difference for those in need,” says Oman.

“This is just one of the many ways we work to give back to the community. Whether it’s through our work with Siloam Mission, or delivering the After-School Leaders Program for at-risk youth, we’re a community partner and we’re very proud to help encourage people to come down, try some delicious student-made soup and support such an important cause.”

The event will run from 11:15am – 1:15pm in the Hydro building’s main gallery. Judges will be present to sample all the soups and select a winner, and the public is also invited to select a favourite for the People’s Award. The cost is $10 per person, which includes samples of soup from three participating chefs or restaurants.

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