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.
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
She’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 →
A 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.
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 →
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.
Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the third year in a row. This prestigious recognition — awarded today to 65 organizations across the country — highlights employers that stand out through their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces.
“At Red River College we strive to ensure equity and diversity are embedded in College practices and demonstrated throughout the institution,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Equity and inclusion form part of our blueprint and help us create a welcoming and open environment. This reflects the commitment of our faculty and staff and it’s an honor to be recognized with this distinction for the third year in a row.”
The College coordinates a number of initiatives that encourage diversity and inclusivity, including workshops hosted by RRC’s Elders in Residence, our LGBTT* Initiative, our Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative, and a workforce audit to determine representation of designated group members in the workforce.
RRC also recently conducted an Inclusive Campus Climate Review, which gave members of the College community an opportunity to provide feedback on what it means to create an inclusive climate. The Review will help guide RRC as mechanisms are put in place to make inclusion a self-sustaining part of the College environment.
Now in its tenth year, Mediacorp Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition recognizes the nation’s leaders in creating inclusive workplaces for employees from five diverse groups: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples.
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 RRC.
“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.”
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 →
A 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 (WHC) 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 Janet Hamel, Director of Development at WHC, 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).