Staff

College recognized as workplace diversity leader for fourth year running

March 2, 2018

Red River College, Pride Winnipeg paradeRed River College is proud to be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fourth year in a row.

This prestigious recognition was awarded to 70 Canadian organizations today, highlighting employers that stand out through their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces for employees.

“We often spend the majority of our waking hours at our places of work, so creating an environment that is open, welcoming and safe for our all staff and students is always a top priority for the College,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer at RRC.

“Equity and inclusion are embedded in our practices and demonstrated throughout the College, and I know I speak for the entire College community when I say how honored we are to be recognized for this important work and with this distinction for the fourth year in a row.”

The College was recognized for a number of programs and initiatives that encourage diversity and inclusivity, including a series of Indigenous workshop for all staff offered by RRC’s Elders in Residence; the College’s LGBTT and Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiatives; its Girls Exploring Trades and Technology Camps; and a workforce audit to determine representation of designated group members in the workforce. Read More →

The Great Escape: DMD coordinator blends cutting-edge curriculum with back-to-basics home life

February 26, 2018

Chris Brower, Red River College

He’s happy where he is, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Brower from planning an escape.

Brower is the coordinator of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. Currently, he is leading a team of DMD and 3D Computer Graphics students and faculty that are creating the College’s first-ever escape room.

According to Brower, the adventure game will be time machine-themed, and will feature technology that could make even the esteemed Doc Brown utter a trademark “Great Scott!”

“It’s going to have virtual reality components,” says Brower, who’s also the instructor for the DMD program’s Video and Motion Graphics course.

“Literally, you’re going to go into this time machine, which is VR [virtual reality], and you’ll go into places in the past, like an old pirate ship and an alchemist lab, and also future places, like this dystopian future environment.

“Our students have built all the different game environments. The 3DCG faculty, Tom Lepp and Matt Broeska, have once again outdone themselves. We even have students and faculty from the Business Information Technology program helping. It’s really taken on a life of its own.”

Brower says the plan is to finish the escape room by May, then open it up to industry, and perhaps, permit the public to take a trip through time this summer.

In the fall, DMD will introduce cutting-edge courses in video game design and audio, as well as a 360 Video and Immersive Filmmaking course.

“What I love about DMD is we’re right at the crossroads of technology, art and design. We’re trying to be as cutting-edge as we can and 360-degree video is really taking off, so we want to push it as much as we can,” Brower says.

“We’re going to be training students to not only shoot and edit 360 videos, but also to add graphics and interactive components, where they can make an interactive film or game out of it.” Read More →

Cupcakes, condoms and consent: RRC students to explore healthy relationships

February 12, 2018

Cupcakes and Condoms graphicJust in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Red River College will have the opportunity to talk about intimate relationships and related issue — such as the importance of consent — in an interactive workshop aimed at promoting better health and well-being.

Taking place at noon on Tue., Feb. 13, the College’s first-ever Cupcakes and Condoms event was facilitated by Klinic Community Health and the Sexual Education Resource Centre (SERC), and delivered as part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College (HMHC) Initiative.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC, says it’s important for students to have access to workshops such as this one, so they can feel empowered to make healthy decisions.

“We know that strong, healthy relationships — whether intimate or platonic — are key to personal well-being,” Sawatzky says.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada found that adults with strong relationships are more likely to report high life satisfaction and good mental health. Conversely, experiencing disrespect, harassment, abuse and sexual assault take a toll on one’s mental health and well-being, and are risk factors for developing certain mental illnesses.”

Through the HMHC initiative, RRC hosts several events each year to help students, staff and faculty dealing with mental health problems, while promoting wellness, recovery and resilience for all. Read More →

College expands English language training to four regional sites in Manitoba

February 2, 2018

RRC Language Training CentreOver the last year, Red River College has opened four new Language Training Centres (LTCs) throughout Manitoba, providing access to critical language skills programming for an additional 250 students.

The College’s LTC in Winnipeg, which already trains more than 1,000 newcomers every year, has recently expanded programming to Arborg, Steinbach, Thompson and Selkirk. The five-month programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The LTC s offer English Language Learning programs as well as English for Specific Purposes programs. The former focuses on competency-based programs for students developing language proficiency for further education, employment, or settlement and daily life, while the latter focuses on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market.

“We are proud that more than 60 per cent of our English as a Second Language and English for a Specific Purpose programs are linked to employment outcomes,” says Kerri Caldwell Korabelnikov, director of the Language Training Centre at RRC.

“What that means is that we’re helping our students achieve their goals and connecting them either directly with employers, or with the resources necessary to find work in their chosen careers. I know this success will continue with the expansion. The areas we have expanded in have shown they are in need of language training services for newcomers, and we’re happy to fill that need and help strengthen those communities.” Read More →

Applied Computer Education chair a model of innovation at work

January 29, 2018

Haider Al-Saida, Red River College's ACE Project SpaceYou could say innovation is right up Haider Al-Saidi’s alley.

As chair of the Applied Computer Education (ACE) department at Red River College, Al-Saidi oversees the Business Information Technology (BIT) and Business Technology Management (BTM) programs. Both BIT and BTM make frequent use of the College’s new ACE Project Space, an interactive work hub located at 321 McDermot Ave., in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley.

At the ACE Project Space, education and entrepreneurship co-exist. Students from the BIT and BTM programs work alongside industry leaders and entrepreneurs-in-residence to turn their enterprising ideas into realities.

“Educational institutions should lead,” says Al-Saidi, who has chaired the ACE department since late 2012, and previously chaired RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program.

“The model that colleges used to go by was to ask industry, ‘What do you want to do?’ and then do what they asked of us. The problem is industry will look at their immediate need, because what drives them is money. My philosophy is the opposite. I think that educational institutions should lead industry, and should provide them with new ideas to move forward. We still provide the support for industry, but also, at the same time, provide industry with new information.”

Having originated in a small room in RRC’s former Massey Building complex in 2015, the ACE Project Space moved to its new Innovation Alley digs one year ago, in January 2017.

It’s not the only aspect of the ACE department marking an anniversary this year. The BTM and BIT programs are also celebrating milestones, with BTM first being offered in January 2016 and BIT dating back a full 50 years. (In its infancy, it was known as the Computer Analyst/Programmer program; later the Information Systems Technology program was added, then the two merged into Business Information Technology.) Read More →

Ongoing research in early child development earns inaugural national award

January 18, 2018

Science of Early Child Development team, 2018What began as a Red River College research project to bridge the knowledge gap in early child development — and to create educational resources to support frontline workers — has received a prestigious national award recognizing its global impact.

It was announced this week the College’s Science of Early Child Development resource is the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Public Engagement and Advocacy Award, which recognizes an individual, institution, team or project that established and maintained public engagement with research though an innovative approach.

“This award is particularly exciting as our primary goal in developing SECD is to make the rapidly expanding science engaging and accessible to those who make a real difference in children’s lives,” says Jan Sanderson, research chair at RRC’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services.

“Our team has had the opportunity to work with many amazing committed partners around the world who are now using SECD to develop the next generation of champions for young children.”

As part of their work, RRC researchers were able to point to significant and emerging scientific evidence that spoke to the benefits of creating experiences that would support brain development in children, starting in prenatal and carrying on into the first years of a child’s life.

Prior to the work undertaken at the College, this emerging knowledge was not being widely disseminated to caregivers and frontline workers, especially in remote and low-income regions around the world.

It’s this evidence — and lack of resources — that was the driving force behind SECD, which CARA selected for the award because of its tailor-made approach to addressing critical issues around early childhood development. Read More →

Students to reach newly designed heights in architecture, engineering and technology

January 16, 2018

Architectural TechnologyStudents interested in the technical aspects of building design will soon be able to bring their ideas to life through a new full-time program at Red River College.

Beginning in September 2018, the College will offer a revamped Architectural Technology diploma program that prepares students for career success in the fields of architecture, engineering and construction.

The skills acquired through these programs are in high demand in sectors across the province. According to recent surveys, 98 per cent of RRC grads choose to stay and work in Manitoba, a trend that helps meet the needs of our province’s economy.

“As industry evolves in Manitoba, it’s important that we continue to redesign and create new programs that not only anticipate the changes that are emerging in industry, but allow our students to adapt to those changes as they enter into meaningful and rewarding careers,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Staying ahead of the curve — and engaging with industry — ensures we can be agile in program development, while continuing to provide relevant training that ensures the success of our students and the many industries we support.”

The new program replaces the current Building Design Technology program, and was developed in consultation with representatives from a wide range of industry employers and partners. A new curriculum was created to address the current and future needs of the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) sectors. Read More →

Chekkit out: Wi-Fi logins leveraged to help businesses build customer bases

January 9, 2018

Lee Klimpke, Daniel Fayle and Emily Franz-Lien, Chekkit WiFi Marketing and AnalyticsWould a text message from a local coffee shop offering a free espresso get you back in the door? With some help from Red River College students working out of the ACE Project Space in the Exchange District, a new Winnipeg-based service provider believes the answer is yes.

Chekkit Wifi Marketing and Analytics is the brainchild of Daniel Fayle, Myles Hiebert, Lee Klimpke and Emily Franz-Lien, whose aim is to help businesses build loyalty programs through Wi-Fi login pages and text messages.

The team members are currently Entrepreneurs in Residence at RRC’s new project space on McDermot Avenue, where they’ve been working with Business Information Technology students to develop their product.

“The knowledge and resources available at ACE and in the Exchange District is immense,” says Fayle. “When we started, we had nothing — and through ACE we have office space, networking opportunities, a boardroom to host meetings and demonstrations, and a lot of support.

“The students we worked with were a big asset and we’re grateful to have been able to provide them with an opportunity to share their skills.”

The Chekkit team’s goal is to create optimal first experiences for customers, and to generate repeat traffic for businesses that offer free Wi-Fi.

“In creating this product our question was, ‘If someone walks in the door, how do you get them back in?’ Most people, their eyes are on their phone, and they’re going to log in to Wi-Fi,” Fayle explains.

“When they log in or when they leave, they can opt in to receive great deals from the business they visited and the brand they love, so the business can send them an offer that will make them want to come back.” Read More →

BTM students make critical industry connections at first-ever TalentMash event

January 9, 2018

BTM TalentMash 2017A networking event that linked Red River College students with leaders in the business and technology sectors is drawing strong notices from participants and organizers, thanks largely to the connections made with local organizations who now have access to a new pool of innovators.

The province’s first-ever BTM (Business Technology Management) TalentMash, presented by RRC and the Information Technology Association of Canada, provided a day-long forum in which industry reps met with students and instructors from the College’s new BTM program, to discuss how future graduates can help bridge the gap between organizations’ business and technology functions.

“It went exceptionally well,” says program coordinator David Jones of the event.

“The feedback from both students and the industry people who attended was positive on both sides. The industry reps appreciated being able to find out what we were up to with the BTM program — because they’ve heard of it, but didn’t know really know what it was.

“And [the event] introduced students to business and to business contacts, which they found particularly helpful — being able to talk to potential employers about what they’re looking for, and what they’d be doing.”

Held Oct. 28 at the Exchange District Campus, the event also gave students a chance to showcase their career competencies to potential employers, in particular the communication, interpersonal and analytical skills now considered critical for industry success. Read More →

College to host top UX designer's tour stop in January

December 8, 2017

Willy Lai UX workshopLocal entrepreneurs, developers and tech-curious laypeople will have the opportunity to learn from one of Silicon Valley’s top User Experience (UX) designers next month.

Red River College and North Forge Technology Exchange are proud to host Willy Lai — an industry leader with over 20 years experience at top tech companies including Apple, Samsung and eBay — for a two-day workshop at RRC’s ACE Project Space on Jan. 18 and 19, 2018.

Lai will lead hands-on exercises, lectures and discussions focused on developing a strong UX across multiple platforms. The visit will mark Lai’s first time hosting a workshop in Canada and is currently the only Canadian stop on his world tour.

“It’s a little known fact that I was born in Canada (in Halifax, Nova Scotia), so I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my expertise and what I’ve learned in Silicon Valley with Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs and developers for the first time,” says Lai, who currently serves as Chief Design Officer for e-commerce site Haggleland.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with the tech and business community in Winnipeg, and to help facilitate connections that could continue to grow long after the workshop ends.”

UX design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and personally relevant experiences across different platforms. This involves the design of both a product’s usability and the pleasure consumers will derive from using it. Lai’s workshop will cover: Read More →

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