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Film and video instructor balances business savvy with artistic insight

March 21, 2016

JT imageJeremy Torrie is running a gauntlet every filmmaker knows. He’s pulling together the fine cut of Juliana & The Medicine Fish, his adaptation of Jake Macdonald’s beloved bestselling young adult novel.

There are thousands of takes from this past autumn’s work with stars Adam Beach and Emma Tremblay to comb through, and agonizing choices to face. Does he use the shot where Beach’s dialogue was note-perfect, or the one with the best lighting? When should he cut from one shot to the next? Is there a way to reclaim the out-of-focus footage?

“Those are the compromises you make,” Torrie says of the labour of love, which leans on his talents as writer, director and producer. “Films are not perfect – they’re a microcosm of anything and everything happening during prep, production, post-production… Most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes stuff, but those are the things you have to deal with in the industry and hopefully come out on top of.”

It’s exactly the sort of industry insider insight — coupled with storytelling craft — that Torrie imparts to students taking Red River College’s AV Short Video Production course, and to those enrolled in the three-month Enhanced Filmmaking Skills & Techniques certificate course, offered in partnership with the Adam Beach Film Institute.

The fusion of art and business savvy is critical, Torrie says, for young filmmakers hoping to go on to full careers.

“Just because it’s artistic doesn’t mean it’s not a business,” he explains. “That’s what someone like me can bring to the table: to allow for the appreciation it’s not just a story – the story is absolutely important – but beyond that, there is an entire industry.”

“When you’re able to bring real business experience to a teaching setting, you’re going to set people up for success.” Read More →

Red River College earns second recognition for workplace diversity

February 24, 2016

diversity-2016-englishRed River College is proud to again be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, a designation that celebrates employers who stand out through their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces.

This is the second year in a row RRC has been recognized with this distinction. To date, RRC is the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to receive the designation.

“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 enable RRC to create a welcoming and open environment. I know I speak for the entire College community when I say how honoured we are to be recognized with this distinction for the second year in a row.”

As part of RRC’s submission, many initiatives supporting inclusive and open environments were highlighted, including the College’s LGBTT* Initiative, our Leadership Development Program (which includes Managing Mental Health in the Workplace training), our College-wide Mental Health Strategy, the development of a mentorship program for visible minorities, and our overall Workplace Equity and Diversity Strategy, which includes an employment systems review.

“Red River College continues to be proactive in efforts to support its employees, and today’s award is validation of the work being undertaken,” says Lori Grandmont, Vice-President, Human Resources and Sustainability. “I want to congratulate our employees for their work on these initiatives and for continually finding new and innovative ways to strengthen our workplace.”

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2016 were announced today, with 65 organizations leading the nation in creating inclusive workplace cultures.

Efforts to empower women earn Indspire award for Elder Mae Louise Campbell

February 16, 2016

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Elder Mae Louise Campbell carries the gift of women’s medicine. All her life, she has shared her knowledge of Indigenous culture and traditional teachings to help empower the women around her.

And while Campbell (shown above, at left) is a familiar face at Red River College — where she’s served as a mentor for more than a decade — it’s her work with women in the larger community that led to her being honoured over the weekend with an Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

“The thing that I look forward to the most is for our women to be able to see it and say, ‘Well, this Grandmother got this award, and the reason she received it is because of all the work she’s doing to heal women,’” says Campbell. “That message to me is more important than anything else.”

Campbell’s desire to see Indigenous women empowered was born out of her own personal journey of self-awareness, healing and spiritual awakening. Like many Indigenous people, Campbell says she struggled to find her identity. Her refusal to accept the difficulties of being a young wife and mother in a controlling relationship set her on the path of discovery.

“I knew that I had to find my voice and believe in the fact that I have the strength and the wisdom to be well in my mind, body and spirit, and to continue to grow,” says Campbell. “And I knew I would have to do that by discovering our traditional ways of women’s knowing, and understanding women’s roles in the community.”

Read More →

Design instructor earns Pinnacle Award from American Society of Furniture Designers

January 28, 2016

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For Red River College instructor James Culleton, one of the most interesting parts of his job is teaching students to problem-solve visually — a topic the award-winning furniture and graphic designer happens to be very well-versed in.

“Most people need graphic designers because they can’t communicate visually,” says Culleton, recent recipient of a prestigious Pinnacle Award from the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD). “Being a visual communicator is a key skill for all designers.”

That’s the lesson Culleton tries to teach students in his Graphic Design and Manual Writing and Design classes, both delivered through RRC’s School of Continuing Education.

Culleton first got involved with the College while working at Palliser Furniture, where he served as design director for close to 15 years. He launched a partnership between Palliser and RRC’s Residential Decorating program, by enlisting students from the College to design a booth for Palliser.

“It kind of started like that, and then I started teaching an online course on manual design,” he explains. “When the opportunity to teach graphic design came up I jumped at it. Graphic Design is a fusion of art and design, two things I love.”

This year marks Culleton’s third term teaching Graphic Design one night a week; he says he’s fascinated by the range of people who take evening classes at the College.

Some are people who are already employed and looking to learn a different skill, while others are fresh out of high school and seeking tools to become employable.

“Some [people] are in a job where they need the graphic design skills to complete a bigger project,” he said. “It’s a versatile skill and can help in a lot of different areas such as web design, making a flyers or giving presentations.”

Read More →

RRC launches new mobile safety app for staff and students

January 8, 2016

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Want the latest campus safety features and resources — all at your fingertips? There’s an app for that!

Red River College recently launched a free Mobile Safety app that provides users with direct access to RRC Security and 911, as well as specific instructions on what to do in case of an emergency, among other valuable features.

The app — which works on most smartphone platforms — can be used to access RRC’s Safe Walk resource, or to send photos or emails directly to Security. It also provides instant alerts in case of campus closures, lockdowns or emergency situations, even when the app isn’t running.

The Mobile Safety app was released in collaboration with AppArmor, a developer of custom mobile safety applications and emergency notification systems for post-secondary and private institutions in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. AppArmor also partnered recently with the University of British Columbia, Georgian College, Centennial College and the University of Florida on similar safety resources.

“Their staff worked with us every step of the way to design exactly what we were looking for,” says Dave Clarke (shown above), Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at RRC.

RRC’s Mobile Safety app can be downloaded for free from the App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry World.

Learn more at the College’s Safety and Security Blog.

Province’s post-secondary institutions sign historic agreement advancing Indigenous education

December 21, 2015

image1Red River College helped make history last week, joining with every post-secondary institution in Manitoba — as well as the Manitoba School Boards Association — in signing the Indigenous Education Blueprint, an unprecedented commitment to advance Indigenous education in the province.

The transformational framework is the result of a new partnership between Manitoba’s public school boards and the post-secondary education sector, now united in their efforts to enhance Indigenous education and reconciliation, and to make Manitoba a global centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.

The Blueprint takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and will translate into success for Indigenous students and their families, thereby enriching the lives of all Manitobans.

“Indigenous youth are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. “They are our future — our future leaders, entrepreneurs and builders — and the next generation of our country. As colleges, we have a responsibility to work with other partners to continue to build upon our diverse range of post-secondary programs that support Indigenous learners on their educational journey.”

Next steps include such action items as establishing a steering committee with all signatories, creating a collaborative website and social media platform, and hosting a conference on Indigenous education.

The partners who met Friday to sign the historic Blueprint include RRC, the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, Canadian Mennonite University, University College of the North, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Assiniboine Community College and the Manitoba School Boards Association. Read More →

A season of ‘firsts’ for inaugural arrival under RRC Student Refugee Program

December 16, 2015

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Temperatures outside may be dropping, but Yves Ngendahimana — the first Red River College student to enrol as part of the newly-launched Student Refugee Program — is still enjoying the warmth of a Winnipeg welcome.

Ngendahimana, who arrived in Canada from the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, joined RRC’s student body through a sponsorship agreement and partnership with World University Services of Canada (WUSC).

After becoming a permanent Canadian resident in Toronto on Aug. 26, he made his way to Winnipeg, where he was greeted at the airport by RRC staff and members of the College’s local Student Refugee Program Committee.

Since then, he’s experienced a number of “firsts” — chief among them, a winter with actual snow — but says he’s feeling comfortably connected to the College community thanks to the efforts of the local SRP Committee, the RRC Students’ Association, and the College’s Campus Living office.

“My experience has been really awesome — there is a good family here,” says Ngendahimana, who’s currently studying Applied Accounting at RRC’s Exchange District Campus. “The College is a really good environment for studying and learning.” Read More →

Culinary students go hog wild at annual Manitoba Pork cook-off

December 15, 2015

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Red River College culinary students went whole hog on a recent kitchen competition that doubled as a mouthwatering showcase for locally sourced products from Manitoba Pork.

Last Friday at Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program took part in the 2015 Manitoba Pork Cook-off, a reality TV-style showdown in which they were tasked with creating dishes suitable for an upscale restaurant.

The annual event builds on the longstanding partnership between RRC and Manitoba Pork, and allows both partners to introduce new recipes for market, while showcasing innovative applied uses for Manitoba pork.

As part of the competition, students were asked to prepare an appetizer and an entrée, then present their dishes to a panel of judges consisting of Manitoba Pork reps, local chefs and RRC faculty.

The winning dishes are listed below: Read More →

College hours during Holiday Break 2015

December 4, 2015

Red River College will again operate on restricted holiday hours, effective noon on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015.

During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:

  • Dec. 24, 2015: Regular hours until 12:00 pm
  • Dec. 24-26, 2015: Closed (no access)
  • Dec. 27-31, 2015: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Jan. 1, 2016: Closed (no access)
  • Jan. 2-3, 2016: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Jan. 4, 2016: Resume regular hours, effective 7:00 a.m.

Lab access on the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses during the above hours will be limited to the classroom labs listed below. Students who are in one of the designated labs prior to closure will be given a four-hour grace period (until 4:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m., depending on the day) to complete their studies or projects before being asked to leave. Read More →

Cabinetmaking instructor receives Apprenticeship Manitoba honour

November 13, 2015

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A cabinetmaking instructor from Red River College has won a prestigious provincial training honour from Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Todd Birtwhistle received this year’s Instructor of the Year honour at the Manitoba Apprenticeship Awards of Distinction, which recognize excellence in training and education.

An employee at the college for the last eight years (and himself an alum of RRC’s Apprenticeship Cabinetmaker program), Birtwhistle picked up the award at a reception in Winnipeg on Nov. 5.

His students describe him as an excellent instructor who enables apprentices to develop technical skills and self-motivation by giving them the tools and information they need to succeed, while also allowing them to make mistakes and supporting them when they take on increasingly complex tasks.

In addition, he encourages his students to strive for excellence and to take responsibility for their own learning, while always being there to assist and answer questions.

Birtwhistle (shown above, working with Grade 9 students during RRC’s Take Our Kids to Work Day) is known for regularly arriving early to open the Carpentry shop for his class, and for staying late to help students master difficult concepts or tasks. Read More →

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