Repeating a tradition first established last fall, organizers of RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) welcomed a special addition to the College community yesterday.
Members of the program’s Local Committee were joined by RRC executive and staff from Diversity and Intercultural Services, to greet Wasim Alkabani (above), the second student to arrive at the College under a sponsorship with the SRP, an initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC).
Now a permanent Canadian resident, Wasim arrived from Lebanon on Monday afternoon. Fluent in both English and Arabic, he’ll begin his Applied Accounting studies at the Exchange District Campus.
Born in Syria and raised mostly in Dubai, Wasim has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Damascus University. He’s interested in a career in business or finance — just like his SPR predecessor, Yves Ngendahimana (below, at right), who arrived last fall from Malawi as the program’s first sponsored student. Read More →
A Red River College grad burned rubber and blazed a new trail over the weekend, becoming the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race.
Amber Balcaen (Business Administration, 2013) drove her No. 10 Lee Pulliam Performance car straight into the history books Saturday night, pulling from the pack to capture the checkered flag at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia.
The 24-year-old had previously found success on the local dirt track circuit, becoming the first woman in Manitoba to win a championship and carrying on the family tradition established by her father and grandfather, both accomplished racers in their own right.
Saturday’s win came during the second-last race of Balcaen’s rookie season on U.S. pavement, and bumped her to a third-place seat in the overall point standings. She’s earned top-five rankings in 10 out of 13 races this season, including podium finishes in the Limited Sportsman class of NASCAR’s Whelen All-America Series.
In a 2014 interview for RRC’s Going Places blog, Balcaen said her college experience gives her an edge over some of her racing-world competitors, especially when it comes to marketing herself and securing sponsorships.
“Not only is racing a sport, but it’s almost like a business where you need to be that full package,” she said then. “You need to be able to speak to people, you need to be professional, and then on the driving side of things, you need to be physically fit so you’re a good driver.”
Read more about Balcaen’s road to NASCAR.
Red River College’s downtown dormitory is home to more than just students this summer. The rooftop patio at Paterson GlobalFoods Institute is also the new seasonal home of our very own buzz-worthy urban beehives.
A fixture at PGI since early July, the three hives each house between 40,000 and 50,000 European honeybees, a docile but still industrious breed expected to produce up to 75 kilograms of honey by this fall.
Until that time, they’re being tended to by Beeproject Apiaries’ Chris Kirouac (shown above) and Lindsay Nikkel, a husband-and-wife team of former nurses who describe their sticky venture as a DIY hobby gone wild, and with whom RRC’s Sustainability department struck a honey of a partnership earlier this year.
The resulting initiative is a perfect match with the College’s mandate on sustainable practices, offering environmental benefits (via the pollination of nearby greenspaces) and the opportunity to add another locally sourced food product to RRC’s menu — one that arrives at the table in very nearly its natural state.
“Honey is one of those amazing foods that’s better the less refined it is,” says Kirouac, noting the harvested honey is bottled in a CFIA-inspected facility, but not pasteurized or refined in any way. “The quality and safety of honey — right when you crack the hive and stick your finger in there — means it’s good to go, just the way it is.”
Once extracted, the honey will be used by students in PGI’s culinary labs (including in the kitchen of restaurant Jane’s), and by Food Services departments at all three Winnipeg campuses. It’ll also be available for purchase at College events throughout the year, including a new farmer’s market planned for the Notre Dame Campus this fall. Read More →
Do you have a knack for problem solving?
Are you an expert on management and business processes — or specialized trades such as hospitality, health sciences and construction — willing to mentor and instruct others on how to best improve their own practices?
Red River College’s Corporate Solutions department is seeking instructors and subject matter experts in a variety of fields — everything from leadership, analysis and conflict resolution to software, life sciences and sales management techniques.
Suitable candidates will be called upon to impart their expertise through classroom instruction, workshops and seminars, allowing Corporate Solutions to continue its tradition of responding to industry needs by providing made-to-measure solutions for corporate, government and non-profit clients.
“We are constantly looking for subject matter experts to work on contract, develop specialized curriculum and deliver customized solutions,” says Bill Rutherford, Corporate Solutions Manager at RRC. “Our contracts vary in length from a few days to several weeks. If you have specialized skills, love variety in the work you do and enjoy a fast-paced environment, we would love to hear from you.” Read More →
In the northwest corner of Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, there’s a peaceful retreat students and instructors can explore when they need a break from the hustle and bustle of classes. A loop of trees, small boulders and benches encloses another circle of coloured bricks, the quarters of which align with the four points of a compass.
The College’s Medicine Wheel Garden isn’t just a quiet pavilion, however. The Indigenous symbol at its heart emphasizes different concepts for different people — the four seasons, the journey from birth to old age, and the meeting of different nations. It’s a familiar image for young people who may have moved hundreds of miles from their home communities in order to attend College.
“The medicine wheel is certainly an important symbol to Indigenous people of North America,” says Dr. Mark Aquash, RRC’s Dean of Indigenous Education, who uses the medicine wheel as a tool for teaching students from any cultural perspective. “The Indigenous worldview is an important perspective today, as we are now feeling the impact of disrespecting Mother Earth and damaging our fragile ecosystems. Understanding the Indigenous worldview is learning about respect.”
In keeping with RRC’s strategic priority to advance Indigenous achievement over the next five years — weaving knowledge, philosophy, perspectives and content into programming and campus culture — a sweat lodge and change rooms will be installed at the same site this summer, marking the first step in the College’s ceremonial grounds expansion plan.
“There are several phases,” says Mark Wills, the project manager overseeing the build and a 17-year veteran of previous RRC expansions. “The committee involved has plans to extend the ceremonial grounds for powwows, and to set up sites for tipis and other structures.”
“The change rooms will be permanent, but the actual sweat lodge structure will be erected per use. They’re relatively simple, just a structure made of willow branches lashed together to create a shell. That’s covered by canvas, which I understand the elders will set up and take down themselves.” Read More →
Red River College’s 2015 billboard campaign has attracted some international recognition, scoring a prestigious award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Earlier this month, it was announced RRC’s “Our Grads Get Hired” promotion had won a CASE Circle of Excellence Award (Silver) in the category of Best Advertising Campaign.
The Circle of Excellence is a global awards competition judged by peer institutions from around the world. This year, CASE received 3,356 entries from 10 different countries,
“We are honoured to be recognized by our peers around the globe,” says Christian Robin, RRC’s Director of Marketing and Web Presence. “To be in the company of institutions like Boston University and the University of Melbourne demonstrates once again that Red River College punches well above its weight.”
“Our campaign certainly was innovative — nothing like it had ever been done before, and now I’m working with colleges and universities across Canada to replicate its success in their communities.”
Launched last spring by RRC’s Marketing and Web Presence team, the campaign built on the success of previous alumni-focused promotions, by inviting industry partners to collaborate with the College in showcasing the range of organizations where graduates find employment.
Employers were invited to nominate VIPs from within their organizations, and to share in the cost of promoting their employees’ success on billboards, bus benches, transit ads and other print and digital media. Read More →
Red River College and the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology will explore new ways to provide programs and services that benefit learners, employers and communities, having signed a memorandum of understanding today that renews their commitment to partnerships and shared resources.
“This new agreement builds on the strengths of MITT and RRC by growing the relationship between both of our institutions,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Not only will today’s commitment support our work in driving our province’s skilled trades agenda, but it will put us in a position to collaborate on initiatives that help all students succeed, including Indigenous, newcomer and international students. This evolving relationship between our institutions will continue to allow us to provide meaningful and rewarding educational opportunities and pathways for students.”
The MOU reaffirms the institutions’ commitment to working cooperatively to provide programs, improve pathways and expand services throughout Manitoba.
The MOU further states that both RRC and MITT will examine ways that each institution can share resources — including but not limited to facilities, equipment, curriculum and faculty expertise — while also supporting economic and social development initiatives to boost opportunities for Manitoba’s Indigenous and international students.
“The signing of the MOU demonstrates the commitment of both colleges to work together to the benefit of our students,” says MITT President Paul Holden. “We have to continue to encourage these forms of agreements across the post-secondary system. Whether that be between universities and colleges, or between a college and another college as is the case here, students need the opportunity to take what they have learned and see it recognized as they pursue advanced studies in other institutions in Manitoba.”
Both RRC and MITT are known for developing quality programs that are responsive to Manitoba’s evolving economic conditions and labour market. Both institutions have agreed to meet regularly to identify opportunities to work collaboratively and identify opportunities for mutual partnerships, with a goal of increasing credential portability in Manitoba’s post-secondary environment, while supporting each institution’s larger goals.
Shown above: Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic and Research, RRC; Paul Holden, President and CEO, MITT; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC; and Ray Karasevich, Vice-President Academic, MITT.
New funding for Red River College’s Science of Early Child Development program will help explore the impact of improved language and literacy skills on vulnerable children and their caregivers.
The nearly $234,000 in funding — from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Community and College Social Innovation Fund — will support new research to understand how changing at-risk children’s education environments can have a positive ripple effect on the adults around them.
The College will use the funds to expand current work studying the Abecedarian Approach, an internationally recognized intervention that creates a play-based, language-focused environment to promote development in at-risk kids from birth to age five.
“We believe an important part of the story is missing where the research focus is solely on child outcomes,” says Janet Jamieson, research chair for RRC’s Health Sciences and Community Services department. “While a child’s world is shaped by their environment and those around them, it should not be ignored that they in turn can have important impacts on those external elements.”
While there are plenty of studies demonstrating the success of the Abecedarian Approach on child development, very little has been documented on the effects had on adult caregivers of children enrolled in the program.
The College’s research is expected to play a meaningful role in informing policy, through insights into how evidence-based interventions with children in impoverished and challenged neighbourhoods could have positive impacts on families and communities. Read More →
Two Red River College students will represent Team Canada at next year’s World Skills Competition in Abu Dhabi, having earned medals at the recent nationals round in New Brunswick.
Ashley Weber (Car Painting) and Silas Meeches (CNC Machining) are two of three Manitoba students who medalled in their categories at the Olympic-style Skills Canada National Competition in Moncton from June 5–8.
Meeches, a current RRC student, and Weber, who’ll join the fold this fall, were among 17 RRC students who advanced to the national team after winning gold medals in the provincial competition held at the College’s Notre Dame Campus in April. In Moncton this month, Manitoba students and apprentices earned 19 medals overall — four gold, nine silver and six bronze.
“Competition is intense, and the training and preparation our students put in throughout the year really paid off,” says Maria Pacella, executive director of Skills Canada Manitoba. “It’s this level of excellence that will help to build Manitoba future workforce needs in the area of skilled trades and technology.”
Next year’s Skills Canada National Competition will take place at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg from May 31 to June 3. The event will draw more than 1,800 delegates from across Canada, including more than 500 students from each province and territory, to compete in nearly 50 trades and technology skills areas.
Classes may be winding down for the summer, but Red River College sits poised to enter a new era of post-secondary excellence, armed with an updated set of initiatives to guide its strategic direction and future growth for the next five years.
Following months of consultations with internal and external stakeholders — including a series of Open Café meetings (shown above) with staff and faculty from all campuses — the College has adopted newly-revised mission, vision and values statements, casting an aspirational eye towards sustainability, service to community, and global recognition.
Redrafted in tandem with RRC’s new Academic and Research Plan and pending five-year Strategic Plan (due this August), the new statements provide a roadmap for the College to follow, and a set of guidelines for all staff as they put policies into practice — both inside and outside the classroom.
“We don’t expect people to memorize them word for word, but hopefully to get to know them and understand what we are as an institution, and where we’re trying to go, so they can be part of the change,” says Cindee Laverge, vice-president, Student Services and Planning at RRC.
“It’s a way for people to help us achieve our strategic direction: through the mission and vision, to understand on a day-to-day basis what’s important to us, and through our values to understand how we work and play.” Read More →