Princess Street Facility Becomes "The Roblin Centre"

March 3, 2011

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Jennifer Roblin speaking at the naming ceremony for The Roblin Centre.

Red River College’s facility at 160 Princess Street will now be known as The Roblin Centre, in honour of former Manitoba premier Duff Roblin, who played a crucial role in the College’s development.

The renaming was made official during a ceremony held at RRC’s downtown campus last Monday, during which Roblin was celebrated for helping to revitalize Manitoba’s education system — by building schools, introducing the current system of school boards, and helping to establish the community college model.

“We feel it’s important to recognize the critical role Premier Roblin played in the development of Red River College as one of Canada’s leading institute of applied learning,” said RRC’s President, Stephanie Forsyth.

The Roblin Centre is part of the College’s growing Exchange District campus, which also includes the nearby Massey Building on William Avenue, and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, opening in the old Union Bank Tower this September.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Roblin’s daughter, Jennifer Roblin, conveyed her family’s approval of the renaming, calling it “a huge honour and a tremendous tribute.”

“Education was Dad’s focal point in 1958 (when he became premier). It remained so throughout the premiership,” she told the paper. “He would be thrilled and humbled to know that this incredibly beautiful building is named after him.”

Manitoba’s 14th Premier, Roblin oversaw construction of the Red River Floodway (or “Duff's Ditch"), which has since saved Manitoba billions of dollars in estimated flood damages.
 
He was also a strong champion of education: establishing the current system of school divisions in Manitoba, promoting French language learning, and leading the drive to create a community college system. It was under his leadership, that RRC’s Notre Dame Campus was built in 1963.

Roblin was "a leader who had a vision for Manitoba’s future and took action to make his dreams a reality,” said the Honourable Rosann Wowchuk, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance.
 
Roblin's advocacy for community colleges in later years contributed to the creation of the College Expansion Initiative and the construction of RRC's Exchange District Campus.

Roblin passed away in May 2010.

 

RRC Resource Broadens Knowledge Base in Early Child Development

March 1, 2011

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In the realm of early childhood education, it’s estimated it currently takes 15 years for newly-discovered knowledge to be put into practice — in other words, the same length of time it takes for a baby to grow into a teenager.

But thanks to an ongoing partnership between Red River College and researchers from around the world — and the resulting multimedia resource, called The Science of Early Child Development (SECD) — kids might not have to wait that long to benefit from discoveries made in the field.

“There’s typically a 15-year gap between new knowledge and practice,” says Janet Jamieson, Academic Chair for Community Services at Red River College.

“This project aims to narrow that gap.”

The SECD project dates back about a decade, and was inspired by the work of Canadian researcher Dr. J. Fraser Mustard, an expert on the socioeconomic determinants of human development and health and others with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Working in partnership with Mustard and the University of Toronto’s Atkinson Centre — with funding from the Lawson Foundation, the World Bank, the Winnipeg Foundation and, most recently, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Geneva — the College collates research involving early brain development and population health, then translates it to an accessible online format that students and frontline workers can easily understand.

Read More →

Red River College Grad Advances to National Culinary Championships

March 1, 2011

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RRC grad Bryan Ursell (right), with Culinary Arts instructor Tim Appleton (left) and Sysco's Marketing Associate Sarah Anseeuw, at the Canadian Culinary Federation's 2011 Provincial Junior Culinary Challenge. (Photo courtesy 100 Acre Woods Photography.)

A recent Red River College grad will advance to the Canadian Culinary Federation’s national championships this summer, after serving up a smorgasbord of award-winning fare at a provincial competition last week.

Bryan Ursell, a recent Culinary Arts grad now working at Bergmann’s on Lombard, earned the gold medal at the CCFCC’s 2011 Provincial Junior Culinary challenge, held Thu., Feb. 24 at RRC’s Notre Dame campus.

Current RRC students Tasia Antoine and Claire Snowball earned silver and bronze medals, respectively.

In total, nine students took part in the annual contest, which requires entrants to prepare a three-course meal for eight, using ingredients from a list provided a month in advance.

Winners were selected by Kitchen Judges Melissa Hryb and Rain Ragalado — both RRC grads who’ve taken part in the Culinary Challenge in the past — and by Tasting Judges Ron Dobrinsky, President of the CCFCC in Winnipeg, Jon Hochman, Chef at the Lobby on York, and Luc Jean, a new RRC instructor who joins us from the Fairmont Hotel.

“It gives students a chance to improve their skills, first and foremost,” says event Chair (and Culinary Arts instructor) Tim Appleton. “They’ve got to think about menu design, they’ve got to think about work plans, and about the practical skills they’ll be utilizing. So it’s a very competitive thing.But really, you’re competing with yourself and your own abilities. That’s what excites them the most.”

Ursell moves on to the CCFCC National Junior Chefs Challenge, which will be held June 15, 2011, as part of the CCFCC National Convention in Vancouver.

RRC Curriculum Development Helps Northern Residents Address Housing Shortage

February 28, 2011

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A partnership between Red River College and the provincial arm of the Frontiers Foundation is helping residents of Northern Manitoba communities address a critical housing shortage in the region.

Through a recent enhancement and expansion of Frontier Foundation's Standing Tree to Standing Home program, First Nation residents in Manitoba are being provided with the skills and equipment required to fell trees, set up sawmills in their communities, and eventually construct their own houses.

The project was borne out of an observed need for improved housing on provincial reserves, and was developed through a partnership between Frontiers Foundation Manitoba (the local arm of an Ontario-based charitable organization that builds homes in Aboriginal communities), Red River College's Gimli Campus and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The College, for its part, was tasked with converting Frontiers Foundation's undocumented curriculum into five modules — including course outlines, skill checklists and tests — designed to help Northern residents get their own building program underway, using resources found in their own backyards.

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RRC Helps New Arrivals "Tap-In" to their Full Potential

February 17, 2011

Thanks to a continued partnership with Manitoba’s Immigration Centre, Red River College is helping recent arrivals to the province “tap in” to their full potential.

As part of the Immigration Centre’s aptly-named Tap-In Program, RRC (via the School of Continuing and Distance Education) provides training courses to low-income students working to improve their marketable skills.

The program is similar to flying standby on a commercial airline: Applications are submitted to program administrators two to three weeks prior to their start dates. If spaces are available, they’re allotted to Tap-In participants, who access the courses at a reduced fee.

Some clients are working towards certification, while others are just topping up their resumes, or upgrading their skills. To date, Tap-In clients have accessed upwards of $225,000 in training from post-academic institutions in Manitoba, while working towards careers in such fields as Applied Arts, Business and Management, Basic Computer, Community Services, Trades and Industrial, Health Sciences, French, Education, Information Technology, and Safety.

“It’s a partnership we’re extremely proud to be involved in,” says Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Immigration Centre in helping newcomers attain the education they need to provide a better life for themselves, and in helping with the supply of the skilled workforce in Manitoba.”

Not surprisingly, Tap-In participants are equally effusive.

“I am the kind of person that always wants to excel in my life, and one of my priorities has been my education,” says Miguel Rodriguez, a student from Colombia who’s currently enrolled in RRC’s Justice and Public Safety program. “Unfortunately, I have never attended college because of money restrictions … This is why I thank God that through Red River College and the Tap-In Program, I am achieving my dream.”

Click here for more information about the Tap-In Program.

Red River College Keeps Habitat for Humanity Fundraiser on the Road

February 14, 2011

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Volunteers unload bikes from a pre-makeover version of "The Dinosaur," during Habitat for Humanity's 2010 Cycle of Hope. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity.)

Students and staff in Red River College’s Transportation program have helped ensure a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser remains road-worthy — just the latest example of how the College builds community ties through its partnerships with not-for-profit groups.

In recent weeks, students and staff from RRC’s Body Shop and the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC) — under the supervision of Transportation Chair Neil Cooke — repaired, refurbished and repainted the bicycle-hauling trailer used in Habitat for Humanity’s annual Cycle of Hope fundraiser.

In addition to the new paint job, the trailer (affectionately known as “The Dinosaur” by Habitat insiders) also boasts new lights, new reflectors and a number of mechanical repairs — all courtesy of Red River College, with contributions from project partners Imperial Paint & Supplies and Derrick’s Sandblasting & Painting.

“It’s Habitat for Humanity — they do so much for the community, and they do so much for groups of people who really need the help,” says Cooke. “It’s really great that our staff and students had the opportunity to help them out.”

Click here for more information about RRC’s Transportation programs.

Click here for more information about Habitat for Humanity.

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Above: Habitat for Humanity's new and improved hauling trailer.

Helping Kids Explore Career Options

February 3, 2011

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(Above: Career Trek participant Sara Mensah, a student at Arthur E. Wright School in Winnipeg, takes part in a Career Trek session at Red River College.)

Still not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t worry, kids – you’re not alone.

According to the founder of Career Trek, a local not-for-profit organization that helps young people explore their post-secondary educational options, a staggering number of high school students still don’t have any clue what to do with the rest of their lives

“You’ve got kids making critical life decisions that are going to completely affect their future, and we’ve done nothing to position them to make intelligent choices,” says Career Trek’s Executive Director, Darrell Cole.

“But imagine if we could construct a system where people actually tried things before they committed to them.”

That’s where Career Trek can help: Now in its 15th year, the initiative was launched to help young people understand the value a post-secondary education can bring to their lives, and to equip them with the knowledge required to tap into their full potential, while making informed decisions about their futures.

After being nominated by their schools, participants aged 10 and up spend an academic year’s worth of Saturdays visiting the major post-secondary institutions in Manitoba, where they’re exposed to a wide variety of courses and career options. Here at Red River College (on the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Aviation campuses), Career Trek participants receive hands-on training in a range of vocations, including journalism, carpentry, culinary arts and electrical engineering.

By explaining which high school courses typically serve as pre-requisites for those same fields of study or training, Cole and his Career Trek colleagues help to demystify a process that has for decades left many students struggling.

“We get to these kids early, so that by the time they get to high school, they’ve had some significant exposures to their future,” says Cole. “They’re gaining something we don’t usually have until we’re adults, which is hindsight.”

For more information on Career Trek, see www.careertrek.ca.

Red River College to Host Open House 2011

January 12, 2011

Openhouse

On Feb. 22nd and Feb. 23rd, Red River College will open its doors to prospective students from throughout the province, as part of annual Open House events aimed at showcasing the best the College has to offer.

From noon - 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Feb. 22nd, and again from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Feb. 23rd, attendees will have the chance to learn about the wide variety of programs and services available at RRC, by touring our Winnipeg campuses, speaking with staff and instructors, and taking part in information sessions and other interactive events.

“There really is something for everyone at Open House,” says Student Recruitment Officer Jennifer Powell of the event. “Visitors will learn that an education at Red River College is an excellent way to launch their career, whether they are students coming directly out of high school, or those wishing to further their careers or change direction.”

The Open House is aimed not just at potential students, but also parents, teachers and guidance counselors, all of whom are invited to seek the resources they need to assist in making decisions about post-secondary and career paths.

“Making the decision of where to go to school is sometimes tough,” explains Student Recruitment Officer Clint Thiessen. “I feel that one of the best ways to find out if Red River College is the place for you is to attend Open House and meet with an academic advisor, or take a personalized campus tour. Red River College staff are here to help you with you transition into college, and then into the workforce.”

At RRC’s Notre Dame campus, attendees can head to the North Gym to peruse displays and kiosks representing more than 110 full- and part-time programs. Scheduled tours of the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Campuses will also take place throughout the duration of the event, with complimentary shuttle services available to transport students from campus to campus.

For more information, visit www.rrc.ca/openhouse.

Automotive Students Raise Scholarship Funds

December 17, 2010

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Centre, foreground: Neil Cooke, Chair of Transportation, Math & Science at RRC; and Joyce Sobering, Vice-President, Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., with the team that assembled the 1965 Cobra.

Students from Red River College's Automotive Department have found a new way to re-invest in the community, by using their skills to raise money for a local philanthropic group's scholarship fund.

Over the last year and a half, a team of students and instructors from RRC's Automotive program used their combined mechanical know-how to assemble a 1965 Cobra AC Replica Kit Car, which was supplied by the Red River Exhibition Foundation (the philanthropic arm of the Red River Exhibition Association).

The Foundation, in turn, was able to raffle off the car, putting the more than $40,000 in proceeds towards a scholarship program that helps individuals complete their post-secondary educations. Scholarship funds are used to support five industry sectors: Aerospace, Agriculture & Agri-Food, Automotive, Business, and Tourism.

On Tue., Dec. 14th, 2010, staff and students at the College were joined by Joyce Sobering of Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., one of the Foundation's founders. Sobering said the Cobra project had a number of objectives: To showcase the skills and achievements of RRC students and instructors, to serve as a recruitment strategy for the automotive industry, and to raise funds to support all five of the Foundation's industry sectors.

"I think both the instructors and the students did a phenomenal job," said Sobering. "I was very impressed, not only with the finished product, but also with the time they committed to the project, and with their enthusiasm and skills."

Click here for more information about the Red River Exhibition Foundation.

Instructors Honoured at Appreciation Reception

December 15, 2010

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Instructor Bob Chamberlain (left), accepts the School of C+DE's first-ever Teaching Excellence Award, as Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of C+DE, looks on.

Red River College shone a spotlight on some of its most important contributors last week, during the School of Continuing + Distance Education’s annual Instructor Appreciation Reception.

The event, which drew close to 200 attendees, gave staff members at the College a chance to pay tribute to C+DE’s pool of instructors, many of whom balance their teaching responsibilities with real-world industry jobs during the day.

“Tonight is our opportunity to say thank-you and to show appreciation for everything that our instructors do throughout the year,” said Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of C+DE.

“You help our students achieve their goals, and you help our students to be successful.”

Thibeault was joined at the speaker’s podium by David Leis, Vice-President of Business Development at RRC, and Stephanie Forsyth, the College’s President and CEO. Both spoke of the significant impacts that RRC instructors have on the lives of their students.

“This side of the College is so filled with that entrepreneurial spirit of creativity and integrity that is so great to be around,” said Forsyth.

“It’s like there’s this secret side of the College — a shadow side of the College — that comes alive at nights and on weekends. You’re really making a difference — both to students, and to industry here in Manitoba.”

As part of the reception, organizers paid tribute to instructors marking their 10th, 20th and 25th year of service with the College. They also honoured longtime instructor Bob Chamberlain — described by students as a “toasted marshmallow” (crusty on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside!) — with the first-ever Teaching Excellence Award.

Those recognized at the event included: Clara Baricz, Carlos Clark, Arnold Evans, Sandie Foster, James Hayes, Nancy Hughes, Suzanne Kelly, Phillip Klassen, Harold Klause, Daniel Larson, Dennis Mitchell and Bradley Schellenberg (10 years); Wayne Bemister, Leon Wartzaba and David A. Bibby (20 years); and Otto Gebhardt and Maureen Olafson (25 years).

Click here for more information about the School of Continuing + Distance Education.