More students than ever before are pursuing their education at Red River College without ever having to set foot on campus.
Participation in the College's distance education courses hit an all-time high of more than 4,600 registrations in 2008/09. This marked a 15.3% increase over 2007/08, and follows several years of consistent growth.
College officials say increased awareness of distance education options, enhanced use of online learning technologies, and an expanded line-up of courses have driven the enrolment growth.
"The majority of our distance education students are employed full-time. Their primary reason for pursuing additional training is to obtain a certificate or diploma, and distance education gives them the flexibility to do that on their own schedule," explained Rae-Ann Thibeault, Dean of RRC's School of Continuing & Distance Education.
RRC currently offers 13 certificates, two post-graduate certificates and two diplomas entirely by distance education. Students can also combine distance and in-class learning to pursue several dozen more certificate options.
Several hundred former Red River College students visited the Exchange District Campus -- some for the first time -- to celebrate at a special Alumni Wine & Cheese on September 29th.
The event was a good opportunity for former classmates to reconnect, and for our alumni community to learn more about some of the exciting work being done at the College, and our plans for expansion at both the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses.
"I guess good advice for any young person that's thinking about becoming a chef is definitely to consider cooking school, and you've got a great one right here in town, Red River College," he says. "That's certainly a good career move."
Red River College's enrolment figures have hit yet another record high, with 3.3% more full-time students on campus this fall compared to last year.
Growth has taken place across all student categories, including significant jumps in Advanced Diploma (+17.7%), Certificate (+9.9%) and Apprenticeship (+8.0%) enrolments.
Full-time enrolment is also up 16.8% at RRC's five regional campuses, located in Steinbach, Portage la Prairie, Gimli, Winkler and Peguis/Fisher River.
While students are increasingly seeing the value of an applied education, College officials say finding somewhere to put them all is a growing challenge.
"For several years now we've been operating essentially full," explained Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President of Red River College. "Through creative scheduling and program delivery we've managed to make room, but the time has come to expand the College to meet student and industry demand."
RRC is currently pursuing several projects to expand capacity for students and for applied research projects, including:
Construction of a new Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre.
Development of a modern skilled trades centre at the Notre Dame Campus.
Restoration of the Union Bank Tower to become the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, a student residence and a new home for RRC's culinary and hospitality programs.
Relocation of the Language Training Centre to the Massey Building in the Exchange District.
The College expects to release information about continuing and distance education enrolments later this week.
This event -- which has teams competing against each other to see who can move a commercial aircraft the fastest using just people power -- is the kickoff for the United Way's 2009 Campaign.
This year's Campaign Chair is RRC President Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, who can be seen in this photo leading the Campaign Cabinet team in their plane pull attempt.
The fundraising goal for this year's United Way Campaign is $18,218,778. Zabudsky announced on Friday that the organization is already well on its way toward that target, as over $7 million has already been raised.
John Gale, a 1980 graduate of Red River College's Mechanical Engineering Technology program, is being called the "Donald Trump of Kenora" for his ambitious plans to turn the Northwestern Ontario city into a vacation mecca.
As mentioned in a recent Winnipeg Free Press profile, Gale has plans to oversee up to $1 billion in development in Kenora, including a five-star resort and conference centre, a theme park, new lakefront cottage lots and an RV park.
Gale is making his bold move into real estate development following a successful career in the diamond drilling industry. In the 1980s Gale helped develop a new technology for diamond drilling, and eventually became a 50% owner in Winnipeg-based drill manufacturer Dimatec Inc. He sold his stake in the company last year.
Developed by veteran police officer Jeff Quail, the Shocknife is a tool
used to train law enforcement officials how to deal with edged weapon
attacks. Similar in appearance to a real knife, the device delivers an
electric charge that simulates the pain associated with a knife wound,
but leaves no permanent damage.
RRC electronics instructor Alex McIlraith worked with product designers to miniaturize the Shocknife’s electronics to fit inside a typical size knife casing. He also re-engineered the product so it could be powered by a single nine-volt battery.
Since being launched in 2006, Shocknives have been sold to customers around the world, including the FBI, the Norwegian Military Academy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Special protection Group that guards India’s prime Minister. The product has also been covered extensively in publications serving the law enforcement and military industries, and was featured on the Discovery Channel.
In appreciation of the role RRC played in developing the product, Shocknife, Inc. previously donated several pieces of equipment for use in the College’s electronics programs.
James Allardice, a 1988 graduate of Red River College's Hotel & Restaurant Management program, was recently elected to a two-year term as President of the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association.
Allardice is currently the managing partner of the Boston Pizza franchise in Selkirk, MB, and is a partner in the chain's downtown Winnipeg location.
Red River College grad Cameron Dueck (Creative Communications) has taken the notion of a summer sailing trip to a whole new level.
He's currently at the halfway point of a 7,000 nautical-mile expedition from Victoria, BC to Halifax, NS via the Northwest Passage. As of August 23rd, Dueck and the four-member crew of the Silent Sound were near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut.
The purpose of the voyage is to highlight the impact climate change is having on Canada's Arctic. From openpassageexpedition.com:
Climate change is causing temperatures in the Arctic to rise twice
as fast as elsewhere on the globe. The sea ice has melted so rapidly
that the Northwest Passage has been open water during the past two
summers. The warming climate is forcing Arctic communities and wildlife
to adjust their lifestyles to survive.
To explore these
dramatic changes taking place the 40-foot sailing yacht Silent Sound
will embark on a voyage that five years ago was nearly impossible for
amateur sailors....The goal of this expedition is to
use written word, video and photos to tell the story of how climate
change is affecting Arctic communities.