Red River College has announced new and enhanced programs — and more supports for Indigenous learners than ever before — as part of its strategic plan to grow its student population and chart a bold, new path forward for Indigenous Education.
“Red River College is proud to be a key signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, and we are fully committed to providing the student-centred and culturally relevant supports necessary to help aspiring students successfully transition from community to classroom to career,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.
“Over the last year, we have been working to create better access to programs, new training opportunities, and more pathways to post-secondary education for our Indigenous learners. We have taken important steps forward as a College community to grow and provide our students with the wrap-around supports and services they need to succeed.”
This fall, the College will launch five new programs for Indigenous learners:
- ACCESS Health Pathway Program
- ACCESS Engineering Pathway Program
- Social Enterprise Diploma Program
- Indigenous Languages Certificate Program
- Indigenous Culinary Skills Certificate Program
ACCESS programs provide learners with preparatory, exploratory and transitional experience, while the remaining three programs aim to grow Indigenous representation within their respective sectors. The culinary program, for example, will provide courses aimed at developing fundamental culinary and business skills, and will include a cultural component and land-based curriculum. The social enterprise program will focus on the principles of economic reconciliation and how it relates to the Canadian social economy. It will help students address and solve challenges in urban or rural communities.
The College also worked very closely in consultation with internal and community stakeholders to create an infrastructure that reflects the growth of Indigenous Education at RRC, and is more agile and responsive to the needs of learners. This has resulted in the development of 12 new positions, including two Navigators, Academic and Enrollment Coaches, a Transition to Employment Coach, and a Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement Manager.
“Everything we do as a College is ultimately about the success of our students. As Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, we are taking the lead to create more pathways to post-secondary education, deliver innovative and relevant programming, and ultimately, increase graduation rates among Indigenous students,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
These new programs and supports for Indigenous students build on the many positive initiatives and milestones Red River College has celebrated in the last year, including:
- Opening the College’s first Sweat Lodge at the Notre Dame Campus.
- Opening a new Indigenous Student Support Centre at the Roblin Centre to better support those studying at the Exchange District Campus.
- Creating two new Anishinaabemowin language courses to support the growth of Indigenous language revitalization in Manitoba schools and advance reconciliation efforts in our province.
- Taking training outside of the traditional classroom and offering two new community-based skilled trades programs to students in Lake Manitoba and Sagkeeng First Nations.
Redeveloping and expanding our ACCESS programs to better meet the needs of students, and to provide opportunities to enrol in a wider range of offerings including new streams in Health and Engineering.
Like father, like daughter.
Ellowyn Nadeau, an instructor of Red River College’s Construction Management degree program, has engineering in her blood. Her dad, the late Dr. Alexander Thornton-Trump, was a long-time professor in the mechanical engineering department at University of Manitoba.
“My guidance counsellor in high school said ‘Oh, you’re good at math and science. You have to go into engineering.’ So, you know, 17, 18 years old, go with the flow, right?” Nadeau says with a laugh.
“I ended up taking civil engineering versus mechanical because I didn’t want to be taught by my dad. That’s just not right!”
Despite her initial aversion, Nadeau remains well-versed in the family vocation.
After obtaining a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from U of M in 1994, she started her professional engineering career a year later at Wardrop Engineering. Since then, she’s gained a wealth of experience in engineering and construction, having held such titles as preventative maintenance inspector at Winnipeg School Division, assistant manager of purchasing services at U of M, and project director at Stuart Olson.
Nadeau also earned her Supply Chain Management Professional designation in 2010.
“I really like being able to pass on my industry knowledge to the students, giving them a very practical look at what the expectations will be of them once they start working full-time,” says Nadeau, who began teaching at RRC in October 2015.
“I’m giving them tricks of the trade in a lot of cases. I tell them, ‘You know what? I’m passing on information to you that took me five to seven years in the industry to figure out. So you guys are going to get a leg up.’
“I just love that (my students) seem to have a passion for the same industry that I do.” Read More →
An expanded urban beekeeping program, a renewed focus on active transportation, and two LEED Gold-designated buildings are just three of the initiatives that landed Red River College on Canada’s Greenest Employer list for the eighth straight year.
The annual award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs, which continue to engage staff in sustainability efforts — on campus and at home. In surveys conducted over the past two years, 90 per cent of RRC staff and faculty said they believe sustainability needs to be a priority in all College operations. The topic continues to be a key strategic priority for RRC, and is a fundamental part of the College’s Strategic Plan.
“Through the efforts of our Sustainability Office, and the commitment of our entire College community, RRC continues to be a champion of sustainability in Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“Every day on campus there are innovating and engaging activities that create a sustainable culture and educate our staff and students about the roles they can play. Everything from pledging to power down over Earth Day, to learning about the energy reduction methods we use in our state-of-the-art buildings, to engaging in active transportation strengthens our overall commitment to sustainability.”
Last summer, RRC expanded its urban beekeeping initiative in partnership with Beeproject Apiaries. Three hives were installed on the rooftop of the Notre Dame Campus, complementing the three hives put in place on the fourth-floor patio of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute the prior year.
The new hives doubled RRC’s seasonal yield to more than 150 kilograms of honey, which is used as an ingredient in Culinary Arts and Professional Baking programs, and is sold at the College-run farmers markets held throughout the year. Read More →
The Province of Manitoba is helping Red River College reach new heights in aviation and aeronautics training by supporting the acquisition of its successful Stevenson Campus, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.
“Our government recognizes the leadership shown by Red River College in the purchase of their campus property, where they provide essential training for Manitobans in a skilled and high-demand industry,” says Wishart.
“This is a fiscally responsible plan that will help ensure many more people can pursue a career in aeronautics and learn in an exceptional environment with industry leaders and experts.”
The provincial government enabled the purchase of the Stevenson Campus by approving RRC’s plan to borrow up to $8 million to acquire the previously leased facility. (The College requires government approval to borrow, as set out by The Red River College Act.)
By purchasing the campus from its landlord, Hubert Kleysen, RRC will save nearly $1 million over the term of the mortgage and will have greater flexibility to grow and adapt its renowned aviation and aeronautics programs.
“Red River College works shoulder-to-shoulder with industry to deliver cutting-edge training at our Stevenson Campus, and to provide students with the job-ready skills they need to compete here at home, and on a national and global stage,” says RRC President Paul.
“By acquiring our campus – with the support of the provincial government – we will continue to provide strong workforce training for Manitoba’s aerospace and aviation sector, which is one of the largest in Canada. This move will make us more agile and ensure that we are successful for generations to come.” Read More →
The soup’s on at Manitoba Hydro Place this Wednesday, when Red River College Culinary Arts students will join 11 other local chefs and restaurant staff for the sixth annual Stone Soup Fundraiser supporting the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.
Chef and instructor Karl Oman, together with Culinary Arts students Sophie Thibodeau and Colin Stone, will serve up a newly created ‘Holiday Sweet Potato Turkey’ soup, a cream-based concoction packed with turkey and cranberry flavours that was prepared by 17 first-year students who are currently learning short-order cooking.
The soup will be paired with a stuffing-flavoured focaccia bread created by students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program.
“The Stone Soup Fundraiser is a great opportunity for our students to work together and to apply their learning and culinary skills to make a difference for those in need,” says Oman.
“This is just one of the many ways we work to give back to the community. Whether it’s through our work with Siloam Mission, or delivering the After-School Leaders Program for at-risk youth, we’re a community partner and we’re very proud to help encourage people to come down, try some delicious student-made soup and support such an important cause.”
The event will run from 11:15am – 1:15pm in the Hydro building’s main gallery. Judges will be present to sample all the soups and select a winner, and the public is also invited to select a favourite for the People’s Award. The cost is $10 per person, which includes samples of soup from three participating chefs or restaurants.
Winnipeg Jets senior executive Craig “Zinger” Heisinger will trade the hockey rink for the presenter's podium this week, when he meets with College students and staff to discuss his personal connection with mental health, and why he feels it’s so important to keep the conversation going.
Heisinger’s noon-hour visit on Tuesday is part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, established four years ago to create a healthy College community, enhance mental health literacy, and better meet the mental health needs of students, staff and faculty.
“We are honoured to have such a well-known and respected member of the hockey community — and the mental health community — here to help us keep the conversation about mental health awareness going on campus,” says Breanna Sawatzky, RRC’s Mental Health Coordinator.
“Events like this are an integral part of our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, because they let those who may be struggling know they are not alone, and there are supports available. Mental illness knows no boundaries — it affects all of us, from post-secondary students to NHL hockey players.”
Heisinger is the Senior Vice-President & Director, Hockey Operations, and the Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. He was close with Manitoba Moose forward Rick Rypien, who struggled with mental illness and ultimately died in 2011.
Rypien’s legacy lives on through the True North Youth Foundation’s Project 11 and through Zinger, who visits local schools throughout the year, sharing Rick’s story and raising awareness of mental health. Read More →
Red 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 →
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 →
Just 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 →
Over 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 →