Continuing to Create an Open an Inclusive Campus

July 7, 2014

I am pleased to announce that Red River College has a new application form that is gender inclusive. Now, when prospective students apply for programming at RRC they will no longer be limited in their to choice to self-identify.

Students will now be able to select if they are male, female, another gender identity (this may include Aboriginal two-spirit, transgender, and other), and they may also choose to decline to answer as well.

The decision to update our forms stemmed from our current activities that have been driven by Red River College’s LGBTT* Initiative. The LGBTT* Initiative is aimed at creating a respectful, supportive, and inclusive environment for our ever-expanding student population here at the College. When we reviewed our current practices we identified a new opportunity that would help us continue to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our students and prospective students.

This change also resulted from recognizing that we are an ever-evolving institution that needs to have the right tools available to allow our students and prospective students to decide how to self-identify and acknowledge the diverse gender identities that exist.

When we started going down this path to update our forms we wanted to be mindful of the needs of our students. So we began an extensive outreach initiative to ensure this was in fact the right course of action.

This past year was spent conducting a series of consultations with various stakeholders, both internally and externally, to ensure our direction was supported and wouldn’t affect the way we deliver other services to our students here at Red River.

These consultations included meetings with the Rainbow Resource Centre, Two-Spirited Manitoba, Manitoba Vital Statistics, Enrolment Services, Diversity and Intercultural Services, and Research and Planning

I am pleased to say that the final outcome has forged yet another new path here at Red River College. As our College continues to grow and evolve, we have a responsibility to continually meet the needs for our students and staff.

Thank you!

May 22, 2014

To the College Community

I would like to thank everyone who was worked tirelessly to plan and orchestrate the Royal Visit.  So many people were involved in making the Royal Highnesses time at RRC a success: staff, students and business partners.

People from England and from across Manitoba and Canada participated in the tour and frequently commented on the amazing food and logistics of the RRC staff.  It was wonderful to see RRC staff and students come together as a team and make this a truly memorable day in College history.

President Forsyth tours Prince Charles through The Roblin Centre at RRC's Exchange District Campus - PHOTO CREDIT: Ian McCausland

President Forsyth tours Prince Charles through The Roblin Centre at RRC’s Exchange District Campus – PHOTO CREDIT: Ian McCausland

I was very proud to tour the Royal Highnesses, the Prime Minister and his wife, through our Stevenson and Roblin Centre facilities, and to have the opportunity to showcase the amazing work of our staff and students. The planning, set-up, service, food and attention to detail was stellar. Thanks again to all of you.
I would love to hear the stories that you have from today’s events – please feel free to send me a note!  We will be sharing pictures of the day and if you have any you’d like to share, please forward them on as well.

Thank you!


Annual Conference | May 25-27, 2014 | Ottawa, Ontario

May 20, 2014

We’re now just days away from the annual ACCC conference and AGM (Twitter: #ACCC14)

This year’s Conference lineup includes some very interesting keynote speakers:

Jeffrey Selingo - LinkedIn

Jeffrey Selingo – LinkedIn

Jeffrey Selingo, an author, columnist, and speaker who has spent his journalism career covering colleges and universities worldwide.  His book, College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students, explores the college of tomorrow – how families will pay, what campuses will look like, how students will learn, and what skills will lead to success in the job market.

Lise Paiement

Lise Paiement

Lise Paiement, who, after a career in the field of education, is today a renowned speaker known for her charisma, enthusiasm, leadership and continuous involvement with Canada’s francophone communities. She has received several awards, including the Mérite franco-ontarien en éducation (AEFO), the Bernard-Grandmaître Award (AEFO) and the Prime minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. She recently published the book «Une goutte d’eau à la fois… vers un modèle pédagogique de responsabilisation et de leadership culturel en milieu minoritaire».

Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy is a trusted face and voice in Canadian media. His intellect and biting humour strike at the heart of today’s political and social issues. He appears on CBC’s The National and hosts CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup in addition to his role as a columnist for the National Post.

Hon. Jason Kenney

Hon. Jason Kenney

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, voted the “best overall” and “hardest working” MP by his colleagues in Maclean’s Magazine’s annual survey of parliamentarians.

Wab Kinew

Wab Kinew

Wab Kinew is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by Postmedia News as one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know.” He is the Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg. In 2012, he hosted the acclaimed CBC Television series “8th Fire.” His hip-hop has won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award and his journalism has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award, a Gabriel Award and he has been nominated for a Gemini Award. He has a BA in Economics and is a member of the Midewin.

Chantal Hebert

Chantal Hebert

As the National Affairs writer for the Toronto Star, Chantal Hebert is an influential voice on major national issues of the day. But what makes her perspective unique is that, more than any of her peers, she has immersed herself in French-English duality that defines this nation. Fluently bilingual, she is an outstanding choice for national conferences and able to provide insight into the many different cultures that make up Canada’s political reality.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada will deliver the conference closing address.

If you would like to watch most of the keynote speakers live via live-stream, courtesy of conference sponsor, Workbay, check out the ACCC website for schedule information.

President’s Message – May 2014

May 15, 2014

President's Message

May 2014 

Update on Leadership Development at Red River College 

Leadership development is a key focus of our Strategic Plan. Several leadership initiatives and projects have emerged since the launch of the Plan; all aimed at supporting, identifying, growing and strengthening our leaders and leadership practices at the College.

Our leadership strategy comprises a clearly articulated set of leadership competencies and leadership development programs namely, ENABLE and ENVISION. These programs assist existing and aspiring leaders to grow and expand their understanding of what leadership means at RRC. The strategy also actively promotes a culture that values and recognizes both formal and informal leaders at all levels.

Perhaps the most significant project to date has been the engagement of over 100 management staff to co-create a leadership vision. Through several discussion forums, this group considered the meaning of leadership and discerned what effective leadership should look like at RRC. Collectively- the group acknowledged that there are many styles, approaches and ways of understanding and practising leadership. Developing and clearly articulating our own unique leadership vision, one that expresses the College’s values, is aligned with our competencies, and clarifies common approaches considered appropriate to our vision – proved to be very meaningful.

This very successful process has resulted in a compelling leadership vision statement to which we all committed:

We lead through relationships that encourage and inspire us to learn, collaborate and innovate together. 

Embracing a shared leadership vision will assist us in not only supporting and developing new and existing formal leaders but will also help to bring greater clarity about our expectations of RRC leaders. The leadership vision calls all of us to a common, higher standard. It sets expectations that our leadership behaviors will be expressed through trusting, respectful and inclusive relationships. It stresses that RRC leaders must achieve results by aligning their actions and practises with the leadership vision and the College values.

The entire management team has committed to making positive strides towards achieving this vision.

In a rapidly changing, global environment, leadership means being up to the challenge – to work and adapt our approaches to be successful. This takes time. It involves intentional change. Managers may have experienced, or have been schooled in leadership practices that vary from what we are striving to model at RRC. In this vein, the leadership strategy is also a learning strategy. It may require learning, and in some cases, it may require some unlearning. Regardless, we must all strive to get there. The Executive Team is championing this change at the strategic level.

The leadership journey is unfolding and evolving in several areas of the College. Some of this work includes: the development of competencies and role profiles, succession planning, performance planning, leadership discussion forums, and pilot leadership programs. Bi-monthly forums of all managers are also being held to encourage learning conversations, to continue enhance working relationships and to improve manager’s ability to serve and support one another and staff as a whole.

With the vision of leadership clearly articulated, we should all experience, to various degrees, its impact. Evidence of the vision in action include: earning trust and respect, encouraging collaboration and engagement of staff, inspiring innovation and learning within our teams; being transparent and fully accountable. Shared leadership encourages us to: flatten decision-making; realize and clearly communicate that not every decision needs to be made by a formal leader; and, daily appreciate that great ideas are everywhere in the College.

Leadership matters to all of us. It is a key to our individual and organizational success and health as an organization. I invite you to have discussions with your respective managers about this shared journey, either individually or within your teams.

Update on Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) 

The recent announcement of legislation changing Winnipeg Technical College’s name to the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology intends to improve career pathways for high school students. I appreciate that the new name may cause concern to those working in trade and technology programs; but I am assured by the new President, Paul Holden, that MITT intends to work closely with RRC to avoid duplication, competition and the fragmentation of scarce resources.

The Executives of both RRC and MITT have met to establish collegial relationships with one another, and I will be meeting with Paul Holden next week to establish an MOU on how the two organizations will work cooperatively together in an effort to expand learning opportunities for Manitobans. It is my sincere hope that we can come to an agreement in writing quickly such that both institutions may collectively undertake and share education plans and explore ways in which to establish clear pathways for students from MITT to RRC programs.

Culinary Students Excel at 8th Annual Food Fight

May 12, 2014

At first read, the name of the 8th Annual culinary event – the Great Manitoba Food Fight (GMFF), may have conjured up long ago visions of pie-throwing contests, but thankfully that was far from the focus of this event!  Held at RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, the ‘fight’ featured 10 of Manitoba’s top food innovators in an intense competition to prove who has the best new product for 2014.

Red River College's Paterson GlobalFoods Institute

Red River College’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute

RRC’s Culinary Arts students were an integral part of the competition, challenged to create new recipes using each of the entrepreneur’s food products as a significant ingredient or base. The students’ new recipes were reviewed and rated by a panel of culinary judges – no small feat! Daniel Coombs won for his canapé using a new product, Naked Rolled Oats and pork tenderloin; second place went to Amy Smith for her use of Bessie’s Best Tapenade with pineapple and a soft, thyme-infused cheese; and third went to Ramina Ritual for using Viriginia Enriquez’s Fish Sausage in Fish Sliders.  Great creativity!

The fight for the best new innovative products resulted in 3 cash winners with our students being the first chefs to use the new food products that may be on the shelves soon!

Great Manitoba Food Fight winners: $13,000 to Jill Tanner for Jamore! Real Fruit Spread; $8,500 to Bessie Hatzitrifonos for Bessie’s Best Tapenade and $4,000 to Amy Nikkel, Adagio Acres brand Rolled Naked Oats (organic, gluten-free oats).

Plugging In – Successful Partnerships mean Real World Results

May 8, 2014
Excelsior - the new prototype electric bus. First electric bus for Winnipeg in 59 years

Excelsior – the new prototype electric bus. First electric bus for Winnipeg in 59 years

This year Red River College is celebrating a decade of innovation – ten years of partnerships in applied learning and research.

It is wonderful to reflect on the innumerable and innovative projects in which many staff and students have engaged – from market intelligence studies enabling small Manitoban businesses to expand into international markets, to early learning, to the recent announcement of the electric bus prototype and charging system. Our projects range from innovations that are having significant social impacts to high tech initiatives that are revolutionizing clean energy transportation systems.

 The Electric bus project publicly hit the streets of Winnipeg last week. A collaborative effort involving many partners – Manitoba Hydro, New Flyer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan, the Province of Manitoba, and the City of Winnipeg – this bus is the first of its kind in Canada.

It takes a collaborative team of people to bring a project like the electric bus from concept to implementation. A number of Red River College research staff, students and instructors were involved:

STAM: Alan Demler, Woody Eddie, Mark Blackner, Peter Kratzer, Wayne Dixon, Dan Banfield

SCET : David Bertin, Liting Han, Merkebu Abebe, George Kurowski

AR&C: Jose Delos Reyes, Garett Lins (former student), Cory Carson, Nicholle Power

Students (EET and MET): Garett Lins (before AR&C hired him), Tyler Hansen and Kristopher Walchuk

Administration: Neil Cooke, Tracey Dyer, Fred Doern, Don MacDonald, Nancy Wheatley, Bill Noakes, Haider Al-Saidi, Joe Carey, Alfonz Koncan and Ray Hoemsem

Over the past 10 years Red River College has developed a reputation of innovating, promoting and performing applied research in the sustainable transportation sector and many other sectors as well.  As a result, we have become a proud leader in applied research in this country.

My thanks and congratulations to all who were involved in the electric bus and charging system project, and to all of the many staff and students engaged in research projects throughout the College. You do us proud!

A Royal Visit to Red River College

April 30, 2014

If you haven’t heard the news, Red River College is one of the host sites for this year’s Royal visit, and we’re thrilled that the College has been offered this rare opportunity.

May 21 is a day we’re marking down on our calendars, as Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will be visiting RRC’s Stevenson Hanger along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen. May 21st will be the first opportunity the PM will have to officially welcome the Royal Couple to Canada.Prince of Whales and Duchess of Cornwall

What a great opportunity this is to show the Royals our state-of-the-art facility and tour them through our classrooms, training labs, and our impressive array of aircraft.

Over 700 grade six students will be joining us as well as the Royals and the Prime Minister tour the planned activities for AAiM Day (Aviation & Aerospace in Manitoba Day). AAiM Day is hosted annually at our Stevenson Campus. It gives young students the chance to learn how the aerospace industry works and to get a glimpse of the many career opportunities that exist. This will be a fun-filled morning that gives these students a chance to see Manitoba’s billion-dollar aerospace industry up close and a chance to meet the Royal Couple!

2002 - Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Premier Gary Doer, unveil a plaque commemorating the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

2002 – Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Premier Gary Doer, unveil a plaque commemorating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had the chance to host the Royals. What you may not know is that in 2002, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, took part in the grand opening of our Princess Street Campus (now called The Roblin Centre). It was one of many stops on the Queen’s tour of Canada to celebrate her Golden Jubilee, and RRC was extremely honoured to have him tour the facility, meet our students and staff, and be part of our history.



12 years later, we get to do it all again. Rarely does a college get the honour of hosting a Royal Visit, and that’s why were so excited to put our best feet forward!

Skilled Trades Training in Winkler

April 29, 2014

Last week, I had the pleasure of touring RRC’s Winkler Campus with Winkler Mayor Martin Harder and Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen. It was a great opportunity to let members of the community know that RRC is working to meet education and employment needs for the region.

I spent the late afternoon with Mayor Harder, where we talked about the need for more skilled trades training space in the area along with some ideas for a renewed RRC campus.

Pictured L-R (Keith Doerksen, Regional Manage, RRC Winkler Campus, Stephanie Forsyth, President & CEO, RRC, Jeremy Read, Welding Instructor, and MLA for Carmen-Winkler, Cameron Friesen)

Pictured L-R (Keith Doerksen, Regional Manager, RRC Winkler Campus, Stephanie Forsyth, President & CEO, RRC, Jeremy Read, Welding Instructor, and MLA for Carmen-Winkler, Cameron Friesen)

One of the solutions that the team in Winkler has provided to create more skilled trades educational opportunities, is the use of our state-of-the-art Mobile Training Labs. Currently, one of the College’s labs is being used, in Winkler, to provide welding training, which is a skill that is in high demand in many agricultural communities.

Since the program started it has been met with tremendous success.  Keith Doerksen, our Regional Manager at the Winkler Campus, told me that employers have their eyes on the students and eagerly awaiting graduation.

I believe that one of the many things that set Red River College apart from other post-secondary institutions is our hands-on learning environment. The advantage of the MTL is that it helps enhance and improve the applied learning environment that our regional campuses offer.

These classrooms allow many rural students to stay at home and get the proper training for community-based projects, and they can also be used to help with essential pre-employment training too. By taking our Mobile Training Lab to Winkler, it will help us continue to work to meet the educational demands that students in rural Manitoba are looking for.

President’s Memo

April 25, 2014

Recently, I have received numerous questions from staff; some relating to the projected deficit, some relating to staff departures and some asking what they can do to help counter a recent CBC media story (accompanied by some very supportive comments -thank you!). As a result, I felt it was very important for me to answer these questions and clarify some of the misinformation that is circulating.

Media Attention

We all dedicate a great deal of time and energy to Red River College and we can be proud of our efforts. We enjoy a strong reputation and we have many supporters and successful alumni that are testimony to our work. Unfortunately, last week, the CBC released a story with some erroneous information.

Communicating through the media does not allow for full context to a story, and I hope to clarify concerns generated by this recent media coverage. Like others, I am concerned with any media story that includes speculation and opinion without being supported by facts. CBC’s recent media report misrepresented the College’s financial situation and salary information, among other things.

Read More →

Innovation at Red River College

April 23, 2014

Robotics Lab at RRCI’m proud to be part of a college that innovates, and thanks to a generous new grant, Red River College will continue to innovate and grow.

This week, the College received more than $325,000 in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). $72,000 of these funds will go to our Electric Vehicle Training & Education Centre, and thanks to this contribution, we can continue to work with partners like Manitoba Hydro on many exciting projects like the all-electric transit bus.

Through our Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), Red River College is looking at ways to make buildings more energy-efficient. With more than $139,000 from NSERC, we’re going to build an air, water, and structural test chamber at CARSI. This new project allows us to extend our research and provide additional training.

These funds also allow us to flex our robotic muscles, as more than $116,000 in NSERC funds will support the development of various robotic tools. With support like this, Red River College continues to climb the ladder of innovation.