Instructor Profile

BRAVO: Roger Fitch is awarded for teaching excellence

April 25, 2018

Roger Fitch and Paul Vogt

Roger Fitch is an instructor of Red River College’s Administrative Assistant Certificate Program (AACP), and is the honoured recipient of the 2018 BRAVO award for Teaching Excellence.

As an award recipient of the highest level of recognition for RRC employees, Fitch is being recognized for his exemplary instructional qualities and for making an outstanding contribution to both the AACP and its students.

Fitch embodies a teaching style second-to-none; he thoroughly prepares prior to each term, incorporating experiences from previous course deliveries in an effort to continuously strengthen and improve future sessions. His positive attitude, upbeat disposition and clever sense of humour create a welcoming and safe environment where students enjoy the process of learning course concepts and applications.

It’s not surprising to hear that subject areas such as math and accounting may not be among students’ favourites, but if you were to ask a student in Fitch’s class, the answer may be different!  Read More →

Agile Business Analysis and Agile Project Management: In growing demand for employers

April 24, 2018

Today’s workplace is increasingly complex, interconnected and competitive, resulting in a growing demand for inventive solutions in an ever-changing world. Forward-thinking companies that strive to remain competitive — and to consistently pursue synergies and steady growth in an evolving marketplace — are embracing innovation. These companies have an increasing demand for employees with educational training and experience in agile concepts, particularly as business analysts or project managers.

Scott Hinkson, a Red River College (RRC) instructor, truly understands how industry and workplace requirements can impact customers, clients, investors, companies, and products and services. Effective business analysis and project management can “facilitate the planning, management and implementation of business and technology solutions”¹ that align with organizational strategies and are built with flexibility to withstand changes in the marketplace and achieve solutions more effectively than traditional methods.

A former student of both the Business Analyst Program and the Project Management Program, Hinkson is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and the first Manitoban to have obtained PMI-ACP certification (Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner). Even when these programs were in their infancy, Hinkson foresaw the opportunity of how crucial these skills are, and would continue to be, to employers in the future.

Hinkson took the initiative to approach RRC with the goal of developing two specific courses. The College shared in his desire to meet the growing needs of business analysis and project management, provide employers with a knowledgeable workforce and prepare students with the job-ready skills needed to succeed. The result: the Agile Business Analysis course and the Agile Project Management course were born!

Read More →

Online marketing tips by Holli Moncrieff, Beyond Hashtags instructor

April 12, 2018

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, these three tips from social-media marketing instructor Holli Moncrieff will help you improve your online marketing:

  1. Have some fun.
    Like its name suggests, social media is designed to be social. The goal is to build relationships with your customers and clients, not sell them a product. Ask them to share a photo of their pets. Or their best tips for surviving Mondays. If you sell a scented product, ask them what their favourite scents are. Even though it might not feel like marketing, it is—it builds trust and people are more apt to buy from companies they like. And, the better you know your customer, the easier it will be to offer the products and services they want in the future.
  2. Content is key.
    The number-one goal of any social-marketing campaign is to drive people to your website, and the best way to do that is with great content. What need do your customers have that you can fill? If you’re a museum, you can write a post of ten fun things to do on a rainy day. If you’re an auto-body shop, a list of spring maintenance must-dos would be helpful. By creating fabulous content for your website and sharing it on social media, you will attract customers to your site. Be sure to share others’ content on your social-media accounts as well.
  3. Tread carefully.
    So you’ve gotten a bad review or a very public complaint from an unhappy customer. The lastthing you want to do is defend yourself, no matter how unjustified you think the complaint is. I’ve seen companies get defensive time and time again, and it always makes them look argumentative, unfriendly, and angry, no matter how carefully they word their rebuttal. If someone complains about your establishment, apologize. Offer a discounted or free service to lure them back. Your other customers will see this and appreciate how you handled a difficult situation. They might even speak up to defend you, and that’s what you want—your customers should be the ones discrediting negative reviews. Never, ever do it yourself. You can’t please everyone, and once you’ve posted a snarky rebuttal online, it’s out there forever.

Learn more about social media marketing with Holli: Beyond Hashtags

This spring, she will be teaching Beyond Hashtags, a social-media marketing course that goes far beyond the basics. Register today to make your online marketing skills sharper this summer.

About Holli:

For over two decades, Holli has been helping businesses and non-profits navigate the choppy waters of social media. She is accredited with the Canadian Public Relations Society, and specializes in online relationship building and crisis management. Under the name J.H. Moncrieff, she’s also a bestselling horror and suspense writer.

Using his noodle: Baking grad bowls over soup lovers with traditional dough-pulling techniques

April 6, 2018

Chef XiaoFei Zuo, Dancing NoodleAfter moving to Manitoba from China seven years ago, XiaoFei Zuo literally followed his nose to a new career he hopes will one day make him the next Ray Kroc.

In 2011, on the recommendation of a friend who’d told him of “a real nice college” in Canada, Zuo left an unsatisfying office job in Tianjin, China, to seek out new training opportunities half a world away at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Seven years later, Zuo, 32, is the owner of Dancing Noodle restaurant at 1393-A Pembina Highway. He’s also recognized as one of the only chefs in the city trained in the traditional art of noodle pulling.

But more on that later. First, what about that nose?

Back in 2011, Zuo was taking English lessons at RRC’s Language Training Centre near The Forks. He often ate lunch in the food court area, which is where he made a discovery that would change his life.

“We would go there and it just smelled so good, so I followed that smell and I found Tall Grass Prairie Bakery,” he recalls. “At that time, I made a decision to be a baker. They had an open kitchen there and I could stand and watch what they do. I like to work by hand, I don’t like just sitting and writing or something like that. I wanted to learn to bake.”

Zuo enrolled in RRC’s year-long Baking and Patisserie program, where he would arrive 90 minutes early most mornings so he could fit in extra practice.

“At Red River, I learned so many new things I never saw before,” he says. “I learned to make croissants, pies, desserts, bread. In China, most families don’t have ovens, we only have the stove, so we don’t bake at all. Here, I bake all the time and I keep learning.”

Read More →

Full circle: Administrative Assistant grad enjoys role at RRC, helping new students

February 28, 2018

Courtney Brown

When Courtney Brown was a student at Red River College, little did she know her career path would bring her right back where she started.

Brown completed the 17-week Administrative Assistant program in 2014. After building up her experience with a real estate firm and in the Winnipeg school division system, she joined RRC’s School of Continuing Education in 2017 as a Customer Service Representative (CSR).

“It is kind of funny to be back at Red River,” Brown says. “I certainly didn’t expect it or plan it.”

As the member of a small team of CSRs, Brown fields all kinds of queries from current and potential Continuing Education students. Being a student herself not so long ago is an asset in the role, Brown says.

“I know the campus and I’m familiar with Continuing Ed. programming, even if every program is different. Having been here full-time was a great background. Not that you need to attend RRC to work here, but I feel like it’s helped me perform well in my role.”  Read More →

The more, the merrier: Culinary grad pens cookbook with tips for feeding crowds

November 24, 2017

Sharon Steward’s cooking is a real crowd-pleaser — and her new cookbook is sure to be, too.

A Continuing Education instructor at Red River College, Steward is busy prepping for the launch of Volume: Cooking for a Community on Sat., Dec. 2, at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

The book is inspired by Steward’s role as the kitchen manager and head chef at InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Manitoba, a Christian summer camp located on MacKinnon Island at the north end of Shoal Lake.

During camp season, Steward and her staff are responsible for serving three meals a day (plus snacks) to anywhere from 180 to 200 people at a time. Suffice it to say, she knows how to cook for a crowd.

“Each recipe in the book has an amount for four to six people, and then also for about 80 servings,” Steward explains. “It’s a very exciting tool — one I’m hoping a lot of other places, facilities and individuals can use to help them serve their communities.”

Learn more about Seward’s RRC training here. To order a copy of the book — or to peruse Steward’s recipes and blog posts — visit volumecookbook.com.

Y2K for a project management instructor

September 29, 2017

Amanda Simpson, Program Manager of IT and Professional Studies, and Steve Thompson, 2017 Teaching Excellence Award winner

Steve Thompson has been a Project Management instructor (in IT and Professional Studies) for the last 12 years, and has been instrumental in the development of the Project Management Fundamentals course content.

As of this term, he has now taught 2,000 students in the Project Management Fundamentals course alone.

Read More →

Continuing Education Instructor recognized for full-circle approach to students facing barriers

May 31, 2017

She’s spent her entire career working with at-risk children and youth.

But in her current role as an instructor for the Red River College’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker program, Kerry Coulter gets to re-connect with many of those same kids as they prepare to make a similar difference in the lives of others.

“My students are youth with multiple barriers, so often times they’re kids I used to work with, but now they’re all grown up and seeking access to post-secondary [education], and a supportive environment in which to be successful,” says Coulter.

“It’s full circle. These students want to go back and be helpers in their own communities … They grow up, come to college, and are trained and educated in how to be helpers themselves.”

The recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence, Coulter has been a Youth Rec instructor since 2002. Before that, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (and later, a Masters degree in Education from Central Michigan University), and worked for a number of child and youth care organizations, including Child and Family Services and adolescent treatment centre New Directions.

Each year, the College’s Youth Rec program trains 16 participants — many of whom face socio-economic barriers themselves — to work with inner city youth as recreational leaders. Graduates of the program often find jobs with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (a program partner) and other inner city youth agencies, or as childhood educators and teachers’ aides. Read More →

ConEd instructors celebrated at annual appreciation reception

May 25, 2017

Between them, they have a combined 32 years of experience as instructors for Red River College’s School of Continuing Education.

And this year, they find themselves the very worthy recipients of ConEd’s Teaching Excellence Awards, presented annually to those who demonstrate innovative and effective teaching practices, a willingness to assist and mentor students, and an appreciation for (and response to) diversity among students.

Debbie Phythian, 2017 Teaching Excellence Award winner

The first of this year’s winners, Debbie Phythian, has taught ConEd’s Aboriginal Child Care post-diploma certificate for more than two decades.

A dedicated mentor who is student-centric in her approach, Debbie is known for going above and beyond to ensure her students get the most from their learning experiences.

For their part, students tend to appreciate how quickly Debbie responds to their questions and concerns, and how committed she is to providing helpful and informed feedback on their assignments and their progress.

“She is passionate about the program, the content and her students — and it shows,” according to her nominators. Read More →

All sewn up: Apparel instructor takes fashion-forward approach

April 3, 2017

Talk about a stitch in time. Jan Bones has been teaching clothing design for nearly 40 years.

An instructor teaching Apparel Design courses at Red River College, Bones began her teaching career in 1978 at the University of Manitoba.

In 2008, after courses at the U of M were discontinued, Bones seamlessly transitioned to RRC, albeit with the help of a human ecology lab at the university for the first two years. Now, the Apparel Design courses are housed in the Heritage Room at RRC’s Princess Street Campus.

Bones says teaching students about pattern design and garment construction is still spools of fun, even four decades in.

“For me, it’s the giving of information and watching people take that information in a way they can fit it into their choice of design work,” Bones says. “It’s watching the lightbulbs go on in class.”

“I enjoy the students immensely. I enjoy the classroom setting, I enjoy their questions, and watching them shine, watching them learn something new and shine.”

“Everybody has a creative spirt. They might be a fabulous bread maker or great mechanic or a great house painter — everyone has something in them that is creative. I have the joy of helping students figure out if designing patterns is their creative spirit.” Read More →