Here's the full version of the Q+A with Red River College's new President and CEO Stephanie Forsyth that was excerpted in the most recent issue of RED magazine.
1. What led you to a career in post-secondary education?
Prior to my first job in PSE, I was working in the hospitality industry and it was a challenge to get highly qualified people. Selkirk College approached me to develop and initiate programs for the hospitality sector. Over the next several years I worked both within the college sector and in the hospitality industry. I became engaged in assisting the more marginalized to obtain an education and employment and realized the power of education to transform lives. It has been inspiring and deeply gratifying. There was a time I would have never imagined I would be in education; now I’m completely devoted to this work.
2. What drew you to Red River College?
It’s perhaps the only college in Canada that could lure me out of B.C. It’s located in a “big small town,” it has an excellent reputation and its values and strategic directions fit with my interests and background, such as: working closely with communities, industry and the province in social and economic development; seeking to enhance access and success of Aboriginal learners and the chronically underemployed; leading in applied research and innovation; aspiring to be a green college; and the list goes on!
Additionally, I was very interested in learning about the lifestyle and culture of prairie Canada. So far, my impression is that Winnipeg is a great place to live that’s greatly misunderstood by the rest of Canada. It’s an accessible, affordable city with a lot to offer! I’m very impressed with the arts and culture, the amenities, and the warm and welcoming spirit of so many people, from shopkeepers to college staff.
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Several decades’ worth of accolades and achievements were celebrated in style last week, as former students and current faculty — along with a host of community partners — gathered at Red River College’s 2010 Alumni Dinner.
The event — held Friday, Nov. 19th at The Fairmont Winnipeg — gave those in attendance a chance to pay tribute to their peers, among them entrepreneur John Gale, the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Gale, a 1980 graduate of RRC's Mechanical Engineering Technology program, was one of the driving forces behind the creation of a diamond drill bit that revolutionized the drilling industry in the mid-1980s. He’s currently overseeing a development plan that aims to turn the city of Kenora into a world-class business and tourist destination.
“It was definitely the most successful alumni dinner to date,” says Dale Oughton, RRC’s Alumni Coordinator, of the event, which drew more than 400 attendees.
“John Gale had the entire room in stitches, He was absolutely priceless, and very eloquent.”
As always, the event helped RRC raise awareness of its Alumni Program, the purpose of which — as Oughton explains — is to maintain relationships between the College and the graduates, while celebrating the achievements of alumni.
Emceed by Creative Communications instructor Steve Vogelsang, the event also featured tributes to RRC students Nikki Brown and Andre-John Camara, winners of this year’s Alumni Spirit Awards.
Money raised by the event will be used to support RRC’s Alumni Scholarships. A portion of the funds raised will also go towards the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, the rooftop deck of which will be reserved for Alumni Association functions.
From left: Mario de Negri, Al Richards and Ryan Ratushniak, winners of RRC's inaugural Chili Cup.
Staff and faculty at Red River College found a novel way to beat the winter blues last week, by engaging in some five-alarm fun at the College's first-ever Chili Cup.
The cook-off, held Nov. 16th at RRC's Notre Dame Campus, saw 13 teams putting their culinary skills to the test. Upwards of 150 students and staff members took part in the "tasting" component of the event, which helped to raise nearly $400 for RRC's Students' Association Food Bank.
The event boasted two award categories: the President's Choice Award (determined by Stephanie Forsyth, Cathy Rushton and John Reimers), and the Chili Cup Award (determined by the tasters).
The competition was close, but in the end, the following teams emerged victorious:
Chili Cup (First Place): Rebels Burning Fire Chili — Ryan Ratushniak, Mario de Negri, Al Richards and Dan Gilbert. The Rebels' chili wowed the tasters with its unique flavour and surprising undercurrent of cinnamon. It'll be served up in the voyageur Dining Room on Thu., Nov. 25th — aka "A Chili Day in November."
Chili Cup (Second Place): Tammy's Revenge — Tammy Kowerko
Chili Cup (Third Place): Piementas de Chili Caliente — Garry Giesbrecht
President's Choice: 33 Miners Trapped in Chili — Colin Fast
Congratulations also go out to staff and students at RRC's Winkler Campus, who also participated in the event. With six entries, the Winkler competition was similarly fierce, but the aptly named El Scorcho dish (courtesy of Shane Dubyk) eventually took the top prize.
A member of the Red River College Rebels was named Male Athlete of the Week by the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) on Nov. 16, 2010.
Mike Kozoway, a starter on the Rebels mens' volleyball team, was honoured for his excellent play. In a recent match against Assiniboine Community College, Kozoway had seven kills on 12 attempts, with only one attack error for a 58% kill percentage and a 50% attack efficiency. He also had a team-high five blocks.
The Rebels will battle to retain first place in the MCAC with two matches against a fellow undefeated squad, the 3-0 Canadian Mennonite University Blazers, on Fri., Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., and Sat., Nov. 20 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will take place at RRC's Notre Dame Campus.
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Red River College welcomed more new faces than ever before this fall, as the number of full-time students at its eight Manitoba campuses jumped by 5.5%, setting a new enrolment record.
Growth took place across the college, including big jumps in Advanced Diploma (+15.1%) and Fast Track (+45.7%) enrolments.
The introduction of RRC’s first two degree programs, in Construction Management and Nursing, has also proven popular with new students.
"Degree programs allow students to obtain a more advanced level of technical training than is available in a traditional two-year diploma program," explained Ken Webb, RRC’s Vice-President of Academic & Research. "These programs have been developed in direct response to industry demand for more highly skilled graduates in certain occupational areas."
Full-time enrolment is also up 17.6% at RRC’s five regional campuses, located in Steinbach, Portage la Prairie, Gimli, Winkler and Peguis/Fisher River.
Those figures should continue to increase in the years ahead, as a new campus under development in Portage la Prairie — located in the historic former Victoria School building — will allow the College to expand training opportunities in the Central Plains region.
While students are increasingly seeing the advantages of a college education — including hands-on learning, instructors with real-world experience and work placement opportunities — RRC officials say finding somewhere to put them all is a growing challenge.
"Red River College has been operating at close to full capacity for several years," said Webb. "We’ve been very creative in making use of our existing space, but to continue our critical role in supporting the growth of Manitoba industry, we are going to have to grow ourselves."
Webb said the development of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute in the Exchange District — a new home for RRC’s culinary and hospitality programs and site of the College’ first student residence — will provide some much-needed new teaching space. However, he stresses the college must continue to work closely with industry and government to ensure the facilities are in place to meet the labour demands of the province.
The RRC men’s and women’s volleyball teams were in action this past weekend as Assiniboine Community College made the trip to Rebel’s Country.
Both teams extended their MCAC league record to 4-0 with straight set victories over the Cougars. The women’s team won their double header by scores of 25-15, 25-20, 26-24 and 25-18, 25-23, 25-21. The men won by scores of 25-5, 25-11, 25-12 and 25-8, 25-13, 25-23. The volleyball teams have some time to focus on their training as they will now enter a bye week.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will take over the court this weekend as they face Canadian Mennonite University at CMU on Friday before returning to RRC for a rematch on Saturday. The women tip off on Friday at 6:30pm followed by the men at 8:00pm. Saturday will see the women start the action off at 2:00pm, while the men’s action will follow at 3:30pm.
Come and cheer on your Rebels! Free admission for all students and staff by showing your RRC student or staff card at the door.
Both the Rebels men’s and women’s volleyball teams were victorious this past weekend against the College Universitaire de St. Boniface.
On Friday, the women started the night by winning 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-19) and the men followed with their own straight set victory (25-13, 25-20, 25-15). Saturday saw the women defeat CUSB 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-21), while the men were equally dominant as they also came out on top 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 25-18).
Both teams are undefeated in MCAC league play and will play host to ACC (Assiniboine Community College) on Saturday, Nov. 6th. The women play at 11:00am and 2:00pm, while the men’s matches will be at 12:30pm and 3:30pm. All Red River College staff and students are encouraged to attend. Free admission with your staff or student card!
Visit the Rebels Website for the entire season schedule, as well as the most up to date results.