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Local Education

Even more questions people ask about Red Deer College



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  • Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College

    In last month’s column, I provided you with a snapshot of the questions people commonly ask about RDC. These are the types of questions that I’ve been asked by people from across the community, whether it’s students, alumni, parents, grandparents or our College partners.

    With so many people interested in Red Deer College, I decided to carry on from last month, creating a “Part Two” with even more questions and my thoughts on each.

    How many people work at RDC?

    Red Deer College is one of the major employers in the region, with 1,415 people employed in 2016- 17. This includes people working in a wide range of positions, from full-time faculty and staff to part- time to term positions. When I consider the scope of employment that’s happening at RDC or because of our College, it’s important to note that more than 2,500 individuals are working or have worked on our three major construction projects. Some of these people are RDC employees, but most work for our partners in construction, design and trades services – and most are from central Alberta. We take our responsibility as an employer and as an opportunity for employers very seriously, because we know how these jobs positively impact individuals and families and the economy of the entire region.

    When are the 2019 Canada Winter Games and what role does RDC play?

    When the community hosts the Canada Winter Games in February and March of 2019, it will be the largest event ever hosted in central Alberta – second in scope only to the Olympics. At RDC, we’re proud to partner with the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society and The City of Red Deer to support this national event. RDC will have three key roles: we’ll be the Games Operations “Hub,” supporting everything from IT to entertainment, and the Athletes’ Village, hosting and housing nearly 3,600 athletes. Plus, our new Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will host five events: short track speed skating, badminton, wheelchair basketball, figure skating and squash. I encourage you to visit the 2019 Canada Winter Games website to learn more about the Games and the opportunities for you to get involved.

    Aside from attending events, can community members use RDC’s facilities?

    The short answer to this question is: yes. RDC is your college, and we have a wide range of opportunities for people to benefit from our facilities. Our Library Information Common is a great example of this, as community members are welcome to use this beautiful resource facility during any hours that it’s open. And, with that, people can access the fully renovated Makerspace, now located in a bright and creative area on the second floor of the Library. Depending on your needs, RDC also has a wide range of other spaces that can be rented for everything from training and conferences to performing arts events and tournaments.

    What is RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative?

    In a nutshell, this is our plan to reduce the College’s energy consumption by using sustainable and energy efficient technologies. We’re going to achieve this in a few different ways. First, we’ll mount solar panels on many of our buildings – the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, new Residence, the Alternative Energy Lab and our existing Trades wing. We’ll also be creating a Combined Heat and Power Unit to generate electricity and to heat various parts of campus. While we’re taking these actions, we won’t lose sight of education, as our new Alternative Energy Lab will be a place for students and industry partners to learn from these technologies and to develop future alternative energy options.

    These questions highlight a few of the major activities happening at the College and some of the ways that RDC supports individuals and the larger community. The coming year promises to be filled with growth and activity unlike our institution has ever seen, and I look forward to sharing that with you. Until then, I want to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season. Whatever way you choose to celebrate this season, I hope that it is a festive time that is both rejuvenating and relaxing. Happy New Year, and I look forward to connecting with you in 2018.

    Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College

    This column was first published in the Red Deer Advocate on Saturday, December 30, 2017.

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    Red Deer College begins it’s transition to university



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  • This article was first published as a column by RDC President & CEO Joel Ward in the Red Deer Advocate on April 7, 2018

    On March 1, the Decision was rendered. To a capacity audience, Premier Rachel Notley and Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, announced that RDC has been given
    approval to transition to become a recognized university.

    The decision to enable degree-granting, and the creation of a pathway to full University status will impact the economic, social and cultural growth of our region in ways we cannot
    yet imagine. The decision acknowledges the growth, and evolution, of RDC as a mature academic institution. Our history of delivering collaborative degrees for over 25 years is a
    testament to our capacity to do more, and do more we will. So, what kind of University will we become and how long will it take? To serve our learners, our communities, and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, we are defining ourselves as a Comprehensive Regional Teaching University. This means we will continue to do everything we do now, with the addition of granting our own degrees.

    We will continue to offer trades, certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates and applied degrees, as well as collaborative degrees with our other University partners. And we will grant our own degrees – ones that make sense for our region and complement our current programs. With a focus on applied learning, students will practice what they learn to solve real-world problems through co-ops, practicums, and projects that connect them to businesses, industry and not-for-profit sectors. With an emphasis on work integrated learning, students will become innovators, entrepreneurs and problem solvers with the communication skills necessary to navigate an increasingly complex world.

    As we determine what new degrees, certificates and diplomas our region will need we must consider the needs of our communities. Clearly though, STEM (science, technology,
    engineering and math) programs will be considered. We will continue with degrees in education, nursing, business, as well as social sciences and the humanities. As our region
    grows we will grow with it and we will create programs that support and enhance diversification and prepare students for the jobs of the future.

    The transition will take time – we estimate it will take approximately three to five years to complete the necessary work to become a recognized university. As we begin the work of
    transitioning to University status, we know we will need to be patient, thorough, and inclusive as we map the path. We established a transition team to work with the Government and the Ministry of Advanced Education to begin the work in earnest. We are grateful for the support of the Government of Alberta, including Premier Notley, Minister Schmidt and our local MLAs, Barb Miller and Kim Schreiner.

    On behalf of RDC, I wish to acknowledge and thank our current and past students, our faculty and staff, and our communities and partners for your unwavering support of this College and our quest to achieve degree-granting status. The decades of work you put in, and the support you’ve shown, led to a decision that will impact our region for generations to come.

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    St. Joseph High School teams up with Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation to shine a light on mental health



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  • The St. Joseph High School Grad Committee hosted “Restaurant Takeover” at State & Main (Red Deer South) to raise money for their Grad Service Project and to bring awareness to mental health issues. The night featured “celebrity waiters” including Ken Foster, Supt. Red Deer RCMP,  Lloyd Lewis, HLCol 41 Signal Regiment, Ken McMullen, Fire Chief, Damian Lagrange, Deputy Fire Chief, St. Joseph High School Principal, Mr. Graeme Daniel, and Vice-Principals, Mr. Ian Stan and Mrs. Teresa Borchers.

    The evening also supported the efforts of the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation, created in 2015 after Lindsey Kathleen More tragically took her life at the age of 22. Prior to her sudden passing and after a string of suicides at community high schools, Lindsey wanted to help those who were suffering in silence, as she did. Honouring her wishes, and to help keep Lindsey’s legacy of love and laughter alive, the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation was formed.

    Developed by her parents Rick and Cindy More, the foundation supports those suffering from mental illness through high-impact programs. Since then, Smiles Thru Lindsey has raised over $100,000 thanks to generous citizens, businesses, and donors.





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