Red Deer Polytechnic Board introduces new President
President begins role at pivotal time for institution
Red Deer Polytechnic’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Mr. Stuart Cullum has been appointed as the institution’s 12th President. Stuart Cullum will begin his role starting on August 2, 2022.
With a proven record as a collaborative and innovative post-secondary leader, Cullum was selected by the Board to guide Red Deer Polytechnic on its path forward as a polytechnic institution, serving learners, industry and communities with a growing breadth of credentials and programs that meet central Alberta’s needs.
“We are thrilled to welcome Stuart as our next President,” says Guy Pelletier, Chair of the institution’s Board of Governors. “His enthusiasm and experience will help position Red Deer Polytechnic as a leader in the post-secondary sector and his passion for central Alberta, coupled by his vision for polytechnic education, will serve both our region and our province very well in the years to come.”
Mr. Cullum’s appointment as President comes after the Polytechnic’s Board of Governors embarked on an extensive national search and careful consideration of many outstanding candidates during the past months.
With a passion for life-long learning, Mr. Cullum is driven to contribute toward academic excellence and student success. He is pleased to begin his new role in August 2022, leading the institution as it will begin its second full year as a polytechnic institution.
“Red Deer Polytechnic is on an exciting trajectory and is well-positioned to lead in this province,” says Stuart Cullum. “I am excited to join at this critical time and I look forward to working with all of its dedicated employees and students, as well as with industry and community to build upon the great work taking place in Red Deer and central Alberta.”
Stuart Cullum joins Red Deer Polytechnic from Olds College where he has served for six years, from 2016 – 2022, including the past five years as President. Under his leadership, Olds College has achieved a bold vision that has led to unprecedented success on a national scale. This includes a 12 per cent increase in enrolment, more than $23 Million in applied research funding, a doubling of international enrolment and the development of key action plans including the College’s first Indigenous Relationship Building Strategy and Action Plan. He has been instrumental in establishing the Olds College Smart Farm, a leading hub for innovation, training and applied research that has attracted more than 100
partners globally and more than $40 Million in investment.
Prior to Olds College, Cullum served in executive positions at Lethbridge College, Northlands, NAIT, AVAC, and WestLink Innovation Network. As a former teacher, he taught high school in Three Hills, Alberta, prior to pursuing an opportunity to work for the University of Alberta in their Industry Liaison Office, which began his post-secondary career.
Mr. Cullum currently serves as Chair of the Post-Secondary International Network (PIN) and Campus Alberta Central, a joint long-term partnership between Olds College and Red Deer Polytechnic. He has held numerous professional board and advisory appointments across Canada, including with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) and THRIVE Canada Accelerator.
Stuart Cullum holds a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge, as well as a Master of Business Administration (Technology Transfer Specialization) from the University of Alberta. He is an Accredited Professional Director (ICD.D) and has completed the Executive Program with Singularity University and the Institute for Educational Management Program at Harvard in Boston.
Stuart Cullum was born and raised in central Alberta. He currently lives in rural central Alberta with his partner Carrie. His two adult children attend post-secondary in Alberta, including a son who currently attends Red Deer Polytechnic in the Visual Arts program.
ACAC Indoor Track Championship Day 2 Update, Queens win gold and Jenica Swartz takes home three top finishes
Gold medalist Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Track Team. Janice Swartz (top left) took 3 gold medals at the ACAC Indoor Track Championships
The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Indoor Track Team are ACAC Champions as they took home multiple first-place finishes with Jenica Swartz (Bachelor of Science in Pre-Med) winning three individual gold medals and helping the relay teams to first-place finishes.
Day 2 started out very well for the Queens as Swartz picked up her third gold medal of the championship. She just beat out SAIT Trojans runner Jasmin Salmon by 73 milliseconds in the 600m. Loami Rautenbach finished fifth in the race. In the men’s event, Ethan Duret (Bachelor of Commerce) placed fifth with a time of 1:27.39 which was 36 milliseconds off from the third-place runner, so it was a photo finish.
In the 1500m, Swartz was finally dethroned off the top podium position but still finished in second place as she crossed the finish line in just over five minutes. But the first-place runner from the Trojans broke the championship record with a time of 4:44. Myah Cota (Open Studies) and Justine Larson (Bachelor of Education) finished one after another for the second race of the championship as they crossed the finish line in fifth and sixth. Daniel Szucs (Bachelor of Business Administration) and Duret picked up sixth and seventh place respectfully which put points on the board for the Kings Indoor Track team. Jordan Coen (Open Studies) followed his teammates in eighth place with a time of 4:31.
The Queens 4x400m relay team took the top spot six seconds in front of the Trojans who took first place at the Grand Prix in Red Deer a month ago. This clinched the team victory for the Queens as they finished the championship with 81 points which were 17 points ahead of the second-place Trojans. The Kings relay team finished in fifth and the overall team just missed a medal as they finished the championship in fourth, four points out of third.
This caps off the 2022/2023 season for the Kings and Queens Indoor Track Team.
School library book bans are seen as targeting LGBTQ content
Books are displayed at the Banned Book Library at American Stage in St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb. 18, 2023. In Florida, some schools have covered or removed books under a new law that requires an evaluation of reading materials and for districts to publish a searchable list of books where individuals can then challenge specific titles. (Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
By Scott Mcfetridge, Anthony Izaguirre And Sara Cline in Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Teri Patrick bristles at the idea she wants to ban books about LGBTQ issues in Iowa schools, arguing her only goal is ridding schools of sexually explicit material.
Sara Hayden Parris says that whatever you want to call it, it’s wrong for some parents to think a book shouldn’t be readily available to any child if it isn’t right for their own child.
The viewpoints of the two mothers from suburban Des Moines underscore a divide over LGBTQ content in books as Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds pushes an especially sweeping crackdown on content in Iowa school libraries. The bill she’s backing could result in the removal of books from school libraries in all of the state’s 327 districts if they’re successfully challenged in any one of them.
School boards and legislatures nationwide also are facing questions about books and considering making it easier to limit access.
“We’re seeing these challenges arise in almost every state of the union,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It’s a national phenomenon.”
Longstanding disagreements about content in school libraries often focus this year on books with LGBTQ themes as policymakers nationwide also consider limiting or banning gender-affirming care and drag shows, allowing the deadnaming of transgender students or adults in the workplace, and other measures targeting LGBTQ people.
The trend troubles Kris Maul, a transgender man who is raising a 12-year-old with his lesbian partner in the Des Moines area and wants school library books to reflect all kinds of families and children. Maul argued that those seeking to remove books take passages out of context and unfairly focus on books about LGBTQ or racial justice issues.
LGBTQ people are more visible than even five years ago, Maul said, and he believes that has led to a backlash from some who hope limiting discussion will return American society to an era that didn’t acknowledge people with different sexualities.
“People are scared because they don’t think LGBTQ people should exist,” Maul said. “They don’t want their own children to be LGBTQ, and they feel if they can limit access to these books and materials, then their children won’t be that way, which is simply not true and is heartbreaking and disgusting.”
In Louisiana, activists fear a push by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry to investigate sexually explicit materials in public libraries — and recently proposed legislation that could restrict children and teens’ access to those books — is being used to target and censor LGBTQ content.
Landry, who is running for governor, launched a statewide tip line in November to field complaints about librarians, teachers, and school and library personnel. Landry released a report in February that listed nine books his office considers “sexually explicit” or inappropriate for children. Seven have LGBTQ storylines.
In Florida, some schools have covered or removed books under a new law that requires an evaluation of reading materials and for districts to publish a searchable list of books where individuals can then challenge specific titles.
The reviews have drawn widespread attention, with images of empty bookshelves ricocheting across social media, and are often accompanied by criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican expected to run for president.
The state’s training materials direct the reviews to target sexually explicit materials but also say that schools should “err on the side of caution” when selecting reading materials and that principals are responsible for compliance.
Florida’s largest teachers union is challenging the law, arguing its implementation is too broad and leading to unnecessary censorship. An education department spokesperson did not immediately comment.
DeSantis said the state has not instructed schools to empty libraries or cover books. He said 175 books have been removed from 23 school districts, with 87% of the books identified as pornographic, violent or inappropriate for their grade level.
The Iowa legislation comes amid efforts there to keep a closer eye on public school curriculums and make taxpayer money available to parents for private school tuition. Reynolds, the governor, has made such proposals the core of her legislative agenda, telling a conservative parents group that their work was essential to guarding against “indoctrination” by public school educators.
Under a bill backed by Reynolds, the titles and authors of all books available to students in classrooms and libraries would be posted online, and officials would need to specify how parents could request a book’s removal and how decisions to retain books could be appealed. When any district removes a book, the state Education Department would add it to a “removal list,” and all of Iowa’s 326 other districts would have to deny access to the book unless parents gave approval.
At a hearing on Reynolds’ bill, Republican lawmakers, who hold huge majorities in both legislative chambers, said they might change the proposal but were committed to seeing it approved. The bill has passed a Senate committee and is awaiting a floor vote.
“The parents are the governing authority in how their child is educated, period,” said Sen. Amy Sinclair. “Parents are responsible for their child’s upbringing, period.”
Patrick, a mother of two, expressed befuddlement about why anyone would want to make sexually explicit books available to children.
“I have to believe that there are books that cater to the LGBTQ community that don’t have to have such graphic sexual content in them,” said Patrick, a member of a local chapter of Moms for Liberty, a conservative group that has gained national influence for its efforts to influence school curriculum and classroom learning. “There are very few books that have ever been banned and what we’re saying is, in a public school setting, with taxpayer-funding money, should these books really be available to kids?”
Hayden Parris, a mom of two from a suburb only a few miles away, understands the argument but thinks it misses the point.
“A kindergartner is not wandering into the young adults section and picking out a book that is called like, “This Book is Gay,” said Hayden Parris, who is leading a parents group opposed to Iowa’s proposed law. “They’re not picking those books, and the fact that they can pick one out of several thousand books is not a reason to keep it away from everyone.”
Sam Helmick, president of the Iowa Library Association, said communities should decide what’s in their libraries and that it’s important for children to have access to books that address their lives and questions. Helmick didn’t have that ability as a child, and students shouldn’t return to that time, she said.
“Can we acknowledge that this will have a chilling effect?” Helmick asked. “And when you tell me that books about myself as an asexual, nonbinary person who didn’t have those books in libraries when I was a kid to pick up and flip through, but now publishing has caught up with me and I can see representation of me — those will be behind the desk and that’s not supposed to make me feel less welcome, less seen and less represented in my library?”
Izaguirre reported from Tallahassee, Florida, and Cline from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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