RRC’s new president takes the policies to school

Samantha Samson, Editor in Chief
Paul Vogt was hired by RRC this summer as the college’s fifth pr esident and CEO. SUPPLIED

Paul Vogt was hired by RRC this summer as the college’s fifth pr esident and CEO.

The fifth president and CEO of Red River College officially started on Aug. 17, and he’s already found a piece of home at his new job.

“As it happens, the Steinbach Campus is literally a stone’s throw away from where my Dad was born,” said Paul Vogt. “I had a role in developing the campus on the government side, so it was quite neat to have been there for the original design, the first discussion in Premier Doer’s office, then see it as a reality.”

As the newest leader of RRC, Vogt — pronounced “vote” — said he’s ready to create a collaborative environment not only within the college, but with other schools across Manitoba.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“At this point, I’m on day seven sitting in this chair,” he said during an interview in late August. “I told everybody I’m not showing up with a blueprint. This is an institution that’s very complex and has lots of people who know their areas very well. So at this point, I’m here to listen.”

Vogt previously worked with the provincial government as policy secretary to cabinet, then clerk of the executive council and cabinet secretary between 1999 and 2013. He also taught public administration courses at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and the Canadian Mennonite University.

As someone who’s both taught and created policies for education in Manitoba, including the new multi-year post-secondary education strategy, Vogt said the timing to apply for RRC president was on point.

“Working on that strategy really put an exclamation point on Red River’s role in Manitoba and the education system,” he said. “It really is the fastest growing institution, and the scope of what Red River College does is quite astonishing. If it doesn’t thrive, then all long-term and short-term goals the province has as a whole are put in jeopardy.”

With both the college’s academic and strategic plans reaching their expiry dates, Vogt said he hopes students will see he’s open to change things like learning resources and technologies.

“There are changes taking place that affect the kind of students we have and the way they learn,” he said. “It’s probably a good thing on the whole, but it challenges institutions because they have traditions. Libraries have been stocked with one kind of learning in mind and then suddenly you get these changes, and you have to adapt very quickly. I think listening to students and really being attentive to the needs of students is more important than ever.”

Vogt will be touring all campuses throughout September, during which he said he hopes to meet students.

“Being able to be a part of policy, but very close to the ground — where the rubber hits the road — when delivering education, is the best of both worlds,” he said.

RRC has been looking for a new, official president and CEO since Aug. 31, 2014 when Stephanie Forsyth resigned. Her resignation was a result of being accused of using college money for personal uses. The college put out job ads starting in late January 2015 and announced Vogt had been hired on July 6.