RRC to roll out new academic plan by February
EVAN MATTHEWS/BEAT REPORTER
When a college that’s known for its hands-on learning takes an in-depth look at academic planning, you better believe it’ll be thorough.
RRC is re-evaluating the direction it’s heading in terms of the academic mission and vision. This is according to Christine Crowe, RRC’s vice president of academic affairs. The last time this was reviewed was 2006.
“The academic plan is a strategic document, and a living document,” said Crowe. “The plan looks at the academic delivery of our programs and student outcomes.”
The college is actively looking for feedback, said Crowe. They are including companies from industry in the consultation and review, as well as RRC staff and students.
Amber Adair, an RRC administrative assistant student, said she thinks the college is already doing a good job. Her instructors are always trying to better the program and always ask for student input.
“I think the skills I’m taught in my program are applicable to most industries,” said Adair. “I just went back to work serving, so I’m not even in an office environment. I thought I did a good job before, but because of the hands-on customer service training, I see everything from a whole different perspective.”
Crowe said the college consistently evaluates its academic procedures, making sure it’s on the right track.
The review is really to ask what outside forces are influencing the college and what adjustments are needed due to changes from within the college, like changes in technology.
“If there is a major change in world economics—have we seen a drop off in student enrollment? Have we seen a demand in a certain area of industry?” said Crowe. “Whatever the case may be, we should be adapting and adopting new programming, direction or new student services as the need changes.”
Previous reviews of the academic plan have been successful, said Crowe, including an infrastructure redesign to better accommodate international students.
“Right now there are about 1,000 international students at Red River College,” said Crowe. “That was a significant change for us because all of these students come with different needs. We as a college really benefit from having our international students on campus, but that also means we need to reconsider how we’re offering programs and services to those students.”
So far, RRC has gotten some valuable feedback.
Over the summer, RRC met with 50 Manitoba employers and community groups. The college asked three questions: What can we do more of, what should we do less of, and what are our opportunities?
“They were really insightful responses in terms of how we need to grow,” said Crowe. “Some of them said things like, ‘Red River College tries to be everything to everybody, and it’s a real strength for them, but we think there might need to be more areas of focus or centres of excellence they really specialize in.’ That’s an area we may consider.”
Crowe said another area of feedback was for the college to continue doing applied research and encourage students to take part in such projects.
RRC hopes to have the full academic plan complete and launched by the end of February. The full plan will be available via the RRC website.
Adair said she agrees with RRC’s stance on working with partners in industry.
“I think hands-on research is the key to testing the skills you’ve learned,” said Adair. “Why wouldn’t a student take part in applied research to gain experience?”