Strategic plan brings a new identify 

By: Timor Syrota

In an effort to get “In Front of What’s Ahead, Red River College is now Red River College Polytechnic or RRC Polytech to align itself with their new 2022-2026 strategic plan. 

The strategic plan is RRC Polytech’s blueprint based on their three commitments to create more opportunities for students, make more progress toward Truth and Reconciliation, and strengthen partnerships across the industry and community. 

“We knew prior to the pandemic that change was in our future,” said RRC Polytech’s President and CEO Fred Meier. “In earnest, it was about 10 months ago when we started conversations about a strategic plan.” 

In those 10 months, the college said employees shared and rated 863 thoughts and ideas. Research also included 12 focus groups with 71 employees, 34 interviews with RRC Polytech leaders and Indigenous Elders, engagement with 31 First Nations education directors, conversations with leaders from over 70 Manitoba businesses, feedback and advice from over 500 alumni, donors, and industry and educational partners.

“We recognized there probably wasn’t a clear understanding around the evolution of our institution,” said Meier. He said an evolution has been occurring for almost two decades and the college resembled a polytechnic institute in all but name.

“Polytechnic” describes an institute with a focus on strategic workforce development, which is a streamlined path for students to get specific skills in a field. A polytechnic institute allows for flexible and accessible hands-on applied education. 

“Polytechnic is the right term for us, it describes who we are and where we’re going,” said Meier. “We couldn’t find a better time to release the plan and release the brand and start to talk about who we are as an institution.” 

President and CEO Fred Meier unveiling the future of Red River College Polytechnic./RED RIVER COLLEGE POLYTECHNIC

As RRC Polytech’s sights are set on the future, Meier reminds current students there won’t be an immediate change. Meier said students will see an evolution under each commitment like increased work and integrated learning either with partnering or applied research opportunities. 

Meier said the strategic plan and RRC Polytech’s future is intertwined with their commitment for Truth and Reconciliation.

“We can help with reconciliation by how we teach and what we offer students,” said Meier. “We’ll be working on everything from reducing barriers to access, participating, establishing revised systems, our policies, our practices to create a program where everybody is welcomed for who they are and that we can build together.” 

Meier also doubled down on the integral pillar that will hold up RRC Polytech’s and, in time, Manitoba’s future.

“We are going to dedicate ourselves in reconciling the broken trust in our education system and supporting that key role that Indiginous people must play for our province to reach economic reconciliation which is truly reconciliation at the end of the day.”