RRC undergoes strategic and academic review

Courtney Bannatyne, BEAT REPORTER

Students mingle in the atrium at EDC. The review will ensure these students are trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow. /SUPPLIED

Red River College’s strategic and academic review has staff and students thinking about what they would like to see changed and improved at the college.

RRC hired project manager Angela Chotka last year, effective Dec. 5. Chotka has worked for more than 20 years as an organizational development consultant, and she’s using her experience to help RRC run as smoothly as possible, she said.

“The ultimate goal of modernizing and streamlining our academic governance structure processes is to be the highest-performing institution possible, and that will benefit our students,” Chotka wrote in an email.

The college is conducting an academic governance and organizational review to help with its new five-year strategic plan and academic and research plan.

Don’t know what that means? Chotka said that it’s basically trying to figure out if there are ways of structuring the organization and its processes to make the college as a whole run more efficiently and effectively. The college’s last review was in 2012 and in 2010 before that.

“The purpose of the project is to help the college focus and drive its energy toward aligning with its strategic and academic research plan,” she said.

Chotka said she isn’t yet able to give specifics on what issues and processes the college is working to improve, but she and the review’s steering committee will be releasing some information soon, she said.

“It’s too soon to say exactly what the specific outcomes will be from this review,” she wrote in an email. “One example of a potential benefit (for students) is if it’s easier for our instructors, chairs, program and regional managers to respond to industry needs, then we ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible and are trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Lisa Fedoryshyn is in her second and final year of business administration. She said she likes the idea of a review for the college, but she isn’t sure how soon the students will feel the benefits.

“I think that’s a good idea, but I don’t know how much it’s going to directly affect us so quickly,” she said. “A lot of students have to go to post secondary of some sort regardless (if there’s change or not).”

Fedoryshyn said she has enjoyed her time at RRC, but she did have some suggestions on things to improve that would directly affect students.

She said she doesn’t like the way exams are set up in her program. There is one exam on a Friday, and then students have five exams, one each day, the following week, she said.

“To me, that’s not fair because you basically go in, memorize all this information, come home and forget it all, and then memorize the next thing,” she said. “Like, that sucks. It’s not an accurate way of testing.”

Brandon Prance, another second-year business administration student, said he liked the way his program tests students.

“I like to go day by day, and then it’s just all done,” he said. “Give me too much time off, and I’m not going to use it wisely.”

Prance said he did want to see changes in class scheduling. He said he would like to choose his own schedule, like university students do.

“Give me options,” he said. “Let me choose the times that work – let me choose the instructors I want.”

Prance said he thinks everything in the college, and any organization, comes down to communication.

“If you’re changing things, you have to ask what students and instructors think needs to be changed but what also fits into college policies,” Prance said.

According to a blog post from RRC, the review committee will be setting up a microsite and “SharePoint” site to provide students and staff with regular updates and progress reports on the review.