From the President’s Desk

Welcome from RDC’s new President, Dr. Peter Nunoda

Welcome to Red Deer College! Whether you are coming here for the first time or continuing in your program, we’re so happy to have you here.

Like many of you, I’m new to RDC, as I officially started in my position as President on September 3. I am honoured to be your new President, because I believe in what this College is and in what it will become as Red Deer University. It is a pillar in this community that can change the lives of students and people from across the region.

I have dedicated my career to post-secondary education, as I have more than 30 years working in this sector as a faculty member, researcher and administrator. I’m passionate about being a leader and an educator, which allows me to be part of the journey as you, our students, grow personally and professionally.

I strongly believe in the value of post-secondary education, and I place great importance on a college education, specifically, because it helps to prepare students for the work force. In my family, all three of my children are currently in post-secondary, and my middle daughter is a great example of the importance of a college education. She started in a Bachelor of Science program, but was concerned about her job prospects. She then transferred to a Laboratory Sciences Technologist Diploma and has had great success in this program, including an amazing co-op experience.

Her journey demonstrates the need to have a wide range of programs and opportunities for students, and that’s something I’m so proud of at RDC – and it’s also something we will continue in the future. We’re on a very exciting path to become Red Deer University and, as we do this, we will be a unique university.

We’ll keep the range of credentials that we currently have, and we’ll also add our own degrees that are meaningful for students in this region. We want you to gain applied and hands-on knowledge, no matter what program you are in. As we develop our own degrees, we will always keep the ideas of experiential learning, practicums and co-ops in mind, because these are critical pieces of your education that will allow you to transition seamlessly into the work force.

As we plan for RDC’s future, we absolutely want to hear from you, and we will have students at the table for the conversations that shape the university of our future. I look forward to working with our Students’ Association and with students from across the College as we make this institution an even greater place to learn and to start the next chapter in your lives.

I wish you all well as you start your classes and enjoy the excitement that a new term brings. I also look forward to meeting you in the halls and at events across our campuses.

Dr. Peter Nunoda is President of Red Deer College

From the President’s Desk

You are the reason RDC exists

This is my final article as President of RDC/University as I am retiring. Our new President, Dr. Peter Nunoda, starts his tenure in September. He has a strong background from his work at post-secondary institutions across Canada, and he is committed to supporting you, our students.

As I reflect on my ten years as President, it is clear that the future for RDC as a University is unlimited, and it is because of all of you.

Because of you, the government of Alberta finally said ‘yes’ to RDC becoming a university. Countless students added their voices to this ask, and you were heard. It is perhaps the most significant decision ever made to ensure our institution and region will grow and prosper.

Because of you, our campuses are welcoming, dynamic and growing. The Donald School of Business and the Welikoklad Event Centre ensure downtown will be vibrant. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is an iconic landmark defining our community to all who pass on the QE2. Our new residence clad in solar panels and our Alternative Energy Lab are examples of RDC/U’s leadership in becoming carbon neutral and energy independent.

These facilities are here for our students. Without you, there would be no need, and without you, they would just be buildings. It is what happens within the walls of RDC that makes me the most proud, as you bring the energy and determination and passion to succeed.

Because of you, 16 new programs have been launched, which ensures more students can remain in central Alberta to complete their education. You have spoken up and said you need even more possibilities, even more opportunities to take programs that will lead to meaningful careers, and we have been listening. Our ten-year academic plan, led by Dr. Paulette Hanna, ensures we will launch even more programs, including new degrees, as we complete our University transition.

Our future as a comprehensive regional teaching university will be strengthened and enhanced by launching new programs including trades and apprenticeship, certificates, diplomas and degrees, and we will continue to measure success by who we let in, not who we keep out.

I have always been reluctant to share my story, but I did recently at Convocation, and I will now, because it demonstrates the power of post-secondary education, and its ability to change lives.

I got kicked out of high school at 16 for reasons I won’t go into (let’s just say I didn’t like school and school didn’t like me.) So, 16 years of age, out of school, with no prospects and no real family, I ran away from home. With all my worldly possessions in a shopping bag, $10 in my pocket, hair down to my butt with an attitude to match, I hitch-hiked west.

I stayed in hostels, hustled pool, made money where I could – and saw people at their worst, including myself. Lots happened in those years, but that really isn’t the point of the story.

Fast forward eight years and, with the help of a few people who had faith in me, just as there are many others who might have helped you along the way, I went to University. I was put on probation and needed to prove I could handle the work for one semester and, if I was successful, I would be allowed to continue. Well, I graduated and the doors of possibility flew open.

It is at college that I learned the transformative power of education to change lives. I was given a second chance, and for that I am grateful. The experience taught me to never give up, keep learning, and it taught me to stand up for what I believed.

It is because of you and it is for you that RDC exists. At this College – soon to be University – second chances are given, lives are changed, and society benefits.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as the tenth President of RDC/U. Please accept my sincere thanks for allowing me to be part of your College. Being part of RDC’s journey, and watching thousands of you graduate each year has brought me great joy and fulfillment.

Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College.

Your 2019-2020 Student Executive Team has been Elected!

On March 28th, Red Deer College students elected their 2019-2020 Students’ Association student executives in the annual general election!

The team consists of:

  • President Brittany Lausen,
  • Vice President Academic Esther Schilling,
  • Vice President Operations David Anderson, and
  • Vice President Community & Wellness Jessica Hennelly.

All newly elected members of executive council will take office on May 1st.

“We are grateful for those students who took the time to participate in this election, either by voting, attending forums, or expressing their priorities,” said outgoing President Chaise Combs.

“I’m especially appreciative of this year’s candidates. It takes real courage to put oneself out there and campaign while maintaining a focus on academics. The hard work they all put in demonstrates how passionate they are about their education and the future of Red Deer University. I have the utmost confidence in this team.”

The current executive team (Chaise Combs, President; Esther Schilling, Vice President Academic; Brittany Lausen, Vice President Community & Wellness) will remain in office until April 30th.

Students’ Association proud to support the Canada Winter Games

The Students’ Association’s membership has donated $500,000 to the Gary W. Harris Centre for Health, Wellness & Sport.

“This is truly a monumental time in the history of Red Deer College,” said Students’ Association President Maryanne McGrath, at the construction launch for the Centre Friday, March 11. “Student leaders carry the duty of honoring the decisions of past students, an obligation to build on those decisions in the present, and the responsibility of anticipating the needs of future students.

“For over 15 years, the students of Red Deer College have been investing a portion of their fees in the Building Trust Fund – in anticipation of being a key player in the future growth of Red Deer College. That day has come.

“I am honored to announce that the students of today have committed to investing five hundred thousand dollars to Red Deer College’s ‘Shaping our Future’ campaign.”

The donation was approved by the membership at the Students’ Association Spring General Meeting March 1.

“By investing in our own futures, students are guaranteeing that those who follow in our footsteps will have every opportunity to succeed at Red Deer College. Students hope to further the vision of what is to come for Red Deer College, through the Shaping our Future campaign, the bid to become a Polytechnic University, and the execution of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“Thank you for standing with students as we shape our future together.”

In recognition of the students’ contribution, Red Deer College has generously offered to re-purpose meaningful space, allocated for use by the Students’ Association and its Members.

RDC establishes cannabis free policy across campuses

Red Deer College, like all post-secondary institutions across the country, has had to carefully consider our position about cannabis use on campus. After looking at what this means for RDC and all of the people who use our campuses, we have established that RDC will be cannabis free across our campuses, including all Residence units.

We have a diverse population of people of all ages who are at our campuses each day, and we also know that we will have equally diverse opinions about the decision for RDC to be completely cannabis free.

To provide background on this decision:

  • RDC’s campuses are subject to City of Red Deer bylaws, including the recently updated Smoke Free Bylaw, which prohibits consuming cannabis in public, including smoking and vaping cannabis.
  • This bylaw applies to all areas of campus except our Residence units. As a landlord, RDC has jurisdiction under the Residential Tenancies Act of Alberta to decide whether or not to allow cannabis use in Residence. RDC is banning cannabis use and consumption in Residence because we believe it is the best way to serve the health, safety and wellness needs of all people living in Residence, including families and children.
  • Safety is another important factor, as students, faculty and staff all operate and use a wide variety of potential safety hazards in our shops and labs. We want to provide a safe place for people to learn, work and have success at RDC.

The new Cannabis on Campus Policy has been created to address our position. Additional details are also available on the Cannabis on Campus page on RDC’s website and on the Health, Safety & Wellness page on TheLoop.

The legalization of cannabis in Canada is new for our society, and RDC has made the decision to be cannabis free because we believe it is in the best interest of our College community. We want to provide a safe place for people of all ages to learn, work and live, and creating a cannabis free campus is another way to achieve this.


If you have questions, please contact me at [email protected] or at 403.314.2472.

A message from your Students’ Association President

Students can study with ease knowing their Students’ Association has their well-being in mind during the 2019 Canada Winter Games and RDC’s transition to University status. 

On behalf of the Students’ Association of Red Deer College, I’d like to extend the warmest of welcomes to you, our students. I am thrilled that you chose to study here with us. For those of you beginning your post-secondary journey, I want you to know that it’s okay to be nervous. I was nervous too and, honestly, sometimes still am. College can be daunting, but don’t fret; your Students’ Association has your back! We provide a number of services to make student life more enjoyable and affordable. I am optimistic about advocating on behalf of our students for reasonably priced tuition, affordable services, scholarships, mental health funding, and much more.

This year, I look forward to ensuring that students are adequately represented as Red Deer College begins its transition to University status. I will work closely with our Vice President Academic, Esther Schilling, to promote the student perspective as new programs are developed and introduced. The transition to University status will be one of the top priorities of the Students’ Association in the coming years. The transition team, led by the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Torben Anderson, needs proper and thorough student representation. We will work to ensure that Red Deer College continues to offer certificates, diplomas, trades, and collaborative degrees as it expands its capacity to offer baccalaureate degrees with applied focuses that will prepare students for gainful employment in the new economy.

We have our work cut out for us as we prepare for the logistical challenges that the 2019 Canada Winter Games will present students, especially those living in residence. The College must be held accountable to properly accommodate students affected. That being said, the Games will also present a number of exciting volunteer opportunities that we will happily help you connect with.

Recently, Red Deer College celebrated the opening of the Canada Winter Games Gary W. Harris Centre. I am proud that our members recognized the value of this new facility and encouraged its construction with a donation of half a million dollars. By financially supporting this building, we as students are investing in both Central Alberta and the mental and physical well-being of current and future students. Students have assisted in the expansion of learning opportunities and increased support for our Athletics department who will now have the facilities to not only cultivate their talent but host athletes from across Canada.

In recognition of the students’ donation, the College is allowing us to expand our footprint into the former training facility on campus, which is something we are very excited about. This expansion will give us space to further engage our students and enhance our capacity to fulfill the needs of our members.

Before I go, I’d like to take a moment to encourage you to get involved in your college community however you feel most comfortable doing so. Red Deer College will present you with countless opportunities for personal and professional growth. All I ask is that you keep an open mind. Don’t take on more than you can handle, but do your best to challenge yourself with the many leadership opportunities available to students on campus. Seize the day, invest in yourself, get involved, and we can grow together.

I am confident we are going to have a memorable year together. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me via email at [email protected], in person in room 2010, or by phone at 403-342-3200.

From the President’s Desk

RDC reaches new milestone with the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

Let me be the first to say welcome – or welcome back – to Red Deer College! This is a very exciting time at RDC, and we are so pleased that you’re here to experience all that this year will offer.

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated a historic milestone when we opened our new Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris. Thousands of people – including members of your SA Executive, students, faculty, staff, partners and community members all toured the building, after much anticipation over the past months.

Awesome, jaw-dropping, game-changer and iconic were a few words I heard used to describe the new health, wellness and sport facility. For you, our students, this building represents a new page in the history of this College. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is another stepping stone that will improve teaching and learning opportunities and your time at RDC, and it’s another important piece as we transition to a recognized university.

Our celebrations for the grand opening included an official ribbon-cutting on August 22, where we welcomed our partners to celebrate with us. Government officials, the City of Red Deer, Canada Games Council and Host Society representatives, along with philanthropists Gary Harris and Jack and Joan Donald joined us for this historic opening.

And what a celebration it was! Three years in the making, the $88 million Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is the result of the work of so many. They should be proud of their contributions to a Centre that will serve our students, our community and our region for generations to come.

And it will be busy. For all of our students and Athletics teams that have been waiting to use the facility, your time is finally here. Community interest has also been immense, and the building will be humming with activity each and every day. Plus, as the designated legacy facility for the Games, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will serve our College and our community members in exciting new ways.

As you are likely aware, this fall we are hosting five pre-Games events in preparation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The Games will take place from February 15 to March 3, 2019, and immediately after, we will be hosting the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball National Championships – for the first time more than 30 years. Tournaments, conferences and community use will ensure strong economic activity for our region.

We are proud to be a part of the Canada Winter Games and all that the partnership has enabled – and the Games will be amazing, of that I have no doubt. But our decision to partner on this once in a generation opportunity was based not only on hosting the Games, but on the impact new facilities would have on our future capacity to serve our students and communities long into the future.

And make no mistake, the opening of the Centre is about the future – the future of our region, our community and our College – and the University we are becoming. It is about our ability to better serve our students and communities in new and innovative ways through the addition of more programs, including our own degrees. Great programs, well delivered in state-of-the-art facilities will ensure the future of RDC as a recognized university. More opportunities for students to study closer to home will have a major impact on our economic, cultural and social growth.

When it comes to facilities for teaching, learning, innovation and research, RDC is leaping into the future. This amazing facility, our new residence and our new Alternative Energy Lab all reflect our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint while reducing our heating and cooling costs. Through the unique vertical installation of solar panels on our Residence building and more than 2,000 solar panels on the roof of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, RDC will be one of the leaders in Canada when it comes to alternative energy innovation.

My thanks to the Government of Alberta, and in particular to Premier Rachel Notley and Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, for the future they have enabled by their announcement earlier this year.

And for you, our students, your future begins now. Our Apprentice courses started on August 27, and credit classes begin at Red Deer College today. As we welcome you back and wish you all the best with your programs, another academic year has begun. But this year is different. We know that we are becoming a University, we have opened the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, and we are looking to future opportunities unlike anything we’ve seen before.

As always, if you have any suggestions or questions, please email me at [email protected] or call my office at 403.342.3233.

RDC students elect 2018-19 Executive Team

Students at Red Deer College elected the 2018-2019 Students’ Association executive March 22 in its general election.

The new executive team is: Chaise Combs, President; Esther Oliva-Dzib, Vice President Academic; Adam Shendaruk, Vice President Operations and Brittany Lessard, Vice President Community & Wellness. Students also elected members of SA Council — Justine Ecker, Kendra Gagne and Ian Miller.

All newly elected members of Executive Council and SA Council officially take office May 1, 2018.

“We would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the election,” said President Kass Scholze, “especially to all the candidates.

“It takes a lot put yourself out there and run a campaign while maintaining your studies. It clearly demonstrates how passionate students are about their education their future and Red Deer College.”

The current executive team —  Kass Scholze, President; Marian Young, Vice President Operations and Chaise Combs, Vice President Student Life — remain in office until April 30, 2018.

Misconceptions challenged during recent Social Work Student Society event

The Social Work Student Society hosted the Social Work Showcase Event in order to challenge misconceptions that social workers only work in child welfare and to demonstrate the many areas we are involved in.

Social workers contribute to social change though ground level work in fields such as financial aid, individual and family counselling, domestic violence, addictions, outreach, housing, and many others. We also work in areas of community engagement and policy development to advocate for vulnerable populations.

At the event we displayed photo voice projects from current students and some artistic projects from former students to represent our passions and initiatives in these areas as well as the values we uphold as social workers such as diversity and right to self-determination.

We included a multicultural element of social work by having a social work student from Kenya there to offer information on her Muslim culture and traditional Muslim dress for guests to try on.

We also demonstrated the innovation involved in social work through an art therapy table where guests could contribute drawings and write notes that allowed them a different outlet for self-expression and a way to de-stress for a moment or two.

We are so encouraged by the interest and support we received from faculty members, visitors and peers that attended our event. We ask that if members of the college and Red Deer community take anything away from this that it would be to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the social work profession and to aspire to demonstrate social work in your own lives.

Advocate for your vulnerable neighbors by informing yourself on social issues and spreading awareness in your conversations and actions, take opportunities to volunteer in the community when you can, and work to reduce discrimination in the way you speak about and treat the people around you.

Thank you,

– Keira Shendaruk, Social Work Student Society
Social Work Student Showcase

Smash Your Stress Car Smash

Your Students’ Association is proud to bring the Smash Your Stress Car Smash back to RDC for a second year.

On April 4 and 5 students can paint a message about what stresses them out on the car. Then on April 6 students can ‘smash their stress’ in a physical way. The car will be located in front of the Library and each day’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Weather permitting)

All necessary safe equipment will be provided and must be used to take part. Participants must also sign a waiver prior to participating.

Donations to the Students’ Association Student Food Bank gratefully accepted.