Meet the Research Coordinators

Thom MacDonald

Thom joined DC full time in 1996. He currently teaches object-oriented programming courses in the computer programming and computer programing and analysis programs. Before becoming the research coordinator for the School of Business, IT and Management, Thom served multiple terms as a program coordinator and sat on a variety of college committees, including Academic Council. Thom is currently a member of the Durham College Internationalization and Global Engagement Committee. Concurrently with his time at Durham, Thom served as a senior officer in the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve, until 2015.

Thom was a corporate trainer for EDS Canada, Rogers Cantel and other clients before joining DC.  Thom is a DC alumnus with an advanced diploma in business administration. Thom graduated from the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College in 2007 and he completed a Masters of Arts in Education and Digital Technology from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2015. Thom's primary research interest as a graduate student was hybrid learning. His thesis research compared students’ learning experiences and performance for lecture-based, active learning, and flipped classroom teaching approaches.


Picture of Thom MacDonald


Philip Jarvis joined DC in 2007 as a part-time professor for the Electrical Engineering Technician program at the Whitby campus. In 2010, Philip transferred to the Oshawa campus and joined the Electronic Programs, also participating in many research projects with the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship as a principal investigator. Philip then became a full-time professor in 2014 with the School of Science and Engineering Technology (SET) , and became co-coordinator  for two years for the Electrical and Electronic Programs. Philip is now the research co-ordinator for SET.

Philip holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the Open University in UK. Prior to joining Durham College, he was actively involved in Management, Engineering and Research for GFS, a global company offering  finishing solution and clean-room environments for industries across the world, and prior to that for Spraybake International, heavily involved in research, designing and implementing  optimized PLC and Electronics systems for markets in North America and Europe. He gained a wealth of real-life experience in the controls/electronics industry, through continual research and design for both plant implementation and smaller individual enterprise implementation.


Philip Jarvis


Linda Cheng joined DC in 2003. She is currently a professor in the School of Media, Art & Design and serves as the co-ordinator for the Interactive Media Design program.

Since 2011, Linda has taken on the additional role of faculty research liaison/research co-ordinator, building a link between the School of Media, Art & Design (MAD) and Office of Research Services and Innovation. In this role, she mentors students and provides a platform for them to apply their skills through applied research projects. As research co-ordinator, Linda has increased the profile of the school and raised awareness of applied research to both faculty and students. MAD has since completed seven major applied research projects, bringing experiential learning to classrooms, making the curriculum relevant and providing collaboration between industry professionals and students.

Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the Durham College faculty, she was a programming analyst at Mary Kay Cosmetics and Philips Electronics, and software manager at Memorex Telex. She has also gained a wealth of experience in the multimedia industry, designing and developing digital applications for private clients.


Linda Cheng

Michael Williams-Bell

Michael Williams-Bell joined Durham College (DC) in 2015 as a Professor in the Fitness and Health Promotion (FHP) program in the School of Health and Community Services. Prior to joining DC, Michael was a Sessional Instructor in the Kinesiology program at Ontario Tech University teaching courses in Exercise Physiology, Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription, and Research Applications. He is passionate about applied research and strives to increase involvement by community partners to collaborate in various research endeavours.

Michael completed his PhD at Ontario Tech in Applied Bioscience in 2016 and received his Bachelor of Science (2005) and Master of Science (2007) from the University of Waterloo. His doctoral work examined the effects of heat stress on cognitive function in professional firefighters using traditional cognitive assessments and developed a serious game to evaluate more realistic decision making tasks. Michael’s master’s research determined the physical demands and air requirements during simulated firefighting tasks in a high rise structure and subway system. He has also examined the metabolic demands and performance measures of the Candidate Physical Abilities Test. His current work looks to improve the health and safety of the fire service by implementing wearable technology to increase resiliency training to reduce the incidence of injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, Michael collaborates with the Game Development programs at DC and Ontario Tech to create gaming technologies to train firefighters in scenarios that they are not able to physically train in due to the dangers of the job.

Michael has published his research in scientific journals and presented his findings at the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s Annual Meeting, the International Association of Wildland Firefighters’ Smoke Symposium and Fire Continuum conferences, the Toronto Global Forum, the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders conference, and at fire-related meetings at the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters’ Association Health and Safety Conference. He collaborates with a variety of community partners including a number of Ontario fire services, Elite Training Systems, and Hexyoo Scientific. His international collaborations include Deakin University in Australia, the University of Montana, and Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland. Michael looks to continue networking with community partners to bring research expertise from DC to solve applied research problems and to provide students the opportunity to experience research first-hand.

Michael Williams-Bell


Dave Smith has a life-long interest in research.  Dave has completed several degrees including a Ph.D. in History from York University.  Dave began teaching at Durham College in 2004 in Academic Upgrading.  This teaching experience was very valuable and inspirational.  Dave learned at first-hand about the academic and life challenges faced by at-risk, mature, and vulnerable students.  Teaching in Academic Upgrading involves a one-on-one teaching method and long-term teaching/learning contact between teachers and students, so teachers in that area become fully aware of the challenges faced by many of these students.  Dave feels that people in the public college system must continue to search for ways to make the student experience as non-threatening as possible.  Dave hopes to be able to encourage research initiatives to investigate best practices to ensure the success of new students, particularly those with additional challenges.

Dave currently teaches General Education courses in the school of Interdisciplinary Studies.  Dave has seen the steady increase of technology in the classroom.  Many GenEd course offerings are evolving from face-to-face to hybrid and on-line.  This is a development that might benefit from further study, from the student perspective.  What best practices can be identified and encouraged?  And, how can on-line be synched with employer needs with the goal of graduates’ success in the workplace?  The move toward more technology and connectivity in the classroom, in addition to increased reliance on hybrid and on-line delivery, are bringing about massive changes in teaching practices in our colleges – they have many potential benefits, which need to be studied.


David Smith


Vlad Chiriac is a professor in the School of Justice & Emergency Services in the Paramedic programs. Vlad is proud to be a Durham College alumni from the Advanced Care Paramedic Program and is honoured to work alongside the team that shaped him. He understands the philosophy of the College and is eager to help educate future generations. Amongst other qualifications, Vlad holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Physiology from the University of Toronto, a Primary Care Paramedic Diploma from Centennial College and a Master of Education Degree from Athabasca University with a thesis focused on paramedic education.

Vlad is actively trying to transmit his keen interest in pre-hospital patient care to his students by involving them in case based learning, with a special interest in video based assignments and incremental exploration of interconnected notions aimed at developing independent thinking processes. His research interests consist of psychomotor training through distance education, technology enhanced learning and the investigation of differences between the technology that is actively used during institutional educational processes and the rapidly developing technology that surrounds us. He is new to the role of research co-ordinator and is looking forward to the opportunity of building and developing research within the School of Justice & Emergency Services at Durham College.


Vlad Chiriac

Wendy Smith

Wendy is a proud Durham College Alumni of the first graduating class of the Food and Drug Technology program which launched an exciting career in Research and Development and Product Development, first with General Foods (now Kraft), then with Nestle and her own consulting business.

Throughout her six years with Durham College, she’s had the pleasure of working with a highly talented team of outstanding leaders, industry partners, expert faculty and curriculum developers focused on designing, developing and introducing the Food and Farming program.  As a professor, she continues to build and teach the program’s Food Science and Technology courses while enhancing the student experience.  Wendy values the next generation of Food Science and Technology and maintains a focus in research and product development. She is committed to the continued advancement of the DC student experience, the Food and Farming program, and the implementation of ever evolving industry trends.

Wendy is also enthusiastically involved in the Vietnamese Skills for Employment Project as a subject matter expert in Food Science and Technology. She contributes her program development expertise to the design, development and introduction of a Pharmaceutical and Food Science program for Hau Giang Community College in Vietnam. Her education and career experiences give her a unique edge, allowing her to implement the elements necessary to provide the best educational experience for the students.

Finally, Wendy is a member of the College’s Academic Council and is research co-ordinator, working with a cross section of colleagues to advance the research agenda.  This is a dynamic time for applied research at Durham College and in her new research co-ordinator role, Wendy engages with students, industry, the community, and faculty to build and develop applied research projects within the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food and the School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship and Renewable Technology.

Prior to joining Durham College, Wendy had the opportunity to work on many research projects including the identification of a gold standard for orange juice, improved flavour and texture profiles in crystal beverages, the effect on and maintenance of flavour profiles in roast and ground coffee during vacuum packaging, and new product development of chocolate and ice cream while with Kraft and Nestle and identification of carcinogens in environmental sources of dioxins while completing a B.Sc. in Honours Applied Chemistry at the University of Waterloo.

Nicole Doyle

Nicole joined Durham College as a Faculty Librarian in 2005 where she supported the multidisciplinary research of college and university students and faculty. She was responsible for launching the library’s first Data Library service and in 2008, she was invited to represent Southern Ontario and collaborate with Statistics Canada representatives and her peers across the country to plan educational activities for data librarians at academic institutions. In 2010, Nicole transitioned to full time teaching as a Professor in the School of Justice and Emergency Services. She teaches legal research courses and enjoys developing and re-developing courses related to student success, research, and critical thinking. 

Nicole is an experienced project manager, innovator and leader of new initiatives with demonstrated expertise in knowledge management and development of collaborative partnerships. Nicole’s recent work is focused on knowledge mobilization in the early learning community. Nicole has been an active member of the Durham Best Start Network (BSN) and, in particular the Research and Knowledge Mobilization (RKMb) Sub-Committee since 2015. As co-chair of the sub-committee, Nicole continues to work to build capacity for research and knowledge exchange in post-secondary institutions and agencies serving children, youth and families in Durham Region. Nicole was a Co-Principal Investigator for an Innovative Initiatives grant project in 2019 and has presented at the Region of Durham Social Services Department Innovation and Research Forum in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, Nicole was nominated for the 2019 Researcher Award of Excellence at Durham College as a result of her ongoing work in this area.

In her new role as Research Coordinator for the School of Justice and Emergency Services, she is excited about facilitating, encouraging, and mentoring her peers as they embark on their own research projects.

Image of Nicole Doyle.