As DC celebrated 50 amazing years in 2017, it also marked a significant step into the college’s future with advancements in research, technology, experiential learning, programming, partnerships, and so much more.
The college has truly leapt into a new era where the future of education is driven by innovation and collaboration and advances in new technologies are breaking down global, cultural and economic barriers to transform business and industry. As part of our commitment to this new wave of learning, the college is strategically focused on the role of technology; from shaping its programs and the student experience to its impact on applied research, business and industry partners, the community, employees and graduates.
DC professor and lead researcher, Amit Maraj and his team are at the hub of technology – literally – with the college’s new Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub), which according to Maraj, “is already leading to breakthrough technology in artificial intelligence (AI) designed to improve future operations and efficiencies and open the doors for companies to make an important contribution to the global economy.”
In the meantime, Allison Hector-Alexander, director of the college’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions, understands that technology is also creating an increasingly interconnected and empathetic global society. “We are recognizing the enormity of what’s going on around us and how we support each other globally via technology. There is a critical need for society to take a closer look at self-care, in the midst of global events.”
This commitment to universal collaboration is only amplified by The Global Class, which sees DC use technology in creative ways to connect students, faculty, thought leaders, subject matter experts and visionaries from around the world together to share ideas and generate synergies in areas such as technology, business and industry, while bringing meaningful discussion about diversity and inclusion to the forefront, ensuring a stronger future for everyone.
DC students and graduates have emerged as agents of change with the college committed to joining them in their mission to solve major issues such as climate change. The college recently received $14.9 million in funding to support its Simcoe Geothermal Field Project, a multi-year initiative at the Oshawa campus to create a net-zero carbon footprint in existing campus buildings via a geothermal field, new central plant and piping network. This complements the extraordinary work of alumnus Brent Lessard, a 2014 DC Mechanical Engineering Technology graduate and co-founder of rLoop, a think-tank and talent resource, that is using new technology in sustainable and renewable energy transmission and storage to help solve transportation issues and mitigate climate change. "This kind of technology was unparalleled before now,” said Lessard. “I can’t wait to see what kind of advances we’ll see in five to 10 years.”
From the new AI Hub and Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation to the launch of its first degree program and the new Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE), both available to students in September 2018, DC is well-positioned for future growth and development. These incredible advances speak to the momentum with which DC is launching into its next 50 years. We hope you will join us for the ride!
Stepping into the future, DC continues to demonstrate innovation through collaboration – both locally and globally – via its applied research agenda and exploration into creating innovation centres across technology, business and industry.
The college’s newest learning environments are designed to meet emerging market demands, including the AI Hub and the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation (CCBI), which positions DC as a leader in the flourishing craft brew market, enabling the college to meet the demands of this growing industry boom by offering brewers access to expertise and state-of-the-art technology while enabling students to gain valuable experience working on applied research brewing projects.
For students who hold a diverse skill set, according to Lessard, the world really will be their oyster moving forward suggesting that “students focus on diversifying their education among distinct interests which will help serve them better in the long run.”
So, how does that translate into careers for graduates? From Maraj’s perspective, “society will continue to see an uptrend in technology-based careers such as computer programming and coding-related jobs, as they relate to a wide variety of industries including a shift in work culture with more companies empowering autonomy among employees while emphasizing teambuilding in a more relaxed work environment.”
Lastly, by promoting collaborative, open dialogue on campus, DC’s students will continue to develop a sense of self that will serve them well in their careers, according to Hector-Alexander. “Our graduates recognize their value in the workplace environment, as well as their role in advocating for a seat at the table to bring discussion about empathy and diversity to the forefront.”
Whether it’s through advancing high-impact technology in leading business and industry, producing graduates ready to develop real solutions to global challenges for a sustainable future or shaping meaningful discussion and cultivating community around issues of diversity, inclusiveness and mental health for a stronger, more resilient humanity, DC is tremendously excited about the endless possibilities to innovate the future, together!
One of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges year after year, and a leader in post-secondary education, DC thrives on innovative applied research conducted in collaboration with industry, students, employees and community organizations via our Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) . This includes our commitment to solving business, technological and social challenges through applied research projects designed to advance the economic prosperity of Durham Region and beyond. In addition, it includes the introduction of advanced resources such as the for AI Hub , which launched in December 2017 and offers small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) an access point to the rapidly growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the new Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation, which launched in March 2018 and offers craft brewers access to expertise and state-of-the-art technology, as well as micro-analytical and research services. The following examples showcase only some of the projects ORSIE has engaged in over the past year.
In spring 2017, ORSIE hosted its seventh annual Research Day at the college’s Oshawa campus, highlighting the leading-edge applied research being conducted by DC in collaboration with industry and institutional and community partners in areas including data analytics, automation and mobile applications. Aimed at exhibiting the significant impact of applied research in the community while demonstrating how DC students increasingly benefit from such learning opportunities, the event featured Ryan Turnbull, founder and president of Eco-Ethonomics Inc., who spoke about the advancement of social innovation and social enterprises in Canada. In addition, the WeTraq, a global tracking device designed to help families stay connected to loved ones living with autism, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was also presented. The credit card-sized device, which remains with a person at risk of wandering so family members can track their whereabouts around the world, was conceptualized by WeTraq and brought to life through collaboration with DC students and faculty.
In fall 2017, as part of a grant program launched in partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Spark Innovation Centre, the college invited small businesses looking for support to develop products focused on robotics, automation or controls, to tap into ORSIE’s local expertise. Through funding from the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program, local companies accessed a variety of services for assistance with the development of a business/marketing plan; modification of control software; and prototype design/development with successful applicants given access to leading research and testing facilities at the shared DC-UOIT Oshawa campus.
In fall 2017, DC was named one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges by Research Infosource Inc. for the fifth year in a row, clearly demonstrating the college’s calibre in applied research and commitment to solving real-world challenges through innovation and collaboration under four themes – cultivating healthy lives and resilient communities; advancing agriculture, agri-business and tourism; enabling technologies of the future; and enhancing scholarly teaching and learning. In particular, DC is focused on enabling technologies of the future and helping organizations develop, customize and implement state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) systems and practices into business solutions through its new AI Hub.
2017-2018 saw DC take a leading role in AI applied research beginning with the launch of the first-of-its-kind AI Hub at the Oshawa campus in late 2017. Housed within ORSIE, the hub offers SMEs an access point to the rapidly growing field of AI, including access to technical expertise; state-of-the-art facilities and learning platforms; and emerging student leaders. This was followed by the announcement of a partnership between the AI Hub and iCare Home Health (iCare) in winter 2018 to bring advanced AI features to iCare’s mobile application for health-care delivery across distances. DC professor Amit Maraj and his team of research assistants, in conjunction with the AI Hub, are working to add AI voice control functionality to iCare’s Health Espresso app. Lastly, in winter 2018, ORSIE was awarded $250,000 through the province’s Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF) to support the development and adoption of AI in business solutions. Focused on narrow AI (e.g. software that uses technologies such as machine learning, decision support, natural language processing and automation to make business recommendations, autonomously make decisions, or take action in a manner that would be considered intelligent) the CARDF research is designed to help SMEs uncover new business insights while providing intelligent and autonomous solutions designed to increase a company’s productivity and growth.
In winter 2018, the college announced a five-year collaboration with Lakeridge Health focused on growing experiential learning, applied research and innovative education to address issues in health care. Under the agreement, the two organizations are collaborating to establish initiatives focused on improving health care; foster partnerships to enable the formulation and potential commercialization of new technologies; co-ordinate joint opportunities in experiential learning, applied research and innovative education; contribute to seminars, workshops and academic initiatives that support the vision of both organizations; and share access to facilities, equipment, systems, information and data.
The agreement supports two of the four themes under ORSIE’s research umbrella; enabling technologies of the future and cultivating healthy lives and resilient communities, and aligns with the college’s first degree program, the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management (BHCTM), announced in early 2017.
In spring 2018, DC announced the opening of the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation (CCBI) at the Whitby campus. Consisting of a pilot brew line and brew lab purchased using a $150,000 Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the CCBI offers craft brewers access to expertise and state-of-the-art technology, as well as micro-analytical and research services. Under the direction of an experienced microbiologist and brewmaster, craft brewers can address potential brewing challenges by experimenting with new recipes and flavour profiles, propagating and maintaining yeast strains and conducting scientific analyses to ensure the analytical and microbiological integrity of beer. In addition, students can gain valuable working knowledge via research projects with brewers and applying what they learn in the classroom to address industry issues.
Highlighting the 2017-2018 achievements of our students, our people, our business and our community.
In spring 2017, John Draper, a 2005 graduate of the Journalism program and founder of Together We Rock! , was honoured with the David C. Onley award for Leadership in Accessibility , which recognizes individuals who go above and beyond to raise awareness about accessibility and contribute to a culture of inclusion across the province. A valued alumni guest presenter, he was also honoured as an Alumnus of Distinction in 2007 for his accessibility efforts . While a DC student, Draper wrote for The Chronicle newspaper and Reflections magazine and was a student member of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, he uses non-verbal humour to encourage others in doing what they can to help create a world where everyone belongs.
In June 2017, students from the Fine Arts – Advanced program , housed under the School of Media, Art & Design , were given the opportunity to bring creativity to one of Oshawa’s downtown buildings as part of their Community Collaborations course. Students painted on the windows of the Arts Resource Centre near Oshawa City Hall to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday and other milestone anniversaries being celebrated by community partners in 2017, including the college’s 50th anniversary, with each student tasked with designing a window that captured an organization’s spirit or a certain period from its history.
In spring 2017, 36 Dental Hygiene students in their fifth semester of study, had the opportunity to utilize their skills while giving back to the community . Joined by seven program graduates and four faculty members, the students provided dental hygiene care to clients of Health Mission Outreach in Brampton. They treated more than 100 people who otherwise would not have had access to basic dental care while practising many of their skills including providing assessments, periodontal debridement, fluoride treatments and oral hygiene instructions. Prior to their work with Health Mission Outreach, students gained real-world work experience treating clients at the college’s Dental Hygiene Clinic and through field placements and additional volunteer work, including education and dental screenings at The Refuge youth shelter in Oshawa.
In spring 2017, the provincial government presented Dominic Rehayem, a graduate of DC’s Advanced Care Paramedic program, with the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery in honour of a heroic rescue he made in 2015 when working as an advanced care paramedic with the Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services. In April 2015, Rehayem rescued a man who fell into a river following an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident. After a 20-minute ATV search, Rehayem found the man freezing on the other side of the river. He then provided him with his own clothing, strapped the man to his body and swam back across the river. The annual award recognizes paramedics for individual acts of outstanding courage.
In fall 2017, Brent Lessard, a 2014 graduate of DC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, was honoured with an Ontario Premier’s Award , which acknowledges the social and economic contributions college graduates make to the province and throughout the world. Lessard was recognized for his leadership in revolutionizing the future of transportation via rLoop , a non-profit, crowd-funded and sourced online think tank and talent resource that was founded in 2014. Connecting the rLoop team, which is comprised of 1,100 members from more than 50 countries, Lessard and his team are focused on the development of a conceptual, high-speed transportation system called Hyperloop that propels people or cargo from place to place at the speed of sound in a low-pressure tube using sustainable and cost-efficient energy.
In November 2017, five Centre for Food (CFF) students won a student series competition hosted by Canoe Restaurant in Toronto as part of Canada’s 150 celebrations. The competition asked entrants to create a video answering the question, what does Canadian food mean to you. The winning video was submitted by Casey Chessman ( Horticulture – Food and Farming ), Tamara Green, Khadijah Hosein and Emilie Woytowich ( Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts ) and Ikra Ijaz ( Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations Management ), and was inspired by Green’s Indigenous heritage and the diverse backgrounds of all team members. The team used the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) as an analogy for Canada’s multiculturalism and its positive impact on the evolution of Canadian cuisine.
In winter 2018, Jordan Jolicoeur, a third-year Electromechanical Engineering Technology program student, won a career-launching, all-expenses-paid trip to the annual Rockwell Automation Fair in Houston, Texas, courtesy of industry leader Westburne Electric (Westburne). He spent two days networking with experts in the field and gaining valuable insight into future career options. Westburne initially approached DC about sponsoring a student based the reputation of its Electromechanical Engineering Technology program , which is ranked number one in the province for knowledge and skills, quality of learning experience, graduate satisfaction, and graduation rate. Jolicoeur, the only student sent by Westburne to the fair, was selected based on his grade point average and a testimonial as to why he should attend.
In winter 2018, Evgenia Nazarenko, a third-year Graphic Design student, tested her skills at an international level while representing DC at the Young Designers Award Competition held in California. Nazarenko was the sole Canadian participant at the annual, invitation-only event, which showcases the extraordinary talents of college students studying packaging and design. Following the competition, Nazarenko’s work was showcased in California during the month of February.
In winter 2018, students, faculty researchers and representatives from ORSIE participated in Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) annual Applied Research Symposium where they presented an Interactive Accessibility Assistant using AI during a special showcase on Parliament Hill . Initially funded by DC, the Interactive Accessibility project was launched to develop software for accurate closed captioning of teaching materials to improve accessibility offerings and learning experiences for students at the college. The solution was developed by integrating several signal- and language- processing AI architectures and incorporating sound and natural-language AI processing in a new and unique way.
Victoria Rinsma, a recent graduate of the Culinary Management program , earned a bronze medal at Chef Ireland 2018 , part of the Chef Ireland Culinary Competitions , which took place in Dublin in winter 2018. Representing the Institute of Technology Tralee’s (ITT) Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department, Rinsma was part of a four-person team that competed across three categories, winning a bronze medal in the Irish Beef Fillet competition open class. While studying at DC, Rinsma was part of the winning team at the 2016 Taste Canada Cook the Books competition and received DC’s Gold Medal Award 2017, which honours the college’s top culinary student. Her success and passion for food led her to pursue a three-year Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts at ITT, a long-standing partner of DC.
In April 2017, The Chronicle , the college’s newspaper and website produced by students and faculty in the Journalism – Mass Media program, was recognized by the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s 2017 Better Newspapers Competition . In addition, The Chronicle website was a finalist in the Best College or University Newspaper Website category.
In spring 2018, a team of DC students finished second in the first-ever Teaching City Hackathon. Held on International Open Data Day, the event saw 10 teams of Oshawa-based post-secondary students compete for a chance to win $1,500 by proposing a solution to a public policy challenge focused on improving residential rental housing in Oshawa. Members of the DC team, known as P.A.M., received a $750 prize for their solution; a website focused on the inclusivity of Oshawa’s most marginalized populations.
The CFCE, one of DC’s most significant legacy projects, is on track to open in fall 2018. The new multi-level, 75,000-square-foot-facility will serve as an educational access point for students while bringing together local, Indigenous and global community groups and members of key business sectors. In addition to offering global, open and collaborative learning and social spaces, it will house departments such as the School-College-Work Initiative and affiliated Centre for Success program; the Centre for Indigenous Peoples; the Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions; the Spark Centre; FastStartDC; the Durham College Spa; health and science facilities; and foundations programs.
The Simcoe Geothermal Field project will allow DC to make a direct, positive impact on the health and future of the environment and students as part the college’s actions to support sustainable and environmentally responsible practices across all aspects of its operations. It will also provide new experiential learning opportunities to students with the geothermal field and heat pump plant acting as a living lab that will be incorporated into a wide variety of program curricula to address new green-energy technologies and careers.
The Durham College Spa will open at the Oshawa campus in September 2018. Housed within the CFCE, this fully functioning spa, open to the public, will provide students with the opportunity to work directly with clients as well as behind the scenes on logistics, management, marketing and more. DC Spa will offer services including manicures and pedicures, waxing, facials, body treatments and corrective makeup techniques, enabling students to apply the skills gained in the classroom on actual clients, under the guidance of professionals.
DC has proposed consent for a second degree to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for the college's anticipated launch of the program in fall 2020. The proposed Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science degree program has been referred to, and is currently under review by, the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board, the college degree quality assurance body. Meant to improve opportunities for academic preparation in the field of behavioural sciences, the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with individuals of all ages and across a variety of settings. Competencies will be developed through a broad perspective within the field of psychology, coupled with in-depth knowledge related to applied behaviour analysis and cognitive behaviour therapy. The program will also focus on developing the ability to investigate theory and research, and apply methods founded in behavioral concepts and principles to real-life situations.
The college’s first-ever degree program, an Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management, will begin in fall 2018.
As part of DC’s plan to make the best use of space on campus, a space planning project is underway at the Whitby campus to confirm or adjust how spaces are allocated and used in existing buildings while considering the following: increasing enrolment; evolving program offerings; and ongoing student experience and operational issues. The project is also designed to account for how the Whitby campus might grow in the long-term, including planned changes to the municipal and regional road networks that serve the campus; parking capacity; and the potential for new buildings including a residence. The aim of the plan is to provide pathways and/or a decision framework that addresses the space allocation pressures and functional challenges while informing changes through concerted re-allocations, renovations or other options that can be implemented over time.
In 2017-2018, DC took part in an external review of the processes it follows to ensure program quality and compliance with the College Quality Assurance Audit Process (CQAAP). An institutional-level process that involves the regular and cyclical review of the quality assurance mechanisms of all 24 Ontario colleges, the CQAAP standards provide the framework for assessing how well quality assurance mechanisms meet the established standards in several different areas. Eighteen months following the college’s final audit report, it will report on the status of its commitments.
DC will continue to be a thought leader, responding to community needs by addressing and studying urban issues as it works to advance its role as a community hub. This includes engaging key employers in order to advance strategic development and innovation in the region by leading and participating in initiatives such as the Idea Summit, which leverages key corporate partners to stimulate investment and innovation, as well as its leading role in helping the City of Oshawa become a TeachingCity in conjunction with UOIT, the Canadian Urban Institute and the University of Toronto’s Civil Engineering department.
The college will continue to grow its culture of applied research, entrepreneurship and innovation including encouraging more faculty to engage in collaborative projects with companies, resulting in meaningful economic impact. In addition, DC will offer students the opportunity to participate in these projects to access rich experiential learning opportunities while refining their essential employability skills. DC will also continue to build and deliver entrepreneurship services to provide students with challenging and innovative programming, enabling them to imagine, explore and create solutions with commercialization potential, including providing a new home for FastStartDC, an entrepreneurship service designed to help students develop and launch their own businesses, within the CFCE.