With each passing year, it’s a thrill to watch the evolution of the Durham College (DC) community! From the humble roots of our Simcoe building at the Oshawa campus to the grand opening of our Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE) in October 2018 and everything in between, our on- and off- campus communities have made, and continue to make, a tremendous impact here in Durham Region, across Ontario and around the world.
As we continue to grow and evolve to meet the demands of our students and the community, there is one particular highlight from this past year that I’d like to note — the 25th anniversary of our Whitby campus. The former home of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, DC purchased the land in 1992 with the Whitby campus officially opening its doors in 1993, immediately realizing our vision for a training facility that would champion the skilled trades, apprenticeship and real-world learning opportunities essential to advancing our local, provincial and national economies.
For more than two decades the campus has flourished, supporting economic development and job creation in our local community, and beyond. Now, as we work to secure funding for our next expansion, which will feature a new 60,000 sq. ft. centre that will double the college’s industrial skilled trades training capacity and focus on high-priority industries such as elevating devices and trades including electricians, crane operators and millwrights as well as emerging areas such as boilermakers, we look forward to meeting employer and apprentice demand in addition to creating new job opportunities on campus. In fact, we’ve already begun. In January we celebrated the completion of our first-ever Boiler Lab, which was created in partnership with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to fill specific roles related to OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment Project, Canada’s largest clean energy initiative, while providing an incredible experiential learning opportunity for our students.
As we look to the future of DC, I invite you to review the highlights from our 2018-2019 fiscal year and share in our excitement for all we have done. I am truly amazed at the many achievements of our students, employees, alumni, business partners, community advocates and government supporters, and how they promote and advance the social and economic health of our many communities, here at home and across the globe.
Together, we are DC!
At Durham College (DC), we’ve come a long way. From one building to two sprawling campuses, six community employment service locations and a learning site, we’ve evolved into a strong community of learners, educators, supporters and ambassadors working collaboratively to build a better future for all.
Our students and employees come from all walks of life, each adding a unique thread to our shared tapestry of diversity in teaching and learning. We have formed partnerships that have taken us across the world and back to ensure our students have the best experiential learning opportunities, while our leadership as a post-secondary institution continues to make a significant impact on the local economy. And while we’ve come a long way, no matter how much we change – because we have, and no matter how much we grow – because we will, one thing we will always be is a community.
Together, we are DC.
The following stories highlight just a few of the ways we supported the social and economic well-being of our collective society during the 2018-2019 fiscal year as we continue to evolve as a modern hub of innovation that is redefining the meaning of post-secondary education.
One of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges for six years running, Durham College (DC) is a leader in innovative applied research – solving industry and social challenges through innovation and collaboration via our Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE).
Committed to addressing the needs of a technology-driven knowledge economy, ORSIE engages with industry, employees, students, and the community-at-large on research projects that are designed to support, transform and advance economic prosperity in Durham Region and beyond. This includes taking on 41 social innovation, artificial intelligence (AI) and other industry-led applied research projects during 2018-2019 and placing 60 students as research assistants.
In addition, the Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub), was opened, offering industry partners access to technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and platforms, and student talent. Specifically, the hub is studying how narrow AI can help small- and medium-sized enterprises uncover new insights while providing intelligent and autonomous solutions that help increase their efficiency and development.
The following examples showcase just some of the projects that ORSIE has engaged in over the past year.
In May 2018, the DC Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) hosted its eighth annual Research Day. Held at the Oshawa campus, it showcased faculty, student researchers and industry partners; introduced attendees to the Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub) and the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation; and highlighted applied research projects in areas of significance to the local and provincial economies.
This included ORSIE’s work with industry partner iCare Home Health Services (iCare), who demonstrated Health Espresso, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled global tracking device for distant health-care delivery that is the first of its kind in the world. One of the first partners to collaborate with the AI Hub, iCare is working with DC to bring advanced AI features to Health Espresso through the support of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grant.
The event included the 3MARC challenge, a competition that sees students engaged in applied research communicate the importance of their work and findings in only three minutes, and the AI Entrepreneurship challenge, a pitch contest in which competitors highlight the power of AI in unique and innovative business applications for a chance to win a cash prize and support from the DC FastStart team.
In November 2018, DC was once again named one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges by Research Infosource Inc., a Canadian research and development intelligence company. The announcement marks the sixth consecutive year the college has been included on the list, which is informed by data on research income, research intensity, research partnerships and projects at colleges across the country.
In November 2018, ORSIE announced approval for $2.24 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its College and Community Innovation (CCI) program and College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF). The funding is being used over five years to further enhance the capacity of the college’s Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub), which has already established itself as a leader in artificial intelligence through a number of innovative applied research projects. Specifically, the grant will allow the hub to engage more faculty, students and industry partners in collaborative projects to improve business innovation, develop talent and contribute to local technological advancement.
The college also received $240,000 from CCSIF over a two-year period with the grant being used to support a social innovation project focused on developing a unique and scalable housing model for youth living on their own in Durham Region.
In October 2018, DC hosted Tushar Singh, chief executive officer of Minute School, at the Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub) for a Tech Talk on special needs education and artificial intelligence (AI). The event was part of an ongoing speaker series to highlight the growing field of AI including exploring business trends and possibilities in AI research and design. During the talk, the City of Oshawa also announced a sponsorship commitment for future Tech Talks related to cyber security, health care and real estate with the city providing $3,000 in financial support and assistance, garnering engagement from local and external businesses and stakeholders.
The college then hosted its fourth Tech Talk in January 2019 with a two-hour event focused on real estate from an industry standpoint and how AI has started to disrupt the market including key points around data integrity, privacy, security and regulation. Held at the AI Hub, the event saw more than 90 professionals from the AI and real estate industries attend presentations by Tim Hudak, chief executive officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association, Mustafa Abbasi, president and chief revenue officer of Zolo, Absar Beg, president of Lifelong Group of Companies, and Gary Fooks, chief executive officer and mortgage broker for 8Twelve Mortgage Corporation. Housed within the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the AI Hub offers small- and medium-sized enterprises a much-needed access point to the rapidly growing field of AI.
In November 2018, five DC students travelled to St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering to break ground on the first phase of the college’s Grassroots project. The initiative is part of Enactus DC, a club of student leaders looking to make a positive economic and social impact on society that was introduced in 2016 through FastStartDC. In partnership with the Durham District Catholic School Board (DDCSB), Grassroots aims to educate elementary and secondary school students about food-related issues in a sustainable outdoor education environment.
The St. Mary’s project led high school students as they built micro-greenhouses and planted a fruit tree orchard with the cold frames for the micro-greenhouses designed by DC’s Horticulture – Food and Farming and Building Construction Technician students. Future Grassroots plans include continuing to work with St. Mary and the DDCSB to build an accessible food and farming hub that will help students learn about plants, food production, climate, sustainability, regeneration and resiliency.
In January 2019, the DC Enactus team also hosted 100 high school students from Monsignor Paul Dwyer and Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic secondary schools for its inaugural Side Hustle Summit. This one-day entrepreneurship conference, designed for students in a Ministry of Education Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, is an Enactus DC social innovation project that aims to motivate and empower young adults to pursue entrepreneurship while providing practical strategies for social media and website building. The conference kicked off with keynote speaker Dan Cole, a DC alumnus and founder of RandomTens, and offered workshops focused on entrepreneurial thinking, personal branding and development, using social media for business, and rapid website deployment.
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 2018-2019 achievements of our students, our people, our business and our community.
In April 2018, Deanna Chaikalis and Matthew Vella, graduates of the college’s Firefighter – Pre-service, Education and Training program were recognized at the Canadian Fire Safety Association (CSFA) annual education forum . The duo returned to DC to take the Fire and Life Safety Systems Technician program and gain higher qualifications to further develop their critical thinking skills in the field of fire safety.
Chaikalis received the Mircom Group Award, valued at $500, for having exceptional overall skills focused on fire detection systems, codes, fire protection system design and practical labs. Vella was recognized with the Siemens Canada Award, valued at $1,000, for his outstanding performance in fire detection, codes, fire protection system design, practical lab skills and AutoCAD.
In April 2018, the college’s Journalism – Mass Media program took home first place honours at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s (OCNA) annual Better Newspapers Competition . In addition, The Chronicle website was awarded Best College/University Newspaper Website, and Toby Van Weston, a 2017 graduate of the Journalism – Mass Media program, won the Student Feature Writing category for a two-page story on the water quality issues on Scugog Island , earning praise for running a local angle on a national-scale story.
In January 2019, a team of the college’s Horticulture Technician students participated in the 2019 Landscape Ontario Congress , an annual trade show and conference for Canada’s horticultural and landscape professionals.
With a goal to bring a classmate’s vision of a tranquil outdoor garden room from design to reality, their work was featured as part of the Canada Blooms Campus: Student Feature Gardens exhibit. Designed by second-year student Amanda Steinberg, the DC installation featured extensive woodwork, including a wooden accent wall, and a secret waterfall. Her design and the students’ participation at the event were part of an assignment for the Sustainable Garden Concepts and Design course with the students given just two days to construct the installation.
In October 2018, two teams of second-year Culinary Management students took home multiple awards at the 2018 Student Chef Challenge , hosted at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food.
Sponsored by Ontario Sheep Farmers and Mushrooms Canada, the challenge saw students from Durham, Fleming and Centennial colleges prepare and present three internationally inspired lamb and mushroom dishes to a panel of industry judges. Working with faculty mentors who guided them through the finer aspects of butchery, the students tested their expertise in recipe development techniques with DC’s Team A winning second place overall and Team B recognized for Best Butchery Skills.
The challenge gave students the opportunity to expand their learning beyond the classroom, receive valuable feedback from judges and begin the process of building a name for themselves in the industry. Recipes from the competition will be featured in a future cookbook being jointly published by Ontario Sheep Farmers and Mushrooms Canada, with the students receiving credit for their contributions.
In June 2018, the School of Health & Community Services held a 90-minute interdepartmental workshop to offer Dental Hygiene (DH) and Personal Support Worker (PSW) students a hands-on learning experience designed to encourage collaboration between the two programs.
Ten DH and 15 PSW students focused on best practices related to oral care and mobility for seniors with the groups taking turns guiding each other in techniques to benefit the senior population. The PSW students facilitated a discussion and training related to safe techniques for transferring clients to and from a wheelchair to a dental chair, and the DH students reviewed the components essential to maintaining a healthy and clean mouth, including a demonstration of proper mouth care. The workshop concluded with a debriefing session for each group that allowed participants to share their feedback on how this unique and collaborative experience allowed them to gain specialized, situational knowledge in their field.
For the third year in a row, DC students came together for the Hockey Helps the Homeless tournament in support of Durham Outlook , a soup kitchen serving Durham Region’s most vulnerable residents.
Organized by DC Sport Management students during their fourth semester, the tournament, held in March 2019, was one of several held nationwide to enable hockey lovers to skate alongside their peers while making a difference in the lives of Canadians experiencing homelessness. The DC tournament was facilitated through a Sport and Event Marketing class with students brainstorming about the event before the start of the semester including applying for co-chair positions the fall prior. Students worked together to form sub-committees that focused on game day operations, sponsorship and player recruitment and marketing, allowing them to apply their skills and interests to the planning, organization and execution of a real-world sporting event.
More than $20,000 was raised with a cheque presented to Durham Outlook by Nadine Lamarche, program co-ordinator for DC’s Sport Administration and Sport Management programs , and her students in April 2019.
With DC nearing the final year of its 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, the college has embarked on the exciting process to develop a new strategy that will redefine who we are as an evolving institution and guide our decisions and actions through to 2023. This includes the ways in which we will continue to achieve our mission, realize our vision and remain true to the shared values and goals we strive to uphold each day.
Linked to the goals outlined in both our Academic Plan and Strategic Mandate Agreement with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, our new Strategic Plan will incorporate the many elements that enable us to provide top-quality experiential learning opportunities to our students, positively contribute to the broader community and support our employees while continuing to align our priorities and goals with the college’s four pillars: our students, our people, our business and our community.
The process to develop our new Strategic Plan began with a comprehensive online survey focused on our mission, vision and values that was made available to our key internal and external stakeholders from March 18 to 31, 2019. More than 700 respondents took part in the survey, providing feedback on the language used in the current plan and suggestions for improvement or clarification. In addition to the survey, several focus groups have also been held with additional sessions planned for 2019-2020. These interactive sessions are providing our stakeholders with an additional opportunity to offer even more insight into our current strategic plan while helping us determine our future mission, vision, values and goals.
All of the feedback gathered will then be compiled, reviewed and incorporated into the new plan, which will then be shared with the DC community in Spring 2020.
Renewing our strategic plan is always an exciting time as it allows us to reflect on our vision to ensure that we are heading in the right direction and confirm that our mission is focused and serves all of our stakeholders. Once our new plan is completed, we will review all of our other strategic documents to ensure consistency and alignment with the new plan – charting our course for the next three years as we work together, on and off of campus, to support our students and the community.