DC receives more than $472,000 from Global Skills Opportunity to support faculty-led learning abroad for students

In the current Canadian context of urgently needed Reconciliation, Durham College (DC) has been awarded more than $472,000 in funding from Global Skills Opportunity, the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program, for an innovative international learning opportunity designed to engage with Indigenous and traditional communities around the world.

Offered through DC’s Faculty-Led Classroom Abroad (FLCA) program, FLCA@Home and Away will begin with virtual activities, followed by future global travel opportunities to participating countries.

“We are very excited to be offering this program to students,” said Janine Knight-Grofe, manager, International Education at DC. “Based on previous education abroad experiences between the college and communities in Guatemala, we’ve gained valuable insights into the rich learning and transformation that takes place when we engage in authentic interactions with Indigenous peoples. FLCA@Home and Away is a timely extension of that work, which will allow students to interact and exchange knowledge and skills with these groups from other countries. It is through these experiences that students develop a foundation for Reconciliation at home.”

By taking part in the FLCA@Home and Away initiative, students will increase their knowledge of intercultural competencies and hone their professional networking skills while demonstrating cultural awareness, adaptability, resilience, creativity, and self-awareness, particularly in understanding the unique perspectives and contributions of Indigenous peoples. They also will learn to respond positively to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures respect of cultural differences, while developing the ability to recognize and interpret cultural perspectives without bias. In addition, demonstrating respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others will be emphasized as they cultivate transferable skills for their personal and professional development.

FLCA@Home and Away was designed in collaboration with DC’s International Education Office, faculty, the First Peoples Indigenous Centre, the Access and Support Centre and the Career Development Office.

The first offering, FLCA@Home: Storytelling will take place virtually over the winter 2022 semester for students from the college’s School of Media, Art & Design. Future projects are also being planned for students across the college’s other academic schools.

More information about FLCA@Home and Away can be found at www.durhamcollege.ca/flca.

Details about the Global Skills Opportunity program are also available online.

DC leads Canadian consortium in launching training modules as part of Pacific Alliance Education for Employment Program technical assistance

As part of its participation in the Pacific Alliance Education for Employment Program (PA-EFE), Canadian consortium A.08, project lead Durham College (DC), alongside Fanshawe College and Vancouver Island University, recently delivered the first of a series of training modules to 50 participants representing the ministries of education for Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru, as well as other key stakeholders.

Designed to focus on skills development, the Canadian consortium has committed to teaching representatives tips and strategies so they can develop and implement marketing campaigns to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the four countries, with a specific focus on reaching women and marginalized populations.

Additional modules are planned for the coming months, giving the participants opportunities to share experiences, learnings, best-practices and resources between their various networks.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada, the PA-EFE program involves more than 1,500 employers and learners engaging in dialogue on educational best practices and how to strengthen institutional management. In addition, 105 trainers are able to access pedagogical strategies. Focus areas include training approaches, competence-based education, and leadership instruction.

To learn more about DC’s international initiatives, visit the International Education office website.


DC’s Working Across Borders initiative unites students and businesses from all over the world

After three months of online collaboration between Durham College (DC), nine other international institutions, and more than 500 students worldwide, the Working Across Borders (WAB) 2020 project has finally come to an end.

Grouped into 115 teams, masters, post-graduate, bachelor and post-bachelor students, including 112 participants from DC’s International Business Management and Project Management post-graduate certificate programs, worked together to develop business solutions.

The DC students, overseen by project coaches Rogier ten Kate and Dr. Dustin Weihs, worked alongside fellow learners with American eco-friendly company Seventh Generation which produces cleaning and personal care products. Seventh Generation is a part of Unilever that owns brands such as Dove, Nestle, PepsiCo, etc. Each team had to research the business environment, competition and sustainable development level in one of the eight countries where the Seven Generation is present or planning to enter the market.

“I was completely blown away by the content and the quality of students’ work,” said Hanneke Willenborg, chief marketing officer, Seventh Generation. “Everyone did a fantastic job of using the theoretical frameworks. Even I learned a lot about how students deployed them! The competition between the WAB teams was really impressive!”

The WAB initiative started four years ago, intending to connect students worldwide, and has been growing since that time, attracting new clients and institutions. This year students from Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Slovenia, Russia, Finland, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Canada presented their ideas and sustainable business solution.

“This experience is extremely beneficial for all parties involved,” said ten Kate, who is also the global learning facilitator at DC. “Students get to work for a real client and learn to be part of a multicultural business team. It also improves their knowledge of globalization in the current workplace and creates a great case for their portfolios. At the same time, the client has an opportunity to collaborate with young global minds to explore business perspectives to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The project coordinators are planning to attract new institutions from South America and Africa to become a part of the WAB to cover each continent and become a truly global initiative striving to influence the business world’s future in a sustainable way.

“For now, we have only one client for all of our teams,” says ten Kate. “In the future, we would like to see maybe three or four companies participating in the project at the same time for more diversity. We are looking for companies from different fields that are driven by sustainability to help and support them in their business journey.”

DC’s Working Across Borders project continues to make a global impact during COVID-19

Four years ago, Durham College (DC) started an innovative Working Across Borders (WAB) course for business students, which allows them to engage with various international institutions around the world through virtual collaborative learning. The project provides participants with opportunities to experience multicultural perspectives while developing sustainable real-world business solutions for internationally oriented clients.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this fall more than 500 students from all over the world joined more than 120 DC students, many of which are international, from the Project Management and International Business Management post-graduate programs. Using the Rotary Global Classroom, DC’s live-stream venue, partners from Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Netherlands, Russia, Finland, Italy, Ecuador, Bangladesh and Indonesia came together on October 19 for a kickoff session to discuss project details and to meet their teammates and 2020 WAB project partner and client, Seventh Generation.

Seventh Generation is an American-based company that produces eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, whose mission is to help reduce the negative impact on human health and the environment. The organization’s chief marketing officer, Hanneke Willenborg, participated in the WAB event and provided students with invaluable insight to help guide their efforts.

“Products and businesses need to do more in this world than just work,” says Willenborg. “Companies need to be able to serve more than just their shareholders. We are delighted to see young global minds develop and generate brilliant insights and ideas to help solve complex sustainability and inequity challenges by being a part of Working Across Borders.”

WAB encourages students to work effectively in intercultural teams and explore business opportunities to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals in their work. The project focuses on online collaboration to prepare students for the real business world and raises awareness about today’s environmental issues to develop open-minded and responsible professionals.

“Working Across Borders encourages those involved to find effective ways to collaborate and overcome cultural barriers with people across the globe,” states Rogier Ten Kate, DC professor and one of the partners in the project. “Students have to solve a complex problem for a real client and build connections and friendships virtually and culturally. With this challenge, they will develop many valuable skills that will be helpful in their future endeavours.”

The WAB initiative continues to expand each year, which illustrates the importance of preparing students to build a sustainable future on a global scale.

DC approved to welcome international students to Canada

Durham College (DC) is thrilled to be one of the first Ontario colleges approved by the Canadian government to accept international students. This means international students not currently in Canada who have an approved study permit and are registered with DC can now travel to start or continue their studies with us. 

DC is currently one of only four public Ontario colleges to receive approval.  Designated learning institutions (DLI) across the country are required to have a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province that protects the health and safety of all students, employees and their surrounding community.

International students who meet the requirements may be able to travel to Canada effective immediately and must quarantine upon arrival per the Government of Canada’s regulations. During quarantine students must follow a number of requirements including staying in quarantine accommodation for at least 14 days, remaining isolated (no visitors) and arranging for necessities to be delivered to them.

We look forward to welcoming our international students to DC!

Durham College and partners win Pacific Alliance Education for Employment call for proposal

Durham College (DC), in collaboration with Vancouver Island University and Fanshawe College, wins the Pacific Alliance Education for Employment A.08 call for proposal which will see the Canadian consortium lead the technical assistance for the development and implementation of a national and regional promotional campaign of the entire Pacific Alliance program in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada, the program will see more than 1,500 employers and learners benefit from a dialogue on educational best practices; capacity in leadership and institutional management strengthened; and 105 trainers trained in pedagogical strategies. Focus areas will include: training approaches, competence-based education, and leadership training.

The Pacific Alliance Education for Employment A.08 contract further reinforces DC’s commitment to quality education, not only here in Canada, but all over the world. To learn more about DC’s international initiatives, visit the International Education office website.

Introducing Sage-04: Durham College’s collaboration in Guyana

Durham College (DC), in collaboration with College of the North Atlantic and Mohawk College, was recently awarded one of six Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE-04) calls for proposals.

With this contract, DC will support two schools in Guyana: New Amsterdam Technical Institute and Bina Hill Institute, in developing industry-responsive and inclusive skills training programs.

SAGE will see more than 1,000 students and beneficiaries trained across a variety of fields, including: water and coastal management, agriculture, construction and eco-tourism. The ultimate goal of SAGE-04 is to develop an inclusive academic program within the renewable energy sector.

This five-year initiative, funded by Global Affairs Canada and administered by CICan, will also support Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s commitment to empower girls and women worldwide.

For more information on SAGE-04 and other International Education office initiatives, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/international.

Durham College’s Working Across Borders tiles the way for a sustainable future

November 4 marked the official launch of Working Across Borders (WAB), Durham College’s (DC) new course focused on international collaboration and sustainability through student-run consultancy projects. Approximately 550 people from around the world joined DC students and faculty members for the launch, using the global classroom, DC’s internationally live-streamed approach to global learning. More than 128 students across the International Business Management and Project Management post-grad programs, alongside a group of students in the Finance program, enrolled in WAB this fall.

Participants from Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy, Finland, Belgium, and the United States participated in the kickoff event, with Geanne van Arkel of Interface Inc. in attendance. Arkel is the head of sustainable development for Interface, WAB’s client, and the world’s largest producer of carpet tiles, resilient flooring and luxury vinyl tiles. In 2016, Interface launched Climate Take Back, their commitment to running their business in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and environmentally restorative.

During the opening, Pranshu Pinakinbhai Bhatt, a first-year International Business Management student, expressed excitement for WAB, saying “It will be interesting to see how we can work as a team. Each person brings a different culture and working styleso we have to learn to co-operate.” He went on to say “I recently learned that verbal commitments are very important in Finland, so now I adjust my style to fit with Finnish colleagues. Now, if I make a verbal commitment, I make sure to follow through.”

As the launch ended, Arkel challenged the students by saying “If we want to work on sustainable solutions, we need to work together, and that’s where Durham College comes in. We need a new story for our climate’s future. A story that benefits all life. We need you.”

Through the WAB, students will meet Arkel’s challenge as the program teaches students how to achieve success in a global marketplace, while meeting the environmental needs of today’s world. Students work in multi-national teams to develop and pitch sustainable solutions to combat issues that impact the world socially and environmentally. These solutions, based on three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations, include: gender equality, clean water and sanitation, climate action and responsible consumption and production.

“This cross-cultural co-operation is exactly what WAB and the global classroom was designed to do,” says DC professor, Rogier Ten Kate.

Along with TenKate, Dustin Weihs, professor and Joanne Spicer, global learning facilitator, WAB will continue to grow and evolve with the world at large.

Durham College receives Real Life Learning Award for its KEFEP documentary

Durham College (DC) is proud to announce that it took home a Real Life Learning Award at the PIEoneer Awards 2019 in London, England on September 19. The award, which recognizes organizations offering real-life learning programs overseas, was presented to DC for its Kenyan Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) documentary that premiered last year.

“We are so thrilled to receive this prestigious award. It’s the result of countless hours of work from passionate DC students and faculty whose incredible film documents the ongoing work being done to strengthen education in Kenya” said Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education at DC.

Captured, scripted, edited and produced by four DC students and two faculty from the School of Media, Art & Design, the crew spent three weeks in Kenya last year documenting KEFEP, a five-year initiative focused on strengthening and supporting technical and vocational education and training in Kenya, funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

“Projects like this documentary represent the amazing types of experiential learning opportunities our students have access to during their time at Durham College,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, DC.  “I’m looking forward to seeing what new and exciting international projects our students and faculty will be involved in next.”

While in Kenya, the crew conducted 52 interviews with KEFEP partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries, in addition to collecting 40 hours of incredible footage. After months of effort and countless time spent in the editing suite, the KEFEP Documentary was born, premiering in front of 120 guests from the college and local community, including the principal secretary from Kenya’s State Department of Vocational and Technical Education and the deputy high commissioner of Kenya to Canada.

The PIEoneer Awards are the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the whole of the international education industry. With a distinguished judging panel representing geographical and professional diversity, the PIEoneer Awards recognize both individuals and organizations who are pushing professional standards, evolving their engagement or redefining the international student experience.

Castles, Cameras and Canvases: Durham College students focus on Ireland’s rich culture

Ten students from the School of Media, Art & Design embarked on a journey of discovery, exploring Ireland’s rich history, art and culture while honing their photography and videography skills.

Students from Photography, Video Production and Contemporary Web Design, joined professors Linda Cheng and Brian Stephens on the Emerald Isle and explored the culture and history of Ireland through a variety of unique, experiential and customized media projects.

“Ireland has a rich history of visual arts,” said Cheng. “The history and culture of Ireland catalyzed students’ reflections on music, art, photography and digital content.”

Each student built a discipline-specific project based on both the readings assigned to them pre-departure, and their experiences abroad. While applying the skills they learned in their respective programs, students engaged in an evening of Irish folk music, visited the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum (the world’s only fully digitized museum) and ventured into The Long Room Library—one of the greatest libraries in the world, used as a set for several films, including Harry Potter.

Emily Moroz, a student in the Video Production program, said of her experience abroad “It was a great opportunity to improve my video skills while learning about the history and culture of Ireland.” She went on to say “Having some free time during the trip gave us a chance to explore and capture some good video content. It was a good experience which will definitely help me in my future career.”

The 10-day trip included visits to monuments and points of interest, including: The legendary St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Bunratty Castle, Kilmainham Gaol museum and the scenic countryside of County Kerry, where they learned about Irish farm life.

DC’s international reach doesn’t stop with Ireland. Many faculty-led trips have already been approved for next year in Peru, and Guatemala, cementing DC’s commitment to experiential learning.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education.