Durham College recognized for ninth time as one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges

Durham College (DC) is leading the way in applied research and has been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges by Research Infosource Inc. for the ninth time.

The college secured first place among medium-sized colleges in the percentage of social sciences funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) over a three-year period, and second place among medium-sized colleges for the number of paid student researchers. 

DC’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), facilitates applied research initiatives at the college and helps solve industry and social challenges with innovation and collaboration. Notable research accomplishments for this year include:

  • Winning bronze at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) World Congress for DC’s Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, elevating the college’s ongoing commitment to applied research and cybersecurity on the international stage.
  • Securing $4.2 million of shared research funding dedicated to COVID-19 recovery that helped boost the economy post-pandemic while working collaboratively with industry partners.
  • Hosting an interactive gaming event at the Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) studio to celebrate applied research success and student talent.

“I have immense pride in the exceptional researchers and research administrators here at DC that have helped us achieve this honour once again,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “This national recognition validates and propels our work as we continue to enhance our services, deepen our connections with the community, forge new partnerships with other colleges, and prioritize the student experience with real-world learning opportunities.”

All five of the college’s research centres – The MRC Studio, AI Hub, Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation, and Social Impact Hub – continue to grow and strengthen their relationships with industry partners and organizations. By engaging industry experts, faculty, students, and the community in research projects, DC continues to be a leading post-secondary institution that prioritizes collaboration, innovation and research.


Durham College hosts provincial STEM challenge for hundreds of elementary students

More than 800 Grade 4 to 8 students from across the province gathered at Durham College’s (DC) Oshawa Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre to put their engineering skills and LEGO-based robots to the test during the 2023 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Ontario East and West Provincial Championships, this past weekend.

In preparation for the challenge, 76 student teams – guided by adult coaches – designed, built and programmed their robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS and LEGO SPIKE Prime technology. At the event, each team’s robot competed for the championship title by navigating a themed playing field and completing assigned missions and tasks.

As one of Canada’s Greenest Employers and repeat gold level FLL sponsor, Durham College was the perfect location for this year’s SUPERPOWERED challenge theme, which encouraged participants to think creatively and critically to research and develop innovative solutions that improve the ways in which energy is captured, stored, distributed and used. These concepts connect directly to DC’s programs, initiatives and values.

“Durham College is leading the way in sustainability, which is why I’m so excited to see you use your imagination and innovative problem-solving skills to address real-world issues that directly impact our communities,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic, Durham College, during Saturday’s opening ceremony. “As you work together today, remember that the skills you’re developing, as well as your curiosity and drive to succeed, are the building blocks for future learning and exploration in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the trades.”

With its geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), the ongoing transformation of DC’s energy infrastructure is one of the many ways the college is prioritizing its green initiatives to ensure this young generation of renewable energy experts have access to state-of-the-art facilities to support their educational journey.

At the end of the fun-filled and challenging weekend, team Équipe Francobotique from the Association des francophones de la région de York placed first in the East division, qualifying them to compete in an international competition, and team GreenR Bots from the Halton STEM Club placed first in the West division, securing them a spot at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge World Festival, held in Houston, Texas, in April.

More information about FIRST LEGO League is available online.


DC welcomes new first-year students during 2023 Winter Orientation

Durham College (DC) welcomed more than 2,000 students to Winter Orientation in early January to mark the beginning of a new year and educational journey.

Students participated in program orientations as well as a variety of fun events to help them adjust to college life. New students had the opportunity to meet employees and faculty members, discover campus services and learn more about their new programs all while making connections and friendships with fellow attendees. Over 900 international students also received programming to assist with adapting to the Canadian classroom, part-time employment opportunities and more.

Following both campus program orientations, students enjoyed Winterfest where they received new DC swag, played interactive games and indulged in free food truck fare.

Winter orientation events continue throughout the month of January, including an open mic night and a free late-night skate at the Campus ICE Centre. And the fun doesn’t end there; read about more ways you can get involved on DC campuses this winter.


A Year in Review – 2022 at Durham College

It was another busy year at Durham College (DC)! From hosting events, launching new programs, establishing partnerships and winning awards, our DC community has truly been leading the way in 2022.

Here’s a look at some of our favourite highlights of the year.

Events

In-person events were back on the calendar this spring for the first time since 2019 with Convocation, which saw more than 3,500 students cross the stage and Open House welcoming the next generation of DC students. The Harvest Dinner also returned, with students from the horticulture, culinary, events management and hospitality programs working together to create a memorable evening for 105 guests.

We also led the way with a number of unique educational opportunities at DC. The STOP THE BLEED® event set a record with over 200 campus community members learning life-saving skills. And, later in the year, Grade 7 and 8 girls explored potential careers during the Expand the Possibilities 4.0: Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades Conference event.

News

The grand opening of the new Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology marked a new era for the Whitby campus. Filled with numerous specialized labs and shops, it solidifies DC’s status as a top destination for students entering the industrial skilled trades.

DC’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship celebrated many funding achievements: the Social Impact Hub received a $25,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada provided more than $100,000 in funding for two of its work-integrated learning projects; and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada granted $440,000 in COVID recovery funding.

Our commitment to social responsibility remained strong this year. The DC community teamed with the Global Guardian Project to send life-saving medical kits to Ukraine, and President Don Lovisa committed to fighting global injustice by signing the Sustainable Developments Goals accord. We also published our first Diversity Self-Identification survey.

DC and Metrolinx made history with a 10-year naming partnership that saw the former Oshawa GO Station renamed Durham College Oshawa GO. And our footprint continued to expand when we partnered with the Barrett Family Foundation, Invest Durham and Durham Region to break ground on the Barrett Centre for Urban Agriculture’s new urban farm project in north Ajax.

Programs

DC continued its push to evolve post-secondary education in a number of ways this year.

Two new technology-focused programs began in September, and eight certificate, graduate certificate and diploma programs will now be available in a flexible weekend delivery format. Another accelerated version of the Personal Support Worker program will allow students to graduate within six months while a new compressed Early Childhood Education program will enable students to graduate within 14 months.

Funding from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development allowed DC to launch three Pre-Apprenticeship programs to increase the number of Canadians who are job-ready in a skilled trade, and employment-seekers facing higher barriers to entry. Finally, DC announced a pair of new degree programs; the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health and the Honours Bachelor of Paralegal. Both programs will launch in September 2023.

Accolades

DC students are among the best and brightest, and they proved it all year.

Eight students won awards at the 2022 Virtual Skills Ontario Competition, five of whom travelled to Vancouver, leading the way to silver and bronze medal victories at the Skills Canada National competition.

Five Project Management students won first place in the Ontario Project Management Competition and two Game-Art students made waves at Ubisoft Toronto’s NEXT competition.

Two students were named Canada’s best new student chefs at the Taste Canada Awards Gala. Enactus DC won the RBC Future Launch Accelerator and ranked in the top 20 of all social initiatives at the Enactus Canada National Exposition. They had another triumph when they placed first at the Hong Kong Global Social Innovation Summit.

DC’s student-produced newspaper, The Chronicle, took home top honours in the General Excellence – College/University category at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers competition.

Former students have also been making news this year. Cody Partridge, a 2011 graduate of the Music Business program, notched four wins at the Canadian Sync Awards. In the fall, 2015 Culinary Management graduate Trevane ‘Tre’ Sanderson claimed victory on the hit show Top Chef Canada.

The college received its own accolades as well. DC was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the sixth consecutive year, and one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for the 12th time.

As we embark on the year ahead, DC will undoubtedly continue to lead the way in Durham Region and beyond.


Durham College receives Greater Toronto Top Employer award for 12th time

Continuing its tradition of excellence and commitment to employee feedback and family-friendly policies

Durham College (DC) is proud to be named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2023 marking the 12th time the college has received this honour.

“We are grateful to be recognized once again as a Greater Toronto Top Employer, which confirms what we already know: that DC is an exceptional place to work and learn,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “Our success is a true testament to the dedication, innovation and expertise of our employees who continue to lead the way across all departments and Faculties, resulting in a unique and transformative education and college experience for our students.”

Among many reasons for selection as a Top Employer, DC was recognized for its commitment to receiving employee feedback and ideas. Employee testimonials were also featured throughout the application, showcasing the college’s collaborative sense of community.

This year’s application also highlighted some of the amazing initiatives underway at DC. From launching the Social Impact Hub, the Centre for Organic Regeneration and the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Agriculture, to opening campus facilities like the Ontario Power Generation Centre Skilled Trades and Technology, DC and its employees truly are leading the way.

The selection committee acknowledged DC for its:

  • Diversity and inclusion – A number of initiatives, including a college-wide census, providing learning experiences that embrace the Indigenous ways of knowing and acknowledge the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and supporting the Black North Initiative, are among the work designed to support and encourage diversity across DC.
  • Family-friendly policies and excellent maternity and parental leave benefits, which include paid leave for mothers, 35 weeks of paid leave for partners and adoptive parents, and 93 per cent salary top-up benefits.
  • Tuition assistance for employees and their dependents.
  • Defined benefit pension plan with employer-matched contributions.
  • Retirement planning assistance and maintained connections through the Retiree Association.

    More information can be found on DC’s Greater Toronto Top Employers profile.


    DC grad named Canada’s Top Chef

    Canada’s new Top Chef is a proud Durham College (DC) graduate.

    Trevane ‘Tre’ Sanderson, a 2015 graduate of DC’s Culinary Management program, claimed victory last month on the hit show Top Chef Canada. Facing off against 10 of Canada’s best chefs, Tre needed all of his culinary knowledge and passion to come out on top.

    “This moment, this win, was so memorable,” he said. “It was a proud moment and a big accomplishment.”

    Studying the culinary arts at DC was an easy choice for Tre, who has nurtured a love of food and cooking ever since childhood. His timing couldn’t have been better, as he and his classmates were the very first to learn their trade at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food. Tre cited the unique education he received there, including DC’s field-to-fork and sustainable business practices, as a big factor in the success he has achieved so far.

    “DC gave me the confidence to get out there and go into my industry.”

    The up-and-coming chef’s career has been on the rise ever since he graduated, with successful stints at notable Toronto restaurants like Baro, Hotel X and Vela. Fresh off his Top Chef triumph, he hopes to return to DC in the near future and give back to the school and its students. Plans aren’t finalized yet, but he’d like to work with the current Culinary Management students, and even set up a pop-up restaurant, hopefully in time for Black History Month in February.

    He’ll have plenty of advice to offer to the young chefs at the Whitby campus.

    “Always challenge yourself, and never stay comfortable,” he said. “The moment you’re comfortable, you stop learning.”

    As for his own future, Tre has big plans, and opening his own restaurant will be just the beginning.

    “I want to start this culinary empire I’ve always dreamed of since I started cooking…keep pushing the boundaries and working with different chefs. I want to be a world class chef who people can look up to.”

    By becoming Canada’s Top Chef, Tre has demonstrated that anything is possible when you work hard, dream big and can lead with way with a great education.


    Interactive gaming event showcases Durham College’s innovative approach to applied research

    Five video games were showcased at Durham College (DC) on Friday during the MRC Arcade, an interactive event which provided insight into the projects DC’s Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) Studio produces with local game designers, students, researchers and industry experts.

    Durham College is leading the way in the Canadian gaming industry while setting students up for success,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “The MRC Studio has hired dozens of students for more than 40 industry projects, which means students get to work directly with our industry partners. This hands-on learning and early introduction to real-life industry scenarios offer a unique advantage to our grads when the time comes to enter the workforce.”

    The MRC Studio offers organizations access to technical expertise and state-of-the-art gaming equipment and technology to create solutions that increase productivity and growth, while placing the student experience at the forefront of it all.

    Qualified individuals with leading-edge expertise are in high demand and short supply, which is why Interactive Ontario is proud to support Durham College and the MRC Studio,” said Lucie Lalumière, president and CEO, Interactive Ontario. “The MRC Studio is a trailblazer in its approach to developing talent. It works hand-in-hand with industry on real-life games and immersive applications and in doing so, develops the talent we need to succeed and compete on the global stage. Thank you, Durham College, for being visionary!”

    DC’s expertise and co-development of the five games shared during MRC Arcade are proof of the amazing collaboration between DC students, researchers and industry partners. As one of five applied research centers at the college, the MRC Studio diversifies the college’s applied research offerings and capabilities, blending the physical and online worlds to explore human interaction within the virtual space.

    “Since its launch in 2020, the MRC Studio has helped numerous clients build and improve their games by providing access to new technologies and applied research they otherwise would not be able to access or afford to enhance their product,” said Ryan Miller, project manager of the MRC Studio, Durham College. “Offerings such as improved graphics, processes and access to new technologies are provided to our clients, translating into games such as the ones showcased at MRC Arcade.”

    The MRC Studio is home to one of only three Captury Live motion capture systems in Canada, offering students unique experiential learning opportunities to boost their future employability.

    “The MRC Studio has been an incredible opportunity to get real work experience with exactly the kinds of projects that I want to work on as a future career,” said Zoe Straw, third-year Computer Programming and Analysis student at Durham College. “I know that thanks to this experience I’m going to be able to flesh out my portfolio and give myself the absolute best start to my career possible. I’ll graduate with a year of experience in the gaming industry and several credits to my name before I even receive my diploma.”


    Premier Ford Visits DC’s Whitby Campus

    Durham College (DC) welcomed Premier Doug Ford to the Whitby campus on Friday to highlight a number of innovative facilities and programs in our Faculties of Hospitality and Horticultural Science and Skilled Trades and Apprenticeships.

    The Premier was accompanied by Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and member of provincial parliament (MPP) for Pickering-Uxbridge, and Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.

    DC president Don Lovisa guided them on their visit, which began in the greenhouse space where they learned about the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) growing system, a hydroponic growing technique adapted to aquaponics. Other highlights included the Zip Grow Farm Wall and the Freight Farm hydroponic system that grows up to 700 heads of lettuce a week.

    Horticulture students Abigayle Hamilton and Paul Fritzsch shared some of their knowledge and experience with the guests, and the Premier rolled up his sleeves to plant some parsley.

    Finally, they visited the Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology where they saw the elevator lift used to train students in the Mechanical Technician – Elevated Devices program and took a photo with a group of Level 1 plumbing apprentices and faculty member Peter Sutus.

    The visit was a great opportunity to show the Premier how DC is contributing to Ontario’s skilled workforce, according to Lovisa.

    “If you experience something, you remember it, and that’s why campus visits are so important,” he said. “Visits like these are important to building relationships, understanding, and helping people see what we do firsthand and showing them how we are leading the way.”


    Durham College hosts first international delegation since 2019

    Durham College (DC) continued to deliver on its objective to enhance its global partnerships when delegates from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru visited the campuses in early November. The goal to establish and augment internationalization and global engagement initiatives resides in the college’s Academic Plan and is enabled through the college’s Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan.

    The visitors were here to continue their work on the Pacific Alliance Education for Employment program (PA-EFE), which supports the development of marketing and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of technical and vocational education and training in Latin America. The program is primarily focused on reaching women and marginalized populations.

    This is the first time that DC has been able to host an international delegation since before the pandemic, and the first time this group, which also included representatives from Fanshawe College and Vancouver Island University, has been together in person.

    “Although a lot of great work has been done online, it’s been wonderful to finally meet and work together in person,” said Jacqueline Towell, manager, International Projects and Partnerships, DC, adding that the delegates participated in four days of meetings and DC’s open house. “It’s much more meaningful being together, we can really see and hear everyone’s excitement.”

    Collaborating with other education organizations provides insights into new ways of working and learning from others’ perspectives. The global insights brought to DC from delegates spark new ideas, strengthen innovation and create connections.

    “To become global leaders, students need not only the core functional disciplines that professional schools offer, but also a deeper understanding of the broader architecture of global society and the forces that shape it,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, DC’s executive vice president, Academic.

    The Pacific Alliance Education for Employment 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.


    DC pair leading the way as Canada’s best new student chefs

    Durham College (DC) is home to the country’s best new student chefs, according to Taste Canada.

    Second-year Culinary Management students Adreanna Russell and Sahil Ahuja took home the top honors at the 2022 Taste Canada Awards Gala in early November. The pair beat out teams from seven other schools to win the Cooks the Books student cooking competition.

    “I can’t even tell you how big that moment was for us,” said Ahuja.

    As the winners, Russell and Ahuja split a $3,000 educational bursary, along with over $2,000 worth of prizes.

    “Once we realized we won, we were in shock,” said Russell. “It was such an honor for us, and a great opportunity.”

    The students were tasked with designing a dish featuring a cut of Canadian beef. Under the skilled eye of faculty member Peter Lee, they chose corned beef tongue with mustard jus, pickled cabbage and glazed carrots.

    “We chose beef tongue because we wanted to try something different, use an underutilized cut and show everyone it can be delicious,” explained Lee. “If you look at a raw beef tongue, even a cooked tongue, it doesn’t look very appetizing. But it’s absolutely delicious.”

    In addition to showcasing their culinary talents, the event was also a great networking opportunity. The DC chefs made the most of it by connecting with students and instructors from other college’s, including the second-place team from Top Toques Institute, as well as professionals from the Canadian food industry.

    Both students credit the experimental learning they have received at DC for pushing them to new heights as they prepare for their careers.

    “I’ve enjoyed every second here at Durham. All the chefs are industry professionals who have given me the best experience,” said Russell. “They’ve connected me with people outside the college for job opportunities; those have been the best jobs I’ve had in my life and career.”

    Ahuja considers himself lucky to be at DC, having come all the way from India to study here in the hopes of one day opening a restaurant.

    If a career as a chef appeals to you, check out DC’s in demand food and hospitality programs.