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.


DC students go from touring to building the new Whitby campus residence

What began as an opportunity to see a building site up close, quickly evolved into summer employment for four students in Durham College’s Building Construction Technician program.

One moment they were touring the site of DC’s new residence with 31 of their fellow classmates and now they are helping to build it – doubling down on the already enriching experiential learning opportunity the site visit offered.

Many of the first and second-year students in the program had never been on a job site, let alone a multi-level build like the Whitby campus residence. From seeing the foundations and framing that form the structure of the residence, to identifying the related components and how they interact to prevent moisture and air infiltration and provide structural integrity and fire-resistance properties, the students were able to see the pages of their text books come to life in a real, concrete way.

It was during the tour that Pannonia Construction, the contractor building the residence, approached DC professor Al Martin about hiring summer students to work onsite. Information about the job opportunity was shared amongst the first and second-year students. Four were successful and are taking their skills from the classroom to the jobsite, honing their knowledge and building their resumes.

The Whitby residence will be open to students in September 2019.


Durham College’s 2018-2019 Annual Report now available online

Durham College (DC) is pleased to share that its 2018-2019 Annual Report is now available to the public. As one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for a third consecutive year, the college is also proud to share its successes in a fully electronic format.

“This year’s report is a celebration of community and how the combined efforts of our students and employees continue to make DC a great place to work and learn,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “Together, we are DC!”

As the college looks back on its past accomplishments, the report also provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of DC, while highlighting innovation, growth and excellence in teaching and learning.


DC signs Dimensions charter with the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Durham College (DC) is proud to share that it has signed the Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada charter, committing to upholding its principles of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the colleges’ research practices and projects.

“DC values, celebrates and embraces diversity in all that we do and it is incumbent on us to help enhance the post-secondary research landscape,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic at Durham College. “Committing to the Dimensions charter will strengthen DC’s research capacity and help keep post-secondary research moving towards greater equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Present during the signing was the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, who also took part in a discussion with Dr. Popp. The conversation touched on recent funding that DC received from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), including a $2.24 million Innovation Enhancement grant and $133,000 Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant. They also explored how dimensions will fit into the future of research at the college.

“I want to thank Durham College for signing the Dimensions charter and affirming their commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion on campus,” said Minister Duncan. “When our labs and classrooms look more like the Canada we see today, everyone benefits.

Dimensions aims to increase EDI in post-secondary research and helps drive deeper cultural change within the research ecosystem. Sound EDI-informed policies and practices improve access to the largest pool of qualified potential participants, enhance the integrity of a program’s application and selection processes, strengthen research outputs and increase the overall excellence of research. The program calls for all post-secondary institutions to adopt the charter on EDI.

The five-year Innovation Enhancement grant through NSERC that was announced last year will allow the AI Hub to engage more faculty, students and industry partners in collaborative projects. Additional funding received in April from the Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant for the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation has already allowed DC to purchase a beer analysis system that is being used in applied research projects with craft brewers so they can better understand how their brewing processes function.


DC hosts National Inventors Hall of Fame Reception to celebrate first Canadian offering of Camp Invention

Durham College (DC) hosted several dignitaries from the government, educational and corporate sectors on July 10 for the National Inventors Hall of Fame™ (NIHF) Reception in the Centre for Collaborative Education’s Global Classroom at the Oshawa campus. During the event, guests took a tour of the first-ever Canadian offering of Camp Invention™ and spoke with camp educators and participants of the non-profit summer enrichment program.

In attendance was U.S. Consul General Greg Stanford; Mayor Dan Carter, City of Oshawa; and John Wrycraft and Evan Bombino of technology leader Johnson Controls Inc., as well as Amy Gorecki, executive director, and Nathalie Rudner, president-elect, of the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario/L’Association des professeurs de sciences de l’Ontario.

Camp Invention is a program developed by the non-profit NIHF, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was held at the DC Oshawa campus from July 8 to 12 and provided a unique experience for children to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). National Inventors Hall of Fame (Canada) is the Canadian non-profit organization responsible for introducing NIHF’s ground-breaking innovation ecosystem to young inventors in Canada. The one-week program was funded by the United States Embassy in Ottawa and U.S. Consulate in Toronto.

Overseen by four teachers from both the Durham District School Board and Durham Catholic District School Board, and five counsellors, Camp Invention’s 2019 Supercharged™ program allowed campers the opportunity to learn about ocean navigation and survival skills on a remote island, conduct mock DNA tests on farm animals and learn to protect their own ideas. As an added bonus, at the end of the week, each camper brought home their own robot.


Planting the seeds of success: Durham College students spark environmental awareness in Guatemala

Durham College’s (DC) International Education office in partnership with the service learning organization, Students Offering Support (SOS) took five students from the School of Science & Engineering Technology’s (SET) Environmental Technology and Chemical Engineering Technology programs on an international outreach trip to Chuinajtajuyup, Guatemala. DC volunteers spent 12 days working alongside SOS and the citizens of Chuinajtajuyup to help combat climate change’s affects on agriculture.

“It was uplifting to work with Durham College volunteers within the environmental field,” said Jamie Arron, executive director of SOS. “Their professors, students and staff embraced the cross-cultural exchange with the utmost respect and demonstrated a distinct hunger to learn.”

Students learned from and collaborated with local farmers on the impact of climate change in the community. Volunteers brainstormed and presented ways to combat and reverse the damage climate change had wrought on the agricultural industry. By discussing issues and creating initiatives, DC students helped local farmers make a lasting difference.

“We are very proud of our students for undertaking this opportunity to broaden their learning and gain life changing experiences,” said Michelle Hutt, executive dean, SET. “Study abroad endeavours like these truly enhance the relative connection for our students here at DC.”

While abroad, DC and SOS volunteers tackled several climate change challenges. They spent two full days planting trees to combat further soil erosion in the area–a necessary task due mass deforestation in the region. But they didn’t stop there. They also organized a fundraising event to improve the community’s access to water, giving people access to a clean, reliable source of water, a luxury that many take for granted. The rest of their trip involved installing a drip irrigation system for optimal water usage, and the expansion of a greenhouse, built for housing crops that DC and SOS selected specifically for the community’s needs.

“Durham college students, professors and staff were able to meaningfully support community-driven adaptation strategies to climate change through the combination of cross-cultural knowledge exchange, economic contributions and hands-on support to environmental projects. Our local partners called it a dream come true.” said Arron.

Within a short span of time, DC students made a positive, lasting impact on the world by building greenhouses, planting trees and improving access to water; ultimately showing that their dedication, selflessness and success, matters.

DC’s International Education office is pleased to support students who go on education abroad experiences through the International Travel Bursary program.


New appointments for chair and vice-chair of Durham College Board of Governors

The Durham College (DC) Board of Governors (BOG) is pleased to announce Ivan DeJong and Michele James as the new board chair and vice-chair, respectively, effective Monday, July 1, 2019. The appointments are for a one-year term.

Ivan is co-owner of Youngfield Farms in Nestleton, which was started by his family in 1953, and he has been involved in local organizations including the Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Durham College Community Choir and the Canadian Food Grains Bank. In 2013, Ivan received the Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.

With a career in health care spanning 30 years, Michele is the vice-president of People and Transformation at Scarborough Health Network and her diverse portfolio includes oversight of the human resources function for the organization’s 5,200 employees and 1,600 volunteers. Michele has also been involved in local organizations and is currently the volunteer chair of the Advisory Committee for the Black Physicians Association of Ontario.

The BOG is responsible for the governance of DC and, as such, is accountable to the students, employees and communities the college serves for ensuring that it is effectively and appropriately managed to achieve its established mandate and to provide needed services.

As chair, Ivan will be responsible for ensuring the board meets its responsibilities and established mandate through leadership, openness and transparency.


DC plants trees at its Whitby campus as part of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign

On June 20, Durham College (DC) held a commemorative ceremony to plant hero trees at its Whitby campus, as part of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign.

Created with a mission to plant two million trees along and within the communities adjacent to the 401 Highway of Heroes, the campaign is a living tribute to the members of the country’s Armed Forces, including DC alumni and the 117,000 men and women who died in conflicts since Confederation.

College employees joined DC President Don Lovisa, along with the Lords women’s varsity softball team and Mike Hurley, executive director of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign, to plant the first tree.

Special thanks goes out to DC professor Shane Jones and several of our Horticulture – Technician and Horticulture – Food and Farming students, for the role they have played in getting the land ready for the planting.


DC recognizes more than 200 students at Centre for Success completion ceremony

Hundreds of proud family members and friends celebrated the accomplishments of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) students during their program completion ceremony at the Oshawa campus on June 20. The CFS is a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI) and is funded by the Ministry of Education, allowing students to participate in post-secondary courses and apprenticeship training, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma or apprenticeship certification.

Now in its twelfth year, the SCWI is a partnership between DC and four local school boards – Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge School District Board, Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.

The program is designed to enable on-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements but in a college setting, offering them access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to earn at least one and potentially more college credits towards their post-secondary education or apprenticeship training at most of the 24 colleges in Ontario This year, 94 per cent of participants successfully completed the program, which exceeds the provincial average of approximately 83 per cent at other dual credit college programs in Ontario.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage and tenacity to come to a new school and leave behind what is familiar to try something different,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “A lot of our students, due to their circumstances, never had the opportunity to dream. Completing their high school classes on a college campus where they are treated like adults gives them a sense of freedom that they didn’t feel like they had before. That, paired with the opportunity to earn a college credit really motivates them to think positively about their future and what they can achieve.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony was DC vice-president, Academic, Dr. Elaine Popp, who was joined by school board representatives and Ministry of Education dignitaries to show their support for the more than 200 secondary school and adult dual-credit students.

The 2018-2019 school year is the first that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students in September.


DC employees take time to invest in themselves at PD Day 2019

On June 19, more than 450 Durham College (DC) employees took time to invest in themselves by joining their colleagues for a day of thoughtful discussion, growth and knowledge sharing at the college’s Professional Development (PD) Day 2019.

Indigenous student advisors Julie Pigeon and Peggy Forbes led attendees in a smudging ceremony to start the day in a good way before CFL legend and community builder Michael “Pinball” Clemons delivered the program’s keynote address.

The former coach and player for the Toronto Argonauts football team captivated the room with an empowering presentation in which he talked about personal perseverance and the importance of teamwork.

Attendees then broke out into smaller groups to attend three concurrent sessions over the course of the afternoon. This year’s event offered employees a choice from 25 presentations delivered by their colleagues on a variety of timely subjects from meditation and esports to creative problem solving, time management and more.

PD Day is an annual event, organized by the college’s Human Resources department, which enhances employee engagement using thought-provoking presentations and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and recharge through exposure to new ideas and skills.

With more than 800 full-time employees and approximately 1,000 part-time employees, DC is one of the region’s largest employers and provides more than $900 million to Durham Region in positive economic impact annually. Events like PD Day are one of the many initiatives that help make DC one of the GTA’s Top Employers.