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Durham College joins SHARCNET to advance applied research at AI Hub

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that it has become a member of the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) to support the high-performance computing (HPC) requirements of the college’s Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub). Established in 2001, SHARCNET is the largest HPC consortium in Canada, which includes 18 universities, colleges and research institutes across southwestern, central and northern Ontario.

By participating in the SHARCNET ecosystem, applied researchers and students at the AI Hub will have access to an on-demand selection of specialized software that will allow them to create, host and deploy their own applications. Additionally, accelerated computing power, increased memory and storage will support the development of large-scale, enterprise-grade prototypes faster and more efficiently for clients and applied research partners.

“Becoming a member of the SHARCNET consortium is very exciting and a significant benefit for faculty and student researchers at the college. Access to valuable software and high-performance computing capabilities will not only drive efficiencies in our research projects, but will also allow us to reduce cost and project time, impacting customer satisfaction and increasing research output,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Leveraging ORION’s digital infrastructure, the AI Hub will be able to access all that SHARCNET has to offer through cloud technology, without the need for on-site hardware installation. As a member of the consortium, AI Hub faculty and students will also have access to ongoing training programs, webinars, workshops and HPC resources offered by SHARCNET.

For more information, please visit www.sharcnet.ca.


Bistro ’67 named one of 50 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in Canada

For the second time in two months, Durham College’s (DC) innovative, field-to-fork restaurant, Bistro ’67, has been recognized by OpenTable – last month for its breathtaking views, and this month as one of 50 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in Canada.

The list, which was released on October 1 – also recognized as World Vegetarian Day – was culled from more than 500,000 diner reviews of more than 3,000 Canadian restaurants which featured positive keywords relating to a restaurants’ selection of vegetarian or vegan options.

In the Durham Region, Bistro ’67 was the only restaurant to make the top 50 list, and was one of 29 restaurants across Ontario to be selected. The list highlights establishments that include everything from locally-grown sustainable cuisine, like Bistro ’67, to cutting-edge plant-based dishes that appeal to vegetarians, vegans and even omnivore diners.

Bistro ‘67 offers guests a memorable field-to-fork dining experience within DC’s multiple award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF) where community, local agriculture and learning come together. Led by executive chef Raul Sojo, the Bistro ’67 kitchen team is comprised of DC students and employees – all of whom have a hand in developing the diverse and flavourful menu, which changes several times per year to reflect the season and availability of fresh, local ingredients.

A 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant, Bistro ‘67 also holds a Feast ON designation in recognition of its use of local food and beverage options. It is open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. To make a reservation, or learn more about Bistro ’67, please visit www.bistro67.ca.


DC students and faculty travel to Guatemala to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

On Friday, October 4, students and faculty from Durham College’s (DC) School of Media, Art & Design will travel for ten days to rural regions of Guatemala as part of a new digital storytelling program, called Youth United 2030, contributing to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The program is being delivered in partnership with a Canadian charity, Students Offering Support (SOS), which has facilitated youth service-learning programs throughout Latin America since 2008.

With the support of faculty member, and former CBC journalist, Danielle Harder, students from DC’s Video Production and Journalism – Mass Media/Journalism programs are part of a faculty-led classroom abroad, where they will utilize the skills learned in their programs to deliver interactive training workshops for 35 low-income Guatemalan youth to learn about using digital storytelling techniques as a tool for change. In addition to delivering workshops participants have fundraised to donate iPads so youth participants from the host communities will have access to technology to put the training into action. A second cohort of DC students will be travelling to Guatemala in February, alongside Harder, to deliver follow-up training opportunities, and continue producing new media content, as part of the ongoing program.

Upon the students’ return from Guatemala, the students will turn their interviews and video footage into short documentaries offering cross-cultural perspectives on the SDGs.

“Youth United is all about reciprocal exchange. It empowers Durham College students to build their cross-cultural competencies alongside their technical skills, while experiencing how the knowledge they’re learning through their studies can make a difference on issues that matter,” said Harder. She and her students recently won an international PIEoneer Award for real-life learning for a film project in 2018 that engaged them in global issues through documenting a development program led by Canadian colleges in Kenya.

DC and SOS began working together after a connection was forged at a National conference co-organized by Academica and Academics Without Borders, called “Reaching Across Borders, Building a Better World”.  Lisa Shepard, DC’s dean of International Education, had this to say about the new program: “We believe in global competency as a critical 21st-century learning skill. Durham College supports education abroad initiatives such as faculty-led classrooms abroad, which provide opportunities for students to expand their learning beyond their traditional classrooms by taking part in an international learning experience. At Durham College we embed internalization in everything we do, both by bringing the world to DC, and by bringing DC to the world. Our students are so excited to meet their Guatemalan counterparts and have already learned so much”.

James Arron, executive director of SOS echoed the importance of the educational sector’s role in achieving the SDGs. “By linking together the needs of our Guatemalan partners and capacity of Durham College, we have been able to create a truly win-win solution for everyone involved. It’s a great example of how the post-secondary sector can be a leader in helping achieve the SDGs. Kudos to Durham College for stepping up as a pioneer in that movement.”


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.


More than 375 students kick-off the academic year competing in the MAD 48-Hour Film Challenge

More than 375 students in the School of Media, Art & Design (MAD) started their new academic year off with a friendly creative competition earlier this month during the fourth annual 48-Hour Film Challenge. Beginning September 4, 40 teams of students with participants spanning four MAD programs, were assigned a genre, character type, line of dialogue, and a prop. They were then tasked with writing, shooting and editing a short film in only two days.

Second-year and graduate-program students participating as veterans were also required to take on the role of producer or director to make the competition more challenging for them. On September 7, the films were screened at the Cineplex Odeon Theatre in Oshawa and judged by a panel of industry professionals.

Members of the film crew for this year’s best picture winner, The Box, which included David Foote, Milan Seratlic, Justin Chisholm, Anurag Parteek Singh, Sri Chilkamarri, Evan Cane, Anfernee Robinson, Wang Mengheng, Shayne Hamilton and Cameron Burns, will now have their names engraved on the prestigious Deanie Award, a trophy featuring a miniature likeness of MAD executive dean Greg Murphy. The team also won first place in the Best Adventure category.

The following films were also honoured at the screening:

  • The Exhibition – Best Mystery
  • Gory Gloves – Best Horror
  • The Furry Foot Bandit – Best Western

“This competition underscores the challenge of working within real deadlines and highlights the importance of developing strong communication and collaboration skills,” said Jennifer Bedford, a professor in both the Photography and Video Production programs for MAD. “While we typically hold this event mid-semester, this year we ran the challenge during the first week of school to give our students a taste of the industry right off the bat, while also introducing them to the School of Media, Art and Design and the supportive faculty and employees who will guide them through their program over the next semester.”

The following industry professionals and DC employees comprised the jury which chose the winners in all categories: Eileen Kennedy, liaison, Durham Region Film Office; Sami Jewer, DC alumna and independent filmmaker; Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education at DC; Greg Murphy, dean, MAD at DC; Andy Malcolm, foley artist, Footsteps Studios; and Peter Garrett, manager, Strategic Reporting and Government Relations, DC.

The film challenge brought together students from DC’s programs in Broadcasting for Radio & Contemporary MediaMedia FundamentalsPhotography and Video Production, along with mentoring staff and faculty.

The largest competition of its kind in Canada, the event is designed to help students meet and collaborate across program boundaries and form a community of emerging content creators. It also provides students with an opportunity to flex their creativity and develop soft skills, such as communication, teamwork and problem solving, which are vital to achieving success after graduation.


MBM students network and perform at Indie Week’s Student Sessions event

More than 30 students from Durham College’s (DC) Music Business Management (MBM) program enjoyed a valuable opportunity to mix and mingle with music industry representatives on September 19 during Indie Week’s Student Sessions: Round 5 event at The Paddock Tavern in Toronto, Ont.

As an event partner, DC’s MBM students were involved in assisting with the execution of the event, and also had the opportunity to learn and network during a curated industry panel on music licensing with Aideen O’Brien from Entertainment One and Jennifer Beavis from BMG Rights Management Inc. MBM graduate Kyle Merkley of Arpix Media moderated the discussion.

Afterwards, students participated in speed-mentoring sessions with O’Brien, Beavis, Merkley, Scott Taylor of Supergroup and Rich Brisson of Cadence Music Group. The sessions were followed by a line-up of live music, which featured a set from second-year MBM student Klinsvin Gilbert.

“This event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get their foot in the door of the industry before they graduate,” said Marni Thornton, professor and program co-ordinator of the MBM program at DC. “They are creating valuable connections and exploring some of the diverse types of jobs that exist within this field, while also gaining insight into music industry events.”

Student Sessions is a lead-up event to Indie Week, the premiere emerging artist festival taking place from November 13 to 17. For more information, please visit www.indieweek.com.


Durham College celebrates fall’s bounty with fifth-annual Harvest Dinner

On September 19, Durham College (DC) hosted its fifth-annual Harvest Dinner at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF), celebrating impressive student talent and the bounty of the season with a seven-course meal under the stars.

Surrounded by the CFF’s planting fields and gardens, more than 130 community members enjoyed a seasonally-inspired menu featuring food cultivated from the CFF’s grounds, prepared and served by almost 200 students. Guests were also treated to beer samples created with Ontario hops from the college’s Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation, alongside other local libations.

Beginning with assorted appetizers including DC-made charcuterie and cheeses, the family-style meal boasted hearty dishes like Ontario beef strip loin with king oyster mushrooms and baked navy beans with Ontario pork bacon and duck confit. A shrimp cannelloni recipe designed by DC Culinary Management student Patrick Eckert for the 2019 Skills Ontario Competition was also featured on the menu. To top it off, a chocolate brownie, tarte tatin and pumpkin mousse were served for dessert.

The event was the culmination of countless hours spent preparing in CFF’s fields, labs and classrooms. It was a true team effort that saw Horticulture – Food and Farming and Horticulture Technician students cultivate and harvest the produce used in the meal, Culinary Management and Culinary Skills students prepare the dinner and students from the Special Events Management, Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations and Hospitality Skills programs serve guests.

“Every year, our Centre for Food students really shine at the annual Harvest Dinner, taking everything they’ve learned in the classroom and delivering an unforgettable experience for their guests,” said Tony Doyle, dean, CFF. “The amount of passion, dedication and hard work it takes to pull off an event like this is incredible, and I am always exceedingly proud of our students, faculty and CFF staff.’

For those who missed the Harvest Dinner, CFF fruits and vegetables, as well as other local ingredients are served at Bistro ’67, the college’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant that was recently named one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable. Fresh produce and student-prepared goods are also available at Pantry, the retail store within the CFF. For anyone looking to expand their own culinary skills, cooking classes and demonstrations are available through DC’s School of Continuing Education.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/cff.


Durham College continues to lead the way as 2019-2020 academic year begins

This fall, more than 13,400 full-time and apprenticeship students have chosen Durham College (DC) to help them build the foundation they need for successful, meaningful careers. Included in that number are more than 7,700 first-year students, more than 1,900 new and returning international students from 72 countries and 543 students who have attended university and are now pursuing greater applied learning and experience. Another 6,000 students are also gaining new skills and knowledge via part-time studies.

“Students across the region, province and well beyond recognize DC as an educational leader,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic. “This is why they continue to entrust us with their post-secondary experience. Students want to graduate career-ready and the multidisciplinary, experiential and applied learning offered at DC helps them do exactly that.”

Within the new student body, DC is welcoming the inaugural class of the Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation (AIDI) graduate certificate program. The first graduate certificate of its kind in Canada, AIDI focuses on enterprise AI, including both off-the-shelf solutions and proprietary AI.

The program is a natural extension of and complement to DC’s AI Hub that launched in 2018. The AI Hub provides students with opportunities to gain client-centric, real-work experience through applied research projects focused on AI in connection with education, manufacturing and healthcare in particular.

The college is also expanding its skilled trades offerings with the new Carpentry and Renovation Technician (RENO) program. RENO graduates enter the work force with a competitive edge thanks to a strong knowledge and understanding of structural renovations, sustainable construction theory and energy-wise construction techniques, as well as foundational business theories and strategies to complement their technical training. The program also offers students two options for gaining valuable hands-on experience through either a field placement or co-operative education work term.

Additional new offerings for the 2019-2020 academic year include Police Foundations (fast-track) and Protection, Security and Investigation (fast-track), each of which allows students who have a diploma to earn a second credential in only one additional year of study.

“All of the activity on campus – from new programs to applied research to increased opportunities for experiential learning – reflect the ways in which the college is listening and responding to both industry and our students,” says DC president Don Lovisa. “This energetic start to the new academic year is a clear indication of all that’s to come in the months ahead as DC continues to lead the way for our students, employees, industry partners and community.”


Durham College Spa launches new services for fall

Durham College Spa (DC Spa) is pleased to announce new esthetic and cosmetic services are now available for booking in addition to the popular massage therapy treatments launched last year.

Following a summer hiatus, the spa is now open again for student massage therapy appointments.

Esthetic and cosmetic services will launch Tuesday, September 17.

Community members, students and employees are encouraged to book now to enjoy therapeutic treatments, quality products and services at affordable prices:

See complete service menus.

Located on the second floor of the Centre for Collaborative Education, Oshawa campus, DC Spa is open to the public and provides an inclusive space committed to making holistic beauty, health and wellness accessible and more affordable for all.

Delivered under the guidance of expert faculty, including Registered Massage Therapists, DC Spa treatments and services support the intensive training and learning of our esthetician, beauty advisor and massage therapy student practitioners.

Support students’ success – book your appointments today!

Learn more at www.durhamcollegespa.ca.


Enactus DC receives $3000 grant from Town of Whitby

On September 12, Durham College’s (DC) Enactus DC team was presented with a cheque for $3000 from Town of Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell as part of the Mayor’s Community Development Fund (MCDF). The grant will go towards the team’s True Grit project, an interactive mental health initiative that sees student leaders working closely with their peers on campus to develop experiential wellness workshops. The team hopes to eventually expand the workshops, offering them to at-risk youth across Whitby, Oshawa and the Durham Region.

“This grant from the Town of Whitby will allow our Enactus DC team to assist their peers in accessing fundamental wellness services needed to succeed both personally and professionally,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic at DC. “We are always grateful when our community rallies behind our students by supporting real-world learning initiatives where they have the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom.”

“We are proud to support the Durham College Enactus team through funds for their True Grit project,” said Don Mitchell, mayor, Town of Whitby. “Through student-led initiatives, True Grit will bring added mental health supports to at-risk youth in our community and beyond. We are pleased to be a part of this important project.”

The MCDF utilizes net revenue from the Mayor’s Golf Tournament and the Mayor’s Fundraiser to provide financial support to community groups, events and initiatives that will benefit the community.

The True Grit project is led by Heather Brown, a student in DC’s Social Service Worker program and vice-president of the Enactus DC team.

Enactus is an international non-profit organization dedicated to creating social change through entrepreneurship. DC’s chapter launched in 2016 through FastStartDC, the college’s entrepreneurship centre, and focuses on making positive economic and social impacts in Durham Region.

For more information on the projects or how to get involved with Enactus DC, visit www.enactusdc.com.