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Durham College continues to support local autoworkers through transition

Durham College (DC) hosted the government of Ontario, on October 23 as Minister of Labour, Training and Development, the Honourable Monte McNaughton announced the opening of the Unifor/GM Oshawa Action Centre. Established in response to General Motors’ (GM) announcement regarding the Oshawa Assembly Plant, the centre will be a resource for employees to access employment guidance and job search support, referrals to service providers and computers and the internet.

As a proud member of our community, DC has been working with GM, the provincial government and education partners over the past months, developing resources to support impacted auto-sector workers through this transition. Generously powered by TD Canada Trust (TD), a resource-filled, college-supported website has been created to provide these workers access to post-secondary and government resources and offerings from regional partners and employers to help them in their next steps. The college working to connect those looking for work, with the right education and training solution and the right employer. Additionally, DC has established a job portal specifically for GM employees affected by the changes.

“By working together we are creating meaningful support structures and engagement opportunities for autoworkers that will hopefully lessen the impact of these changes on their lives and families,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “The auto-sector workforce is experienced and skilled. The resources provided by Durham College and our partners will give them assistance and guidance as they look to leverage new and perhaps even greater opportunities in the future.”

Also, on October 23, auto-sector employees had an opportunity to come to DC’s Oshawa campus to participate in a job fair. Sponsored and organized by GM, UNIFOR, and the Ontario Government with generous sponsorship from TD, participants connected with 40 employers and community partners who were on hand to discuss employment and training opportunities.

Through collaboration and working with our community, DC is working hard to ensure those affected are supported as we adapt and evolve together.


DC celebrates opening of Energy Innovation Centre and completion of geothermal field

On October 22, Durham College (DC) celebrated the completion of its geothermal field and grand opening of its Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), which together leverage clean, sustainable underground thermal energy for the heating and cooling of the college’s Gordon Willey building.

“This facility is such a great addition to our Oshawa campus,” said Marianne Marando, associate vice-president, Academic at DC. “Not only will the Energy Innovation Centre work in tandem with our green initiatives to reduce the college’s carbon footprint, but it will do so while providing our students with a unique living lab that offers both a self-guided learning experience for all students and experiential learning opportunities for students in select programs.”

Stephane Chayer, vice-president of Smart Infrastructure at Siemens Canada spoke on behalf of the organization at the opening and presented DC with a cheque for $27,500 – a grant awarded via the Siemens Empower Sustainability Education program that will further assist DC in its applied learning student opportunities. Siemens Canada is the primary contractor and industry partner for the geothermal project and EIC and provided valuable expertise throughout the entire process.

“We’re very appreciative of our relationship with Durham College and proud that they chose Siemens as their partner to help make the geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre a reality,” said Stephane Chayer, vice-president of Smart Infrastructure, Siemens Canada. “DC is a trailblazing Ontario institution in its commitment to sustainability leadership, innovation and applied learning – we’re confident that this project positively contributes to Durham’s energy transformation on campus.” 

Open to students, employees and the public, the EIC facility provides an exhibit-like atmosphere where visitors can learn more about how the geothermal system works through signage and interactive touch screen monitors that feature system diagrams and performance metrics. Additionally, a real-time energy dashboard provides insight on campus energy savings and the reduction of associated greenhouse gas emissions.

This project is just part of the ongoing transformation of DC’s energy infrastructure to support and implement sustainably focused initiatives on campus. This past year, the college’s Centre for Collaborative Education achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) Gold level certification. Additionally, DC was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the third consecutive year in a row.

For more information on how the geothermal system at DC works, check out the video below created by Siemens Canada.


Industry leaders partner with DC to better connect girls with science, tech and trades

Through their sponsorship of Expand the Possibilities 2.0: Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades, the second annual conference hosted by Durham College (DC), seven industry leaders are sending a clear message to girls that they belong in the traditionally male-dominated fields.

On Tuesday, October 22 and Wednesday, October 23, DC will host girls in Grades 7 and from across Durham Region and Northumberland County for two days of exploration and inspiration connecting them with careers in science, technology and skilled trades.

Students will attend keynote presentations and participate in hands-on workshops in the college’s industry-grade facilities and innovative learning spaces to help each girl better see herself in the fields of science, technology and trades.

Helping bring the conference to life are the following industry sponsors:

  • Gerdau
  • General Motors
  • OCNI: Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries
  • Ontario Power Generation
  • RESCON: Residential Construction Council of Ontario
  • Siemens
  • Black & McDonald

Support for the conference is the latest contribution from the industry leaders, all of which are strong, longstanding partners of DC that give generously to the college in a variety of ways throughout the year.

Representatives from each of the conference’s valuable sponsors will be in attendance at the conference, joining DC students and employees to lead conference participants through an exploration of the career possibilities for women in science, technology and trades.


DC students create wayfinding tool for Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens

Durham College (DC), with TeachingCity Oshawa, is proud to announce the launch of new Augmented Reality (AR) technology to encourage the community to explore and learn about the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens.

The community can now use their smartphone cameras, to scan Quick Response (QR) codes placed on signage throughout the park to learn about the park, points of interest and utilize a navigation guide between landmarks.

 “The innovative experiential learning opportunities created through Durham College’s partnership with TeachingCity give students the chance to investigate and problem solve, strengthening the skills they learn in the classroom,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “This augmented reality wayfinding app is just one example of the incredible things that are possible when we leverage the talent of our students and faculty in partnership with and in support of our community.”

Students researched, designed and created the AR platform as part of a TeachingCity partnership with the City of Oshawa and the Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and School of Media, Art and Design. This was a pilot project that will be enhanced through future collaborations with DC students. The City and the College are also exploring the possibility of expanding the technology to include other City parks.


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.