June is Pride month, which is a time to come together and celebrate the 2SLGBTQ+ community and their freedom to be themselves.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities, Durham College (DC) recognizes that many individuals may be experiencing feelings of disconnection and loneliness and that without access to safe spaces, many community members may not be able to live openly.
DC works to foster and sustain an environment of inclusiveness and empowers everyone to achieve their highest potential without fear of prejudice or bias. For DC Pride 2020, the college wishes to encourage everyone to review resources, participate in programming, and virtually connect with their supports. Most importantly, celebrate Pride.
Remember that you are not alone and, though we are apart, we will recognize, celebrate, and continue to support our 2SLGBTQ+ community at DC.
The Durham College (DC) Board of Governors (BOG) is pleased to announce Michele James as the new board chair and Kristi Honey as vice-chair, respectively, effective Monday, July 1, 2020. The appointments are for a one-year term.
As chair for the BOG, Michele brings over 30 years of leadership in the health care sector to the role. Currently the vice-president of People and Transformation at Scarborough Health Network, Ontario’s third largest community hospital. Michele’s diverse portfolio includes oversight of the human resources function for the organization’s 5,200 employees. Michele also spent several years in the private sector at IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Michele is a life-long volunteer and has been involved in a number of community organizations. She is a strong advocate for inclusion and is currently the volunteer chair of the Advisory Committee for the Black Physicians Association of Ontario. Michele has been selected as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women for 2020.
As vice-chair for the BOG, Kristi brings over 20 years of private and public executive leadership experience to the role. Currently the chief administrative officer for the Township of Uxbridge, she is also a DC graduate and Alumni of Distinction recipient for her success as an entrepreneur. An active volunteer in the community, Kristi is a champion of human rights and environmentalist causes having been recognized for her efforts by Women of Influence in their Global Series as one of Canada’s leading women driving equality, diversity, and inclusion nationally and internationally.
Michele and Kristi have both served on the Board of DC for four years.The BOG is responsible for the governance of DC. It is accountable to the students, employees and communities the college serves, making sure that it is effectively and appropriately managed to achieve its established mandate and to provide needed services.
As chair, Michele will be responsible for ensuring the board meets its responsibilities and established mandate through leadership, openness and transparency. To learn more about the roles of chair and vice-chair of the board, read the Board policy.
Please join in congratulating Michele and Kristi on their new roles.
Durham College (DC) wishes to congratulate all of the nursing professionals – including a number of DC alumni – who were recently honoured with 2020 Lakeridge Health Nursing Education Bursary Awards.
The annual awards, which were given at the end of this year’s National Nursing Week, are distributed by the various Lakeridge Health hospital foundations to support continuous learning for nurses that enables them to continue providing the safest and highest quality of care.
Special congratulations go out to DC student Arielle Baubie, the recipient of this year’s Dr. George Blake Mentorship & Bursary, on which the college is proud to partner. The bursary provides a student in a mental health nursing placement with the opportunity for mentorship and learning in the specialty of Mental Health and Addictions Nursing.
Durham College (DC) second-year Marketing – Business Administration student, Ryan Ashton, found success at the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC) earlier this year as he advanced through the semi-finals, securing a ticket to the final round in September.
Held annually over the course of several months, the GCSC is the largest post-secondary competition in Canada. This past year, over 2,800 students competed in three rounds to showcase their skill in sales and marketing while connecting with some of the country’s biggest employers. In the final round later this year, Ryan will compete against 18 other finalists for a $10,000 prize while receiving one-on-one mentorship from a senior business leader at Sysco, a GCSC sponsor.
Seven DC marketing students also made it to the semi-finals, including Malcolm Hooper, Adriana Luciani, Brendan Scott, Ashleigh Hutchinson, Harini Amitkumar Thakkar, Dinith Indipa Vittanachchi and Cyprian Villaroel-Mckenley – who achieved Top 3 in his national category. During this round, they had the opportunity to connect with recruiters, learn more about future career paths and attend regional events hosted by GCSC sponsors like Manulife, Shopify, WeWork and Telus.
Congratulations to all DC students who represented the college in the semi-finals of the GCSC, and good luck to Ryan in the next round!
Durham College (DC) is proud to unveil its 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, which includes a bold new mission statement that will serve as the guiding touchpoint for the wide-reaching college community.
“It could seem odd to be launching a new Strategic Plan at a time of so much uncertainty and upheaval but, after much reflection, it was clear to us that the timing actually couldn’t be better,” said DC president Don Lovisa. “In light of the leadership, innovation, collaboration and excellence being demonstrated through DC’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our new mission statement rings true: Together, we’re leading the way.”
The college’s new Strategic Plan was developed over many months, drawing upon in-depth consultations held with every major stakeholder group, including students, alumni, employees and industry and community partners.
“We heard our people loud and clear – the college has evolved and it’s time everyone knew it,” said Ivan DeJong, chair of the DC Board of Governors. “‘The student experience comes first’ kept the college’s commitment to our students at the forefront, but it wasn’t capturing the full story DC has to tell. We’re doing much more than putting the student experience first at DC – we’re reinventing it.”
Highlights of the new Strategic Plan include a refocused vision statement, refreshed values and updated objectives and strategies to support each of the four pillars that provide the plan’s framework: our students, our people, our work and our community. DC is also unveiling the beginnings of a refreshed brand identity that will continue to evolve with the college. This identity reflects how DC is moving forward, while maintaining a connection to the past that has brought the college to where it is today.
Members of the college and community and public are invited to explore DC’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan and updated brand through the dedicated microsite launched today.
This conditional funding, which started in late 2019 and has since been extended, has allowed the AI Hub to develop technology-based solutions for seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the country and a variety of industries.
“This contribution is a credit to the success of our AI Hub team in creating real business solutions for SMEs by leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and more,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “We are grateful for NRC IRAP’s support which, in turn, allows our team to continue doing this valuable work.”
The NRC IRAP l funding enables DC faculty and student researchers to act as consultants to SMEs, applying their skills and training to solve industry challenges related to innovation and technology adoption. Thus far, the funding has supported the following successful projects:
Mapping, development and deployment of a fully functional rule-based Database and Administration Portal along with a testing webpage for Calgary-based Cognitive Solutions Inc.
Development of a suite of Machine Learning applications and scripts, which includes inference functions for on-the-fly textual testing and analysis, for AI agency Atomic X.
Phase 1 of the AI Wetland mapping tool development for Solstice Environmental Management, an Alberta-based environmental consulting firm.
Development of an AI tool built into the software of a New Brunswick-based digital services provider, Riddl Tech Inc., that can help client companies manage their social and environmental-impact data.
Development of proprietary conversational chatbot for Health Espresso/iCare Home Health Services Inc. that answers frequently asked questions about regional healthcare resources in Ontario based on a user’s postal code.
Creation of an event-based AI engine that envelops multi-faceted AI models to predict the fluctuations of the currency in light of changing global currencies and event indexes for online financial tech services company 4Pay Inc.
Through their partnerships with the AI Hub, each SME gained access to researcher and student expertise and valuable programs and resources to help facilitate the adoption of AI into their business systems.
“Although the benefits are well known, the ability to develop an effective AI solution that can generate value at scale remains elusive for many companies,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic. “We are thrilled that this funding from NRC will allow us to further support businesses as they implement AI capabilities into their business systems, all while giving our students more opportunities for experiential learning.”
Durham College (DC) is incredibly proud of our college community members who are serving and protecting others in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and well beyond every day. This includes our students, present and past employees who have returned to the frontlines, as well as thousands of DC alumni.
To honour and shine a light on the incredible work being done by our DC community members, the college is launching a new initiative: DC on the Frontlines.
Whatever your role – from first responder or nurse to personal support worker or social services worker, early childhood educator to volunteer and so many more – we invite you to step forward and be counted among those who comprise DC’s frontline workers.
Using your submissions, we will fill a DC on the Frontlines web page with your stories to build an online gallery of goodwill, community, expertise and dedication.
There is perhaps no greater test of one’s learning and training than the challenge of working in the midst of a large-scale emergency such as a pandemic.
Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that its Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) will receive more than $1 million in applied research grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to help create innovative solutions for local and regional social challenges.
Applied over a three-year term, the funding is provided through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF), which is managed by NSERC in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The funding is being directed to three of DC’s applied research projects, which will be completed alongside a number of community partners, including:
A participatory action research project that aims to design financial empowerment tools and resources that will help address the specific and unique needs of low-income residents. Through partnerships with a number of local agencies – including libraries, employment centres and new immigrant welcome centres – research lead Lorraine Closs and partner Randy Uyenaka, both full-time faculty in the college’s Social Service Worker program, will engage low-income residents to understand the use of available supports in their neighbourhoods, as well as barriers to access.
An innovative research project using virtual reality to simulate uncontrolled fire scenarios and improve training for firefighters using immersive life-like experiential learning. By eliciting physiological and psychological responses similar to the human reactions in a real-life fire scenario, research lead Dr. Michael Williams-Bell and partner John Goodwin will develop a safe and controlled training environment for participants, resulting in saved lives and a reduced number of training injuries.
A series of Innovation Lab co-production workshops held with early childhood educators, parents, faculty, students, behaviour experts and service providers, to develop a tool for educators and families to support the development of social competence in pre-school aged children. Under the direction of research lead Nicole Doyle and partner Corrine McCormick-Brighton, the tools will be used in EarlyON Child and Family Centres in the Durham Region.
“We are so thrilled to receive this funding and are excited to begin work with our community partners to develop innovate solutions to the unique challenges facing our preschool educators, firefighters and low-income population,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “While these projects aim to positively impact our community, they are also providing excellent experiential learning opportunities for our students as they gain valuable experience working alongside experienced researchers.”
CCSIF grants are intended to support college social innovation research projects in partnership with local community organizations. Through the CCSIF grants, each of the three DC research projects will receive more than $300,000.
Applied research at DC is facilitated through ORSIE and seeks to solve social and business challenges through innovation and collaboration. By engaging industry, faculty, students, and community partners, research projects successfully address the needs of a technology-driven knowledge economy. DC has been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges by Research Infosource Inc. six times.
Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that our Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) has received bronze in the 2020 Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Awards of Excellence in the Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award category. CICan announced this year’s winners today in a media release. CICan is a national organization representing publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs and polytechnics in Canada and internationally.
“Durham College takes great pride in CICan recognizing our decade of leadership in providing business solutions and student training,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “Under the leadership of Debbie McKee Demczyk, the ORSIE team continuously demonstrates an incredible ability to anticipate emerging trends and provide consultative, collaborative services that meet the needs of businesses, all while providing significant hands-on learning experiences for students.”
The CICan award recognizes ORSIE’s extraordinary contributions to the DC campus community and the team’s role in supporting social, cultural and economic development at local, provincial, national and global levels. Winners of the Applied Research and Innovation Excellence Award category are selected based on the following criteria:
Institutional commitment: evidence within the last five years of commitment in building the institutional capacity to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and social innovation in the community.
Impact on SMEs: evidence within the last five years of new or improved products, processes, services that enhance profile and market opportunities.
Impact on communities and regions: evidence of enhanced collaboration with companies, community partners, local associations and organizations that have a significant and sustainable impact on local or regional innovation.
Impact on students: demonstrated application of skills into workplace settings, with a focus on the capacity to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Must be supported with data.
“Since ORSIE launched, research at Durham College has accelerated at an exhilarating pace,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “We entered into 2020 on the wave of success enjoyed last year that saw us achieve all-time highs on an expanding number of initiatives. The dedicated faculty, staff and students continue to demonstrate exceptional hard work and commitment in their pursuit of excellence. Their work is cutting-edge and impactful at every level.”
Durham College (DC) and its Athletics department are pleased to share that construction on a new women’s softball facility at the Oshawa campus has commenced, with plans to complete by August 2020. The facility, which will include 100-per-cent synthetic SPORTURF playing surface with an underlay shock pad for safety, will become the new home of DC’s award-winning women’s softball program.
The new softball facility will give DC the ability to host provincial, national and international games and special showcase camps, as well it will house new campus recreational programs for students. A seating capacity of 400 people, including 100 VIP seats, and a custom press box at the top of the stadium bleachers will allow for livestreaming of home games and VIP hosting.
Replacing the current halogen light system will be state-of-the-art MUSCO LED energy-efficient stadium lights to eliminate light spill. This new feature will also provide the capability to match light requirement levels for broadcast TV.
“I am so excited to see this facility become a reality,” said DC athletic director Ken Babcock. “We will have an amazing new home for our highly successful championship women’s softball program and with our colder climate and weather, the artificial turf will allow us to extend the playing season on both ends. This will soon be the best place to play women’s softball in the country.”
Other features of the new softball facility include: team studio dugouts, dual batting tunnels for training, bullpens, a new scoreboard, maintenance storage and equipment, coaches’ room and an umpire change room. New team change rooms will be completed during Phase 2 of the project, which is estimated to begin summer 2021.
DC’s women’s softball team has won an unprecedented record twenty OCAA championships over the past 39 years, including four in the past five years alone.