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Durham College leads the way in skilled trades and technology training with new facility

On April 21, Durham College (DC) welcomed donors, community partners, employees and guests to experience the grand opening of the Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology (CSTT). Located at the Whitby campus, the 60,000-square-foot facility is home to numerous specialized labs and shops, which will allow DC to increase its industrial skilled trades training capacity in Whitby by 750 students.

Given the skilled labour shortage at the regional, provincial and national level, this project could not come at a better time, with Colleges Ontario forecasting that by 2030 the province will face a shortage of more than 500,000 workers in the skilled trades.

The milestone grand opening event featured tours of the CSTT; an Indigenous blessing given by Senator Cecile Wagar from the Oshawa and Durham Métis Council; an official ribbon cutting; and remarks from individuals representing DC students, alumni, employees and local community partners.

This incredible new facility will help bring student success to life, creating opportunities to advance innovation and knowledge and providing a career launchpad for the next generation of skilled tradespeople,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “The generosity and support from our community is an investment in our collective success and our students’ futures, and core not only to the successful completion of this building but to the entire revitalization of the Whitby campus as we continue to lead the way in transformative education.”

Partnering with DC to help fund the expansion is Ontario Power Generation (OPG), whose name adorns the front of the CSTT to honour and recognize the deep-rooted partnership the two organization enjoy and acknowledge OPG’s long-standing support of both DC and its students over the last 20 years.

“Support from community partners like Ontario Power Generation makes an incredible difference at DC by helping to enhance our programs and facilities and providing access to industry expertise and experiential learning opportunities for our students to advance their skills,” said Linda Flynn, associate vice-president, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and executive director, Durham College Foundation. “Seeing this building come together through the collaborative effort of so many is an incredible feeling, and we are proud of the role it plays in the success of our students and the Region.”

“This state-of-the-art facility is just the latest in Ontario Power Generations’ decades’-long partnership with Durham College,” said Subo Sinnathamby, senior vice president, Nuclear Refurbishment, OPG. “This partnership helps educate and train career-ready graduates to build a diverse population of potential employees for the energy sector in skilled trades and STEM. Now more than ever, we need skilled, talented and qualified graduates to support our current and future operational and project needs.”

In less than three years, the DC Building for Skills campaign has raised $9.5 million toward the $10 million in community support required to fully fund the $35 million project, which includes generous funding from the Region of Durham, the Town of Whitby and the Durham College Student Association (DCSA), in addition to donations and gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. Fundraising activities continue in an effort to close the gap, with an aim to complete the campaign this spring.

To read more about the CSTT, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/skills.


Durham College is leading the way to a greener future as one of Canada’s 2022 Greenest Employers

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that it has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the sixth consecutive year, further emphasizing the college’s commitment to sustainability.

Awarded as part of the 2022 editorial competition organized by the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, this designation recognizes employers who create remarkable workplaces that minimize the environmental impact of their operations. DC was evaluated on how it incorporates environmental values into its everyday culture, and how it attracts employees through its green initiatives.

This year, the college was recognized for its culture of sustainability at both the Oshawa and Whitby campuses. DC continues to prioritize its green initiatives, from heating and cooling select buildings using geothermal energy to developing an organic regeneration system at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (Weston Centre).

“We are incredibly proud to receive this accolade – it emphasizes just how important sustainability is at Durham College, and how committed we are to leading the way to a greener future,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “From our dedicated facilities team, identifying environmentally-friendly projects each year, to our employees and students who are supported by college initiatives that help them make greener choices, sustainability is a way of life at Durham College – and we are proud to make this difference together.

At the micro level, DC has installed bottle fillers across campus to reduce the use of plastic, low-flow water systems in bathrooms to save water, and LED lights and charging stations for electric vehicles across campus to assist with energy-saving initiatives.

Recent capital projects like the Oshawa campus geothermal field are also recognized through this award as helping to reduce the demand for heating and cooling through natural gas, as well as electricity generation. At the Whitby campus, the Weston Centre is home to unique and innovative new projects like the organic regeneration system, which will produce waste compost for use in the college’s agricultural growing fields, creating a field-to-fork and back to field cycle.

You can read more about how DC is leading the way to a greener future online.


Durham College’s Youth Justice and Intervention students leading the way in human trafficking prevention

On March 24 Durham College (DC)’s Youth, Justice and Interventions program (YJI) hosted the 10th annual Youth Justice Symposium in partnership with Victim Services Durham Region (VSDR). Each year, a topic impacting young Canadians is selected as the focus of the event. This year’s chosen issue was Human Trafficking Prevention, identified by VSDR as an important subject for youth aged 12 to 15 to understand.

YJI students were tasked with developing a curriculum for grades 7 to 10 which addressed gender empowerment, internet safety, healthy relationships and human trafficking. They also created lesson plans and activities to facilitate teaching and learning about human trafficking, garnering strong positive feedback from participants. In fact, the symposium was viewed online in classrooms across the Durham and Kawartha regions by 9,000 students and more than 500 educators and principals.

“Our Youth, Justice and Interventions program students were so excited to see the results of their work come together with such success,” says Joanne Spicer, interim associate dean, School of Justice and Emergency Services. “Not only do they achieve the sense of accomplishment that comes from developing and running a conference, but they also learn the importance of working as a team, fostering collaborative community relationships and delivering an impactful event.”

YJI participants left with the knowledge that their contributions and efforts for the symposium have directly and positively impacted the lives of the attendees, helping make a better future. DC is proud of the successful community partnership and would like to recognize the impressive efforts of the YJI program students who worked so diligently to improve the community by raising awareness on the threat of human trafficking and the actions that help to prevent it.


Durham College opens its doors for Spring Open House

On April 9, Durham College (DC) opened its doors to prospective students and their families, welcoming more than 3,000 guests to the Oshawa and Whitby campuses for the college’s in-person Spring Open House.

As the first on-campus recruitment event since the start of the pandemic, DC was thrilled to showcase how we’re leading the way in innovative and transformative education.

The event gave visitors the opportunity to meet our expert faculty, explore labs and learning spaces, and learn about our more than 140 market-driven programs, state-of-the-art facilities and numerous support services through guided tours and information sessions on career services and co-op programs.

Attendees took part in several fun activities, including visits to the Mixed-Reality Capture Studio and the DC Spa at the Oshawa campus and tours of the culinary facilities at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food in Whitby. Prospective students also had the chance to try their hand in the Crane Simulation Lab.

Throughout the day, visitors engaged with President Don Lovisa in Oshawa and Rebecca Milburn, dean and principal of the Whitby campus, to hear more about how DC is leading the way in providing an exceptional student experience. Alumni, faculty, current students and employees were also on site to share their first-hand knowledge and experiences about all things DC.

Showcased at the event were DC’s honours bachelor’s degrees, innovative weekend delivery offerings now available in select business and health programs, as well as the new Internet of Things and Web Development programs.

Anyone who missed the Spring Open House can still learn more about all that DC has to offer. Campus tours and information sessions can be scheduled online or via email

We look forward to welcoming prospective students again when DC hosts its Fall Open House on Saturday, November 12.


Justice and Emergency Services students compete in the Durham College Justice Games

Following a two-year hiatus, on March 23, students from the School of Justice & Emergency Services (JES) competed in the 9th annual Durham College (DC) Justice Games for the first time since the pandemic restricted campus activities. Designed to test students’ strength, speed and teamwork, this year’s games consisted of seven events, including shuttle run, 3-point shooting, arm wrestling, tug of war and more.

“The games are a great opportunity to celebrate the talents of our JES students through friendly competition,” says Jason Vassell, professor, School of Justice & Emergency Services. “Not only do participating students have the chance to represent their program, but it’s also an opportunity for current students to meet some of our alumni, who return to compete in events they won when they took part in the Games as a student. It always makes for an exciting event.”

To win the Justice Cup, students from JES compete on behalf of their program, earning points for first and second-place finishes. The following DC programs participated in this year’s Justice Games:

The Justice Games also brought the JES community together to remember and commemorate former Firefighter – Pre-service, Education and Training students Adam Brunt and Tasha Nickelchock. Most valuable player awards, each named in honour of Adam and Tasha, were presented to two students who demonstrated the highest levels of performance, leadership and sportsmanship over the course of the event.

This year’s MVP winners were Kyle Butler, Paramedics program, and Emma Wilson, currently enrolled in Police Foundations.

Students from Firefighter – Pre-service Education and Training were victorious, hoisting the Justice Cup and earning bragging rights until next year’s Justice Games.

Durham College would like to offer special thanks to the Justice Games committee for organizing this exciting event, including members: Jason Vassell, Heather Milburn, Glen Barkley, Blair Darlington, Hannah Elkington, Mackenzie Naccarato, Michael Tracey, Melissa Dodson, Bobbie-Lee Churly, Claire McCormack, and Caleigh Pengelly.


Durham College announces new weekend delivery for business and PSW programs

Durham College (DC) is excited to reinvent the college experience and offer eight certificate, graduate certificate and diploma programs through the School of Business, IT & Management (BITM) and the School of Health & Community Services (HCS) in a new, flexible weekend delivery format.

The weekend delivery concept was designed to meet the needs of students looking for opportunities to study full-time and benefit from on-campus learning experiences without having to attend traditional weekday in-person classes.

The weekend delivery programs include:

As part of BITM’s weekend delivery, at least half of the classes will be offered in-person on Saturdays and Sundays and students will have the option to choose between in-person and real-time remote learning at any time. Friday evening instruction will be delivered remotely through a combination of real-time (synchronous) and self-directed (asynchronous) learning, meaning students can choose to participate while the class is being delivered, or at a time that works best for their busy schedules.

“By reimagining what post-secondary education looks like, we can pivot and adapt our programming in a way that better meets our students’ needs,” says Kevin Baker, executive dean, School of Business, IT & Management. “Earning a college credential while continuing to work will allow our students the opportunity to upskill and advance their career in a way that suits their schedule.”

The School of Health & Community Services has already seen the benefits of a flexible weekend model through its Practical Nursing – Flex Program, which launched in 2016 and remains the only program of it’s kind in Ontario. Building on this success, the Personal Support Worker weekend delivery program will offer theory-based courses through a combination of in-person and real-time remote learning, while continuing to offer in-person labs to the same standards as the traditional weekday format.

“With the student experience top of mind, weekend delivery unleashes possibilities that may have been out of reach with traditional weekday formats,” says Ralph Hofmann, interim executive dean, School of Health & Community Services. “We’ve seen this first-hand through the success of the Practical Nursing Flex Program, and look forward to exploring additional ways to proactively meet the growing needs of our students and reinvent the college experience.”

With over 140+ market-driven programs, Durham College is committed to leading the way for the next generation of industry professionals. To learn more about weekend delivery at DC, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/weekenddelivery.


Durham College to offer two new innovative tech-focused programs

Durham College (DC) has received consent from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to offer two new technology-focused programs beginning in September 2022 – the one-year Internet of Things graduate certificate and two-year Web Development diploma program.

Offered by the School of Science & Engineering Technology and School of Media, Art & Design, respectively, these programs will lay the groundwork for graduates to enter two innovative fields with in-demand skills while providing them with unique experiential learning opportunities.

“Durham College is thrilled to offer students two new opportunities to gain the valuable skills necessary to make a positive impact in these growing technology sectors,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “With demand for graduates with specialized tech knowledge on the rise, the addition of the Internet of Things and Web Development programs will help address the industry call to close the skills gap, leading the way to an innovative and exciting future for our graduates.”

The new Internet of Things (IoT) program will prepare students to participate specifically in the IoT, Industrial IoT (IIoT) and IoT Vision fields as they gain the knowledge and skills needed to address backend, frontend and embedded software design and implementation for smart cities, home automation, wearable tech and more. Students will also explore security and surveillance cameras attached to IoT devices, their technologies, architectures, resources, data management, strategies, and privacy issues.

Employment opportunities for graduates of this program are on the rise and the IoT sector currently employs skilled programmers, developers and technicians working in a range of occupations and industries, such as health care, community infrastructure, traffic routing, private and public transportation, industrial robotics, mining and gaming.

Building on the fundamentals of interactive media design, the Web Development program will prepare students for an exciting career designing, coding websites and web apps to create a seamless user experience. Students will have access to the latest software and web technologies in studios built specifically for interaction and web development. Unlike other programs of its kind, students will approach interactive elements through a creative lens, developing the graphic and technical skills to become highly competent designers who can deliver dynamic, cross-media content. With the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to design and develop web content for all digital platforms, graduates will be familiar with the latest trends and techniques when entering the workforce.

Both programs offer opportunities for hands-on learning, including a capstone project in the IoT program, or a capstone or field placement in the Web Development program.

Learn more about these exciting new programs at DC’s in-person Open House on Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by visiting durhamcollege.ca.


Two work-integrated learning projects help Durham College students lead the way

Last year, Durham College (DC) received funding from Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada and its Innovation Hub (iHub) for two unique work-integrated learning (WIL) projects. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (I-WIL), iHub is a program dedicated to developing career-ready students through quality WIL experiences.

The first project, led by Dr. Michael Williams-Bell, a professor in the School of Health & Community Services, provided four Fitness and Health Promotion students the opportunity to implement a unique assessment and training program for Ontario Tech University’s Varsity athletes to monitor their training, injury risk and recovery.

The DC students administered weekly and monthly fitness assessments that were approved by supervisors, team coaches, and the head strength and conditioning coach at Ontario Tech University and assisted with exercise prescription delivery. This provided a unique opportunity for DC students to learn from established professionals while interacting with the student-athletes to build relationships around trust and outcome goals. The project culminated in a final guest speaker event in November 2021 with professional athletes and strength and conditioning coaches sharing their experiences and answering questions.

In the second iHub project, co-led by Dr. Williams-Bell and Danielle Harder, a professor in the School of Media, Art & Design, three students from the Journalism – Mass Media program and two students from the Fitness and Health Promotion program collaborated to create six episodes of a new podcast called Research Remix.

The episodes provided a behind-the-scenes look at research projects underway at DC while also following a multi-year research project with the City of Oshawa Fire Services to give listeners a glimpse into the lifespan and impact of an applied research project. At the end of the project, students were invited to three intimate speaker series events. The first in December featured Sandra Appiah and Imman Adan from the Dishes and Dimes podcast, where they learned more about podcasting as a career and a way to support their own personal and professional brand. In February, Jordan Heath-Rawlings of The Big Story podcast spoke, while the March 16 event featured two popular climate change podcasters – Laura Lynch of CBC’s What on Earth and Shaghayegh Tajvidi of the National Observer’s Race Against Climate Change.

These two projects are significant examples of how WIL helps students develop hands-on skills in a supportive and educational environment. As part of DC’s commitment to providing unique experiential learning opportunities, WIL has been a vital part of DC’s framework for decades, embedded as a formal component in many of the college’s programs of study.


Durham College business students connect globally during Working Across Borders course

Durham College (DC) once again connected its students with the world through its Working Across Borders (WAB) course during the fall 2021 semester. Open to students studying in DC’s business programs, WAB allows learners to virtually engage and collaborate with other institutions globally, as teams collaborate to develop sustainable business solutions for real clients.

In its fifth year being offered at DC, 163 students from the college’s International Business Management and Project Management graduate certificate programs worked as part of multi-national teams with fellow participants from 14 other post-secondary institutions in countries such as Indonesia, Slovenia, Finland, Ghana and Belgium.

Following an opening ceremony in the early fall, each multinational group acted as consultants for Dutch fashion brand Garcia, where they were tasked with developing a sustainable value proposition, as well as a plan for how to effectively communicate with target audiences in one of the countries the company serves.

Because WAB encourages students to explore business opportunities to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals as part of their work, a special focus of the project was to enhance consumer perceptions of True Pricing, which reflects a product’s market price plus the social and environmental costs associated with that item.

Each team presented their final work via video pitch at the beginning of December 2021 and was assessed based on self-and-peer evaluation, as well as feedback provided by their team coach. Overall, the experience provided students with hands-on experiential learning, while developing their intercultural awareness and communication skills.

Congratulations to these DC students on their incredible success!


Durham College signs the Sustainable Development Goals Accord

Durham College (DC) is proud to share that President Don Lovisa has signed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, joining more than 250 educational institutions internationally in fighting global injustice and committing to a central and transformational role in achieving the United Nation’s SDGs by 2030.

“By signing this accord, Durham College is supporting the advancement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; taking meaningful action within our own institution and drawing on our strengths in collaboration and innovation to help transform our local and global community,” said Lovisa.

As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the 17 SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – to form a global partnership to achieve these goals. The SDGs recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The SDG Accord was created to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in progressing the SDGs and highlight the benefits they bring to governments, businesses and wider society. It has currently been signed by 255 educational institutions, 53 student unions, 221 support organizations, and 1671 individuals across the post-secondary sector around the world.

As a member of the accord, DC will collaborate with other signatory learning institutions and annually share the college’s progress with our campus community, and with sector SDG reporting metrics presented at the annual UN High Level Political Forum. The college will also continue to recognize the indivisible and interconnected nature of the SDGs by focusing its initiatives on the Accord’s universal set of goals – people, prosperity, the planet, partnership and peace.

For more information on the SDG Accord, please visit www.sdgaccord.org.