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REDress Campus Campaign urges move from awareness to action

Awareness has been achieved; now it is time for action.

This was the dominant message of the REDress Campus Campaign at Durham College (DC), a week-long series of events focused on the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2S).

Led by the First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC) at DC and Indigenous Education and Cultural Services at Ontario Tech University, the campaign also brought together community partners including the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Carea Community Health Centre, The Nourish and Develop Foundation and DC Students Inc.

The week began with the reveal of an installation of red dresses across the college and university’s shared Oshawa campus, each dress symbolizing someone taken by the MMIWG2S crisis. In addition to the dress installation, events were held each day from February 10 to 14, culminating with a memorial march and closing ceremony feast on Friday afternoon.

The campaign was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s The REDress Project, an aesthetic response to the MMIWG2S crisis, which is now a permanent exhibit in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Much like Black’s project, the red dresses installed across DC and Ontario Tech’s shared campus, Ontario Tech’s downtown Oshawa location, and DC’s Whitby campus and Pickering Learning Site, served as a visual reminder of the staggering number of MMIWG2S.

The REDress Campus Campaign included an opening ceremony featuring guest speaker Suzanne Smoke of Alderville First Nation, who is a Women’s Traditional Dancer, speaker, and facilitator, as well as an Anishinaabe Water Walker. On February 11, Kim Wheatley, an Anishinaabe Ojibway Grandmother from Shawanaga First Nation spoke about the connection between violence against women and violence against the land that is causing climate change.

On February 12, the First Peoples Indigenous Centre hosted an arts open house where participants could make a tile necklace to both commemorate MMIWG2S and celebrate the strength and future of Indigenous women, and take part in a traditional beading workshop.

One of the many highlights of the week included the special Global Class conversation held on February 13 between Jaime Black and Cree scholar Karyn Recollet. An associate professor with the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute, Professor Recollet brought the original REDress Project to her university’s downtown campus in 2017. The conversation between the women focused on their work in connection with the crisis of MMIWG2S. A group from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation also provided a big drum performance to open and close the event.


FastStartDC’s Fireside Chats help the campus community cozy up to entrepreneurship

Durham College (DC) students, employees and community members are invited to learn more about entrepreneurship through FastStartDC’s Fireside Chats speaker series. Hosted each month in DC’s 360insights Entrepreneurship Centre, each talk is led by an alumni, industry expert or local business leader, and covers a diverse variety of topics related to self-confidence, team building, financial literacy and social entrepreneurship.

Students will have the opportunity to hear a unique presentation from Elson Yeung on Wednesday, February 19. As a mentor, fashion designer and brand consultant, his talk will dive into managing the art and science of business, and how individuals can balance the use of creativity and data to successfully connect innovation and build business objectives. Elson will also provide students interested in both fashion and business with insight into the entrepreneurial design industry, including how to launch an apparel business or build a brand.

During the next scheduled Fireside Chat on Wednesday, March 18, culture curator Travis Dutka will speak about the act of fostering an engaging, inclusive and collaborative team culture for employees, drawing on his own experience working at 360insights.

For more information on upcoming Fireside Chats, be sure to visit FastStartDC’s Eventbrite page or Facebook page. FastStartDC is an extra-curricular entrepreneurship program. Housed within DC’s 360insights Entrepreneurship Centre in the Centre for Collaborative Education, it offers DC students access to entrepreneurial services and training programs.


Introducing Sage-04: Durham College’s collaboration in Guyana

Durham College (DC), in collaboration with College of the North Atlantic and Mohawk College, was recently awarded one of six Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE-04) calls for proposals.

With this contract, DC will support two schools in Guyana: New Amsterdam Technical Institute and Bina Hill Institute, in developing industry-responsive and inclusive skills training programs.

SAGE will see more than 1,000 students and beneficiaries trained across a variety of fields, including: water and coastal management, agriculture, construction and eco-tourism. The ultimate goal of SAGE-04 is to develop an inclusive academic program within the renewable energy sector.

This five-year initiative, funded by Global Affairs Canada and administered by CICan, will also support Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s commitment to empower girls and women worldwide.

For more information on SAGE-04 and other International Education office initiatives, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/international.


Durham College launches Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation

Durham College (DC) is responding to the ever-changing and complex threat landscape of cyberattacks, including data breaches and service disruptions and misdirections, with the launch of the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation. The launch of the college’s fourth applied research centre was announced at an event this morning.

“Cybersecurity is an increasingly significant risk to business, no matter what size or scale, and very few are prepared to respond or equipped with the proactive knowledge of how to protect themselves,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “The Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation is our solution for business and industry to help build capacity and the systems they need to protect their interests.”

The centre is designed to be a collaborative enterprise between DC’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning and School of Business, IT & Management.

Services will include:

  • Applied research in cybersecurity with acute focus on technologies for cyber range deployments, threat intelligence, anomaly detection and incident management.
  • Micro-credentials that provide training in industry-accredited programs at various levels. These flexible part-time programs and courses will appeal to individuals seeking development opportunities to advance or change their careers.
  • A Cybersecurity graduate certificate program that prepares aspiring cybersecurity professionals to work in the industry.
  • Conferences and seminars held in collaboration with corporate partners and high-profile industry experts to increase public awareness.

A number of industry leaders attended the launch event and participated in a panel discussion, speaking to the need for the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation and the positive impact it will have on their industry. Speakers included:

  • Farooq Naiyer, chief information security officer, ORION
  • Ishwinder Cheema, manager, Technical Account Management, Zscaler
  • Jeff Dawley, founder, Cybersecurity Compliance Corp
  • Ted de Vos, president, SIMNET
  • Heather Ricciuto, Academic Outreach Leader, IBM Security

“With ORSIE celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2020, I can think of no better way to kick off this milestone year than with the launch of DC’s fourth applied research centre,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “DC is an established leader in innovative applied research and the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation is a natural complement to our AI Hub, Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation and Mixed Reality Capture Studio.”

“The college’s applied research centres embody the vision of our extraordinary employees,” said Lovisa. “It is through their expertise and dedication that DC is leading the way in supporting, transforming and advancing economic prosperity in Durham Region and beyond.”

For more information visit www.durhamcollege.ca/CentreForCybersecurityInnovation.


Two weeks of career-focused activities and job fairs help students gear up to get hired

As convocation nears, Durham College (DC) students are preparing to launch their careers. To assist them in their journey from campus to career, DC’s Career Development office organized two weeks of career-focused fun at the college’s Gear Up to Get Hired events and connected more than 2,000 students with employers at two Winter Job Fairs earlier this month.

Taking place from January 29 to February 6, students had access to job fairs at the college’s Oshawa and Whitby campuses, as well as various workshops and sessions, including how to create a personal pitch, resumé writing techniques, job fair success strategies, using LinkedIn and more.

This year, the annual day-long Job Fair at the Oshawa campus brought in 77 potential employers for students and alumni to meet, including those currently hiring for full-time, part-time, co-op, summer and seasonal work. Held on February 4 in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, organizations represented a mix of economic sectors, including business, community services, manufacturing, skilled trades, information technology, engineering, health care, hospitality and justice. Students also had access to the Ten Thousand Coffees mentoring lounge, where alumni offered career advice and networking practice.

Prior to the Whitby campus Job Fair on February 6, students had the opportunity to attend DC Talks: Alumni Series to hear from two recent grads who have found success in their field, and a Women in Trades panel discussion. During the fair, which brought in 40 employers, students connected with businesses specifically recruiting for positions related to programs operating out of the Whitby campus, such as skilled trades, hospitality, administration and more.

DC’s Career Development office provides support for all things career-related at the college. The Career Development team offers a range of services including support for career exploration, resumé building and cover letter writing, interviewing skills and job search strategies.

For more information visit www.durhamcollege.ca/careerdevelopment.


DC grads give advice on life after college at DC Talks: Alumni Series event

Two Durham College (DC) graduates returned to campus on February 6, meeting with students to discuss their careers and life after graduation during the annual DC Talks: Alumni Series event.

This year’s event featured Gabby De Sousa, who graduated from the college’s women-only Elevating Devices Mechanic (EDM) pre-apprenticeship training program in 2016 and EDM apprenticeship program in 2017. Joining her was Nicholas Coleman, a 2016 graduate of DC’s Architectural Technology program.

Gabby De Sousa:

During her time at DC, Gabby proudly shared her experiences, not only as a student but also as a female studying a skilled trade. Representing the college, she attended the Clarington Energy Seminar in 2015, presented to the Whitby Town Council about the women-only EDM pre-apprenticeship program and spoke with Elevator World Magazine in February, 2017 about DC’s female-focused elevating devices recruitment efforts. Gabby now works as an apprentice for Delta Elevator Co. and will be writing her certification exam in January, 2021, as she builds on her DC training through the varied, hands-on problem solving she does each day on the job.

In addition to launching her career, Gabby is giving back to her alma mater by volunteering her time as a member of the DC Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. She also served as an alumni representative at the college’s Taste of the Trades event in November 2019.

During the event, Gabby encouraged young women to explore career paths they may had never considered before, and to not be afraid of saying yes to new opportunities.

Nicholas Coleman:

Nicholas began his career right after graduating in 2016, working for a number of integrated design firms. In his current role as architectural technologist for the Toronto studio of Lemay, he is able to combine his passion for science, technology and sustainable design with creative thinking, analytical sensibility and technological savvy on a broad variety of large-scale projects including towers for financial institutions, medical labs and luxury residential. He is also a licensed technologist with the Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences and a member of the national innovation team at Lemay.

As he answered student questions, Nicholas emphasized the importance of seeking out mentorship from those in the industry and following what motivates you, instead of the path that seems the most natural after graduation.

DC Talks: Alumni Series is part of DC’s backpack2Briefcase program, a series of events designed to help students and recent alumni make a smooth transition from college to the workplace. Events and workshops are held throughout the year to offer opportunities for both personal and professional development that will enhance the skills and training students learn in the classroom.


Alumni show their DC pride cheering on the Oshawa Generals

On January 31, more than 162 Durham College (DC) alumni, employees and students spent the evening at the Tribute Communities Centre, watching the Oshawa Generals take on the Peterborough Petes during the college’s annual Alumni Night – the best turn-out for this event since its inception.

Held annually, Alumni Night at the Oshawa Generals is a chance for the DC community to come together to reconnect over great hockey and a private reception.

Kicking off the evening and representing the college in a ceremonial puck drop was DC President Don Lovisa. He was joined on the ice by three Sports Business Management alumni who all currently work for the Oshawa Generals, as well as Cameron Ackerblade, president of the DC Alumni Association. Never one to miss out on a sporting event, DC mascot Lord Durham also got into the action by giving away t-shirts and hats to the crowd.

DC also sponsored the intermission entertainment, testing the knowledge of game goers with college-related trivia.

The evening was capped off with a win by the Generals.


DC and Ontario Tech University raised $21,000 for students in need over the holiday season

Last month, employees from Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University opened their hearts to students in need through the annual Holiday Food Drive. A longstanding campus tradition, the drive provides hampers of food and financial assistance to student families from both institutions during the holiday season. This year, the drive raised more than $21,000 and helped 332 students and their families.

After a full season of fundraising, the co-chairs of the drive are extending their sincere thanks to everyone who helped make the 2019 initiative a resounding success.

“I would like to thank everyone for another successful Holiday Food Drive,” says Kevin Griffin, professor in the School of Justice and Emergency Services at DC. “There is an amazing culture of giving at both Durham College and Ontario Tech University which is evident on this campus every day. That is what makes this event so successful.”

“We are grateful for the continued generosity of our students, faculty and staff at both institutions,” says Kevin’s co-chair, Sarah Rasile, director, Student Success at Ontario Tech University. “Thank you to everyone who gave their time, donated food, and hosted or supported the many fundraisers that make this drive possible each and every year. We received many notes of appreciation from students and we want everyone involved to know that your efforts made the holiday season brighter for many students and their families”.

The campus holiday food drive is organized annually by DC, the university, the Kinsmen Club of Oshawa, Durham College Students Inc. and Ontario Tech Student Union.


Durham College opens Mixed Reality Capture Studio

On January 23, Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) once again found itself on the leading edge of technology with the opening of the Mixed Reality Capture Studio (the MRC Studio).

What is mixed reality? It’s the result of blending the physical and digital worlds and refers to the merging or combination of virtual environments and real environments where both worlds can exist together.

Designed to offer organizations access to technical expertise, student talent and a state-of-the-art motion capture stage, and featuring one of only three Captury Live systems in Canada, the MRC Studio allows businesses to develop experiential applications that integrate motion capture, virtual reality, augmented reality and virtual production. 

Here are just a few things clients can do at the MRC Studio:

  • Build or import virtual spaces.
  • Develop immersive and interactive simulation scenarios for multiple applications:
    • Use simulations for training.
    • Use simulation environments for performance optimization, safety engineering, testing education and within the entertainment industry.

The third applied research centre at DC, the MRC Studio has been established in collaboration with the School of Media, Art & Design (MAD). It joins the AI Hub and Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation in offering organizations opportunities to increase productivity, growth and market potential while also supporting student experiential learning. 

MAD also offers academic programs that will utilize MRC technologies to train students, augmenting classroom learning and making them job-ready.

For more information visit www.durhamcollege.ca/mrcstudio.


DC becomes first college in Canada to deliver course through Walls to Bridges program

Durham College (DC) is proud to announce that it is the first college in Canada to provide college courses in prison through the Walls to Bridges (W2B) education program, which facilitates for-credit post-secondary courses taught within correctional settings. Each W2B classroom sees equal numbers of incarcerated and non-incarcerated students learning together as peers.

This semester, DC Professor Dale Burt is teaching Resiliency in Society: the Bridges and Barriers at a federal correctional institution in Ontario. Each week she travels to the prison with eight DC students who are taking the class alongside eight currently incarcerated students.

“The Walls to Bridges classroom offers a unique transformational learning experience that encourages diverse learners to build bridges with one another, recognizing that there are many ways of ‘knowing,’ including from each other and our experiences,” said Professor Burt. “I structure and lead the lessons and facilitate the learning activities, but we are really all students and teachers in the W2B classroom. Together we are able to break down barriers as we examine – and unlearn – assumptions and ‘othering.’”

The participating DC students are enrolled in either Mediation – Alternative Dispute Resolution or Victimology, two of the college’s post-graduate certificate programs. Each student had to apply and be interviewed in order to be accepted into the W2B course.

“Taking part in the Walls to Bridges program is important to Durham College for many reasons,” said Stephanie Ball, executive dean of the college’s schools of Justice & Emergency Services and Interdisciplinary Studies. “The environment and dynamics of the class make for a more impactful learning experience for all students while also providing access to post-secondary education for learners who may not have had access to it otherwise.”

The final class will be held at the prison on Wednesday, April 15. Students will present a collaborative project on what they have learned through the course followed by a graduation ceremony.