COVID-19

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.


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.


Construction begins on Durham College’s Whitby campus Phase IV expansion

On January 16, Durham College (DC) employees, students and members of the broader community gathered at the Whitby campus to celebrate the start of construction on its Phase IV expansion, which has been designed to shine a spotlight on skilled trades training, innovation and education.

Also in attendance were Member of Parliament for Whitby, Ryan Turnbull; Member of Provincial Parliament, Lorne Coe; John Henry, chair for the Regional Municipality of Durham; and Whitby Deputy Mayor Steve Yamada, who, along with DC President Don Lovisa, spoke of the challenges currently facing skilled trades.

“The college continuously hears from its partners that they need more skilled workers and would like new programs developed to focus on emerging industries,” said Lovisa. “Yet in spite of our current efforts, the ability to keep up with the demand remains a challenge due to the physical space constraints at the Whitby campus. For example, the student population has increased by 130 per cent in the past 10 years.”

Given the skilled labour shortage at the regional, provincial and national level, the timing of this new project could not be better. Colleges Ontario forecasts that by 2030 the province will face a skilled labour shortage of more than 500,000 workers.

When it comes to skilled trades at DC, data from the last three years was recently studied, looking at seats available compared to applications for nine trades programs. It was found there were approximately 2,400 seats available, yet the college received approximately 7,000 applications for these programs.

To address this demand, the college has been undertaking development and diversification in Whitby since 2009. Phase IV will result in a 60,000 square-foot expansion, allowing DC to increase its student intake in Whitby by 700 to 750 over three to five years.

“More space will allow the college to focus on high-priority industries – DC’s post-secondary Electrical Engineering Technician, Electrical Techniques, Mechanical Technician – Elevating Devices and Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing programs, as well as the Electrician – Construction and Maintenance, Elevating Devices Mechanic and Plumber apprenticeship programs,” said Rebecca Milburn, executive dean of the School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship and Renewable Technology and principal at the Whitby campus. “Once complete, this expansion will significantly increase DC’s industrial skilled trades training capacity, while also creating more opportunities to participate in applied research projects to advance innovation and knowledge.”

The following are some of the unique features of the expansion:

  • A double-height shop lab to address the specialized needs of both the mechanical and construction programs. Home to a two-storey building model, the lab will allow plumbing students to work underneath it while elevating devices students will be able to work in an easily accessible dual-level elevator shaft.
  • Classrooms with moveable walls and furniture to accommodate various configurations.
  • Training labs with dedicated space and equipment for a range of post-secondary and apprenticeship programs.
  • Student touchdown spaces.
  • A fitness centre.
  • A food services facility.

Partnering with DC to help fund the expansion is the Town of Whitby, who is generously contributing $1 million over a five-year period to support the construction. A Building for Skills capital campaign will also be launched shortly to generate additional donations.

More information about the Phase IV expansion, as well as construction progress updates can be found at www.durhamcollege.ca/skills.


Durham College named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2020

Durham College (DC) has been named one of the Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2020. Awarded to organizations for their progressive, forward-thinking employee programs, this is the ninth time the college has received the honour.

DC is proud to be recognized for its culture of collaboration, fostered by events such as the annual Retreat with the President, where employees have the opportunity to provide direct feedback and ideas to college leadership on how to improve the DC experience for the entire campus community.

The various supports offered by DC were also acknowledged including generous contributions to the defined benefit pension plan and subsidized access to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre.

It was also noted the support does not stop once a DC employee retires. From retirement planning assistance prior to their departure to maintaining the connection between former employees and the college through the Retiree Association, DC encourages and helps its employees from the beginning of their careers, all the way up to their transition into the next chapter of their lives.

Greater Toronto’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the Greater Toronto Area employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Organizations are judged on several categories including physical workplace; work and social atmosphere; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs. 

More information can be found on DC’s Greater Toronto Top Employers profile.


DC students and professor take home People’s Choice Award at all-female culinary competition

Last month, Durham College (DC) professor Tanya Heck and second-year students Amira Elgindy and Arlinda Prenaj from DC’s Culinary Management program, won the Up and Coming Chef’s Challenge at the annual Eat to the Beat charity event.

Competing against teams from other colleges, DC placed first, winning the People’s Choice Award for their team’s roasted beet and panzanella salad made with feta cheese, heirloom tomato, red onion, basil, honey, garlic and micro-greens – all grown, harvested and produced at DC’s Whitby campus.

Throughout the competition, DC’s talented team of female chefs received great reviews and feedback from taste-testers, who were impressed that all ingredients used in the dish came directly from DC’s fields, greenhouses and apiary.

Entering its 24th year, Eat to the Beat is a charity event that raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society by welcoming urban foodies to taste the culinary creations of 60 female chefs – women supporting women through the challenges that come with a breast cancer diagnosis.


DC student, alumnus and faculty member travel to Rome, Italy for health care technology conference

Durham College’s (DC) health care programs were well-represented on the world stage last month when a DC student, alumnus and faculty member traveled to Rome, Italy to speak at the Third International Clinical Engineering and Health Technology Management Congress, organized by the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering.

From the Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management (BHCTM) program, second-year student Jessica Metcalfe presented her poster “Student point-of-view: healthcare technology management, a layman’s definition” in the Education, Certification, and Training session, while faculty member Abdelbaset Khalaf spoke in two sessions on the development of health care management technology, one of which was featured as a conference highlight. In both sessions he spoke about the BHCTM program, including the success of its launch and future plans, which was well-received by the audience.

Oem Dave, a Biomedical Engineering Technology grad, also showcased his research from the electrocardiogram capstone project through a poster presentation at the conference.

The conference was attended by 800 delegates from 62 countries and of the eight speakers from Canada and three were from DC. This is the first time that the BHCTM program has been represented at a global event, and Abdelbaset is already preparing students and faculty to take part in the fourth congress in the U.S. in 2021.


Durham College encourages young women to see themselves in science, technology and skilled trades

On October 22 and 23, Durham College (DC) hosted more than 600 Grade 7 and 8 students from across Durham Region and Northumberland County for the second annual conference, Expand the Possibilities: Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades.

The two days of exploration and inspiration aimed to better connect girls with careers in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, technology and skilled trades. Each day of the conference included a keynote presentation and a series of hands-on workshops held in the college’s industry-grade facilities and innovative learning spaces.

“These young women need to believe that they belong in a lab conducting experiments, operating a crane on a jobsite or deep in the code advancing cybersecurity,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic, DC. “As a post-secondary leader in science, technology and skilled trades, our job at Durham College is to help students get there. This conference is an important first step in that journey.”

Students received practical advice and motivation from serial inventor Ann Makosinski and contractor-entrepreneur-TV personality Kate Campbell. Makosinski offered a compelling argument for how fewer distractions equal more creativity as she shared her experience as a young inventor who is now one of the most sought-after influencers of her generation. Sharing highlights from her own career journey, Campbell busted myths associated with skilled trades and encouraged students to consider pursuing an apprenticeship.

“Engaging more young women in the fields of science, technology and skilled trades is critical if we are going to conquer the skills shortage that is facing employers and industries across the country,” said DC president Don Lovisa. “Our hope is that at the end of each day, students leave this conference with a clearer vision of the incredible opportunities and careers that are available to them.”

On the second day of the conference, at the college’s Whitby campus, the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, brought greetings from the Ontario government. He also rolled-up his sleeves to participate in activities alongside students.

In addition to workshops led by DC faculty, sessions were also delivered and supported by several conference sponsors. Seven industry leaders partnered with the college on this year’s event: Gerdau, General Motors, OCNI: Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, Ontario Power Generation, RESCON: Residential Construction Council of Ontario, Siemens and Black & McDonald.


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.