Durham College becomes first college in Canada to join Walls to Bridges educational program

Class sees incarcerated and non-incarcerated students learn together inside federal prison

Oshawa, Ont. 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.


About Durham College

At Durham College (DC), the student experience comes first. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, we offer approximately 13,400 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 140 full-time and nine apprenticeship programs, including the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science and Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management.

We enable students to develop the career-ready skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market by connecting them with expert faculty and offering quality programs. With a focus on experiential learning through field-placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads have the skills and knowledge employers need.

The Oshawa campus features DC’s newest building, the Centre for Collaborative Education, which represents the college’s commitment to working with local business and community partners while bringing together local, Indigenous and global communities and members of key business sectors.

DC’s Whitby campus is home to the Skills Training Centre, where students receive hands-on training and instruction in industrial-grade shop labs for carpentry, HVAC, welding, elevating devices and crane operation, among others. The campus also features the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, visit or call 905.721.2000.

About Walls to Bridges

Walls to Bridges (W2B) is an innovative educational program that brings together incarcerated (“Inside”) and non-incarcerated (“Outside”) students to study post-secondary courses in jails and prisons across Canada. The National Hub for the program is based out of the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, Wilfred Laurier University, in partnership with Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

Experiential learning is foundational to the W2B teaching and learning process. An important principle of all W2B courses is that students from outside the correctional system are not ‘mentoring’ or ‘helping’ or ‘working with’ incarcerated/criminalized students: all participants in the class are peers, learning the class content together through innovative, experiential and dialogical processes. Self-reflexivity is a key component of W2B classes.

By providing access to education for incarcerated peoples and through collaborative scholarly inquiry with university-based students, Walls to Bridges classes offer opportunities to understand the complexities of criminalization and punishment through lived experiences and intersectional analyses. This is a transformational educational experience which draws upon lived experience as a source of theorizing as well as challenges the artificial boundaries between people experiencing imprisonment and those who are not.

Visit for more information.

For more information, contact:

Melissa McLean
Communications and Marketing
O: 905.721.2000 ext. 2952
M: 647.880.6363

Centre for Success helps more than 130 students complete their secondary schooling, kick starting their post-secondary studies

On January 16, surrounded by proud family members and friends, more than 130 students celebrated the completion of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) program during a special ceremony at the Oshawa campus. Designed to help on-risk secondary school students complete their high school academic requirements in a college setting, the CFS provides its students with access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers.

As a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI), the program is funded by the Ministry of Education, and allows students to participate in post-secondary courses and apprenticeship training, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma or apprenticeship certification. Students may earn at least one and potentially more college credits during their time in the CFS, which will help them get ahead at most of the 24 colleges across Ontario.

Now in its thirteenth year, the SCWI is a partnership between DC and four local school boards – Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge School District Board, Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.

“I am beyond proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “They have faced obstacles head on, dedicated themselves to their studies and I have no doubt they will continue to succeed wherever their academic journey may take them. It’s also important to note that this program not be possible without the unwavering encouragement and support from Durham College President Don Lovisa, as well as the amazing teachers in the program and the Ministry of Education.”

The 2019-2020 school year is the second that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students last year.

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

Durham College’s Working Across Borders tiles the way for a sustainable future

November 4 marked the official launch of Working Across Borders (WAB), Durham College’s (DC) new course focused on international collaboration and sustainability through student-run consultancy projects. Approximately 550 people from around the world joined DC students and faculty members for the launch, using the global classroom, DC’s internationally live-streamed approach to global learning. More than 128 students across the International Business Management and Project Management post-grad programs, alongside a group of students in the Finance program, enrolled in WAB this fall.

Participants from Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy, Finland, Belgium, and the United States participated in the kickoff event, with Geanne van Arkel of Interface Inc. in attendance. Arkel is the head of sustainable development for Interface, WAB’s client, and the world’s largest producer of carpet tiles, resilient flooring and luxury vinyl tiles. In 2016, Interface launched Climate Take Back, their commitment to running their business in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and environmentally restorative.

During the opening, Pranshu Pinakinbhai Bhatt, a first-year International Business Management student, expressed excitement for WAB, saying “It will be interesting to see how we can work as a team. Each person brings a different culture and working styleso we have to learn to co-operate.” He went on to say “I recently learned that verbal commitments are very important in Finland, so now I adjust my style to fit with Finnish colleagues. Now, if I make a verbal commitment, I make sure to follow through.”

As the launch ended, Arkel challenged the students by saying “If we want to work on sustainable solutions, we need to work together, and that’s where Durham College comes in. We need a new story for our climate’s future. A story that benefits all life. We need you.”

Through the WAB, students will meet Arkel’s challenge as the program teaches students how to achieve success in a global marketplace, while meeting the environmental needs of today’s world. Students work in multi-national teams to develop and pitch sustainable solutions to combat issues that impact the world socially and environmentally. These solutions, based on three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations, include: gender equality, clean water and sanitation, climate action and responsible consumption and production.

“This cross-cultural co-operation is exactly what WAB and the global classroom was designed to do,” says DC professor, Rogier Ten Kate.

Along with TenKate, Dustin Weihs, professor and Joanne Spicer, global learning facilitator, WAB will continue to grow and evolve with the world at large.

DC marketing students place multiple times at the Ontario College’s Marketing Competition

For nearly four decades, students from across the province have brought their ideas and competitive spirit to Ontario College’s Marketing Competition (OCMC) to demonstrate their practical skills and employability while networking with industry professionals.

In November, 15 students from Durham College’s (DC) Marketing – Business and Marketing – Business Administration programs travelled to Niagara Falls, Ont. to compete against more than 250 other students. There, they were coached by six faculty volunteers from the School of Business, IT & Management and challenged in an array of marketing categories, including retail marketing and entrepreneurship.

Seven DC students placed in their respective categories, including:

  • Brendan Scott – first place, Quiz Bowl Competition and third place, Entrepreneurship Competition
  • Kaitlyn Braisier – third place, Job Interview Competition
  • Youssef Zaki – third place, Entrepreneurship Competition
  • Malcolm Hooper – fourth place, Quiz Bowl Competition
  • Chin-Ting Sherwin – fifth place, Direct Marketing Competition
  • Nicholas Bowman – fifth place, Direct Marketing Competition

Kaitlyn Braisier also received the prestigious Lydiatt Award, which is presented to a student who demonstrates commitment to the OCMC, supports others while working hard and has shown outstanding character and leadership in their college and community. A two-time OCMC participant, Kaitlyn doubled the number of DC students who tried out for the competition this year by organizing new recruitment efforts, like a mentor event where previous OCMC competitors shared their experience to inspire students and foster a sense of community within the team.

Congrats to Kaitlyn and all of our DC students on their achievement!

The Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning launches a new Environmental Management Certificate

The Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning is pleased to announced the launch of the Environmental Management Certificate program.

The Environmental Management program focuses on sustainable implementation and management of air, water, land and waste at both the global and local levels. The learner will consider various systems, strategies and techniques to be applied within diverse situations where the goal is ultimately to ensure sustainable and market-driven solutions to environmental issues. This program will augment the skills and knowledge of a working professional who has experience and education in a complementary field such as public relations, civic planning, engineering or project management.

This short, 7-course program is offered fully online Busy professionals who wish to contribute to this growing sector will benefit from this highly flexible format, which allows them to obtain a College credential at their own pace.

Winter 2020 Registration is now open

DC’s recent Tech Talk hosted high-profile industry experts to explore the future of artificial intelligence and gaming

Durham College’s Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub) hosted another sold out Tech Talk on December 2 – this time, focusing on the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the gaming sector, an industry comprised of over 2.3 billion gamers and worth more than $100 billion globally.

Simon Gill, director of Economic Development and Tourism at the Regional Municipality of Durham, and Shaun Collier, mayor of the Town of Ajax, joined more than 120 other attendees to hear the keynote presentation from Menashe Kestenbaum, founder and president of Enthusiast Gaming. A panel discussion followed, featuring Tanmay Bakshi, the world’s youngest IBM Watson programmer and an AI expert; Mahdi Raza, founder and CEO of SiberX; Michael Ball, information security advisor and vCISO at TeamCISO; and Sarah Wagg, manager of DC’s Esports Gaming Arena.

During the panel the speakers explored potential growth opportunities for AI and gaming, touching on how students can find success in these sectors and how the Durham Region may benefit from the rise of esports.

At the end of the session, the AI Hub team announced its second annual Enable AI Summit. Taking place on Friday, June 5 at DC, the summit will focus on developing and supporting Smart Communities. To help potential attendees prepare, Tech Talks over the next six months will address community related topics such as AI and transportation, agriculture, mental health and more.

Further details about the Enable AI Summit will be released as they become available.

Durham College launches Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning

The School of Continuing Education at Durham College (DC) is now the Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning (PPL). With extraordinary customer service at its core, PPL will deliver quality part-time programs and courses to individuals who are looking for professional development opportunities, as well as to students seeking credit towards a post-secondary credential. 

“The world of learning is changing, especially when it comes to continuing education,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic, at DC. “Today’s professionals understand that staying competitive in their field requires a commitment to continual upskilling and development. Durham College understands that these professionals require flexible learning that meets their needs. This is why we are so excited to introduce the Centre for Professional and Part-time Learning as the next step in the evolution of lifelong learning at DC.”

The market-driven programming is focused primarily on the areas of health, technology, business, education and training, languages, and specialized trades. Offering more than 1,000 courses and 75 programs across a broad range of disciplines, PPL will continue to leverage the wealth of experience provided by DC faculty and provide students with flexible learning opportunities via in-class, online and hybrid delivery.

 “Industry and learner needs are shifting rapidly and the transformation of Continuing Education into PPL will ensure that the college is able to maintain its reputation as a leader in lifelong learning,” said dean Debbie Johnston. “We are committed to meeting, anticipating and adapting to the needs of learners both today and going forward.”

PPL offices remain in the location of the former School of Continuing Education at the Oshawa campus in Room A160, Gordon Willey building (near the main entrance to the B Wing).

The PPL launch includes a new website and coincides with the opening of registration for the 2020 winter semester.

DC sports business students win third place in industry case study competition

A team of dedicated students from Durham College’s (DC) sports administration and business management programs kicked off the 12th annual PrimeTime Sports and Entertainment Sport Management Conference and Tradeshow earlier this month as they competed against local universities in a business case study competition in Toronto.

An annual conference tradition that aims to create a positive hands-on learning experience for emerging sports business professionals, this year’s case centered around the challenge of growing and enhancing fan engagement for the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Raptors Uprising GC esports team, which competes in the NBA 2K League.

The only college team to participate, DC’s Jacqueline Tieu, Trevor Anniss, Colin Shuringa, Megan Longpre, and Bobby Pelleschi were given 24 hours to conduct their case analysis and put together a 15 minute pitch presentation and recommendation. After passing the first round of judging, the team went on to the final round, where they received praise from a tough panel of judges, who commended them for their adaptability, creativity and analytical thinking in both rounds. In the end, DC’s team tied for third place with University of Toronto – Mississauga.

Congrats to our students on their achievement!

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.