COVID-19

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.


DC helps launch Canadian College Consortium for Cannabis

Durham College (DC), a recognized leader in cannabis education programming, has partnered with four Canadian colleges and a national advocacy body to form the Canadian College Consortium for Cannabis, an entity that will serve as a first-of-its-kind in the post-secondary sector. 

DC is joined by NorQuest, Niagara and Okanagan colleges and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) as founding members. A sixth seat will go to Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan).

“When post-secondary institutions join forces everybody wins,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic, DC. “This consortium clearly recognizes the inherent opportunities within Canada’s fast-growing cannabis industry. Members also understand the value of working together to uncover solutions, drive education and advance the industry’s economic impact to keep momentum going.”

An MOU has been signed by all partners.

“The MOU will see us advance and action four main areas of focus,” says Debbie Johnston, dean of DC’s School of Continuing Education. “Generating a cohesive picture of the cannabis market; developing workforce-relevant courses and programs; establishing a cluster of subject matter experts; and pursuing shared funding for applied research.”

The consortium is a natural extension of DC’s leadership in cannabis-related post-secondary programming. In 2017, the college launched the two-day, introductory-level Medical Cannabis Fundamentals for Business Professionals course, the first of its kind to be offered by an Ontario college. Most recently, DC announced its Cannabis Industry Specialization program – a series of five short courses, primarily designed to provide professionals who are interested in moving into the industry with solid insights into this complex and rapidly-evolving area.

Working together, the consortium member institutions will leverage their wealth of resources – including subject matter expertise and industry connections – to influence and advance both education and research across Canada’s cannabis industry.

It is expected that the consortium will grow in size as more colleges enter the world of cannabis programming.


DC students create wayfinding tool for Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens

Durham College (DC), with TeachingCity Oshawa, is proud to announce the launch of new Augmented Reality (AR) technology to encourage the community to explore and learn about the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens.

The community can now use their smartphone cameras, to scan Quick Response (QR) codes placed on signage throughout the park to learn about the park, points of interest and utilize a navigation guide between landmarks.

 “The innovative experiential learning opportunities created through Durham College’s partnership with TeachingCity give students the chance to investigate and problem solve, strengthening the skills they learn in the classroom,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “This augmented reality wayfinding app is just one example of the incredible things that are possible when we leverage the talent of our students and faculty in partnership with and in support of our community.”

Students researched, designed and created the AR platform as part of a TeachingCity partnership with the City of Oshawa and the Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and School of Media, Art and Design. This was a pilot project that will be enhanced through future collaborations with DC students. The City and the College are also exploring the possibility of expanding the technology to include other City parks.


DC students and faculty travel to Guatemala to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

On Friday, October 4, students and faculty from Durham College’s (DC) School of Media, Art & Design will travel for ten days to rural regions of Guatemala as part of a new digital storytelling program, called Youth United 2030, contributing to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The program is being delivered in partnership with a Canadian charity, Students Offering Support (SOS), which has facilitated youth service-learning programs throughout Latin America since 2008.

With the support of faculty member, and former CBC journalist, Danielle Harder, students from DC’s Video Production and Journalism – Mass Media/Journalism programs are part of a faculty-led classroom abroad, where they will utilize the skills learned in their programs to deliver interactive training workshops for 35 low-income Guatemalan youth to learn about using digital storytelling techniques as a tool for change. In addition to delivering workshops participants have fundraised to donate iPads so youth participants from the host communities will have access to technology to put the training into action. A second cohort of DC students will be travelling to Guatemala in February, alongside Harder, to deliver follow-up training opportunities, and continue producing new media content, as part of the ongoing program.

Upon the students’ return from Guatemala, the students will turn their interviews and video footage into short documentaries offering cross-cultural perspectives on the SDGs.

“Youth United is all about reciprocal exchange. It empowers Durham College students to build their cross-cultural competencies alongside their technical skills, while experiencing how the knowledge they’re learning through their studies can make a difference on issues that matter,” said Harder. She and her students recently won an international PIEoneer Award for real-life learning for a film project in 2018 that engaged them in global issues through documenting a development program led by Canadian colleges in Kenya.

DC and SOS began working together after a connection was forged at a National conference co-organized by Academica and Academics Without Borders, called “Reaching Across Borders, Building a Better World”.  Lisa Shepard, DC’s dean of International Education, had this to say about the new program: “We believe in global competency as a critical 21st-century learning skill. Durham College supports education abroad initiatives such as faculty-led classrooms abroad, which provide opportunities for students to expand their learning beyond their traditional classrooms by taking part in an international learning experience. At Durham College we embed internalization in everything we do, both by bringing the world to DC, and by bringing DC to the world. Our students are so excited to meet their Guatemalan counterparts and have already learned so much”.

James Arron, executive director of SOS echoed the importance of the educational sector’s role in achieving the SDGs. “By linking together the needs of our Guatemalan partners and capacity of Durham College, we have been able to create a truly win-win solution for everyone involved. It’s a great example of how the post-secondary sector can be a leader in helping achieve the SDGs. Kudos to Durham College for stepping up as a pioneer in that movement.”


MBM students network and perform at Indie Week’s Student Sessions event

More than 30 students from Durham College’s (DC) Music Business Management (MBM) program enjoyed a valuable opportunity to mix and mingle with music industry representatives on September 19 during Indie Week’s Student Sessions: Round 5 event at The Paddock Tavern in Toronto, Ont.

As an event partner, DC’s MBM students were involved in assisting with the execution of the event, and also had the opportunity to learn and network during a curated industry panel on music licensing with Aideen O’Brien from Entertainment One and Jennifer Beavis from BMG Rights Management Inc. MBM graduate Kyle Merkley of Arpix Media moderated the discussion.

Afterwards, students participated in speed-mentoring sessions with O’Brien, Beavis, Merkley, Scott Taylor of Supergroup and Rich Brisson of Cadence Music Group. The sessions were followed by a line-up of live music, which featured a set from second-year MBM student Klinsvin Gilbert.

“This event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get their foot in the door of the industry before they graduate,” said Marni Thornton, professor and program co-ordinator of the MBM program at DC. “They are creating valuable connections and exploring some of the diverse types of jobs that exist within this field, while also gaining insight into music industry events.”

Student Sessions is a lead-up event to Indie Week, the premiere emerging artist festival taking place from November 13 to 17. For more information, please visit www.indieweek.com.


Durham College celebrates fall’s bounty with fifth-annual Harvest Dinner

On September 19, Durham College (DC) hosted its fifth-annual Harvest Dinner at the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF), celebrating impressive student talent and the bounty of the season with a seven-course meal under the stars.

Surrounded by the CFF’s planting fields and gardens, more than 130 community members enjoyed a seasonally-inspired menu featuring food cultivated from the CFF’s grounds, prepared and served by almost 200 students. Guests were also treated to beer samples created with Ontario hops from the college’s Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation, alongside other local libations.

Beginning with assorted appetizers including DC-made charcuterie and cheeses, the family-style meal boasted hearty dishes like Ontario beef strip loin with king oyster mushrooms and baked navy beans with Ontario pork bacon and duck confit. A shrimp cannelloni recipe designed by DC Culinary Management student Patrick Eckert for the 2019 Skills Ontario Competition was also featured on the menu. To top it off, a chocolate brownie, tarte tatin and pumpkin mousse were served for dessert.

The event was the culmination of countless hours spent preparing in CFF’s fields, labs and classrooms. It was a true team effort that saw Horticulture – Food and Farming and Horticulture Technician students cultivate and harvest the produce used in the meal, Culinary Management and Culinary Skills students prepare the dinner and students from the Special Events Management, Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations and Hospitality Skills programs serve guests.

“Every year, our Centre for Food students really shine at the annual Harvest Dinner, taking everything they’ve learned in the classroom and delivering an unforgettable experience for their guests,” said Tony Doyle, dean, CFF. “The amount of passion, dedication and hard work it takes to pull off an event like this is incredible, and I am always exceedingly proud of our students, faculty and CFF staff.’

For those who missed the Harvest Dinner, CFF fruits and vegetables, as well as other local ingredients are served at Bistro ’67, the college’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant that was recently named one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable. Fresh produce and student-prepared goods are also available at Pantry, the retail store within the CFF. For anyone looking to expand their own culinary skills, cooking classes and demonstrations are available through DC’s School of Continuing Education.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/cff.


Bistro ‘67 named one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in Canada

Durham College (DC) is proud to share that Bistro ‘67, the college’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, has been named one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in Canada for 2019. The accolade comes from OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations.

In July, OpenTable released its list of unique local restaurants that allow diners to take in the best views while they travel this summer, drawing upon more than 500,000 reviews from more than 3,000 restaurants. They then narrowed the field by looking at establishments that offer breathtaking views of nature, cityscapes or travel-worthy landmarks with top scores in overall diner rating, total number of reviews and overall regional rating.

Bistro ’67 was the only restaurant in Durham Region to make the list, and was one of 42 restaurants across Ontario to be selected. The resulting list highlights establishments that include everything from breathtaking mountain gorges to seaports off the east coast and everything in between, including DC’s field-to-fork-focused Bistro ‘67 – which boasts impressive views of the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food’s (CFF) agricultural planting fields and gardens.

Bistro ‘67 offers guests a memorable field-to-fork dining experience within DC’s multiple award-winning CFF where community, local agriculture and learning come together. Meals are prepared and served by skilled staff and students who create flavourful dishes inspired by fresh ingredients from the CFF’s own gardens and other local suppliers across Durham Region. A 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant, Bistro ‘67 also holds a Feast ON designation in recognition of its use of local food and beverage options. It is open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and Tuesday to Saturday for dinner.

To make a reservation, or learn more about Bistro ’67, please visit www.bistro67.ca.


From classroom to community – DC Social Service Worker student puts learning into action

“My student experience has just completely exploded into opportunity.”

Amanda Cowan, a second-year Social Service Worker (SSWK) student at Durham College (DC), can barely contain her excitement. She’s describing how she took her classroom learning into the community while participating in a recent “Day of Action” focused on developing solutions for local winter homelessness.

On June 21, Cowan joined a group of approximately 60 like-minded individuals from Durham Region service agencies, including the John Howard Society, the HOPE Coalition and other advocacy groups, and the greater unsheltered community for a brainstorming and planning session. The event was co-facilitated by Durham Mental Health Services, under the leadership of regional housing coordinator Doreen Hume McKenna, and hosted by the New Life Neighbourhood Centre in Oshawa.

The opportunity to take part and gain valuable real-world experience in her chosen field came to Cowan through an earlier event held as part of an ongoing partnership between the Regional Municipality of Durham, Social Services Department, and DC.

The two-day living lab, Co-production: Climbing the ladder of participation in public service delivery, focused on a new vision of public service, which involves an equal and reciprocal approach between service providers and people using public services. Funded by the DC International Research Fund, the event featured Dr. Stuart Muirhead, an international expert on co-production, from The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in Scotland.

“When my professor, Randy Uyenaka, put out the call for volunteers for the co-production event, I jumped at the opportunity,” recalls Cowan. “It sounded like a great opportunity to sit in a room with a bunch of people all thinking the same way about important issues.”

Her instincts paid off when being in the room for the co-production event and participating in a breakout session evolved into new opportunities. Along with eight other attendees, Cowan broke off from the co-production event to form a working group that would look at how the co-production model could be used to tackle homelessness in the region.

“The working group put out the invite to other community members and groups and the Day of Action on winter homelessness quickly started to take shape,” says Cowan. Participants were offered an honourarium and fed for the day, and together they generated an incredible amount of information.

“We identified problems first, then looked for solutions with an understanding that everything was on the table and there were no bad ideas.”

Cowan says the group is now moving into the action-potential stage.

“At the end of the day, there was the ability for people to continue to work towards the solutions that will affect them. Sign-up lists were circulated and people put their names down. Next, once they have their action articulated and approved, everyone will come back to unpack the solutions together. I’m helping to actually put co-production into action – while I’m still a student – by not doing to but doing with. We’re not downloading solutions to the unsheltered community, we’re creating solutions together.”

The project is particularly poignant for Cowan, who is bringing the lens of her own lived experience to bear on her studies as a mature student.

“I am so blessed and thankful to be a part of this fantastic project,” she shares. “These learning experiences are embodying all of the things I dreamed I’d be able to be involved in when I decided to go back to school. I see my work with the co-production model in particular to be the perfect pairing for my professional identity and my lived experience.  Through this project I’ve been able to sort out and fuse these two worlds. This was a special interest project for me and it has brought me more learning than I could ever have imagined.”

The success of the co-production event and its impact on students like Cowan are points of pride for Dr. Darren Levine as well. As the manager of Research and Innovation with the Regional Municipality of Durham, Dr. Levine recognizes the value of engaging the students who will form the next generation of social service workers and community leaders.

“The collaborative co-production project is one of many successful partnerships between our Innovation and Research Unit and Durham College’s Office of Research Services, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship [ORSIE],” says Levine. “Students were an integral part of the project, working not only to help coordinate the event, but also working in equal partnership with service providers, faculty, and community service providers throughout to co-create new insights and applications of co-production in social service delivery.”

The co-production event also reinforced the value and impact of participating in applied research for DC students.

“Students thrive when they are given an opportunity to learn through experience and contribute solutions to real-world problems in collaboration with community partners,” says ORSIE dean Debbie McKee Demczyk. “The skills and approaches students learn through applied research are ones that they can continue to draw on throughout their careers.”

For Cowan, participating in both co-production events has had a dramatic impact on her career outlook.

“The energy and focus in those rooms were kind of magical,” she says. “Participating in these events has really opened up my professional world. It’s expanded my view of the kind of work I’m interested in pursuing and helped me develop a huge professional network very quickly.”

It’s this connection between classroom and community that means the most to Cowan as she continues moving towards her career goals.


DC to launch new Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science

Durham College (DC) has received consent from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to offer a new Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science (BBS). Based at the college’s Oshawa campus and beginning in September 2020, the Honours BBS will be DC’s second degree program following the successful launch of the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management in 2018.

“Ontario is seeing an increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children and youth, dementia in seniors, as well as individuals with addictions and acquired brain injuries,” said Dr. Judeline Innocent, executive dean of DC’s School of Health & Community Services (HCS). “As agencies and long-term care facilities prepare for the increasing numbers in these client populations, the need for more qualified professionals in the areas of health, community and social services will also increase. With the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science, our graduates will be ready to not only meet this need but become leaders in these fields as well.”

Offering a comprehensive mix of courses which balance theory and practice, the Honours BBS program of study will focus on six themes:

  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Populations
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
  • Research Methods and Design
  • Ethics and Professionalism

Students will complete a final thesis project and gain vital work experience in a professional setting through a 420-hour supervised field placement completed between the seventh and eighth semesters. Graduates will be prepared to work with individuals of all ages within a variety of health and community settings, helping people with addictions and mental health challenges, acquired brain injuries, dementia and pervasive developmental disabilities, including ASD.

“The Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science is another example of Durham College delivering innovative programs in direct response to an identified need,” said DC president Don Lovisa. “It also demonstrates the value of the college maintaining close ties with industry and community partners.”

Under the leadership of the college’s HCS administration and faculty, the Honours BBS program was developed with guidance from psychologists, community and social service agencies, municipal services representatives, mental health workers and psychogeriatric services.

“The Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Science will provide graduates with professional competencies that link the scientific, clinical, communication and ethical aspects of behavioural science,” said program coordinator Mary Helen Leddy. “This will ensure our graduates develop a breadth of knowledge, skills and judgement to increase their opportunities both in terms of employment and future studies.”

As part of the program’s development, DC has articulated diploma-to-degree transfer pathways for graduates in three of the college’s existing programs: Child and Youth Care, Developmental Services Worker and Social Service Worker. These pathways provide eligible graduates from each of the identified diploma programs advanced standing in the Honours BBS program of study, affording an opportunity for them to complete the degree in a reduced amount of time or at a reduced course load.


DC students go from touring to building the new Whitby campus residence

What began as an opportunity to see a building site up close, quickly evolved into summer employment for four students in Durham College’s Building Construction Technician program.

One moment they were touring the site of DC’s new residence with 31 of their fellow classmates and now they are helping to build it – doubling down on the already enriching experiential learning opportunity the site visit offered.

Many of the first and second-year students in the program had never been on a job site, let alone a multi-level build like the Whitby campus residence. From seeing the foundations and framing that form the structure of the residence, to identifying the related components and how they interact to prevent moisture and air infiltration and provide structural integrity and fire-resistance properties, the students were able to see the pages of their text books come to life in a real, concrete way.

It was during the tour that Pannonia Construction, the contractor building the residence, approached DC professor Al Martin about hiring summer students to work onsite. Information about the job opportunity was shared amongst the first and second-year students. Four were successful and are taking their skills from the classroom to the jobsite, honing their knowledge and building their resumes.

The Whitby residence will be open to students in September 2019.