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DC students test their skills and collaborate in emergency simulation

On February 29, 195 Durham College (DC) students, faculty and industry partners collaborated on an intense, large-scale emergency simulation exercise at the Oshawa campus that let students put their classroom and lab training into action.

Bringing together participants from the schools of Justice & Emergency Services, Health & Community Services and Media, Art & Design, as well as peers from Ontario Tech University’s nursing program, the exercise followed a detailed script that saw volunteers simulate a mass-casualty emergency stemming from a sports-racing situation.

Unfolding in real-time, the exercise provided students with valuable experiential learning as well as a better understanding of how members of emergency services, health and social services, legal services and the media work together during an emergency. A second simulation exercise focused on mock legal proceedings in connection with the emergency will be held Saturday, March 7.

Students from the following DC programs participated:


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.


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.


DC recognizes more than 200 students at Centre for Success completion ceremony

Hundreds of proud family members and friends celebrated the accomplishments of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) students during their program completion ceremony at the Oshawa campus on June 20. The CFS is a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI) and is funded by the Ministry of Education, allowing 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.

Now in its twelfth 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.

The program is designed to enable on-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements but in a college setting, offering them access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to earn at least one and potentially more college credits towards their post-secondary education or apprenticeship training at most of the 24 colleges in Ontario This year, 94 per cent of participants successfully completed the program, which exceeds the provincial average of approximately 83 per cent at other dual credit college programs in Ontario.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage and tenacity to come to a new school and leave behind what is familiar to try something different,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “A lot of our students, due to their circumstances, never had the opportunity to dream. Completing their high school classes on a college campus where they are treated like adults gives them a sense of freedom that they didn’t feel like they had before. That, paired with the opportunity to earn a college credit really motivates them to think positively about their future and what they can achieve.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony was DC vice-president, Academic, Dr. Elaine Popp, who was joined by school board representatives and Ministry of Education dignitaries to show their support for the more than 200 secondary school and adult dual-credit students.

The 2018-2019 school year is the first that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students in September.


‘Awesome’ program allows students to complete high school and earn college credits

Graduates of the Centre for Success (CFS) program thanked their teachers and the Durham College (DC) environment for enabling them to continue completion of their secondary school educations.

“It was an awesome environment. Teachers made changes to how we could approach our studies compared to high school,” said Tyler Ahrens, of Courtice, who received his certificate at the Completion Ceremony in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, on Thursday, January 19.

The CFS program is hosted on campus through the School College Work Initiative (SCWI), which is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The program is designed to enable in-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements in a college setting, with high school teachers instructing them on campus. The program offers the students access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to earn at least one, and potentially more, college credits toward their post-secondary education at Durham College.

Erick Joyner, of Pickering, said in his valedictory speech before about 170 CFS graduates, and their families, that the teachers made students feel respected. “They treated us like adults and made sure we completed our studies.”

He said the individualized approach of the teachers “made a difference” for him and the other graduates from four area school boards.

Graduates of the CFS program also frequently continue their studies into post-secondary education. Joyner said he is entering DC’s Paralegal program.

DC President Don Lovisa, Robert Wager, manager, SCWI and Academic Upgrading, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Heather Hamilton, from the Ministry of Education, congratulated the students on their hard work and success.

In addition to the DC employees, the students were joined by their families, professors, representatives from the ministry and the partnering district school boards (DSBs): Durham DSB; Durham Catholic DSB; Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB; and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic DSB.