Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Durham College employees can provide direct feedback through an annual Retreat with the President, providing opportunities for employees to share ideas on how to improve the campus and college experience for employees and students alike
- Durham College encourages employees to lead active, healthy lives and provides subsidized access to its Recreation and Wellness Centre, which features 5 gymnasiums and a 10,000 square foot "FLEX" fitness centre -- the College also offers massage therapy, acupuncture and nutritionist services through its Campus Health Centre, healthy grab-and-go options, and a smoothie juice bar at the cafeteria
- In an effort to improve the diversity of its students and employees, Durham College maintains a diversity working group to help develop and implement related strategies and initiatives
At Durham College, top leaders ask staff for advice
Brandon Carson enrolled at Durham College in Oshawa in 2005 to study web development and he never left. A six-week student placement in the college's Communications and Marketing department led to a one-year contract, and by then he knew he'd found a professional home.
"After the fourth week of the six-week placement I said, I love this place," recalls Carson. "After working for the college for a year, I said I really want to work here full-time."
And that's just what he's done. Carson bought a home across the street from the college. He worked as a contract employee for four years before landing a permanent position. Currently, he is a Learning Technologist in the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment -- a role that allows him to apply what he learned as a student. Among other things, he works with faculty in various disciplines and teaches them how to use digital technology for course creation.
He has enjoyed other opportunities as well. Carson teaches digital technology-related courses part-time. He has served on committees as a member and co-chair. He is currently working on a bachelor's degree in adult education and digital technology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the college covers half his tuition. Once he's completed that degree, he plans to pursue a master's.
Tuition subsidies are available to all full-time employees and that includes faculty, administrative staff and support staff, says Sandra Bennett, the college's Associate Vice-President, Human Resources. Durham College also offers a number of other opportunities for professional growth and development.
Employees can enroll in one of several leadership development programs offered by outside organizations. Many employees pursue opportunities within and outside of their employee group. Examples include support staff who move into other roles that align with their career goals, including teaching, administrative staff who move into senior leadership roles, and faculty who are seconded to administrative positions.
The college's leadership team also encourages dialogue with employees through several channels, notably twice-yearly, day-long retreats that occur off campus. "It's an opportunity for a small group of employees to meet with the president and the leadership team, including the chief administrative officer and the vice-presidents of academics and student affairs," says Bennett. "Employees are encouraged to be open about what is good or not so good about Durham College and to contribute ideas they have for doing things differently."
Durham College takes a pro-active approach to employee health and wellness. Employees can take advantage of subsidized access to the college's Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, which includes five gymnasiums, an indoor running and walking track as well as a 10,000-square-foot fitness centre equipped with weights, treadmills and state-of-the-art exercise machines.
Two years ago, the college launched an Employee Wellness Release Time initiative in which staff can take an extra half hour at lunch three times a week in order to work out. "People have said that half hour makes such a difference," Bennett says. "They say, 'I feel like I'm a better employee and a better parent because I'm getting personal time, but not at the expense of my family'."
The college has several important programs to ensure that the campus is an open and welcoming environment for students, staff and faculty. The Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions develops initiatives to support all members of the campus community, including marginalized minority groups, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community. More recently, the college has set up a committee to lead initiatives to uphold recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 20, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2017):
- Durham College is an early signatory to the Pan Canadian Protocol for Sustainability, an initiative of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges that encourages all colleges and institutions to formalize their sustainability initiatives
- Durham College's building footprint includes a number of green features such as a 350-panel photovoltaic rooftop solar array, white roofs, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and a centralized building automation system that monitors multiple campus buildings -- the College also partnered with Durham's Strategic Energy Alliance to test multiple electric vehicle charging stations throughout the region, including two on-campus charging stations
- Durham College employees, students and faculty are encouraged to help champion sustainability on the campus (and elsewhere) through the Sustainability Office and the formal "Living Green" initiative -- students may volunteer with their own Green Team while employees and faculty can participate in the Sustainability Office and the new Staff Ambassador Program