Durham college lends a helping hand to the international community

Educational projects in Tanzania and Mozambique in Africa are areas of interest for the college in the future.

Faculty members at Durham College don’t just use their skills in the classrooms of the college but in fact around the world.

The college has four institutional partnerships with other colleges abroad, two in Peru, one in Guyana and another in Vietnam, according to Katie Boone, international project specialist at Durham College.

These projects are in place to aid the development of the colleges, to help them with the curriculum development process and teacher training.

All of the projects focus on specific areas for the different colleges.

In Peru, Durham faculty aid with culinary expertise (in partnership with Centennial College). In Vietnam the faculty help with post-harvest production and in Guyana with automotive electronics.

An aim for the future is to create a way where more students can help and to increase the regularity of these international exchanges, Boone said.

“Every project is different in how we can engage students, there are opportunities for students and it is something we are working on to have more students help in the future,” Boone said.

Boone added, that the international colleges on occasion come to Durham to learn the specific skills needed to further their educational resources as well.

The work is contracted through the government of Canada, and then Durham College bids on a proposed project that they want to work on. This is dependent on when the projects are released and what country they are released in.

The college is always looking for new projects and they also have partnerships with other institutions abroad, particularly in India, said Boone.

One area they are keen to get exposure in is Africa. Educational projects in Tanzania and Mozambique are areas the college is keeping an eye on, Boone added.

Currently, however, the projects are not mature enough in their lifespan to incorporate a large volume of students.

Boone says it is crucial for the college to have these projects because we work in a global society, and that faculty needs to be well-versed in bringing education to an international classroom.

“If our community and students don’t reflect what being international is, then we are a bit behind the times,” Boone said.

The projects help the college build up an international profile and reputation, by allowing the college to provide extended development opportunities for faculty to implement their skills around the world.

Durham’s President, Don Lovisa, and vice-president, academic, Elaine Popp, both support the work being done and push the projects to increase Durham College’s international exposure, said Boone.