By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
A new program set to get underway this fall will see some serious enhancements to the way staff, professors and students at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology work together.
The Innovative Initiatives Fund, announced earlier this month by the two post-secondary institutions, will set aside a chunk of cash to be doled out for collaborative projects brought forward by anyone within either of the two institutions. The caveat to receiving those funds, however, is that they need to work with a counterpart at the other institution to make the project a reality.
For Don Lovisa, Durham College’s president, he believes there are many good ideas floating around the institution for ways to improve – it is simply a matter of providing the outlet.
“There’s always places to improve and other places to look,” he says.
“There’s always great ideas from the grassroots up, so we’re hoping this is going to bring some of those ideas to the forefront.”
A budget of $300,000 has been set aside for the fund, the dollars being split down the middle between the two schools. Currently, a taskforce is working out the criteria and application process for pitches so that they can start flowing in as early as September.
Lovisa says the projects could be anything from professors looking to work together or even administration or maintenance staff looking to share a better method or idea to improve their job.
“There’s nothing that we’re looking for in particular, we’re just looking for some ideas and it could be academic, it could be research, it could be operational,” he says.
“There is so many ways we can work together.”
And working together is nothing new for UOIT and Durham College, which along with sharing a campus in the city’s north end, also have a single student association for both institutions, work to share academic facilities and have numerous programs that make it easy for students to benefit from both schools.
“People know each other and they know how to work with each other,” says Tim McTiernan, UOIT’s president, noting that there is a large number of employees who have spent large portions of their careers on campus.
“They’ve been around long enough to have probably their own sense of, ‘You know, if we did this different, it would work a whole lot better.’”