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Okanagan College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) are opening the doors for students to complete JIBC’s Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies degree program at the College’s Penticton campus.
Beginning in September of 2016, Okanagan College graduates of the Criminal and Social Justice Diploma (CSJ) will have a privileged opportunity to complete this degree. JIBC guarantees 24 seats to CSJ students who meet the academic standards set out by OC and JIBC. Other seats will be available to all students who meet the admission requirements and who have ambition for a career in law enforcement.
The agreement between the two institutions was announced today in Penticton.
“Providing the next generation of public safety professionals with the applied skills and experience to excel in their career is the purpose of the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies program,” said Mike Trump, Dean of JIBC's School of Criminal Justice and Security. “We value our partnership with Okanagan College to expand regional access to this applied degree program, which is the first of its kind in Western Canada.”
“Leadership, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making are just some of the skills students will gain in completing the degree,” said Shaun Machesney, Coordinator of the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies program. “These skills, and completion of a relevant degree, will provide a competitive edge for graduates pursuing a rewarding career in law enforcement and a wide range of other public safety professions.”
“We have been working collaboratively for some time and are excited to announce this partnership today,” explains Dr. Robert Huxtable, Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs at Okanagan College. “The opportunities for all of our students, and for the students of the Criminal and Social Justice program in particular, are very significant. The CSJ Diploma was introduced in 2006, and it has been one of the strongest academic programs we have in the South Okanagan. Coming on the 10th anniversary of the program’s first intake, this new option for graduates of the diploma program to continue their studies locally will only strengthen our program and enhance connections to the law enforcement and justice communities.”
Approximately 100 students are registered in the first year of OC’s CSJ program this fall. About 32 graduated the program this past spring. This fall the College has the largest second-year class of approximately 50 students.
“We will be letting all our previous graduates know about the opportunity over the coming months,” notes Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan Similkameen. “I expect that some of them may be interested in registering and I know having this transition option will probably also help encourage more students to enrol here.”
“This option also means that students have an opportunity to complete a degree in their home region. Many students will be able to save on transportation and housing costs.”
The news of the programming partnership excites second-year Okanagan College student Randy Forster, who has pursued his diploma in Criminal and Social Justice with an eye to a policing career. “This has my attention. I wasn’t excited about having to go to Vancouver to finish a degree if I need to. I’m not big on big cities for learning.”
The degree will initially be conferred by JIBC but the two institutions have agreed to work toward a co-conferred degree.
News of the inter-institutional agreement arrives as construction continues on the 378-cell, $200-million Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver, B.C., about 39 kilometres south of Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. It is expected to open its doors in 2016.
JIBC is Canada’s leading public safety educator developing dynamic justice and public safety professionals through its exceptional applied education, training and research.
Okanagan College is the largest college in B.C.’s interior, educating almost 20,000 people annually at its four campuses and 10 other locations.
Two homes will be built as part of a three-year sustainability research project
A local developer, a homebuilder, the University of British Columbia and Okanagan College are collaborating to see how sustainable building technologies can be used to reduce the energy used in new homes in the Interior.
The Wilden Living Lab initiative will see two homes built in Kelowna’s Wilden subdivision on lots made available by the Blenk Development Corporation. One home will be built to current building code standards. The other will incorporate additional sustainable building technologies.
Local builder AuthenTech Homes will identify the additional technologies and undertake construction in cooperation with Okanagan College’s Construction Management Program. Researchers from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering will then monitor and compare the energy use of both homes over the next three years and report their findings.
The result - real world data that shows prospective homebuilders and homebuyers what can be built in the Okanagan.
Blenk Development Director Karin Eger-Blenk says her company has long had an interest in sustainability. With geothermal heating and cooling already available in Wilden, her company is interested in seeing what else can be added into the mix.
“To make sustainable building practices and increased energy efficiency the norm, we need partners and suppliers who can help make new technologies affordable, even for first-time homebuyers,” says Eger-Blenk. “With the support of the Living Lab, we would like to speed up the progress we’ve already made in our initiative and get closer to a cleaner future.”
In addition to making two building lots available for the project, Eger-Blenk’s company is also providing support for the home planning and building as well as $62,850 to the Living Lab’s research fund.
Working alongside the tradespeople at AuthenTech Homes is a great way to help educate the homebuilders of tomorrow, says Andrew Hay, vice-president of Education at Okanagan College. Students at the college have lent their skills to nearly 50 projects in the Okanagan since 2004.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to apply green building principles, technology, and techniques at the forefront of sustainable construction today,” says Hay. “We are very excited about the opportunities for our students to be engaged in applied research and construction, as they will gain truly useful insights into how to minimize environmental impacts and maximize energy efficiency before and after construction.”
The Living Lab is not a new concept at UBC. The university continually seeks partnerships in its applied research efforts. “One of the unique things about UBCO is the degree to which it has partnered with community and industry stakeholders,” says UBCO’s Vice-President of Research Phil Barker. “We are grateful that companies continue to step forward to partner with us and take advantage of the intellectual power available here. We are keen to build on our community engagement and leverage the research being conducted here.”
There are opportunities for more industry partners to participate in the project as the Living Lab will is looking for sustainable products, materials and services to incorporate in construction. Prospective partners can learn more by attending an industry open house being hosted by the Canadian Homebuilders Association on Thursday, September 10 at 132 Skycourt from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Okanagan College Media Release
In an era of smartphones, tablets and mobile computing, applications – apps to most of us - are at the core of making it all happen, but the industry that produces them requires talented and trained developers to turn ideas into on-screen reality.
In response to the exponential growth in app popularity and sector demand, Okanagan College and Accelerate Okanagan have partnered to offer a new Mobile Coding for Android and iOS program starting this fall.
"Accelerate Okanagan received valuable feedback from industry that iOS and Android are the languages most in demand for programming training needs," says Pilar Portela, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. "The format of this specialized training is key to developing local talent which will assist in connecting companies with highly skilled workers."
With room for 16 students, the program is currently accepting applications for an October intake. Four months of part-time classes on evenings and Saturdays will be followed by a five-week practicum with one of the region’s tech companies that Accelerate Okanagan will help students connect with.
"This program answers the expressed needs of the region’s technology sector," says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. "With financial support from the province, we’ve developed a curriculum that will enable students to advance in their careers, and give them the job skills training necessary to excel in the field of app development."
Geared towards individuals currently working in coding, the class schedule will allow them to remain in the workforce.
Students will learn how to create an app for Android and iOS systems that includes responsive and functional technology that can be converted from one platform to another, meaning it is adaptable to be functional on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer on multiple operating systems.
The program took shape following a funding announcement made in April by the B.C. Government in support of the regional tech economy. During a press conference in Kelowna, Premier Christy Clark announced $250,000 to be provided to five post-secondary institutions to advance coding skills among the tech sector workforce. Okanagan College received $50,000. Working with Accelerate Okanagan and in consultation with tech leaders, the College has developed this program.
Program admission prerequisite criteria include applicants having some programming experience, a demonstrated foundation in object-oriented programming, a clear understanding of databases (such a MySQL) and libraries, and an established aptitude for math.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to pitch their app idea to Accelerate Okanagan for a chance to earn a scholarship that will help the individual build a business around the app in order get it ready for market.
"We are proud to partner with Okanagan College for this innovative new program that will give young talent the opportunity to excel in the tech industry that is quickly becoming the backbone of our region," says Portela.
For more information and to apply to the program, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/coding.
Smoky skies caused by fires south of the border are affecting much more than visibility, breathing and our appreciation of the region’s scenery: one of the impacts many people may not think about is on solar power arrays.
An example is Okanagan College’s photovoltaic solar array at its Kelowna campus.
A review of data from an online monitoring website http://ow.ly/RlzcY (created by SkyFireEnergy, which installed the array for Okanagan College), shows a dramatic reduction in power output between Saturday, Aug. 22 – the last relatively clear day – and the last three days.
On Saturday, Aug. 22 the solar array on the top of the canopy over the outdoor heavy equipment yard at the Kelowna campus produced 1,103 kilowatt-hours of energy. On Sunday – when the smoke from fires south of the border moved in and occluded the skies – the array produced just 462 kilowatt-hours, a reduction of more than 58 per cent. When the smoke lightened a bit Monday, the array was able to produce 715 kilowatt-hours. Tuesday’s skies blotted the sun as well – the array was able to produce 692 kilowatt-hours, a reduction of 37 per cent from Saturday’s output.
The array on top of the canopy includes 793 solar photovoltaic module panels. The outdoor shop covered by the canopy was built as part of the Trades Training Complex renovation and expansion project currently underway along KLO Road.
The 194 kW electrical solar photovoltaic array system is among the largest in the province, only slightly smaller than the 258 kW system built on top of the LEED Platinum certified Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus.
Since being fully commissioned in June, the photovoltaic array on the Kelowna campus has saved about 72 megawatt hours of energy. That’s equal to the amount of energy required to run about 604 computers for a year, or the equivalent of about one-quarter of the energy required to operate the College’s 142-bed Skaha Residence annually.
The array is part of the College’s larger sustainability plan that includes seeking LEED certification for its buildings and striving for the esteemed Living Building Challenge standards. Achieving energy net zero will require the College to produce as much energy as is consumed; the College is targeting to reduce its net carbon emissions by 80 tons per year, and is already well underway. From 2007 to 2013 the College successfully reduced its energy consumption per square metre by 32.2 per cent.
Technology and connectivity in the classroom are remarkably changing methods of teaching and learning, leading education institutions to adapt to new models in order to stay ahead of the curve.
On Sept. 25 and 26 Okanagan College will host a new conference titled Tiltshift – an acronym for “technology in learning and teaching”– that will explore technology tools and innovative ideas to help the education community acclimate to new teaching platforms.
“From Skype to web-based software, video production and iPads, understanding how students use technology and how to maximize this knowledge to benefit their learning is imperative for the advancement of education and career preparation,” says Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Teaching at Okanagan College. “Our aim with the conference is to broaden the perspective on where educational technology is heading.”
The conference will provide alternative perspectives for education, and the practical uses of technology in classrooms and course curriculum design. The interactive and demonstrative sessions will explore online learning, new tools and resources available, and technology leadership.
Leaders and innovators from the Okanagan’s thriving technology, business, and education community, and the general public, are invited to join in this exciting dialogue by registering to attend the Tiltshift Education Technology conference. Online registration is open at www.okanagan.bc.ca/tiltshift. A $50 conference fee applies.
Held at the College’s Kelowna campus, Tiltshift will kick-off the evening of Sept. 25 with a keynote address by Mount Royal University Associate Professor Dr. Norm Vaughan. A published author, he has expertise in blended learning solutions (the combination of online and in-class courses) and faculty development.
The conference will continue with a full day of breakout sessions and presentations on Saturday Sept. 26. The day also includes a second keynote address by Penticton speaker and author Nikos Theodosakis who is the founder of the OliveUs Education Society and the architect of the Instill Life: Preserving Your Culture programs. He is an advocate for shaping education experiences that are personal, relevant and meaningful.
“We’ve seen technology provide tremendous benefits to our students, resulting in accessible education that circumvents barriers to learning, including time, geography and finances,” says Laura Eagen, Director of IT Services at Okanagan College.
Eagen points to the example of an open online Applied Sustainability course the College previously offered. Technology made the online course possible; more than 100 students from communities across the province, country, and abroad participated, including individuals in remote regions who would have faced a geographical and time barrier otherwise to attend. The six-week course also highlighted how technology inspired shifted views on assessment. Using a gamification model, students strived to achieve different levels to advance to new content much like what you would experience in a video game.
“The speed at which technology is advancing may mean some educators don’t necessarily know which resources are now available to them, or the effective uses for them,” says Eagen. “We wanted to offer a forum to allow experts in the community, and educators, to engage in conversations about how to advance the learning environments we provide, ultimately benefitting students, and the future workforce.”
For additional information including details of the session topics, please visit the Tiltshift website: www.okanagan.bc.ca/tiltshift.
Christine Liefke gave birth to her fourth child two months before her eldest sister was in a serious car crash.
The two events marked a turning point in her life. The stay-at-home mother of 10 years had recently divorced and was working at a home-based business.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something with my life that means something,’” Liefke says. “I wanted to make a difference.”
She attended an information session for Okanagan College’s Education Assistant (EA) program, which prepares graduates to work in the classroom with children with special needs including physical challenges or those on the autism spectrum. Liefke applied to the program, graduated nine months later in 2011 and found work at School District No. 22 in Vernon.
“I love my job. Some days I cannot believe I get paid to do it,” she says.
Liefke has opted to take casual positions to give herself flexibility as a working mother.
“I found it easy to find employment,” she says. “I got in right away.”
School District No. 22 and Okanagan College work in partnership to offer the Education Assistant certificate, and the School District invites graduates to submit applications. Those interested in finding out more about becoming an Education Assistant are invited to an information night at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus on August 20 at 6 p.m.
“The College prepares EAs well in understanding and working with children with special needs,” says Monica Lloyd, the School District’s director of instruction for Student Support Services. “Successful students will be given an opportunity for an interview and selection to the casual list.”
Education Assistant graduates have also found employment as special needs workers and are eligible to apply for their Early Childhood Educator Assistant license. Lloyd says students graduate with a basic understanding of developmental challenges, how to build a positive relationship with children and the importance of relationship first, social development, and ways of working with youth for better academic success.
Colline Johnson, vice principal of Okanagan Landing Elementary school, says Education Assistants are the people who allow teachers to focus on teaching and remove barriers for students.
“They can change a student’s life,” Johnson says.
Liefke says she valued the program’s 120-hour practicum, during which time students are placed in a classroom to practice their skills.
“It showed you if you really wanted to do it or not,” she says.
Since graduating, Liefke has developed a network of colleagues, and given herself a sense of purpose.
“Every day, I’m still learning,” she says. "You just feel so good knowing you have helped someone."
What: Education Assistant Information Night
When: Aug. 20, 6 - 7 p.m.
Where: Okanagan College, Vernon Campus, Room E103