New funding to help develop students’ coding skills

Coding photoOkanagan College was one of five post-secondary institutions to receive $50,000 in one-time funding from the B.C. government to develop coding-related skills to support the province’s growing tech sector.

President Jim Hamilton was joined by Premier Christy Clark, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson and game development tech company Hyper Hippo CEO Lance Priebe for the April 28 announcement, made at the Hyper Hippo offices in Kelowna.

“The tech sector has sent a loud and clear message that there are job opportunities locally, nationally and internationally,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “With the right training, hands-on experience, and industry contacts, thriving careers are easily within grasp for students from Okanagan College.”

Joining Okanagan College in piloting this project, are four additional public post-secondary institutions: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.

“The tech sector told us of their talent shortage – and our government has listened,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “This pilot will use post-secondary training funds to support job creation and growth as we grow our diverse, modern economy.”

Okanagan College one of 20 institutions
receiving $50,000 each

On May 4, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, alongside the Ministry of Advanced Education announced more than $1.2 million in funding to be distributed across 20 public post-secondary institutions, including Okanagan College, to develop training and resources that support British Columbians with disabilities in securing employment.

Okanagan College received $50,000. The Ministry of Advanced Education noted successful examples of last year’s 2014-2015 funding projects for accessibility programming that included Okanagan College’s gateway program for high school students with multiple barriers who wish to enrol in a dual-credit program to complete foundation studies.

Recently, the College’s Disability Services team was renamed to Accessibility Services to be better aligned with the goals of the department to provide equal access to education opportunities for students with disabilities. For more information on services provided by Accessibility Services at the College, please visit the webpage

College apprentices shine at Skills BC competition

Skills BC photoStrong finishes were once again in order as Okanagan College students claimed half a dozen medals at the annual Skills BC provincial competition held in Abbotsford in April. Each year the event provides an excellent learning experience for apprentices to test their skills and apply materials learned in their programs.

The College’s Nathan Schulte took gold in Plumbing and Ethan Delichte also won gold in Automotive Service Tech. Both students are advancing to the National competitions taking place in Saskatoon this month. For Schulte, it’s particularly exciting, as this gives him a chance to return to his hometown and have his parents watch him compete.

Okanagan College 2015 medalists also include: Daniel Forbes in Automotive Collision Repair (silver), Samantha Wardrop, Aerospace Technology (bronze), Maxwell Anderson in Automotive Service Tech (bronze), and Nathan Barg in Cabinetmaking (bronze).

Read the press release here to find out how Schulte earned the title of best plumber apprentice in B.C.

Saying thank you to the donors
who have an incredible impact on students’ lives

Donor event 2Celebrating those in the community who have contributed generously to the advancement of Okanagan College, the 2015 Kelowna Donor Recognition Ceremony held on April 29 saw more than 150 donors, volunteers and friends of Okanagan College gathered in the Centre for Learning Atrium. Guests enjoyed an evening of inspired food and wine pairings by Okanagan College's own Culinary and Pastry Arts students and instructors.

Donor event2Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton spoke about the incredible impact that donors have on Okanagan College’s mission to transform lives and communities. Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler and Raghwa Gopal, Vice-President At Large for the Foundation, shared highlights of donor support over the past year, including over $600,000 in scholarships and bursaries disbursed. To cap off the evening, donor David Perron gave an inspiring speech about why he has chosen to invest in the futures of students at Okanagan College and what makes this giving so rewarding.

To see photos of the event, visit the Okanagan College Foundation’s Facebook page.

Business course paints a picture of co-operation
between students and service agencies

Vernon Downtown AssociationOpportunities for more public art displays in downtown Vernon will be considered as a result of Okanagan College student Kaitlyn Kendall’s class project for her Social Entrepreneurship course, taught by Dr. Kyleen Myrah. Combining learning and real-world needs Kendall provided the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) with a much-needed Public Art Plan for the city’s core.

The course, part of the College’s renowned Bachelor of Business Administration program, allows students to contribute to the communities in which they live and provides real-world experience.

Hailey Rilkoff, the DVA’s Events and Promotions Co-ordinator, shared that the report Kendall prepared for the DVA will be valuable when new public art projects arise and will guide them in partnering with other community groups. The DVA is reviewing Kendall’s recommendations for implementation.

Read the press release here and visit the Business program’s webpages for more information on course offerings. 


Upcoming College awards honour employees
for their outstanding contributions

On Wednesday May 13, Okanagan College will recognize the achievements and outstanding contribution of 22 colleagues and two employee teams nominated for the fourth annual Employee Excellence Awards. The ceremony will take place at the Kelowna campus in the Centre for Learning – Atrium, starting at 2:45 p.m.

Employees from all four campuses are invited to the celebration. These awards are an opportunity for employees to socialize and show support for their peers who have displayed, among other distinguishing factors, strong leadership, innovation and/or teaching excellence to the College community.

Milestone achievements accomplished by faculty and staff over the past year will also be recognized at the event. Employees can still submit a milestone recognition form (deadline is midnight on May 8).

For a full list of nominees, please login to College Matters.

25th year of math contest marks
College Professor’s retirement

Math ContestIn a game of numbers, 25 holds particular significance for Okanagan College Math Professor Dr. Clint Lee. On May 1, Okanagan College hosted the 25th anniversary of the British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC), which was founded and chaired by Lee since its inception in 1990. This year also signifies the culmination of Lee’s impeccable 25-year career teaching at the College, as he announced his retirement.

Last year, Lee chose to hold off on retiring for one more year so that he could see the contest through to its milestone.  Lee’s commitment to the math discipline and this contest stemmed from his desire to generate conversations about math, inspire young students, and provide a recognition opportunity for their achievements.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton commended Lee for his dedication, passion, and determination each year to coordinate this event, and going above and beyond his teaching commitments at the College.

This year saw nearly 90 students from 15 high schools in the region participate. Grade 12 student Seongjae (Steve) Yoon from Vernon’s Clarence Fulton Secondary School was awarded the top Senior division prize of a one-semester tuition scholarship to his choice of Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan (co-sponsor of the contest), to a maximum value of $3,000.

Okanagan College Mathematics Professors Leslie Shayer and Satoshi Tomoda will be stepping into the role of contest coordinators for 2016.

Follow this link to read the press release.

Graduating student’s invention hits the ground running

TAD photoAn Okanagan College student’s ingenuity has the potential to provide running parents with a better experience as they push their children’s strollers or wheelchairs while jogging.

An avid runner herself, Therapist Assistant diploma program student Melissa Lang designed the Better Push Adapted Handles as her capstone graduating project. Lang built the prototype using a recycled elliptical machine. The attachable arms easily lock onto any stroller or wheelchair without changing their structure. Runners are able to push while keeping natural swinging arm-motions that reduces the risk of injury by keeping the body moving fluidly.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Therapist Assistant diploma program. The two-year nationally accredited program uniquely offers assistant-level training in all three disciplines: physiotherapy, recreational, and occupational therapy.

A special 25th anniversary video was created to celebrate the program’s milestone.  Since its launch in 1990 (then known as the Rehabilitation Assistant Certificate Program), the program has conferred credentials to 551 graduates. Celebrations marking the silver anniversary, and recognizing 25 years of graduates like Lang, will be held throughout the coming year, including an alumni reunion in the fall.

To read the press release, click here.

Salmon Arm Rotary Club’s Career Mentoring Medley inspires young students

Rotary Club mentorshipMore than 100 Grade 10, 11 and 12 students received a great deal of career advice and encouragement from members of Salmon Arm’s Rotary Clubs and their community partners at a career mentoring day held on April 23 at the Salmon Arm campus.
Inspired by a similar event regularly held by the Okanagan College Alumni Association in Kelowna, representatives from a wide variety of career areas answered student questions in informal and unstructured conversations. For students and mentors alike, it was a fast-paced and engaging way to share and learn about a variety of careers, their challenges and rewards, and the qualifications needed.
In addition to Okanagan College, community partners who worked in collaboration with the Rotary Clubs were the North Okanagan Shuswap School District and WorkBC. The event saw many Rotary volunteers pitch in to make the event a success, and Salmon Arm campus staff Margaret Scharf and Leslie Bogula also played key roles. Discussions about making this an annual event have already begun.

One year of ‘likes’ in sharing Kelowna’s storied past through photos

Odl Kelowna IOCWith a little help from modern technology, Okanagan College English Professor Dr. Shona Harrison has given Kelowna’s rich history a collective voice. In late April, the Old Kelowna Facebook page created by Harrison celebrated its one-year anniversary and more than 8,400 followers.

Harrison was inspired after she posted a photo on her personal page of her grandmother in front of the Train Station in the 1920s, which today operates as a popular pub. The overwhelming response from friends intrigued Harrison about the community’s appetite for cherishing the past.

Applying her arts education, Harrison has credited her scholarly background in medieval manuscript studies for her expertise in cataloguing and archives, skills that were instrumental in launching the social media page.

The page’s popularity momentum continues, and it received the Special Projects in Heritage Preservation 2015 award from the City of Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Heritage Society. Most recently, it was nominated for the Best of Kelowna award (results later this month).

To browse through our city’s past, and share your own heritage family photos, visit the Old Kelowna Facebook page, and click here to read the press release.

College employee team buzzing with win
at charitable spelling bee 

Spelling Bee winFor the fourth year in a row, Okanagan College’s erudite team of spelling aficionados have once again displayed exceptional spelling talents, earning first place in the annual Junction Literacy Centre Adult Spelling Bee Fundraiser.  

College team members Daniel DeGroot, Tanya Golanowski, Jim Hamilton, Edie Lowes, Chandra McCann, Ingrid Neumann, Amanda Pope, and Patricia Schellenberg felt only an infinitesimal amount of anxiety before surpassing the 21 other teams for an idyllic win. Let’s play a hemidemisemiquaver, dance a schottische and raise a dish of zabaglione in their honour (all bolded words were ones in this year’s challenge).

Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur event
brings business community together

Almost 300 community members packed the Salmar Classic Theatre in Salmon Arm to hear a dozen budding entrepreneur teams pitch their business ideas at the third edition of the Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur event on April 30.
Long-time Salmon Arm resident Shawn Greek’s Apollo Auto Centre business earned the top designation. His auto repair centre is slated to open this summer and will offer both skilled technicians and also a rent-a-bay and tool rental option for those who prefer to work on their vehicles on their own. He took home a prize package valued at $15,400, providing much needed start-up funding and business services vouchers.
Launch-a-Preneur is a collaborative event stemming from an effective partnership between Okanagan College Enactus students, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, and the Community Futures Shuswap. It encourages entrepreneurship, brings attention to a supportive business environment, and demonstrates to youth that they can have a successful and rewarding future in the Salmon Arm business community.
Okanagan College Enactus students Ellery Bone, Sean Rossouw, Joe Froese, Laureen Shannon and Christine Winkler were instrumental in the event's coordination. The competition's judging panel was comprised of Okanagan College Business Professor Andrew Klingel, alongside Calvin Hoy (a private wealth manager), and Myles Bruns (with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training). Klingel alongside Terry Kosowick, also a Business Professor at the College, delivered a financial plan workshop to participants and both participated as members of the organizing committee.

To read the news article in the Salmon Arm Observer, follow this link.

May 5, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 3


Statutory holiday closure

Okanagan College will be closed Monday, May 18 in observance of the Victoria Day statutory holiday.

College Pension Plan contribution rate change January 1, 2016

Please note that as of January 1, 2016, member and employer pension plan contribution rates will be changing. A single, simplified contribution rate will replace the current two-tiered contribution rates for members and employers. Read the Board Communiqué from the College Pension Board of Trustees to find out details of the rate change.

Family Award application
deadline approaching

Okanagan College employees have until May 15 to submit applications for the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees.

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms” and then click on “Foundation.” For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

Volunteer for Convocation 2015

This June, Okanagan College will celebrate its graduating students at five Convocation ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to assist, including ushers, and individuals to help prepare refreshments for the reception. Please contact Michelle Lowry if you would like to volunteer, noting the ceremony you are available for.

  • Trades Commencement Fri, June 5 @ 6 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation Sat, June 6 @ 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation Tue, June 23 @ 4:30 p.m. 
  • Summer Convocation Thu, June 25 @ 6 p.m.

For more information about Convocation, visit the website.

Spring 2015 ILT newsletter
now available

The spring 2015 Institute for Learning and Teaching’s newsletter, Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching is now available. This edition’s theme is Self-Care and Happiness in the Workplace and includes articles by faculty and staff sharing their expertise, research and insights on this topic.

To provide feedback on this issue, propose an idea for a future theme, or to review article submission guidelines, please visit the ILT Newsletter webpage.

Call for nominations for ILT Fellows

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is seeking nominations for four Fellow positions to serve three-year terms (June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2018) in the following areas:  

  • Arts
  • Library & Institutional Research
  • Educational Technology, Information Technology, Facilities & Public Affairs
  • Salmon Arm & Revelstoke

If you are passionate about enhancing learning and teaching at Okanagan College, and are a member of one of these departments/regions (or know of a colleague who fits this description) please consider applying for one of these positions.

For additional information and a nomination form, please email the ILT department.


Wine Festival events at College

May 6 – Wine and Cheese. Join Okanagan College Culinary Arts students and Dairy Farmers of Canada for an evening of cheese and wine. Apprentice chef teams will create dishes featuring Canadian cheeses paired with Okanagan wines. The event takes place at Infusions Restaurant at the Kelowna campus from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $42. For more information visit the website.

May 9 – Iron Sommelier BC. In the battle of the ultimate food and wine pairings, three sommeliers who are experts in B.C. wine will be tasked with pairing 16 wines with different samples of local foods. An interactive event, attendees will vote using social media for the best pairings, ultimately crowning the Iron Sommelier BC. The event takes place in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. For tickets ($65 each) and more information, visit the website.

Roundabout workshops underway

Now to May 15 – Roundabout workshops are now underway at all four campus locations. You can still register and participate in this series of information-filled workshops with topics covering learning & teaching, information technology and education technology.  Roundabout is open to all employees, and those that register and attend will be eligible to win some great prizes including an iPad Mini, Chromecast, Bluetooth Keyboard and Learning & Teaching Books. For further information and to register, visit the ILT webpage.

Connections 2015, register today 

Aug. 18 -19 – The 10th annual Okanagan employee learning conference Connections 2015 will be held Aug. 18 and 19 at the Kelowna campus from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Participants will have the opportunity to hear from President Jim Hamilton to learn about the direction of Okanagan College (and what’s new) and attend workshops on a variety of topics, including LEAN thinking, communicating to a multicultural audience, how to adapt your teaching style and so much more.
Connections provides valuable opportunities to network with colleagues from all four campuses, all while having fun. To register for Connections 2015 click here.
To plan your day, see full descriptions of each workshop on the Workshop Planner.

Charity golf tournament registration

May 21 – Register online for the 24th annual Okanagan College Foundation Charity Golf Tournament at the Okanagan Golf Club. To volunteer or to have your department host an on-course booth, please contact Dawn Douglas.


The provincial government announced funding for students with disabilities, and OC was among those institutions receiving $50,000, a fact that KelownaNow was quick to pick up on.

The Kelowna Capital News captured that Okanagan College expanded its Honorary Fellows list, highlighting the achievements of Chef Rod Butters, Norm Embree, Rick Pushor and Annette Sharkey in its April 24 print edition and online. The Vernon Morning Star featured Vernon social advocate Sharkey in its April 22 print issue and also online. Meanwhile, KelownaNow also shared the story with their readers.

The Vernon Morning Star also captured the recognition of another Vernon resident, Sareena Sharma Nickoli, who was named this year’s recipient of the Okanagan College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.

Premier Christy Clark was in Kelowna to promote the region’s thriving tech-industry, announcing funding to five public institutions, including Okanagan College. Kelowna Capital News reporter Alistair Waters captured the news in his article and online. The Daily Courier’s Steve MacNaull commented the announcement ceremony was disproportionate to the announcement itself in his news article. The coding funding announcement also came to the attention of Business in Vancouver, highlighting the $50,000 received by Okanagan College. Castanet also featured a post to share the news.

In a separate funding announcement, the government's investment into creating trades seats at Okanagan College was captured by the Penticton Herald, as well as the Vernon Morning Star, and a brief also appeared in the April 30 print edition of the Kelowna Daily Courier. The Vernon Morning Star noted the province’s $766,000 contribution to Okanagan College for Trades program seats in its online edition. Global Television also carried the story on its online channel, as did KelownaNow.

News of the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival’s newest signature event, Iron Sommelier BC, to be held on May 9 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus was detailed in an advertorial of Okanagan Saturday’s May 2 edition. The event was a major portion of the feature by InfoTel. It also figured into the Kelowna Capital News coverage online.

The media buzz surrounding the Wine Festival also resulted in a mention of the Cool Climate Viticulture course offered in early May at the College’s Penticton campus in Allison Markin’s Penticton Herald column.

Inland Kenworth’s $50,000 pledge supporting Okanagan College’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign was featured in the Vernon Morning Star’s April 19 business section.

The generosity of Dale Lamb’s $50,000 donation to Okanagan College generated coverage in both KelownaNow and on Castanet.

On April 22, the Salmon Arm Observer promoted the Launch-a-Preneur event, jointly organized by community organizations and Okanagan College Enactus students. Entrepreneurialism was the topic of the evening and when the smoke cleared in the competition, it was Apollo Auto Centre that was the big winner as reported by the Salmon Arm Observer online.

The online edition of the Kelowna Capital News carried the news of the medal-winning ways of Okanagan College students and apprentices at the BC Skills competition. Castanet was right there with coverage as well. KelownaNow noted that a couple of the winners were off to the national competition

When OC Entrepreneur-in-Residence Dave Krysko won the City of Kelowna’s award for Man of the Year, Dave’s involvement with the College was mentioned frequently, including in Castanet coverage.

When the Northwest Wine Summit settled into the BC Wine Information Society Sensory Centre at the Penticton campus, Global News was on hand to report the opportunity that the tasting marathon presented for students. The Penticton Herald also ran a story, including a photo of the College’s Danielle Robinson assisting with set-up.

Coyotes winning three games in Kamloops was highlighted in the Kelowna Capital News’ April 22 sports pages. The paper also promoted the last home game schedule in its April 24 edition, and lastly reported on the season wrapping up with the team headed to Lethbridge in its April 29 edition.

College math professor Dr. Clint Lee’s dedication to coordinate the 25th anniversary of the BCSSMC math contest, and announcement of his retirement, was the focus of Kelowna Daily Courier’s article College prof sticks around for one more math contest. KelownaNow also covered the story.

The one-year anniversary of the Old Kelowna Facebook page, created by English Professor Dr. Shona Harrison, was celebrated in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s April 28 feature article titled Kelowna’s history hot on Facebook. The social media success also earned the attention of the Kelowna Capital News in its online edition.

College alumnus Donnie Ungaro’s win at the Venture Okanagan investor’s forum earned him a nod from Maxine DeHart in her April 22 Kelowna Capital News column.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Barry Lapointe, CEO of Kelowna Flightcraft, was also noted in DeHart’s column, as the company celebrates its 45th anniversary with a rebrand.

A keen eye for business news in the community, DeHart also captured in her column that Dennis Gabelhouse, a well-known businessman, retired general manager of Global Okanagan, and Okanagan College Foundation Campaign Chair, is opening a new marketing agency in Kelowna, CREW Marketing Partners, with business partner Josh Cairns.

The Kelowna Capital News Progress 2015 report featured updates on the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign and highlighted success stories of trades students and the impact donors have on improving their learning opportunities. The Progress report also included an article exploring the upcoming Okanagan Centre for Innovation in downtown Kelowna.

The Kelowna Capital News explored the trades skills shortage in an April 29 article, speaking with Taylor Pro Training in Kelowna, and including commentary from Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores about how the College is partnering with industry and government to address this gap.

The Vernon Morning Star and Castanet both reported on the new showers that will be available at the Greater Vernon Athletic Park with funding having just been approved by the Regional District of North Okanagan.

The Institute for Learning and Teaching’s Director, Dr. Beverlie Dietze, contributed an editorial article in the Vernon Morning Star about the benefits of outdoor play for children published in the Unplug and Play April 2015 special section.

The Penticton Herald shared details of Seattle’s KIRO television news anchor Linzi Sheldon’s guest speaking at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in July as part of the B.C. Youth Writers Camp.

Shaw’s Go!Okanagan filmed a segment focused on Bill Schoof’s donation of his lifetime of automotive tools to the College.

Enactus Okanagan College was among the organizations that received funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth in 2015, a fact captured by KelownaNow as it reported on the applications for 2016 funding.

Okanagan College’s presence at the RV show in Penticton was noted by the head of the organizing committee as he spoke to a reporter from the Penticton Western News.

A member of the OC Coyotes coaching staff, Garrett Wiese, has been asked to pitch in (sorry for the pun) with the Medicine Hat College Mavericks in the coming year. Wiese used to play for Medicine Hat, so it’s a return to his old stomping grounds, as noted in the online edition of the Medicine Hat News.

Mental health was the focal point for a video production involving several School District 67 students and 16 Okanagan College students, noted by the Penticton Western in its online edition.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Axelle Bazett.

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on May 19, 2015.