Green ribbon cut on Centre for Learning


It was standing room only on Monday in the $28 million Centre for Learning in Kelowna as government officials, College leadership, staff, students, neighbours and partners celebrated the official opening of the new building. Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton and Board Chair Janet Shaw were joined by the Honourable Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission, Regional Dean Heather Schneider and Andrew Nelson, of the Okanagan College Students’ Union to address the group of more than 200 people who attended the event.

Despite having been open to staff and students for more than three months, Monday’s celebration offered users of the building and those who were involved in its development the opportunity to reflect on the building’s significance and thank all of those who were involved in its successful completion.


During his remarks on Monday, president Hamilton said “I think that the building we are standing in is proof that structures can be much more than walls that house activity. They can be powerful symbols in themselves, and the Centre for Learning is testament to Okanagan College’s steadfast commitment to collaboration, student success, sustainability and the further development of our institution as we pursue our mission of transforming lives and communities.”


Follow this link to a photo gallery or visit the media section to watch clips from the opening or to read headlines from the event.

Career Fair 2009


On Sunday, Nov. 1 the Kelowna campus transformed into a hub of science displays, information booths, culinary demonstrations (and tastings), and recruitment opportunities during the 28th annual Okanagan College Career Fair. New to the fair this year was the inclusion of Science World’s Community Science Celebration, which drew a crowd of young science enthusiasts. With the Centre for Learning as a venue, a number of exhibitors lined the walkways of the agora and the atrium floor to offer information to participants. Carl Doige and Nadir Ould-Khessal captivated students with their chemistry and robotic displays, both of which were interactive and engaging. Other departments from Okanagan College were represented in the Pit, where greeters Darleen Lajeunesse and Sandra Mendoza inspired fun with their neon glasses from Continuing Studies.


Trades and Technologies shops and labs were open to the public, as were Health labs, complete with Practical Nursing staff who were on site to offer blood pressure checks to visitors. The Okanagan College Alumni Association hosted a barbeque, which saw crowds of people line up for tasty burgers, both meat and veggie alike.


The 28th Career Fair saw the return of longstanding partners such as Dr. Barbara Coughlin, the Kelowna Fire Department and OSTEC. New exhibitors such as VANOC made Career Fair exceptional and diverse with great opportunities for students and the community. Check out a photo gallery from the day.

Carpool website up and running

In an effort to support sustainability and address at least some of Okanagan College’s parking dilemmas, IT Services has created a Carpool website exclusively for faculty and staff at its four campuses.

Anyone interested in becoming part of a carpool is asked to visit the site (which can be found in myOkanagan by following the Requests and Notices page in the Employee tab) and complete the required information. Users will remain in the database until such time as they wish to discontinue. Staff may wish to try it for a week or two to determine whether or not it will work well for their schedules.

Factors that influence whether or not you will carpool:

* Cost of driving considerable distances daily
* Cost and availability of parking at your destination
* Convenience of picking up passengers in a carpool
* Whether your vehicle is required for work (inter campus travel)
* Enroute commitments i.e. errands, dropping off and picking up kids at daycare
* Availability and convenient scheduling of public transit
* Hours of work not reasonably in sync with potential carpoolers
* Indifference to carpooling

Should there be an “area” on the carpool data that may have been missed or should be included, please submit an IT Service Request with the information.

College launches new community spirit award

Okanagan College is offering a new scholarship program to reward area high school students who have helped their communities. The Okanagan College Community Spirit Awards are $1,000 tuition scholarships that may be applied to any Okanagan College program.

The College will deliver 40 scholarships annually to high school students who have a record of service to their school, their community, or both. Recipients must also have a grade average of at least 65 per cent on their Grade 11 and 12 courses to qualify.

“We really want to encourage those students who share the College’s goal of being supportive to the communities we serve,” explained Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “A $1,000 scholarship will let recipients know that their efforts are valued. We see a lot of evidence of a well-developed sense of social responsibility among our students and want to encourage that.”

The awards will be distributed throughout the Okanagan College region – six going to Shuswap Revelstoke area students, eight to North Okanagan students, 18 to Central Okanagan students, and another eight to South Okanagan students.

The deadline to apply for the Okanagan College Community Spirit Award is March 5, 2010. Application forms will be made available on the Financial Aid and Awards website in late January 2010 at


College student to carry Olympic torch

susieSusie Welch, a first-year Human Kinetics diploma student at the Penticton campus, has been selected to represent the City of Penticton and carry the Olympic torch through the city on Jan. 25, 2010. Penticton has been named as one of the 189 communities that will be a designated celebration community as the torch passes through 1.030 communities in Canada on its way to the opening of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

As the torch bearer, Susie will carry the torch for the final 300-metre run to the South Okanagan Event Centre, where she will light the portable cauldron at approximately 1:15 p.m. Susie is a graduate of Princess Margaret Secondary. She was nominated for the honour based on her history of volunteerism with organizations such as Ironman Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, 10 Thousand Villages, West Bench Elementary School events, the Rotary Okanagan International Children’s Festival and many other groups. Her nominators recognized her passion for school, her commitment to her community and her spirit of citizenship.

Employees recognized for 1,875 years of service

Okanagan College held its annual employee recognition dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at the Kelowna cafeteria. The College recognized the contributions of 106 employees who reached benchmark years of service – 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 (no 35’s this year). The event also recognized staff who are retiring in 2009.
According to the President’s Office, this year’s event recognized 1,875 years of combined service from those staff who reached milestones. The evening was emcee’d by Steve Koehle and included a delicious meal and Inside Okanagan College received word that some staff were seen dancing to “YMCA” – unfortunately (or otherwise) no photos of this event were captured! Congratulations to all who were recognized. Follow this link to view a photo gallery from the event.

Help celebrate Laura Neame's retirement

After serving Okanagan College for 27 years, Laura Neame is retiring from her position as Director of Library Services. Join friends and colleagues on Wednesday, Dec. 2 as they host a celebration in her honour from 3 – 5 p.m. at Infusions on the Kelowna campus. The celebration will offer free appetizers and desserts – a cash bar will be available.

College staff scary on Oct. 30

robinsonStaff throughout the region dressed up on Friday, Oct. 30 in anticipation of Halloween. The Kelowna campus hosted a barbeque as a fundraiser for the United Way giving campaign. So who was the scariest Okanagan College employee?

Inside Okanagan College’s vote is for one of the Steve Robinsons…follow this link to a photo gallery to check out images from the day.

Career Fair Book winner


Alex Pazdzierski, a Grade two student at Dorothea Walker Elementary School was a winner in the Library’s annual Book Draw contest held in conjunction with the Okanagan College Career Fair. This year, there were five book prizes, with Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't the most admired book in the selection.

Many parents came to admire the library and commented on how excellent and exciting the whole Centre for Learning is.

The library was a resting place for weary visitors and a staging place for participants in the robotics demos outside. Community members had a chance to ask about library membership cards, the renovations, and to ask questions on careers in libraries.

Karen Bright joins Kal campus

karen The Kalamalka Campus Library is pleased to welcome Karen Bright as the new Kalamalka Campus Library Assistant.  Karen is the successor to colleague Anne Caughlan who recently retired after 19 years as Campus Library Assistant.

Karen brings a great deal of experience to her new position after many years in a supervisory capacity in the public library system in Alberta and subsequently 15 years of service at Okanagan College Library in various areas including technical services and circulation services.

Over the years Karen’s keen interest in current events, local to global, coupled with her creativity, have resulted in well researched social and political awareness displays such as community gardens, factory farming, tar sands, Afghanistan, and many more topics.

David Lethbridge to deliver paper on Bethune

Okanagan College’s David Lethbridge, who teaches psychology at the Salmon Arm campus, has been invited to deliver a paper on Dr. Norman Bethune, the famous Canadian Communist. Lethbridge has spent the last five years writing a psychobiography of Bethune, who was the first to advocate for socialized medicine in Canada. He also developed a mobile blood delivery system for the anti-fascist forces during the Spanish Civil war, and died working as a surgeon for Mao Zedong’s army in its struggle against the Japanese invaders.

Lethbridge has been invited to read a paper at the Many Norman Bethunes symposium, at Dawson College, in Montreal, on Nov. 13. His paper is entitled: “Norman Bethune: Wounded in Love,” which examines Bethune’s conflicted relations with his parents, and the effect that conflict had on his later emotional life – his unsatisfying and tortured affairs with women, and his deep love and caring for sick and wounded children.
In 1999, Lethbridge discovered an original 16mm copy of Bethune’s film, “Heart of Spain,” which he has showed across the country. In 2003, he published a preliminary work: “Bethune: The Secret Police File.” In 2004 and 2006, he examined the extensive holdings on Bethune at the Osler Medical Library, and the National Archives.

Erin Kavanagh Joins Alumni

erinErin Kavanagh has been selected to replace Katerina Hay in the Alumni & Community Relations Coordinator position while Kat is on leave.  Erin is an OUC BBA graduate (2002) with significant experience in event planning, sales, marketing and public relations.  Erin is very energetic and outgoing and is a strong addition to the Advancement team in her role supporting the Alumni Association and Alumni Relations.  Erin can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at Ext. 4771.

November 10, 2009 Vol. 3 Issue 15


Security update

Faculty and staff sometimes return to work after hours and find themselves working alone in a wing or an entire building. In compliance with WCB regulations and just plain good practice all staff should let someone know where they will be working and how long they will be on site.

Okanagan College Security is requesting that when staff attend their work site after hours, they call the 24 hour line at 250-317-2435 and let the on-duty security personnel know: who you are, where you are and how long you might be there. Just before you leave you should call them again and let them know you are leaving. It will also prevent a needless security response should you set off an alarm.

Faculty and staff at all campuses can call security and ask them to monitor the video at their campus and let them know if the campus is occupied even before they arrive on site. Security can suggest where the best place is to park your vehicle so it can be monitored by video while you are at work. Call again before you leave and security can tell you if there is anyone loitering around and can monitor you as you leave to walk to your vehicle.

Staff are encouraged to program the 24 hour security contact number into their cell phone so it is always available.

New - Electronic Leave Management System (ELMS)

Human Resources is pleased to introduce ELMS, a leave administration system developed in collaboration with IT to automate the processes for submission and approval of leave requests. 

Enhanced features and functionality available in ELMS include:


- On-line access to view and submit leave requests through a standard web browser.


- Paperless submission, electronic routing, approval, storage and retrieval of leave records.

To provide staff with an overview of the new functionality in ELMS, Human Resources will be contacting everyone soon to schedule an interactive hands-on session.

The new functionality in ELMS will be activated in My Leave Balances and/or My Staff Leave Balance following attendance at one of the interactive sessions.

Career Fair 2009 Survey

Public Affairs is taking the opportunity to receive feedback from participants in Career Fair 2009. If you participated in Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 1 please take a moment to provide your feedback in order to make next year’s event even better.

Parking enforcement update

Earlier this year, due to a court decision in Barbour vs UBC, which challenged UBC’s legal authority to issue and collect fines for parking infractions, UBC as well as other post-secondary institutes in British Columbia ceased issuing parking tickets. Okanagan College suspended the issuance of parking fines in April of this year and chose to use towing as a parking enforcement tool, which commenced in September.

Recently, the Barbour vs UBC court decision was overturned and Section 19(1) of the Colleges and Institutes Act amended to allow post-secondary institutions to levy and collect parking fines as they had been doing for years. As a result of this court decision, Okanagan College will be issuing parking tickets and collecting fines as of November 1 and will not be towing except in instances where vehicles are parked in Fire Lanes and handicap parking or blocking traffic.

New brochures have been printed that outline Okanagan College's Parking Enforcement program and regulations. Staff may pick one up at the Information Centre, Facilities Management in Kelowna or the Administration offices at Penticton and Vernon.

Continuing Studies Vernon offers Management Skills for Supervisors Certificate

Continuing Studies Vernon is offering a 12-day hands-on management training certificate training program. This course will be useful for anyone who is new to being a supervisor or those who are looking to maximize their personal effectiveness. The course begins in November; contact Sarah Hanson for more information.

Volunteers needed for Penticton and Kelowna Practical Nursing Convocations

Okanagan College will host two more Convocation ceremonies in 2009 with the graduation of Practical Nursing students in Penticton (Dec. 17) and Kelowna (Dec. 18). Public Affairs is looking for one volunteer for each of the ceremonies to assist with greeting grads, their guests, and handing out programs.

Volunteers are needed for one hour, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. If you would like to help greet grads, their guests, hand out programs, and assist with holding doors open for the procession, please contact Karma Lacoff. 

College students, staff, encouraged to give blood

Nursing students from UBC Okanagan will be at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College on Nov. 18 to encourage College students and staff to give blood. BC is the only province in Canada that cannot sustain its own blood supply and relies on other provinces to supplement BC’s supply with their surplus.

The goal of the students from UBC Okanagan is to create awareness and increase education regarding the importance of blood donation. The group will set up information booths in the Pit and will be booking appointments for Okanagan College at the Dilworth Blood Donation Clinic. The students will also be offering transportation to and from campus to the Clinic for students who may need such services.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Charlene Wyatt in Penticton who won last week's payday draw for $527.50. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources or online.


Nov. 16 - Kalamalka Speakers Series: Keeping the Arts Alive presents at 12:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre: From the Hand to the Keyboard: Letterpress Tradition and Digital Technology in the Classroom with Okanagan College instructor Jason Dewinetz (English/Fine Arts & Publication Design). Jason is a writer, publisher, graphic designer & typographer and is the founding editor, publisher & designer of Greenboathouse Press, a small press publishing hand-printed limited editions by writers from across Canada and which received its fourth consecutive Alcuin Award for Excellence in Book Design in Canada.

Over the past two years, Jason has gathered together five antique printing presses and has begun to set up a print shop on campus where students will be able to work with hand-set metal type, and to print pages just as they were printed hundreds of years ago.

This presentation will briefly describe the plans for the print shop; the kinds of equipment collected, and will also include short presentations by a number of students to introduce their experiences and research thus far. This event is free. For more information please contact Jennifer Sigalet 2249.

Nov. 17 - Kalamalka Speakers Series presents A Second Chance with Restorative Justice with Margaret Clark, Restorative Justice Coordinator City of Vernon RCMP Safe Communities Unit. The event will take place at 12:30 p.m. in Classroom D221. The theme of Restorative Justice Week 2009 (Nov 15-22) is "Communities Responding to Human Needs.” Restorative justice is part of the extrajudicial measures which came about as a result of people searching for alternatives in dealing with young people in conflict with the law. 

The program provides services to both young people, adults that are also affected and/or in conflict with the law.  Guardians/supporters are also affected and involved. This event is free. For more information please contact the Kalamalka Campus Library 2247.    

Nov. 23 - Kalamalka Speakers Series: Keeping the Arts Alive presents Stepping Into An Other World with Amanda-Leigh Nemeth, a student at Okanagan College taking the Diploma in Writing and Publishing and managing editor of Other:___ Magazine. Amanda will be discussing Other:___ a student run magazine that publishes poetry, prose and visual arts. She will take listeners through the history of the magazine, including its metamorphosis from the Pinebeetle Review.

Also discussed will be the steps the magazine takes, from gathering submissions to the publishing process. Other:___ has been a stepping stone for many new writers and artists trying to find their way in the world of publishing. This event takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre and is free. For more information please contact the Kalamalka Campus Library 2247.    

Dec. 1 – The documentary film, This is what democracy looks like, will be screened in the Kelowna campus lecture theatre at 7 p.m. on the 10th anniversary of the Pro-democracy movement action that took place in Seattle in November and December 1999 when more than 50,000 people from environmental groups, religious groups, women's groups, human rights groups, labour union groups and more, protested the negotiations that were being conducted by the World Trade Organization. Some snacks and beverages will be provided.


In his Global Citizen column, Stan Chung wrote about the intelligence of the human body and importance of paying attention to the signals our bodies send us. Read more in: The Body Electric.

Similar to the energy system used to heat part of the College’s Kelowna campus, the City of Kelowna is looking to develop district energy systems to serve area’s like Rutland and more. Read more in the Daily Courier article: City energy exchange more than just hot air.

The College and its 3 Steps Forward program have been awarded the Communities in Bloom sustainability award, with a five-bloom rating, the highest possible in the competition. Read more in the Courier article: OC basking in heat of sustainability award.

Okanagan College alumna Kelly Scott and her team will begin the Olympic curling season.  Read more in: Scott hot, Ursel cold heading into Olympic pre-trials

Okanagan College initiated a new scholarship for high school students who have shown commitment to their community. Read more in the Daily Courier article: OK College to laud service minded grads. 

In her weekly School’s In column, Interim Registrar Jane Muskens compared the education systems and outcomes of Canada to India and China and National Education Week and the College’s career fair. Read more in: Canada has it pretty good compared to India, China and Science World exhibit at Okanagan College career fair.

A Vernon Morning Star article highlighted musicians from the valley raise money to put roofs over some heads, proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. Read more in: Everyone deserves a home.

The Courier covered School District 23's anniversary of connecting students with employers and the opportunities open to them after high school. Read more in: Career Life programs celebrate 20 years.

Singers Fjellgaard and Valdy came to the Okanagan to perform in their annual pilgrimage to support of the George Ryga Centre in Vernon. Read more in the Morning Star: Journey is steeped in emotion OR, Still in the running, the Summerland Review: Valdy and Fjellgaard to perform or the Penticton Herald article Juno winners form The Contenders.

The Penticton Herald covered the Okanagan Crusaders hockey team’s road trip to the coast. Read more in: Crusaders fall to SFU, clip UFV.

The 2009 Business Excellence Awards honour community members such as Robert Fine and Mark and Todd Regier and were covered by the Capital News and Business Thompson Okanagan. Read more in: Small Business Week award winners and Excellence winners celebrated.

The Centre for Learning celebrated its grand opening and was featured in the Daily Courier and Penticton Herald. Read more in: Big idea with small carbon footprint and Centre standing out, Centre for Learning in LEED, Centre for Learning opens today.

The 28th annual Career Fair featuring Science World was highlighted in the Okanagan Saturday and Daily Courier. Read more in: Everything from plumbing to poli-sci and Career outlook fair to good.
The Penticton Western News and Daily Courier covered the Education Shouldn’t be a Debt Sentence campaign. The protest at the Penticton campus highlighted students struggle with tuition costs and the ramifications once they complete their education. Read more in: Students facing financial barrier, Students protesting B.C. debt sentence, and Students buried under mountain of debt.

The OCSU Drop Fee’s campaign was covered by the Penticton Herald. Read more: Students make a statement.

Matt Cameron’s company CTQ Consultants are honoured in awards ceremony. Read the Business Thompson Okanagan article: CTQ firm wins Big Business of the Year.


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

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009.