Okanagan College exceeds enrolment targets:
latest Accountability Report

For the tenth year in a row, Okanagan College has exceeded its total full-time equivalent (FTE) targets, as reported in the Institutional Accountability Plan and Report (IAPR). The College conferred 1,992 credentials in 2014-15, which also represented an increase from previous years (1,924 in 2013-14). 

This year’s report highlights 10 years of growth and success at the College, celebrating the College’s achievement of the Provincial Accountability Performance Measures. The IAPR highlights the improved student transitions from secondary school in the region from 35 to 46 per cent over the last 10 years; the Okanagan region has seen the second highest percentage increase in Aboriginal student transitions (8 per cent) and the highest increase in non-Aboriginal immediate transitions (11.5 per cent) to post-secondary in the province.

The report was approved by the Board in June and submitted to the Ministry of Advanced Education on July 17, 2015. It also includes population projections and other information important for strategic planning.

The IAPR is available publicly on the College's Institutional Research website and also in myOkanagan under the Reports tab.

Trades students join forces with firefighters on community project

Predator ridge IOC

Students and instructors in Okanagan College’s entry-level carpentry/joinery class were joined by Vernon Fire Chief Keith Green and Deputy Fire Chief Jack Blair on Friday afternoon in Kelowna as they handed over a set of custom cabinets for the fire hall at Predator Ridge.

The 12 College students worked on the project as part of their hands-on curriculum in the foundational program and as a result, the Predator Ridge fire hall will be better equipped to support the fire fighters in the region.

“We just can’t thank the students and instructors at Okanagan College enough for their contribution to our fire hall,” said Chief Green. “It’s a new facility that we were able to build to the point where we were operational and running but there is still some work to be done in places like the kitchen. Having these beautiful custom-made cabinets is so great for our members and we are so grateful to the students for their support."

Connections employee conference around the corner

Connections Logo IOCEmployees can register online until Thursday Aug. 13 to participate in Connections, Okanagan College’s 10th annual employee learning conference. This year’s theme celebrates diversity at Okanagan College.

On Aug. 18 and 19 employees from all campuses will gather at the Kelowna campus from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to participate in a wide array of workshops. The plenary session, including Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton’s welcome address and a special video will be live webcast on both days at 9:30 a.m.

Connections photo 2014Concluding each day will be a social event for employees to network and connect with their peers while enjoying appetizers and beverages from the Okanagan including: Big Surf, Rider Cider, Bella Wines, Roche Winery, and Okanagan Spirits.

Aligning with the College’s commitment to sustainability, employees are asked to bring their own reusable beverage container for the day as there will be no canned or bottled beverages offered. Additionally, in support of the food bank, donations of a non-perishable item will be accepted on both days.

For more information visit the webpage or contact Michelle Lowry.

Minister tours trades training complex in Kelowna

Minister tours trades bldg July 2015 IOCIn late July, government officials and media were given an inside look at the progress on the new leading-edge trades training complex currently under construction at the Kelowna campus.

Donning hard hats, safety vests and glasses, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick and Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson and Board of Governors Chair Tom Styffe were led through the construction site by Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, and Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores to see how the new facilities, technology, and equipment will benefit more than 2,400 students next spring. The B.C. government has invested $28 million in funding for the $33 million project.

Local media, including Global Okanagan, the Kelowna Daily Courier, the Kelowna Capital News and Castanet were on hand to capture some of the project features and talk to officials.


Education Assistant graduate
finds meaning in new career

Education Assistant IOCChristine Liefke had just had her fourth child when her sister was in a serious car crash. The stay-at-home mom of 10 years, recently divorced, knew that this was the moment to make a meaningful change in her life. Liefke credits graduating from Okanagan College’s nine-month Education Assistant program for preparing her to work at School District No. 22 in Vernon, a job she found almost right after completing the program.

Education assistants work in the classroom with children with special needs including physical challenges or those on the autism spectrum. They allow teachers to focus on teaching and remove barriers for students, ultimately making a significant positive impact on a young student’s life.

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 for work opportunities. On Thursday Aug. 20, at 6 p.m. Okanagan College will host an information night at the Vernon campus (room E103).

To read more about Liefke’s path to success and the role Education Assistants play in the classroom, read the press release here.

Giving back: OC employee to help
build school in Guatemala

In October, Greg Fjetland, from the Education Advising department, will be headed to Guatemala for two weeks to help build a school for students with special needs. While he has traveled to Guatemala before, this will be the first time he is volunteering with the international aid organization Short Term International Medical Missions Abroad (STIMMA).

A team of health professionals from across Canada will also be traveling to the same region to provide short-term medical clinics. On this trip STIMMA will be partnering with the Canadian Doppenberg family, well-recognized for their humanitarian aid contributions to the region (see a documentary of their work here).

If you would like to contribute and support the aid mission, Greg will be collecting donations for STIMMA to bring to Guatemala including: Tylenol/Advil, Polysporin, folic acid tablets, saline eye drops, hats, sunglasses, flip flops, and monetary contributions. Donations will be accepted until Sept. 19 and can be dropped off to Greg in Student Services S111C at the Kelowna campus.
Aug. 11, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 10


Family Award applications (fall)

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept.1 and Dec. 31, 2015. 

Award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under OC Express – Forms and then Foundation. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna (or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm) by Sept. 18, 2015.

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

Pension plans news & updates

In anticipation of the College Pension Plan changes taking effect on January 1, 2016, two new online estimator tools are available to help you calculate pension benefits at retirements. The tools replace the Pension Previewer and incorporate calculations that factor pre- and post-2016 changes. See the Member News document for details.

The 2014 Annual Reports for both the Municipal Pension Plan and the College Pension Plan are now available online. The reports feature the latest information about membership, financial information, economic impact, and plan rules and policy changes. Follow the links below to read the reports:


Explore effective learning & teaching environments Planting The Seeds event

Aug. 24 and 25 – New and continuing faculty are invited to participate in a two-day interactive workshop held at the Kelowna campus that will focus on creating effective learning and teaching environments. Presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services, the workshop will look at multiple topics to foster learner-centered educational environments.

Register for the event by emailing Carla Whitten. Questions about the event can be directed to Ross McKerlich at ext. 4921. 

Tiltshift Conference registration

Sept. 25 to 26 - Register online for the first annual Tiltshift Education Technology Conference at Okanagan College. Presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services, the conference will explore themes including: online learning, technology leadership, and tools to benefit student learning among others. A $50 conference fee will apply.
A keynote address will be given 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. On Saturday, 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 will give a second keynote address. He is an advocate for shaping education experiences that are personal, relevant and meaningful.

Questions about the conference can be directed to Ross McKerlich.


Politicians and media who toured the new trades training complex under construction at the Kelowna campus created headlines in local newspapers, including Politicians enthused by progress on trades building in the Kelowna Capital News, Provincial politicians check out trades project in the Vernon Morning Star, and a feature photo in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s July 30 print edition. Impressed by progress on the building, Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson recounted his tour experience in a Kelowna Capital News contributed article.

News of Kelowna Toyota’s donation to the new trades complex continued to earn some ink from the Kelowna Capital News on Aug. 5.

The Kelowna Capital News reported on the recent $3.4 million investment announcement from the federal government towards the Kelowna-based Innovation Centre project, in which Okanagan College will have a digital media centre.

Both the Vernon Morning Star and the Kelowna Capital News explored the spa industry’s demand for qualified professionals, and how Okanagan College is supplying this demand with the Esthetics and Nail Technology Certificate program. The articles focused on alumna Heidi Luken who found work immediately after graduating at the new Ten Spot Beauty Bar in West Kelowna.

When Okanagan College School of Business student Tyler Parfeniuk launched a new cruiser bike rental business called Loop Cruiser with co-owner Calen Trentini (UBC Okanagan graduate), Okanagan Saturday’s Steve MacNaull was quick to spread the word about the Kelowna and Vernon business in print and online.

Rising country music star, and Okanagan College alumnus, Ben Klick’s Aug. 30 performance at the Caetani Summer Music Series was promoted in advance in a Vernon Morning Star article.

The Vernon Morning Star also shared progress being made on the track at the Vernon campus in the Aug. 2 print edition.

Photos of young Camp OC Junior Metal Fabrication participants were snapped by the Vernon Morning Star in the Aug. 5 print edition.

The Vernon Morning Star also reported that Vernon Cadets spent a day digging in the dirt at Patchwork Farms at the College’s Vernon campus to learn how a community garden can support those less-privileged in the community.

Castanet reported that funding received by the Kindale Developmental Association from the provincial Job Creation Partnership will help volunteers at Patchwork Farms build a farm-gate market.

In an online article, the Vernon Morning Star shared details of Gallery Vertigo hosting a fundraiser in honour of Ada Evelyn McMechan who taught glazing and pottery at Okanagan College.

The Penticton Herald reported on Agur Lake Camp opening its third cabin and an observation deck built by Okanagan College students.

Castanet reported on the 20th annual Rotary Wheels Car Show, which also served as a fundraiser in support of the $1,500 award from the Rotary Club for a deserving student enrolled at Okanagan College in the automotive trade.

Former OUC Board Member Theresa Arsenault is profiled in the Kelowna Capital News Women to Watch features in print and online, recounting her contributions to the College.

With the federal election announced, candidates are embarking on their campaigns including College English professor Norah Bowman who is running as NDP candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country as reported by Global Okanagan and the Kelowna Daily Courier.


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 Aug. 25, 2015.