For the sweet love of pastry

Allan Coyle Eats CakeDroves of lucky Kelowna employees and students were treated to a special Winter Indulgence dessert buffet hosted by the Pastry Arts program on Jan. 30 in the cafeteria. The event featured decadent cakes, French macarons, tarts, cream puffs and more.

The event was a preview for the larger Winter Indulgence event being held for the public on Feb. 14 at the Kelowna campus from 7-9 p.m.

“These events celebrate the beauty of winter and showcase the skills and techniques the students have learned in the program through the creation of stunning, artfully displayed desserts," says event organizer and Pastry Arts Instructor Anna Mandziuk.

Winter Indulgence studentsThe Valentine’s Day dessert gala offers the public the opportunity to sample from seven themed tables brimming with cakes and French pastries including Sacher tortes, hazelnut madelines, French macarons, flourless chocolate pyramids, vanilla bean cheesecake tarts with wine berry compote, and Guinness stout ginger cake with caramel sauce. The Winter Indulgence menu also includes charcuterie and flambé stations as well as wine pairings supplied by local wineries.

Tickets are $35 per person. Purchase in advance in the Kelowna campus cafeteria, at Infusions or by calling 250-762-5445, ext. 4426.

What’s your Golden activity?

Employees and students across Okanagan College are getting into the Golden Day of Service spirit and registering for volunteer activities. On Feb. 14, International Education staff and students are doing a beach cleanup in Kelowna and Continuing Studies staff are spending time at the SPCA.

It’s not too late to sign up. There are still activities on the website in need of volunteers. If you have a project of your own, you can register it here.

To commemorate this collective spirit of giving, we’re encouraging everyone to record their volunteerism and send photos and details to Public Affairs, post to Okanagan College’s Facebook page, or broadcast it on Twitter with the hashtag #ocgoldenday.

Kung Hei Fat Choy

Chinese New Year 2 This year’s celebrations for the Lunar New Year focused on showcasing how the holiday was spent in all the home countries of Okanagan College’s Asian students, not only China and Taiwan, but also Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Korea.

The interactive event opened with the Dragon Dance led by Mr. Lee from the Chinese Freemasons Club. The emcee was Xinyuan Peng (Yoyo) from the Chinese Student Union who made a presentation depicting the key features of Chinese New Year.

Activities included learning lantern craft, Chinese character writing with a traditional brush and ink, and mastering chopsticks. Traditional foods such as dumplings and coconut buns from the Asian Pear were served.

“The Chinese New Year committee thanks Wen Lee, our student event coordinator, the International students who volunteered, the International department staff, students from the Audio Engineering program and all those who came out and celebrated this very important holiday,” says Heather Carson, Recreation Assistant Coordinator.

Okanagan College hosts Canadian Culinary Championships

Canadian Culinary Championships OC studentsToronto Chef Lorenzo Loseto won the Canadian Culinary Championship, which took place this past weekend at the Delta Grand and Okanagan College in Kelowna.

Eleven chefs from across Canada plus their sous chefs and more than 20 Okanagan College apprentice chefs participated in the event. The silver medal went to Duncan Ly of Yellow Door Bistro in Calgary and the bronze went to Danny St. Pierre of Auguste in Sherbrooke, Que.

The championships were comprised of three events: a Mystery Wine Pairing at the Delta Grand on Feb. 7, a Black Box competition at Okanagan College on the Kelowna campus from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sat. Feb. 8, and the Gold Medal Plates finale at the Delta Grand, which completed the competition on Saturday evening.

On the heels of the successful weekend event, it was announced that the competition will be held in Kelowna for another five years.

Board leadership remains consistent

Tom Styffe and Connie Denesiuk have been re-elected to serve as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors for another year.

“The opportunity to serve another year as Chair is one I welcome,” says Styffe.

“My colleagues and I know this is an especially important and challenging time for colleges and the post-secondary sector. Our role in addressing our province’s skills needs is growing and we will be working closely with the communities we serve and the B.C. government on that front,”
 he says.

Styffe first joined the Board in 2010 and Denesiuk joined the board in 2012.

To learn more, read the press release.

Poetry goes late-night

Poetry mcphersonAn enthusiastic crowd packed the Streaming Café on Friday, Feb. 7 for G’Morning Poetry: A late-night humour talk show live.

Hosted by Okanagan College English professors kevin mcpherson eckhoff and Jake Kennedy, this free poetry-inspired take on a late night talk show featured readings, standup comedians and musical guests. The crowd especially loved the Alphabet essayist and poet Sharon Thesen.

To watch the event, visit the LiveStream broadcast of the show.

Strengthening alumni connections to the College

Okanagan College Alumni Affairs recently launched a new online platform called netCommunity to keep the College’s 50,000 alumni connected long after they leave.

“We wanted to gift our alumni with a way to maintain those old friendships and link with like-minded people who have a shared experience,” said Okanagan College Alumni Relations Coordinator Katerina Hay.

netCommunity lets alumni customize how they want to stay involved with the College, including keeping up with news and events of their choice, taking advantage of networking and mentoring opportunities, and engaging with the alumni directory and discussion boards.

All alumni can enrol in netCommunity and are eligible for a variety of discounts and benefits, including ongoing and limited time discounts on insurance, movie tickets, concerts, sporting events and travel. They can also access free library cards and employment services to support job searches and career changes.

For more information, read the press release.


Library Services welcomes Jennifer Heppner

Jennifer HeppnerA familiar face around Okanagan College is the new Assistant to the Director for Library Services in Kelowna.

Jennifer Heppner will join Library Services on Feb. 12. She has several years’ experience with Okanagan College in a variety of roles, including vocational instructor, college professor, distance education tutor, and administrative support in departments such as Public Affairs, Arts and Foundational, and Science, Technology and Health.

Susan Moran earns her CGA

Susan MoranSusan Moran, Analyst, Accounts Receivable, has fulfilled all the Certified General Accountant requirements and earned her CGA designation.

“I like the variety of issues I deal with on a daily basis as an accountant,” she says. “I enjoy solving problems for staff and students.”

 A large gathering of colleagues joined Susan on Jan. 29 to celebrate her achievement.

Coble to lead Student Services

James CobleJames Coble has been selected as Okanagan College’s new Director of Student Services. Coble has been with the college since 2001 providing leadership and student support in Aboriginal education. Since last spring, he has also been providing transitional leadership to the department as Acting Manager of Student Services.

“I’m excited about the challenge,” says Coble. “I hope to bring what I’ve learned working with Aboriginal students to the general student population: to meet students where they’re at and give them the tools to take ownership of their education and their own their success.”
“James has been a tremendous asset to Okanagan College, our students and the wider College community and will continue to be in this new role,” says Charlotte Kushner, Vice President of Students.

To learn more, read the press release.  

Kristine Ritchie shares her story for Variety

Ritchie FamilyKristine Ritchie, Accounts Payable Clerk in Financial Services, and her family appeared on Variety’s Show of Hearts Telethon on Global BC TV on Jan. 25-26.

Variety is a children’s charity that helps kids who live with life-threatening illness or serious physical/intellectual special needs. Ritchie’s five-year-old son, Brendan, was diagnosed with a serious illness called Pulmonary Hypertension in December 2012.

The telethon, which was held at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, raised more than $6.6 million for the charity and the families it helps. While participating in the telethon, the Ritchies’ were surprised with jerseys and tickets to the Vancouver Canucks hockey game on Jan. 26 at the Rogers Arena.

To watch an interview with the Ritchie family, click the following link. Brendan’s story appears near the bottom of the page.

Okanagan College library in the news

The current issue of the BCLA Browser, the newsletter of the B.C. Library Association, features an article by Okanagan College Librarian Michelle Ward. In it she highlights the work of Okanagan College Library employees at all four campus libraries in creating displays that promote the use of library resources. To read the article, click here.

Current exhibits to enjoy at campus libraries include Winter Olympics-themed displays in both Vernon and Kelowna.

Vernon library display1Vernon's Olympic display includes an impressive collection of pins from the 1988 Calgary Olympics.   

Vernon is also showcasing library collections, and related artifacts, on the topics of genetically modified organisms, food and society, early printing and typography, information literacy (“Keep calm and research on”), and “Books on Canada, eh?”

OC’s prison break

Melissa MunnMelissa Munn, an Okanagan College sociology professor from Vernon, recently did a lengthy radio interview on The Prison Radio Show at McGill University’s radio station, CKUT 90.3 FM. The show aired on Jan. 30.

In this interview, Munn spoke about research she did on recidivism rates of former Federal prison inmates and the book she co-wrote on the subject with Chris Bruckert, On The Outside, From Lengthily Imprisonment to Lasting Freedom.

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, “the research demonstrates that individuals who have served lengthily prison terms are capable of successfully returning to, and making contributions to, the community,” says Munn.

To listen to the interview following this link: Prison Radio Show. 

Professor's literary battle

Sean JohnstonKelowna author and Okanagan College English professor Sean Johnston has a short story going head to head with eight other short stories as part of Deathmatch, a literary competition hosted by Canadian independent arts magazine, brokenpencil.

In Deathmatch, site visitors to can vote once every hour for their favourite story, participate in the sizzling commentary, and then blog, tweet, and share their choice with friends. Johnston’s story is entered in the quarterfinals, running from Feb. 10 - 16.  He is facing off against Vancouver writer R. Daniel Lester.

“I entered for the fun of the experience and because I wanted to get a few of my stories published in advance of my short-story collection being released this fall,” said Johnston.

“I’ve taught creative writing in workshop format for 25 years. Contests like this help me remember what it’s like to get feedback on my work. It can reveal things you’re not aware of, and really speaks to the element of risk taking in all writing.”

Johnston teaches English literature and creative writing at the College’s Kelowna campus, and is an active and widely published author. In 2013, his fourth book, “Listen All You Bullets,” was released. In fall 2014, Thistledown Press will publish his latest collection of short stories, tentatively titled We Don’t Listen. 

For more about Johnston and the contest, read the press release.

Feb. 11, 2014 Vol. 8, issue 22


IT Services updates the App

The Okanagan College App has undergone another upgrade and now boasts even more features, including events, contact information for emergencies, Inside Okanagan College newsletter link, and access to the Bookstore.

The App now supports the Blackberry platform—in addition to Apple and Android. The app is free to download and includes a variety of resources and information for students. Go to the App Store to ensure that you have the newest version.

Applications open for 2014-15 Innovation Fund

Okanagan College employees can now apply to the 2014-15 Innovation Fund.

Funding is available for three types of activities: scholarly release (scholarship, research and creative activities), innovative course delivery, and improved student support. The size of the fund is limited – typical requests range from $1,000 to $15,000.

Employees may apply either individually or as a group and should propose projects that contribute to discipline-based applied research, creative and scholarly work, applied technology, product and process innovation, research or application related to learning and teaching activities in course delivery and innovative student support activities.

Complete details and the application form can be found in myOkanagan, under OC Express - Forms, Innovation Fund.  

Applications must be submitted to Deans/Directors by Apr. 21. Deans/Directors will review for completeness and then forward suitable applications to Liz Plamondon in the Vice President Education office by May 2.

Education Council call for nominations

Education Council is looking for nominations for two support staff representatives and six portfolio faculty representatives for two-year terms running from Aug. 1, 2014 to Jul. 31, 2016.

Education Council considers curriculum and educational policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations at Okanagan College. Find out more at About EdCo.

Nominations are open from Feb. 7 to 21. Elections will be taking place from Mar. 10 to 14. 

Volunteers needed for Arts and Science Info Night 

Arts and Science University Transfer Info Nights are designed for prospective students who want to find out about starting their Arts or Science degree at Okanagan College; why they should chose Okanagan College; how to transfer credits to B.C. universities and more. Volunteers are needed for the following events in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon:
Feb. 26: A mix and mingle with faculty and students followed by a College Prep 101 presentation at 7 p.m. Takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence. If you can volunteer, contact Jill Smith.

Feb. 27:  A mix and mingle with faculty and students. Takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Atrium,  Centre for Learning. If you can volunteer, contact Cassandra McFarland.
Mar. 13: Information session with presentations and Q&A with faculty. Takes place at 6 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. If you can volunteer, contact Tawnya Cameron.


Register now for Half Marathon event

Run don’t walk to register now for the Okanagan College Half Marathon on Apr. 6. Participants have three distances to choose from: the half-marathon, the half-marathon relay and the 10 km. Lace up your sneakers, strap on your fuel belt and get training.  

Visit for information and registration details.

If you’re not up for the physical exertion of the event, then you an always get involved by volunteering. Contact Michelle Lowry if you can help out.

Studio Woodworking demonstration

The Studio Woodworking program in Kelowna is hosting a Tool Demonstration from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks on Feb. 21-22. This is a rare opportunity to see high-quality hand tools and fine woodworking in action. Fri. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and the Sat. from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; in the Trades Building, room T102, Kelowna campus. For more information, visit

ILT Lunch and Learn

Accountability vs. Autonomy. How do provinces and post-secondary institutions balance accountability with institutional autonomy? Okanagan College's Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke Jim Barmby recently completed his dissertation on the relationship between Alberta’s universities and the governments of Premiers Peter Lougheed, Don Getty and Ralph Klein, in comparison with similar policy developments in B.C.

The event takes place on Feb. 18 from noon-1 p.m., in room 141, at the Salmon Arm campus; and Mar. 6, noon-1 p.m., in the Lecture Theatre, at the Kelowna campus. For more information, visit

The Flipped Classroom: Learners Take Charge of their own Learning. An effective way to encourage learners to “take charge” of their learning is to make better use of face-to-face classroom time. In this session, Math Educator Graham Johnson explains how the Flipped Classroom concept completely changed the way he thought about education. Research on student perceptions of the Flipped Classroom and how this approach impacted student engagement, communication and achievement will be explored.

The event takes place on Feb. 21, noon-1 p.m., in room E309, at the Kelowna campus. For more information, visit the If you can’t make it to this event, watch it via webcast at this link.

Ekahi Method Book Launch

Okanagan College Therapist Assistant instructor Dr. Brett Wade is hosting a book launch for the Ekahi Method at the Kelowna campus bookstore on Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The author will be giving a presentation on the method he created that teaches people to tap into their own base frequency to improve their health and relationships. Tea will be served and Wade will be available to answer questions and sign books after the presentation. For information, contact Brett Wade.

Explore the science of superheroes

Having the power, agility and speed of the world’s greatest superheroes may seem like it can only happen in comic books, but according to neurobiologist E. Paul Zehr, it is possible.

Learn more about Dr. Zehr, who is a professor and head of the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Victoria, and his research during Is there a superhero in you? on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m. at the lecture theatre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

The event is part of the Science and Society Speaker series. Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit


The Canadian Culinary Championships, which took place Feb. 7 and 8 in Kelowna at Okanagan College and the Delta Grand made headlines, see Chef, Instructor and judge Perry Bentley discusses the Canadian Culinary Championships, Culinary event finds a home in Kelowna, Contest cranks up heat on chefs, Chefs get cooking today, and Chefs ready for the culinary Grand Finale.

Chinese New Year celebrations took place at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Jan. 31, see Happy Lunar New Year.

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors saw the Chair and Vice Chair re-elected to their positions, see Denesiuk retains vice chair role, and College board chair, vice-chair re-elected.

It was announced that James Coble will become the College’s new director of Student Services. See WFN advocate takes on leadership task, New college director works his way up, and Familiar face takes on new role at Okanagan College.

An upscale dessert gala showcased the talents of Okanagan College’s pastry arts students, see Sweet event set for Feb. 14, and OC Pastry Arts students excited to showcase upscale desserts.

Eight Okanagan College students received Irving Barber grants, see Aboriginal students sharing in awards.

Okanagan College professors develop groundbreaking new course on sustainability, see New course breaks online learning barriers.

Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing program gets attention for its 50 years of training nurses in the valley, see OC provides nursing tradition, Info session on practical nursing, and Learn about career in nursing.

Therapist Assistant program Instructor Brett Wade is hosting a seminar in Kelowna on Feb. 15, see announcement in Kelowna Capital News.

The Okanagan College Baseball team opened their 2014 season in Florida, see Coyotes heading south for spring training.

Okanagan College Coyotes’ baseball coach Jared Johnson showed midget players how improve their technique, see Warming up for spring.

Okanagan College is joining eight other B.C. post secondary institutions in the Skills Bridge Research project, see Project measures skills training.

The Kelowna campus hosted the Business Expo and Employment Fair on Feb. 5, see College hosting employment fair, and Career opportunities abound.

Penticton area author, naturalist and honorary fellow, Richard Cannings hosted a book launch, see Cannings to sign copies of new book.

Okanagan College was the location of a BCGEU event on home support for the elderly on Feb. 6, see B.C. ombudsperson leads discussion on home support.

A UVic neurobiologist will speak at the Science in Society speaker series at the Vernon campus on Feb. 15, see Professor studies superheroes.


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

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 Feb. 25,  2014.