Classic satire sure to impress theatregoers

The Government InspectorOkanagan College and the Red Dot Players are presenting The Government Inspector, Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation of the classic 1836 satire by Nikolai Gogol at the Kelowna campus lecture theatre from Mar. 13-16.

When corrupt officials in a small Russian town mistake an unemployed clerk for an inspector sent by the Tsar they go to great lengths to win the clerk’s favour. When the clerk realizes the officials' mistake, he decides to take full advantage of the situation, happily accepting their gifts, bribes, and hospitality.

“In addition to being a hilarious comedy, The Government Inspector is a biting commentary on the nature of corruption, as relevant to the present day as it was to the 19th century,” says Okanagan College English professor and the play’s director, Jeremy Beaulne.

The cast and stage crew is made up of a mix of students, employees, alumni and community members. Mike Minions, Mike Boulter and Ann Marie Ruether, who is also doing the costumes, are producing the play.

Performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will commence at 7:30 p.m.; the Sunday matinee starts at 2 p.m. Regular tickets are $15 and student/senior tickets are $12, which can be purchased at Mosaic Books and the Okanagan College Kelowna Campus Store.

 For more information, visit the Red Dot Players online.

Engineering creativity with pasta

Spaghetti Bridge 2014The 31st annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition took place on Friday, Mar. 7. More than 180 students of all ages from the Okanagan Valley came to the Kelowna Campus to build feats of engineering out of spaghetti for trophies and cash prizes.

In the morning, elementary school students participated in the non-competitive demonstration followed by the lightweight and team building competitions. At 12:30 p.m., Middle and Secondary School students and post-secondary entrants battled it out in the suspenseful show-stopping heavyweight competition that tested the amount of weight pre-built spaghetti bridges will support.

James Dessert, a Grade 8 student from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby, was the big winner. His bridge weighed in at a mere 994.99 grams, but more than held its weight as it took on 112.58 kilograms of pressure before collapsing before an enthusiastic crowd of students, parents, teachers and onlookers.

To put that in perspective, the bridge weighed less than a pineapple and held the equivalent weight of a baby elephant before shattering. 

Dessert took home $1,500 in first place winnings, courtesy of the event’s title sponsor, the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC).

Fellow Lumby student, Brendan Mattenley, Grade 9, was awarded third place with a 962.44-gram bridge that held 63.10 kilograms. Second place went to the Okanagan College team led by Glenn Watson, whose 970.64 gram bridge held 70.92 kilograms.

To see the full results of the competition, read the press release.

Doing good and going for gold

Enactus team win at regionalsEnactus Okanagan College students will be competing at the Enactus National Exhibition next month. The team earned their way to the competition, which takes place in Calgary in April, after a stellar showing at regionals this past weekend.

The student-run organization finished first in the Capital One Financial Literacy Education Challenge and the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge at the Calgary event. A third team from the College was named first runner-up in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The teams who competed at the regional challenge were comprised of a range of first- to fourth-year students who take classes at the College in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. 
The competitions offer Enactus students the opportunity to present the outcomes of a series of real-world educational initiatives and projects, each of which are student-led and impact members of the community. 

“The quality of the work that our Enactus students do in their communities and the professionalism that they bring to both their work and the competition is exceptional and it’s rewarding to see their accomplishments recognized by their success at the Regional competition,” said Sheilagh Seaton, one of the coaches of Enactus Okanagan College.

The National Enactus Exhibition takes place in Calgary at the end of April.

To learn more about the team members, read the press release.

Ryga Award shortlist announced

Ryga PosterThe 10th annual George Ryga award, granted to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness for a book published within the last year, will be presented at a gala on Thursday, Mar. 20, at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus Cafeteria.

Three books have made the shortlist for the prestigious annual award:

Adrienne Fitzpatrick’s The Earth Remembers Everything (Caitlin Press), Bev Sellars’ They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School (Talonbooks), and Gillian Wigmore’s Dirt of Ages (Nightwood Editions).

“We’re excited with the range and quality, compassion and depth of this year’s shortlisted books,” says Okanagan College professor and George Ryga Award committee member, Norah Bowman-Broz.

For details on the shortlisted books, see the press release.

Recognizing the next generation of skilled trades talent

Skills BCFrom carpentry to culinary arts, architectural computer-assisted drafting to welding, hundreds of students from Revelstoke to Osoyoos came to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on March 7 to test their skills in 10 different challenges at the 18th annual Trades and Technology Regional SkillsBC Competition. 

“Every year we try to provide a wide variety of competitions to test the Grade 10-12 competitors’ abilities,” says Dianne Holm, who has been organizing this event at the College for seven years, “and every year we are impressed with the level of the expertise and the skills they bring to the contests.”

The Okanagan College event is one of 12 regional competitions that occur throughout the province, and which feeds into the SkillsBC provincial competition, being held on Apr. 9 in Abbotsford.

The College-based event also features a junior skills competition for students in Grades 6-10 that sees them participating in a host of activity stations, where students, parents, teachers and the public can explore different trades and technologies, including aircraft maintenance engineering, robotics, motor vehicle trades, sheet metal, welding, and more.

To see the results of the competitions, visit the website.

New roof for Trades Complex is underway

Trade Complex Roof constructionConstruction to upgrade the existing roof of the Trades Complex began last week. 

One of the strategic goals of the $33 million Trades Complex project is to improve the energy efficiency of the existing building. Replacing the roof on the existing shops was identified as an important part of that strategy. With a current estimated R value of 5—the R-Value is an indication of how well a material insulates–this upgrade will see that value increase to an estimated value of 35 or more. It will also significantly improve the roof’s drainage of rainwater. This upgrade will help the Complex achieve its goal of being net zero on its energy use and consumption.

Other work being completed this spring includes the construction of the new plumbing shop between the carpentry shop and the collision repair building, construction of two volatile storage buildings in the trades compound, and West Campus Road repairs. Those repairs are scheduled to take place in March and will mean limited access to some areas for a short time. Signs have been posted on campus to indicate the restrictions.

Budding diplomats participate in first-ever Model UN

Model UN participantsA team of students from Okanagan College experienced diplomatic problem-solving firsthand at the Model United Nations demonstration, which took place at UBC Okanagan Feb. 28-Mar. 2. This was the first-ever Model UN held in B.C.’s interior.

The Model UN is an academic simulation of the United Nations in which delegates attempt to solve international issues by debating, collaborating and thinking critically. Participation helps students build skills in diplomacy, cooperation, and problem solving, which strengthen their global citizenship.

“Okanagan College students handled urgent international crises like assassinations and disease outbreaks with poise and confidence,” says Okanagan College Political Science professor Rosalind Warner.

“The Model United Nations represents a unique opportunity to develop important skills and we were excited to get the invitation from the UBCO Model UN club,” she says.

Students who participated in the event were Nisha Banga, Alexander Richards, Gail Pifer, Lucille Dixon, and Kate Torgerson.


Finance’s Mary Read featured on CBC’s Four Rooms

Mary ReadFinancial Services’ Mary Read recently took a short break from her role in accounts payable and headed to Toronto to tape an appearance on CBC’s new television series, Four Rooms.

The program features Canadians with prized possessions who are ready to sell their treasures to top buyers. The buyers wait in four separate rooms for the sellers—and here’s the catch—sellers can only visit one buyer at a time and if they turn down the offer, it’s off the table for good. Four rooms. Four buyers. Four chances to make—or lose—a fortune.

Read’s episode will air on Sunday, Mar. 16 at 8 p.m. Up for grabs is a piece of Emily Carr pottery Mary was given in 1999 when she visited a cousin in England.  

She has been sworn to secrecy and can’t divulge what will happen on the episode—tune in to find out.   

Takoff takes on Top Chef

Evelyn TakoffOkanagan College alumna Evelynn Takoff began her quest to be named Canada’s Top Chef this week as the first episode of the Food Network’s popular show aired on Monday.

The 28-year-old Culinary Arts graduate is the chef de cuisine at micro bar bites in Kelowna. Formerly of RauDZ Regional Table, Takoff apprenticed under Chef Rod Butters and focuses her cooking on farm-to-table principles. Takoff completed her Level Three Cook Apprenticeship at Okanagan College in 2011.

Top Chef Canada airs at 10 p.m. on Monday nights on the Food Network.

New lecture series launches in Salmon Arm

James WoodDue to the generosity of a Salmon Arm-Shuswap area resident, a new lecture and event series is launching this month.

“This lecture is the first in an ongoing series of events promoting Aboriginal history and environmental stewardship with the intent of fostering greater peace and understanding in our community,” says Jim Barmby, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke.

“This exciting new series wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Dan MacQuarrie, a retired United Church Minister, humanitarian and longtime resident of the area,” he says.

The first event in the series is a lecture by military historian and Okanagan College professor, Dr. James Wood on Mar. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Salmar Classic Theatre in Salmon Arm. Admission to the event is a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the Salmon Arm Food Bank.

To commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of WWI (July 28), Wood will chronicle the experiences of First Nations soldiers who volunteered to fight in the war in Europe even though they were denied the equal rights of citizenship back home.

“Ultimately this is a story of the Great War and of great expectations,” says Wood.

For more information on this event, visit

Hawley's "Jumbo" named top five finalist in national short story contest

HawleyOkanagan College professor and author Alix Hawley has done it again. Her short story “Jumbo” has been named as one of the top five finalists in the Canada Writes - 2014 CBC Shorty Story Prize.

This marks the second time Hawley has been a finalist in the competition. In addition to being a finalist in 2013, Hawley also won CBC’s BloodLines writing contest.  

“Jumbo” tells a story of love between a child and an African bush elephant at the London Zoo. Follow this link to read the acclaimed short story.

Hawley was interviewed about her work, read Alix’s Q & A with CBC.
There is a reader’s choice component to the contest. Visit the Canada Writes website for more on the finalists, the contest, and to help her Hawley succeed by voting for “Jumbo.”

Okanagan College graduate lands job and scholarship all in one week

Sherri UsherA student who recently completed her Legal Administrative Assistant Certificate at Okanagan College now has a much closer relationship with her new employer than she ever imagined.

Sherri Usher, 23, started the week in a new job with Pushor Mitchell, shortly after a two-week practicum with the Kelowna law firm.

By week’s end, she not only had a few workdays under her belt, but a $1,000 scholarship as well—and from the very same firm who employed her.

“I hope you will use this well,” said Pushor Mitchell partner Alf Kempf, who is also the President of the Okanagan College Foundation.

Usher has had a long interest in justice issues having completed her Criminal and Social Justice program at Okanagan College before entering the Legal Administrative Assistant program.

“I’ve just been on the job for three days now,” Usher said. “And then to get a scholarship like this—it’s fantastic. It will really help with my student loans.”

The Pushor Mitchell Lawyers Scholarship is an annual award based on academic achievement for students who take both streams of the College program—litigation and corporate/conveyancing.

The Pushor Mitchell Lawyers Scholarship is one of the hundreds of awards the Okanagan College Foundation hands out to students each year. Since the Foundation was established in 2002, donors have helped in giving out more than $9.2 million in awards of various kinds to students throughout the region.

Literary event brings together two authors

SaklikarRetired Okanagan College English professor and former Regional Dean John Lent will be appearing at the Kelowna campus for a literary event with author Renee Sarojini Saklikar on Mar. 27 in Room B112 at the Kelowna Campus at 7:30 p.m.

The pair will read from their new works and a discussion will follow. Lent, who is an accomplished author of 10 books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, will read selections from his upcoming release, Kitchen Sessions.

Renee Sarojini Saklikar will read from her debut release, Children of Air India, which has received rave reviews from critics. The powerful and haunting work is a long documentary poem about Air India Flight 182, which serves to honour the victims and explore the nature of personal loss in the midst of public trauma. Saklikar lost her aunt and uncle in the 1985 tragedy.

Mar. 11, 2014 Vol. 8, issue 24


New policies in effect for administrators, exempt, excluded staff

New policies regarding terms and conditions for Okanagan College’s administrators, excluded employees and senior managers are now in effect, after receiving approval from the College’s Board of Governors, the Post-Secondary Employers Association (PSEA), and the Public Sector Employers Council (PSEC).

The policies, which outline terms and conditions as well as benefits, replace older policies, some of which dated to 1998. They were redeveloped through a process of consultation with each affected employee group. They do not impact salaries. Benefit changes in the policies have taken place within the limits of the B.C. government’s mandate that any improvements had to be balanced with corresponding cost savings; in other words a net-zero cost target.

The policies can be found online through the Human Resources section of the website.

Nominations are open for Employee Excellence Awards

Celebrate the people who work at Okanagan College and their outstanding achievements by nominating them for an Employee Excellence Award.

Nominations are open now through to midnight on Mar. 31. Finalists and winners will be honoured at an awards ceremony that takes place on Wednesday, May 21.

All those employees who have completed a credential, been published or received an award from an external organization in the past year deserve to be recognized too. Please share your achievements, or those of your colleagues by completing the Milestone Recognition form.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories:

Career Achievement
Key Directions
Scholarly Activity
Service Excellence
Strong Start
Teaching Excellence
President's Award

View the complete criteria and nominate your colleagues by visiting the website:

Calling all green thumbs

The Good to Grow community garden in Kelowna is about to launch for the spring season. Gardeners, no experience required, can rent a plot at the Kelowna Campus for $15 per year. If you only want to cultivate a portion of a 10-foot by 4-foot plot, you can share one. Contact Angelika March at ext. 4501 if you are interested.

March madness sale

All of the Campus Store locations—Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon—are clearing out inventory in March to make room for new arrivals coming in April. From Mar. 3 to 26 score 25% off on clothing, giftware, and general interest books. Also, enjoy an additional 25% off clearance items.

Please note Campus Stores will be closing for inventory on the following dates:

  • Vernon          Mar. 27-Mar. 31
  • Salmon Arm  Mar. 27-Mar. 31
  • Penticton       Mar. 27-Mar. 31
  • Kelowna        Mar. 28-Mar. 31

All Campus Stores will reopen on Tuesday, Apr. 1.

Limited IT AV support

IT AV technical support will be limited for the next month in Kelowna. If you require AV support, please submit an online IT Service Request including the dates, times, location, and contact person information for each upcoming event that requires AV Support staff.

IT Services requires a minimum notice of at least one week for any event where assistance or instruction on set up or tear down of AV equipment is needed. Any AV equipment required for your event should be reserved through AV Bookings, which you will find in myOkanagan under OC Express- Requests and Notices or by calling ext. 4444.

Any requests outside of regular business hours (Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will require your department FOAPAL for overtime and a minimum of one week’s notice.

Vote now for Education Council

Two candidates have put their names forward for the Business Portfolio seat on Education Council: Edie Lowes and Drew McGillivray.

All faculty and vocational instructors are eligible to vote. Voting takes place online on the Elections tab in myOkanagan from Mar. 10 to 14.

No candidates have come forward for the Health and Social Development portfolio seat. Any interested persons should contact Rick Gee, Education Council Chair, to discuss this opportunity.

If you have any questions, please contact Inga Wheeler, Chief Elections Officer.

For information on Education Council, please visit

College Pension Plan

The College Pension Board of Trustees announced upcoming design changes to simplify and modernize the College Pension Plan. It's important for plan members to be aware of these changes and how they may affect you. To view the plan changes, click here. As more information becomes available, the College Pension Plan website will be updated.


35th Annual OBSA Business Banquet

The Okanagan Business Students' Association holds its annual business banquet on Mar. 25, 5-9 p.m., at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna.

This popular networking event provides the 200 attendees the opportunity to network with business leaders, students and faculty.

This year’s keynote speaker is executive consultant David Gouthro. As the 2012 National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and current President of The Consulting Edge, Gouthro is an adept speaker who is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating presentation.  

Tickets for the event are $40 for students, $75 for employees, $100 for business professionals. A table of 10 can be purchased for $900.

For more information and to order tickets, visit the website or email

Inside look at the LOOC

On Apr. 22, the Institute for Learning and Teaching features an insider’s look into the Local Open Online Course (LOOC) that the College recently launched. The groundbreaking online course linked the philosophy of place-based sustainability education with a connectivist learning approach.

Find out from the creators Arnica Rowan, Business Professor, Rosalind Warner, Political Science Professor, Ross McKerlich, Educational Technology Coordinator, and Maria Marsh, Research Assistant, how the course was planned, what challenges they had, and the lessons they learned. Event takes place from Noon to 1 p.m., in S104, Lecture Theatre, Kelowna Campus.

Half marathon, relay or 10 km run

The Okanagan College Half Marathon is taking place on Apr. 6. Participants have three distances to choose from: half-marathon, the half-marathon relay and the 10 km run. Click here for more information and registration details.

OC4 Cyclosportif

The second annual three-day campus-to-campus ride takes place Jun. 13-15. Riders of all abilities are welcome. Choose to ride one day or all three. Registration is $125 for the first day and $25 for each additional day. After May 1, price increases to $150. Includes gourmet post ride dinner each day, prize draws daily, aid stations and mechanical support. Rides back to campus of origin are available for a fee. Click here for details and to register.

Science in Society Speaker Series

Mar. 13: Music and the Brain: Why Do We Move to Music? Dr. Jessica Grahn, cognitive psychologist and assistant professor in the Brain and Mind Institute at the Department of Psychology at Western University, was the first to discover that our brain's movement areas respond spontaneously to the rhythm of music. She will explore why music affects our brains so profoundly and how we can channel that power for treating degenerative neurological diseases. Admission is $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon Campus Lecture Theatre.

For more information, visit For tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit

Healthy eating resources

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance Provider (EFAP), PPC Canada, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and well-being.

This month’s focus is on strategies for maintaining a healthy diet. Read the March edition of the Balance Sheet newsletter to learn how to eat healthy and not feel deprived while dining out as well as tips for ensuring your overall nutritional plan is manageable.  

The webinar, "Simple, Healthy Eating Strategies," examines a variety of techniques to assist people to identify and reach their nutritional goals. Webinar takes place on Mar. 26 at noon.
To register for the free webinar, click here.


The 2014 Spaghetti Bridge competition took place on Mar. 7. Students from all across the Okanagan Valley participated, see College hosts spaghetti bridge competition today, Okanagan kids use their noodles for engineering feats, Boy beats college kids in bridgaghetti contest, Lumby students dominate heavyweight rankings, Final results from Okanagan College spaghetti bridge building contest, and Results from the spaghetti bridge building contest at Okanagan College.

An engineering week supplement in the Kelowna Daily Courier featured articles about Okanagan College students and programs, see Tech program hits mark with students interested in sustainability, and Technology education and the skills shortage.

Enactus Okanagan College students won top honours in two categories at the Enactus Regional Exhibition and have earned themselves a spot in the finals next month, see coverage in the Kelowna Capital News: The Best and Brightest.

Okanagan College's Therapist Assistant program has been recognized nationally through its recent accreditation, read more in the Daily Courier: College program gains accreditation.

Okanagan College and the Red Dot Players are getting ready to raise the curtain on its new play, The Government Inspector, see Classic Russian satire playing at OK College.

An Okanagan College student extolled the virtues of a College education, see Science study option rewarding for OC student, and Bright future ahead for Vernon’s Weixl.

The College recently launched a virtual orientation tour, which won both gold and bronze medals at the Education Digital Marketing Awards, read an article from the Kelowna Capital News: Virtual video tour highlights Okanagan College.

A new partnership is making a lecture series in Salmon Arm a reality. Read about it in the Salmon Arm Observer: Lecture series planned for college.

An information night was held in Vernon to highlight the benefits of Okanagan College's Business programs. Read the Vernon Morning Star's coverage in: College spotlights business program.

A new partnership between Okanagan College and Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre will help boost the industry, see Partnership supports cleantech industry, and Energy alternative presented at OC.

The 18th annual Trades and Technology Regional Skills BC Competition saw secondary school students competing in 10 challenges at Okanagan College, see high school students put trades and tech skills to the test.

The Gert Beadle Awards were held at the International Women’s Day celebration at Okanagan College on Mar. 8, see Last chance to nominate for Beadle Award, Nominations sought for next Gert Beadle Award recipient, and College hosts International Women’s Day event.

Okanagan College recently launched a way for students to stay in touch post-graduation, read a Kelowna Capital News article:  Online netCommunity to connect with OC alumni.

Okanagan College alumnus, Shane Koyczan performed with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, see Spoken word artist, Words and music, Poet goes symphonic, Koyczan appears with Okanagan Symphony, and Poet pumped for latest gig.

An event was held on Feb. 14 to bring awareness to missing or murdered Aboriginal women at the Kelowna Campus, see Aboriginal women the focus of recent college public forum, and College event focuses on Aboriginal women.

Alumna and Salmon Arm native Jenna Angle cemented her status as a rising star in the culinary world by winning silver at the Young Chefs Americas competition, see Young chef cements status among worlds best.

A progress report on Premier Christy Clark showcased her platform and how important she feels skills training, particularly at Okanagan College, are to the B.C. economy. See Premier MLA, and Premier: B.C. has climbed out of a fiscal hole.

Okanagan College hosted auditions for CBC’s popular startup show at its Kelowna campus, see Entrepreneurs line up for Dragons’ Den, and Okanagan Startup Week kicks off.

Dr. Eric Buckley, who was a 30-year employee of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College, died on Feb. 21, see Memorial Notice, and Buckley was a friend to education—and taxpayers.

It was a mass of seed sellers at an event at Okanagan College Kelowna Campus, see Okanagan College Seeds, and Seedy Saturday sure sign that spring is coming.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 March 25, 2014.