Strategic Plan launch

In late 2015 Okanagan College’s Board of Governors approved the College’s new strategic plan, which will help shape and guide the institution’s activities and priorities over the next five years.

President Jim Hamilton will be visiting each of the campuses over the course of a week to engage in a discussion about how the strategic plan will impact the College’s future.

All employees are invited and encouraged to attend one of the sessions.

Sessions are as follows:

  • Penticton: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 12 – 1 p.m. PC113
  • Salmon Arm: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Room 143
  • Kelowna: Friday, Jan. 22, 12 – 1 p.m. Lecture Theatre
  • Vernon: Monday, Jan. 25, 12 – 1 p.m. Lecture Theatre

Lunch will be provided for the three sessions that take place over the noon hour. Coffee and refreshments will be provided for the session in Salmon Arm.

Join the conversation with Jim and take the first step in bringing the new strategic plan to life.

Connie Denesiuk leading College’s Board of Governors

Denesiuk Inside OCSummerland’s Connie Denesiuk is the incoming Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors, stepping into the role as of Jan. 1, 2016. She has served the Board at the College since 2012 and brings a distinguished history of leading education organizations to the table. Previously she was Chair of the Okanagan Skaha School District for nine of the 19 years she served as a school trustee. She also served for three years as President of the B.C. School Trustees Association, was a director of the Canada School Board Association, and is the former chair of the Trail of the Okanagans.

As chair, Denesiuk is following in the footsteps of Tom Styffe, who finished six years of service on the Board (three as board chair). She will be joined on the executive by vice-chair Doug Manning who has served on the Board since 2010.

“Over the past decade, Okanagan College has become an incredible success story in the province and has earned national attention for its achievements,” notes Denesiuk. “There are incredible opportunities as we move forward, and I’m pleased to be picking up where Tom Styffe leaves us.”

Learn more about the current Board members here, and follow this link to read the press release about Denesiuk’s new role.

Spring Speakers Series returns to Penticton campus

Now in its 12th year, the Penticton Speakers Series returns for another exciting spring season that will see 11 speakers take the stage weekly throughout January to April. The Monday evening talks, which are held in the lecture theatre at the Penticton campus, will range in topics and will include: art, history, housing affordability, mental health, sustainability, the environment, immigration and community involvement.

South Okanagan-Similkaneen Regional Dean Donna Lomas finds that the highlight of the fine arts in this roundup of speakers is intriguing. "We usually only experience artists – painters, actors, authors – through their creative interpretation. But peeling back the layers, the speakers will candidly share the struggles and rewards of being an artist, and the immense benefit the arts play in our community,” she explained.

Admission is by donation, benefiting the College’s Emergency Student Bursary program. Parking on campus is complimentary for the events, which start at 7 p.m.

Upcoming January/February Schedule of events:

  • Jan. 18: Robert Ryan, Okanagan College Business Professor, “Affordable Housing in British Columbia - Perspectives”
  • Feb. 1: Janet White, Registered Clinical Counsellor at Maya Counselling, “The Importance of Anxiety”
  • Feb. 22: Frances Greenslade, Okanagan College English Professor, “A Writing Life in Two Metaphors”
  • Feb. 29: Jeremy Beaulne, Okanagan College English Professor, “The Play's the Thing: Community Theatre in the Okanagan Valley”

To view March and April events, and for detailed lecture descriptions, visit the website and read the press release here.

Local radio stations boost Trades
entrance bursaries contest

Trades contestProspective Okanagan College Trades students who have their sights set on studying in the Culinary Arts, Collision Repair, RV Technician, Residential Construction and Sheet Metal Worker programs have a chance to earn one of 10 $5,000 entrance bursaries made possible as part of a generous donation made by The Joyce Foundation in December 2015 to the College.

Local radio stations up and down the valley are giving a boost to this great opportunity for students; coordinated in partnership with Sun FM in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton and EZ Rock Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, each outlet has donated significant media and promotional support to share details to potential students.

Broe Tree BrewingLast year, between juggling a busy work schedule and caring for her three-year-old son, sous chef Rachel Broe thought her dream of becoming a certified Red Seal Chef would have to stay on the backburner. Then she found the recipe for a new future in 500 words or less, and won the first Trades Tuition Competition. She is now enrolled in the Professional Cook Apprenticeship program at the Kelowna campus and has also landed a new job sharing her culinary creativity at the Tree Brewing Beer Institute.

“I was completely overwhelmed when I found out I had won, it was a life-changing moment,” says Broe. “Cooking has always been my passion, but my son is my top priority. Receiving a bursary like this has taken the stress out of going back to school.”

Read the press release here to learn more about how the bursary helped Broe achieve her educational dreams.

Entries are now being accepted for the second round of the Trades Tuition Competition, which is open to B.C. residents aged 17 years or older. Entry deadline is Jan. 31, 2016. Full contest rules and more information about how to enter can be found at

BC Student Outcomes Survey underway

Student outcomes logoThe 2016 cycle for the BC Student Outcomes Survey is once again gearing up. From now until June, former students of diplomas, associate degrees, certificates, and apprenticeship programs will be surveyed either by telephone or online to share their experience at the College.

Gathering valuable data from our former students is critical in ensuring the high standards the College has set for itself are not only met, but exceeded. The data provided through the BC Student Outcomes Survey, which Okanagan College partners with BC Stats to survey our recent graduates about their College experience, their education, and employment outcomes, provides insights into what is working well, and ways we can innovate improvement. This information helps us further our mission of educating, training and supporting our students to excel in the workplace, succeed in further education and become lifelong learners.

Previous years’ results are available to the public via a dashboard on the BC Stats website. For more information about the survey, visit the BC Student Outcomes Project website.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Jan O'Brien in Institutional Research at local 4529.

Dine Around menu at Infusions Restaurant

InfusionsLocal foodies rejoice: Dine Around Thompson Okanagan (previously called Wine & Dine) is returning for its 14th year, launching on Jan. 20 and running Jan. 21 until Feb. 7. Infusions Restaurant at the Kelowna campus is excited to be participating once again and opens its doors for diners to experience the flavourful culinary creations prepared by Okanagan College Culinary Arts students.

The Infusions Restaurant $35 three-course menu features a choice of pan-seared scallops with a cannellini bean bacon puree and pancetta crisp or a smoked duck and confit crepinette with chutney, farm greens and a cherry gastrique as an appetizer.

For the main course choose from a sterling spring chicken breast and cranberry sage sausage served with a fall squash risotto, roasted beets and rainbow carrots garnished with parsley pesto or a crispy skin sablefish and giant prawn duo served with quinoa, corn, sautéed kale and a prawn-butter hollandaise.

Saving room for dessert, a local apple tart in a honey thyme crust with vanilla pastry cream and garnished with caramel sauce, apple gelée and cinnamon spiced mascarpone will be served. The menu will be expertly paired with outstanding local wines, which can be added on for an additional $14.95.

For reservations, call 250-862-5455

Okanagan College will also host the launch party for Dine Around Thompson Okanagan on Jan. 20 from 7 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and will include bites from the participating restaurants, and sips from BC VQA wineries, and local beer and spirits producers.

More than 50 restaurants across the Thompson Okanagan region are participating in the event, which is organized by the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association in partnership with Wines of British Columbia. Offering great deals on gastronomic experiences, restaurants are enticing diners to go out for dinner during the cold and somewhat gloomy winter season with special $15, $25, $35, and $45 three-course menus. For more information visit the website.

Over $325,000 awarded to students this fall

Steed awardOf the $1 million given out this year, Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation handed out more than $325,000 to students at fall awards ceremonies in Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon in November. Another $75,000 in support went out to students at the Salmon Arm campus awards ceremony in June, bringing the grand total awarded at this year’s ceremonies to over $400,000. The ceremonies enable students to connect with the individuals and organizations behind the awards.

Steven Steed, a father of four, is among the 866 students throughout the region who collectively received more than $1 million in scholarships and bursaries provided by Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation over the past year—many of which are made possible through the generous support of donors.

For Steed, the $2,500 he received between two Okanagan College entrance awards and the John and Nancy Woodworth Award means he can finally reach for the career that has long been a dream. Having successfully completed upgrades at the College over the past year, he will begin the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2016. A certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Steed’s decision to continue his education and become a nurse was inspired by his sons Nicholas and Cameron, both of whom were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes before the age of 2.

“I’m so thankful to the generous donors,” says Steed. “These are people who didn’t know anything about me, had never heard my story, and yet they cared enough to invest in my future.”

Read the press release to learn more about Steed’s goals of becoming a nurse and how donors are helping him get there.

Donors keep Trades complex construction on schedule

Trades bldgGreat progress continues to be made on the new Trades Training Complex in Kelowna. Sustainable siding, windows, and other finishings are bringing the exterior of the building closer to completion, while behind the scenes new classrooms and student spaces continue to take shape.

One of the highlights during a recent tour by Okanagan College Foundation staff was a stroll along the picturesque hallway that will unite the new building with the existing retrofitted shops and classrooms, complete with a large viewing window into the carpentry/joinery shop.

Over the holiday season, the building benefited from receiving a combined $132,000 from donors in the community.

Tony and Franca Lunelli, founders of Anthony’s Subaru, pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign to assist with the building and outfitting of a classroom space to train the automotive tradespeople of tomorrow. Read the press release here.

Inspired by their experience mentoring trades students nearly a decade ago, long-time College donors Jim and Yvonne Lamb, owners of Vintage Design Ltd., have stepped up once again to contribute $32,000 to help with the renovations to the carpentry shop. Follow this link to read more.

Honouring his late father and the founder of Cookson Motors Ltd., owner Hugo Cookson Jr. donated $50,000. Experiencing growth in his commercial truck sales, leasing and servicing company, Cookson values the importance of having skilled apprentices to hire to keep his, and his father’s business, on the upward trajectory. Read the press release here.

Generous donations have helped ensure progress is being made on the new complex which is on track for a Spring opening.


Student’s HR project set to help the beauty industry

Hughes HR ManualAn Okanagan College student’s class project is turning into a valuable resource for B.C.’s estheticians and spa owners and will be presented at a Vancouver convention that draws nearly 5,000 people.

Faye Hughes, a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration degree student, has produced a 50-page human resources manual as part of her Social Entrepreneurship course.

Drawing from her own experience as a hairstylist and from working in spas, in the manual Hughes focused on helping owners of small- and medium-sized businesses understand and implement good human resources practices. She worked closely with Heather Stewart, the Co-President of the Estheticians and Spa Professionals Association British Columbia and the organization’s board to understand and address members’ needs for HR information and direction.

The manual has received interest from a college in the Lower Mainland to be used in its esthetician training program. Also, Leading Spas of Canada – the national organization of spa owners – is reviewing it for possible distribution to its members.

Hughes found it satisfying to work with a professional organization with well-defined needs and being able to address those, she reports. But more than that “it was incredible how everything I’ve learned over the past four years in business at Okanagan College in human resources and other courses came into play with my experience on this.”

Since 2007 when the course was first offered, Okanagan College students have completed more than 200 projects with approximately 125 different organizations.  Read the press release for more details.

Making the case for evidence-based science
in the political arena

Dr.Katie GibbsAs Canada enters a new political era, scientists are optimistic about the future role science will have on Parliament Hill. Within days of coming into power, the federal Liberal government lifted a veil of secrecy by giving government scientists a green light to speak directly to the media and the public.  

On Jan. 19 Dr. Katie Gibbs, co-founder and Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, will address the role science may play in government decision-making in the near future. Her public talk “Evidence for Democracy: is science on the rise?” is part of the Science in Society Speakers Series held at the Vernon campus lecture theatre.  

Scientists’ ability to communicate freely about their work and concerns to both the media and public is paramount to ensure transparency in government decision-making that is supported by evidence-based science. Gibbs argues that government actions in recent years have weakened the country’s foundation for informed decision-making, but that the recent changes invoked by the Liberals are a promising first step.

Admission to the 7:30 p.m. lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. For more information, read the press release here or visit the website.

Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 10, Issue 20


Winter Convocation

The first convocation ceremony of 2016 will take place on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Kelowna campus in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning. The 10:30 a.m. ceremony will recognize the accomplishments of more than 300 students with credentials in Arts, Business, Computer Science, Engineering Technologies, and Health and Social Development.

Family Award applications:
deadline Jan. 31, 2016

The deadline to submit applications for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award is coming up. The award is designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees in programs or terms starting between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2016.
Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms,” and then click on “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 Jan. 31, 2016. 

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or call (250) 862-5419.

2016-17 holiday season closures

The updated holiday season closures schedule is now available, providing information about the Dec. 2016 and early Jan. 2017 closures at the College with regards to observance of Statutory Holidays. Employees are encouraged to review this document to help plan for staffing during the holidays and vacation planning.


Coyotes Baseball fundraiser:
Sportsnet’s Gregg Zaun

Jan. 14 - Join Sportsnet’s baseball and Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun for a fundraising event benefitting the Okanagan College Coyotes. Enjoy an evening of appetizers and beverages from The Canadian Brewhouse, a silent auction and a 50/50 draw.

The event will be in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 and available on the Coyotes website.

Roundabout Learning Series events

Jan. 15 – In “Proactive Moodling" Ross McKerlich, one of the College’s Education Technology Coordinators, will guide a workshop about common instructor tasks in Moodle that should be done early in the semester, and cover topics including configuring grades, groups, quizzes and assignments. The session will take place in room L203 at the Kelowna campus from 12 – 1 p.m.

Jan. 26 – In “LEAN Process Mapping to Improve your Business Practices” Registrar Jane Muskens will facilitate a session providing an effective LEAN mapping tool to help provide solutions to some common process issues faced in the workplace. Learn how to identify and resolve business practices and processes to streamline solutions to repetitive challenges, and also a method of inquiry to help you find the root cause of the process issues. The session takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room A131 at the Kelowna campus.

Jan. 29 – In “Project Management: Planning Phase” Business Professor Roger Wheeler will guide attendees through the planning phase of launching a new project including establishing tasks and activities, a realistic schedule and budget, and assigning resources to activities. The session is part of the Project Management Series and will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room L103 at the Kelowna campus.

For more information about these events please see the Roundabout website. Register for the workshops by email


The announcement of Connie Denesiuk as the Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors was reported across the region by media with articles published in the Penticton Western News, Vernon Morning Star, Kelowna Capital News, Okanagan Saturday, KelownaNow online, and also in a brief by business columnist Maxine DeHart in the Kelowna Capital News. The Penticton Herald also included Denesiuk and her role as a Liberal candidate in the fall federal election in the year-end biggest news stories of 2015 round-up.

Donors to the Bright Horizons: Building for Skills fundraising campaign continue to capture media interest. The Okanagan Saturday shared details of the $50,000 contribution by Anthony’s Subaru in the article Subaru comes thru. Okanagan Life Magazine and KelownaNow online also shared the news. 

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Capital News, Kelowna Daily Courier, and KelownaNow chose to highlight the $32,000 donation by Jim and Yvonne Lamb of Vintage Design to help with the carpentry shop renovations. 

The Vernon Morning Star’s article Trades given a lift reported on The Joyce Foundation’s $250,000 cheque given to the College in December that is helping to create entrance bursaries.

Read about the $50,000 donation by Cookson Motors, in honour of the owner’s father who founded the business, in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s article Cookson memorial, also in the Kelowna Capital News’ Donor honours father’s legacy, and online at KelownaNow.

In Openings forecast in education assistant field, the Salmon Arm Observer reports how the College is working with the North Okanagan Shuswap School District #83 to ensure the training of EA’s in anticipation of a gap resulting from retirements.

The Salmon Arm Observer also reported on tutoring available through the Okanagan College Volunteer Adult Literacy/Numeracy tutoring program. Read more in Free tutoring offered to adults.

It was a good news day when the Lake Country Food Assistance Society received keys to its new building. The College’s Vernon Residential Construction program students contributed 6,600 hours of work on the charitable project. Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton was on hand to witness the event, and was interviewed by Global Okanagan. Read more in the Kelowna Capital News article Keys to new food bank building handed over.

The Vernon Morning Star helped promote that Sportsnet’s baseball and Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun will speak at an Okanagan College Coyotes fundraiser event on Jan. 14 in the article Zaun all about Jays.

Business Administration degree student Faye Hughes’ excellent project work developing an HR manual is getting noticed by the esthetician industry as a valuable resource. Read more in the Okanagan Sunday article Student’s HR project could benefit entire industry. KelownaNow also shared Hughes’ success.

Business students raising funds for cancer research also caught the eye of news editors. The Kelowna Daily Courier shared with readers a photo and article about the Okanangan Business Students’ Association organizers of the Stash Bash fundraiser.

Associate of Arts Vernon student Daniel Green won the College's annual 3-Hour Short Story contest, as reported in the Vernon Morning Star on Dec. 18.

The Okanagan Saturday reported  that Okanagan College students are heading to the Queen’s University I.C.B.C. competition to show off their business acumen and skills in the article Kingston-bound.

Prospective trades students from School District 22 toured the Tolko Lavington Division Plant as part of a glimpse into the Dual Credit Trades Foundation program offered at Okanagan College. Read more in the Vernon Morning Star’s article Students explore career opportunities.

Fourth-year Hospitality Management student Maik Uhlmann, who is also a concierge manager at the Delta Grand hotel, received two scholarships at the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association AGM, as reported by the Business Examiner, the Kelowna Capital News, and the Okanagan Saturday.

College award recipient Steven Steed who earned two entrance awards and the John and Nancy Woodworth Award to help him pursue his nursing studies was featured in the Kelowna Daily Courier's article about the fall award ceremonies at the College.

Valley First Credit Union gave some Okanagan College Enactus students the opportunity to perform random acts of kindness by giving them Dashbands pre-loaded with $12 to carry out random acts of kindness, such as paying for people’s coffee, groceries and gas, as reported by the Okanagan Saturday.

Kaylin Smith, a second-year Human Service Work student at the College is featured as a Top Forty under 40 nominee by the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The upcoming Science in Society Speakers Series event with Dr. Katie Gibbs that will discuss the role of science in politics in an era of a new federal government made headlines in the Westside Weekly on Jan. 8, and also in the Okanagan Saturday Jan. 9 edition, and the Vernon Morning Star online.

Another popular event, the Canadian Culinary Championships and its Gold Medal Plates competition returns to Kelowna next month and was included in a brief by Maxine DeHart in the Kelowna Capital News.

The announcement of a proposed amphitheatre at the Vernon campus was a hot topic in the news, with input from both supporters and those opposed being captured in articles. Read more about the announcement in the Business Examiner’s Amphitheatre proposed for Okanagan College campus, the Vernon Morning Star’s Amphitheatre plans unveiled at OC and Neighbours protest theatre plan, and the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Neighbours not enthused about amphitheatre and also in Amphitheatre foes to pump up volume. Watch the Global Okanagan news segment here.  Diane Bond, Managing Director of the Okanagan Festival Society also contributed a letter to the editor in the Vernon Morning Star’s Dec. 18 edition.

In a year-end round-up and outlook for 2016 for Vernon, the Business Examiner included the Greater Vernon Athletic Park at the College’s Vernon campus noting that it has “received rave reviews from those involved in athletics.”

The Vernon Morning Star helped spread the word that LNG Canada announced $1 million in funding to support apprentices through a training fund and included a quote from the College's Dean of Trades Steve Moores.

The Kelowna Daily Courier explored how a simulation mannequin at UBCO is helping train nurses. The article referenced the partnership between Okanagan College and UBCO where nursing students can complete their first two years of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the College.

OC Culinary Arts alumnus and instructor Jeremy Luypen worked with the Kelowna Gospel Mission and RauDZ Regional Table restaurant to host a dinner for 20 homeless and low-income seniors. Read more in the Kelowna Daily Courier's article Dinner and gifts.

Alumna Kelsey Serwa earned a silver at a World Cup ski cross race in Italy which was widely reported by the Kelowna Capital News, Kelowna Daily Courier, and Okanagan Sunday newspapers. The Kelowna Capital News also wrote a feature article about Serwa’s return to competition after a year-and-a-half break.

Another sporty alumna, Kelly Scott will pursue her seventh B.C. Women’s curling title in Coquitlam this January. Read more in the Kelowna Capital News article B.C. Scotties Curling.

Central Okanagan Regional Dean Heather Schneider, Honorary Fellows Raghwa Gopal and Robert Fine, and Alumni John Perrot and Donnie Ungaro have joined the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission’s advisory board. Read more in the Okanagan Saturday article 43 people on economic advisory board.

Honorary Fellow and renowned singer Robert Fine was the guest soloist at the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra Christmas concert held in December, as reported by the Penticton Herald.

The Summerland Review reported that former Finance employee Juergen Krieger has passed the Chartered Professional Accountants Common Final Exam (CPA CFE).

The Summerland Review and the Penticton Herald shared the news of contributions to the Penticton Regional Hospital made by College Honorary Fellow Yasmin John-Thorpe, and her husband Rick Thorpe, who have both been long-time donors to the College.

The Okanagan College Faculty Association is giving away 30 cheques for $1,000 to current and former College students to help eliminate student debt, as reported by the Kelowna Daily Courier.


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

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The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Jan. 26, 2016.