Connections 2013

It’s almost time!

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the Okanagan College community will gather for Connections 2013 at the Vernon campus. Connections offers employees the opportunity to spend an informative day with colleagues from different departments and campuses to get energized for the start of a new academic year.

Daily activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with an overview session, followed by a morning workshop, buffet lunch, and an afternoon workshop. There are fun events planned, including a lunchtime scavenger hunt. Each day wraps up with a social featuring appetizers and samples from Tree Brewing, Okanagan Spirits and Mead from Planet Bee.

If you haven’t already registered, there is still time to reserve your spot at Connections by contacting Michelle Lowry at

Phil Ashman appointed Associate Dean

philA familiar face will be taking on a leadership role in Science, Technology and Health with the appointment of Phil Ashman as Associate Dean. Phil joined Okanagan College in 2002 as a professor in Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology. He became chair of the department in 2010.

“I’m humbled to have been given this opportunity as Associate Dean and very excited to be joining the Dean’s Office team for Science, Technology and Health,” said Phil. “Everyone has been so supportive and I’m looking forward to meeting and assisting all our faculty and staff wherever possible to continue to provide the best student experience possible.”

Phil has extensive experience in Information Technology and is an active researcher in the areas of social media in the classroom and the application of education technology. He has been an active participant in portfolio and institutional committees, including representing the College on the Board of Directors for the Okanagan Research and Innovation Council before the transition to Accelerate Okanagan.

“Phil is a welcome addition to Okanagan College’s Leadership Team,” said President Jim Hamilton. “His contribution in the classroom, as Chair, and in the various committees he has been a part of over the past decade has been significant. His experience and knowledge of the institution will be of great benefit to his colleagues and to our students.”

HootSuite Secures $165M to expand

holmesHootSuite, the social media analytics company founded by former Okanagan College student, Ryan Holmes, recently raised US$165M in venture capital financing that will be used for continued global expansion as well as product development.

HootSuite allows subscribers to manage their social media presence across multiple platforms from one dashboard. Started only four years ago, the company currently has over 300 employees and 7 million users. Free for users who employ only the basic functionality, the company makes its money through charging for use of advanced analytical tools that allow subscribers to monitor and manage their social media impact and engagement.

HootSuite’s impressive roster of clients includes major corporations such as PepsiCo, Sony Music and Telus.

HR Restructuring

Human Resources has announced the following changes to HR responsibilities.

Faculty/Vocational Changes

1.    Vanessa Morash, HR Advisor, will be on leave until October 14, 2014.
2.    Dawn Southern, HR Advisor, will temporarily replace Morash, assuming responsibility for support to Faculty and Vocational employees.
3.    Bianka Blandon has been appointed to a term position as HR Assistant with the Faculty/Vocational employee groups, and continues to be responsible for external advertising vacancies.

Support Staff Changes

1.    Arlene DeBruin, HR Advisor, has been temporarily seconded to replace Dawn Southern as HR Advisor, Support Staff.
2.    Carmen Nadon, HR Assistant, will be assisting Arlene DeBruin in the Support Staff employee group.
Exempt Employees Changes
1.    Lynda Dreaper, HR Advisor, will be on career development leave from August 19, 2013 until September 2, 2014.
2.    Liz Currie, HR Assistant, will temporarily replace Dreaper as HR Advisor with Exempt Staff and Systems.
3.    Shawna Klempner, HR Assistant, will fill in for Currie with a term position in Exempt Staff and Systems.
4.    Joan Kleinsteuber, HR Advisor, has taken on interim additional responsibilities for Exempt Staff Recruitment. Kleinsteuber continues to be responsible for job descriptions, organizational charts and bargaining unit and exempt job evaluation.

Aug. 13, 2013 Vol. 8, Issue 10


Retirement Social

lucyJoin us as we celebrate the Okanagan College careers of Lucy Kwasniewski and Patricia Baird on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. in room C-120 of the “Lab” Building on the Kelowna KLO campus.

Kwasniewski worked for 28 years at Okanagan College in various roles including in the Mathematics Assistance Centre, and teaching in the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics and Physics and Astronomy at the Penticton, KLO, North Kelowna, and Vernon campuses of Okanagan College. She served as department chair from July 2009 to June 2012 and was involved in a number of initiatives to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Patricia (“Pat”) Baird worked for 33 years at the College teaching in the Department of Chemistry at the Vernon, KLO, and North Kelowna campuses of Okanagan College.

Summer Hours Nearly Over

The last day for summer hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) for participating departments is Friday, August 30th. Regular hours (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) resume on Tuesday, September 3rd.


News of Alf Kempf’s appointment as President of the Okanagan College Foundation made the pages of the Daily Courier. The story also contained biographical details on other individuals recently appointed to the Foundation. Read the details at: Kempf new President of Okanagan College Foundation.

The Capital News ran a brief announcement on Alf Kempf’s appointment as new President of the Okanagan College Foundation, which may be viewed here.  

Public Affairs ran an advertisement in Okanagan Life announcing the College’s 50th anniversary celebration being held on Friday, Sept. 27th from 3-7 p.m. View the “Join Us” ad here.

Okanagan Life included a short editorial piece on the history of the College and our invitation to the community to re-connect for the 50th anniversary. Read about the upcoming celebration and view a photo of the 1964 nursing program graduates at College to turn 50.

The Okanagan College announcement of its new status as a Dermalogica Partnership School along with news of Fall term changes to the Esthetics and Nail Technology program made the pages of both the Capital News and the Daily Courier. Read the press release detailing the College’s partnership, new training opportunities for students, and program changes here: Esthetics program scores partnership with skin care leader.

Honorary Fellow Mike Roberts’ retirement from CHBC-TV was recently announced in the Daily Courier. The story contained a reference to Roberts’ current involvement with the Okanagan College trades program campaign. Read the details on the “legendary weatherman’s” 40-year career at Golf, vacation in forecast.

The Penticton Herald ran two related stories that mentioned Roberts’ Okanagan College trades program campaign work, entitled Final forecasts and Everybody loves Mike. In a similar vein, the Capital News ran Local broadcasting icon announces his plans to retire.

The late George Ryga’s 81st birthday was celebrated on Saturday, July 27th. Details on the festivities and Ryga’s continuing legacy were reported in the Summerland Review. Okanagan College has a strong connection to the George Ryga Society through involvement in annually awarding the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Read more in: George Ryga’s legacy should continue.


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 August 27, 2013.