Strategic Plan Task Force to guide College’s future

rempelOkanagan College has named 22 individuals to a Task Force that will guide the development of a new Strategic Plan. The group is made up of a wide variety of volunteers from all employee groups, students, alumni and Board members from across the College region.

The Task Force includes a Chair, President Jim Hamilton, as well as a Vice Chair, South Okanagan Regional Dean Donna Lomas.

“I am very pleased with the response we had from our College community when we invited people to put their name forward to help lead this important process for our institution,” said Hamilton. “The group of people who have been selected is a broad representation of the College. I look forward to working closely with them as we craft a new strategic plan.”

The Strategic Plan development process will be facilitated by project manager Kerry Rempel, who has been seconded from her teaching role in the Okanagan College School of Business. 

She has been a professor in the School of Business since 2004. Her teaching has been focused in the areas of management and human resources but during her decade with the College, she has taught everything from entrepreneurship to non-profit management to business simulation.

She has strategic planning experience with the Department of Energy in Alberta and has served as an operations director with previous employers. Rempel has extensive experience working with non-profits and has consulted for organizations such as the Kelowna Child Care Society, Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation, United Way of the Central and South Okanagan Similkameen and Festivals Kelowna, to name a few.

The members of the Task Force include:
Jim Hamilton, President of the College – (Chair of the Task Force)

Donna Lomas, Regional Dean South Okanagan (Vice Chair of the Task Force and Chair of the Master Capital Planning process)
Tom Styffe, Chair, Board of Governors
Michelle Nicholson, Chair, Education Council 

Doug Manning, Board of Governors  

Laura Thurnheer, Board of Governors 

Dan Chetner, Adult Academic and Career Preparation – BCGEU Vocational 

Brad Clements, Arts and Foundational Programs – Okanagan College Faculty Association 

Chelsea Grisch – Okanagan College Students’ Association 
Gregory Fjetland, Advising – BCGEU Support 

Kara Kazimer - Alumni 

Mary Kline, Continuing Studies – Administrators Association 

Ross McKerlich, Education Technology - Okanagan College Faculty Association non-instructional 

Cam McRobb, Motor Vehicle Trades - BCGEU Vocational 

Yvonne Moritz, Science, Technology and Health – Leadership Team 

Dennis Silvestrone, Continuing Studies - Leadership Team 

Jill Smith, Recruitment - BCGEU Support 

Dawn Southern, Human Resources - Excluded Support Staff 

Heather Stewart - Alumni 

Tim Walters, English - Okanagan College Faculty Association 
Inga Wheeler, Registrar’s Office - Administrators Association 

(TBD) - Vernon Students’ Association Okanagan College

The Task Force will examine the most recent economic, social and cultural issues and trends that could affect post-secondary education in general and Okanagan College in particular over the next decade. They will ensure that the College’s revised strategic plan positions it to thrive in its changing environment.

While the Task Force will play a key role in shaping the Strategic Plan process and development, there will be many opportunities for employees and other stakeholder groups to become engaged in the process. Information about the process and outcomes will be shared frequently in College Matters and Inside Okanagan College.

Flightcraft invests half a million in Trades Training Complex

lapointeDecember proved to be an important month for the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign as one of the Okanagan’s best-known businesses announced its support for the campaign to expand and renovate the trades training complex at the Kelowna campus.

Barry Lapointe, CEO and Chairman of Kelowna Flightcraft, made a $500,000 donation to the campaign that will help complete the $33-million project.

“I believe that people who have done well in this region should give back,” says Lapointe. “And we feel strongly about supporting post-secondary education.”

Lapointe’s donation to Okanagan College was acknowledged by Premier Christy Clark, area MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson, and several representatives of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation at Flightcraft’s airport hangar, where a class of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering students were nearing completion of their course.

“Barry sees what’s coming: a shortage of skilled labour, and a tremendous opportunity for trained people,” noted Premier Clark. “He has always supported the creation of more education and career opportunities in the Okanagan, culminating in this generous donation.”

Follow this link for more about the campaign and to read the complete press release.

Connections 2015 

connectionsOkanagan College’s employee learning conference will be back for its tenth year this summer. Connections is an opportunity for all Okanagan College staff and faculty to network with their colleagues, meet new people, hear from the President about what’s happening at the College and attend a wide variety of workshops.
This year Connections will be held at the Kelowna campus on Thursday, Aug. 18 and Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Do you remember the great piece of art Connections participants created at last year’s event? (Hint: see photo) Do you know where it’s being displayed? Contact Jill Panton with the location and you could win a prize.
Would you like to be on the Connections 2015 organizing committee and bring your ideas to the table? Contact Corey Bransfield for more information.
If being on the committee is too big a commitment but you’d like to help out during Connections, fill out the volunteer form and a member of the committee will contact you with more details.
Call for Workshop Presenters – if you have an idea for a workshop and would like to present it at Connections 2015 click here
Registration will open later in the spring.

Okanagan Dodge donates to Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign

dodgeA local auto dealer recognized bright futures for students in Okanagan College’s trades programs, which prompted the company to invest in the $33-million Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna Campus to help make those futures a reality.
Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge pledged $100,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation for the $7-Million Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign that supports the expansion and renewal of the trades complex.
“Having run Okanagan Dodge for the past 12 years, and having seen the way Kelowna has embraced my business in that time, I began looking for a way to give back to the community that would truly have an impact,” says Dean McAuley, Dealer Principal for Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge. “When I heard about the campaign for the new trades training complex, and after I learned more about the facility and the opportunities it will provide for students, I knew it was the right fit.”
The donation will go towards automotive shop space where students gain job-ready skills with state of the art equipment and technology.
“I have Okanagan College graduates in my shop now. These young tradespeople are the wave of the future,” says McAuley.
Follow this link for more on the campaign and to read the complete press release.

Nominations are now open for Employee Excellence Awards

empexNominations are now open for the annual Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards program, which recognizes the contributions made by employees.

The program has been developed in concert with the College’s employee groups and complements the existing Distinguished Service Award and the Employee Long Service Recognition program.

The 2015 Employee Excellence Awards mark the fourth year that the College has honoured employees for their dedication to the growth and development of the largest College on the east side of the Lower Mainland.  
Take the time to recognize those you work with who have made a difference to you, to students and to the institution.  

You can nominate employees in any one of 9 categories
•    Strong Start
•    Scholarly Activity
•    Service Excellence
•    Innovation
•    Leadership
•    Key Directions
•    Teaching Excellence
•    Career Achievement
•    President’s Award

To nominate a colleague, visit the website.

The program is also accepting information about milestones for all those employees who have completed a credential, been published or received an award from an external organization in the past year.

Nominations close on Monday, March 2, 2015 (midnight). The celebration event will take place on Wednesday, May 13.  

Contemporary Classics at the Classic

contemporary classicsOkanagan College’s popular “Classics at the Classic” in Salmon Arm returns in January for its fifth season after a two year hiatus, and with a contemporary twist. In previous years, the series has largely showcased established classics and foreign-language films, but this season the series focuses on the works of three of the most exciting and distinctive directors working today: Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Terrence Malick.

The non-profit program is sponsored by Okanagan College and supported by the Salmar Association, and runs in conjunction with a second-year Film Criticism and Theory course taught by Okanagan College English Professor Tim Walters, who introduces each of the films.

“My hope with this year’s selections is that rather than looking to the past, I have selected movies made by the most original and compelling filmmakers working at the very peaks of their powers today,” said Dr. Walters. “I was also keen to focus on directors whose films are immediately identifiable—that have highly distinctive styles and personalities—so we can watch them develop over the course of several films. Plus, these are all films that I love, and that I think will be tremendously exciting for my students and for the general public.”  

The “Contemporary Classics at the Classic” screenings are open to the public ($5 admission) on Monday nights at the Salmar Classic theatre throughout the winter, beginning on Monday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. with Wes Anderson’s 1998 cult classic Rushmore.  

Full Schedule:
Monday January 12 @ 5 pm: Rushmore (Wes Anderson)
Monday January 19 @ 5 pm: Badlands (Terrence Malick)
Monday February 2 @ 7:30 pm: Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Monday February 16 @ 5 pm: The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)
Monday March 2 @ 7:30 pm: The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick)
Monday March 9 @ 7:30 pm: Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Monday March 16 @ 5 pm: The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson), 7:30pm: The Life Aquatic, with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson)
Monday March 23 @ 5 pm:  There Will be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Monday March 30 @ 7:30 pm: Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

Further information: Tim Walters.


Tyler Finley joins Advancement team

tylerTyler Finley joined the College’s staff in Advancement in mid-December in the role of marketing and communications specialist for the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign.

Tyler supports the Okanagan College Foundation and Alumni and Advancement Department and works closely with Public Affairs in the areas of communications, marketing and promotion. Tyler’s primary focus is coordinating communications and marketing for the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Fundraising Campaign for the new Trades Training Complex.

Prior to joining the campaign team, Tyler worked as a national manager for a number of non-profit and higher education organizations. He also volunteers with a number of organizations that support students, literacy, creative arts, the environment and healthy living in British Columbia.

Tyler earned his Bachelor of Arts, with a focus in English and Communications, from UBC in 2009. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Eco-Criticism/Sustainability in Literature from UBC, expected to be completed in 2016.

Dog days in Penticton

dogsFor 10 days during December the Penticton Campus hosted 13 dogs and their handlers from the St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog program to help students, faculty, instructors and staff to alleviate stress at the end of the academic classes. In the two weeks leading up to exams, dogs such as Bernese Mountain dog, Murphy (pictured) walked around campus in popular areas to visit with everyone at Okanagan College.
According to several studies, playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone and decrease production of the stress hormone. Having the dogs on campus is one way we are trying to help students deal with the stress at the end of the academic semester and leading up to exams.
The handlers reported that many of the students who would approach the therapy dogs had dogs at home or at their parents’ homes, where they aren’t living anymore. They told the handlers how great it was to see a dog on campus and it was worth taking a five minute break from their studies to come over and pat the dogs.

Apprentices bring wood to life

woodA graduating class of fourth-year carpentry apprentices, taught by Tim Dorn, put their skills to work to bring wood to life in the Kelowna carpentry shop last semester. They completed a timber frame project that houses a carpentry department office using fir reclaimed from century-old timbers from a Naramata area fruit packing facility.

Invoking a tradition harkening back to European roots, the youngest of the apprentices on site, 20-year-old Parker Morris, was given the task of topping the project with an evergreen branch.

Trades and Apprentice Dean Steve Moores and Construction Trades Chair Alf Liemert – representing the "owner" of the project – were given the task of pounding in the final dowels for the project completion.

Trades lunch serves up more than just food

tradesOkanagan College’s annual Trades and Apprenticeship December lunch at the Kelowna campus did much more than just feed employees.

This year’s event was hosted by the automotive department and encouraged employees to bring cash or non-perishable food items in support of the Food Bank.
The lunch event raised $1,280 in cash (up from $770 last year) and 600 lbs. of food (up from 275 last year) for the Kelowna Food Bank.

A significant amount of leftover food was also taken to the Kelowna Gospel Mission and they were able to feed those less fortunate. They were most grateful for the donation.

Public Affairs welcomes two new team members

axelleThe Public Affairs department welcomed Axelle Bazett and Alix Matthews-Mahe to the department in January.

Axelle will be supporting the team in the pan-institutional role of marketing and communications specialist. She earned a B.A. Honours in English from the University of British Columbia and holds a certificate in public relations from Simon Fraser University. She has extensive experience in public relations and worked in one of Canada’s leading communications agencies where she supported clients with media relations, strategic communications planning, social media content creation, and event activations.

Previously she has been a PR consultant for a photography studio, worked in event management and sales for a catering company, and volunteered on the marketing committee with Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Born in France, and raised in Vancouver, Axelle is bilingual in French and English. She recently moved to Kelowna from Vancouver with her husband, and in her spare time enjoys cooking and running. Axelle will be taking over the editorial responsibilities associated with Inside Okanagan College, as well as a number of other initiatives.

alixAlix holds a M.A. in Journalism from Western University and a B.A. in French and Political Science from the University of British Columbia in her hometown of Vancouver. She will be working specifically on promoting the College’s Food, Wine and Tourism agenda.

Prior to joining Okanagan College, Alix worked in a variety of media and educational settings in Canada and spent a year in France teaching English. Her most recent experience was with a provincial non-profit association in the post-secondary education sector, where she was responsible for internal and external communications, social media marketing, online brand management and media relations.

Alix has also written for several print and online publications and presented workshops on social media management for small businesses and education professionals.

Dragon to visit Kelowna campus

On Jan. 27 Mr. W. Brett Wilson will be visiting Okanagan College to meet students and staff. He will be speaking at 2 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium. All staff and students are encouraged to attend this open and free lecture.
W. Brett Wilson is a Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and all-time leading deal-maker on CBC’s hit TV show, Dragons' Den. He is the author of the Canadian bestseller “Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes.” Wilson sees corporate social responsibility not as an obligation but as an opportunity, and believes that strategic philanthropy can create major social and economic benefits.

Jan. 13, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 20

ILT Lunch and Learn series

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is hosting a series of Lunch and Learn events.

The Library and Moodle: Enhance your Moodle courses and encourage student interaction.
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19    Salmon Arm Campus, Room 002     
Tuesday, Jan. 27    Penticton Campus, Centre of Excellence Room PC123

The Library has a number of tools that can enhance your Moodle courses and encourage student interaction.

In this hands on ILT Lunch and Learn session learn how to:

- Create and manage dynamic course reading lists using Curriculum Builder
- Add the Library block to your course, including the OCtopus search box and key library links
- Embed a video from a streaming video database into your course
Any questions please contact Roen Janyk or Jennifer Sigalet.

Athletics hosts Great Wall Virtual Step Challenge

Beginning Jan. 23 the College’s Athletics and Recreation team in Kelowna will be supporting a Virtual Step Great Wall Challenge, which encourages employees to be active. Track your steps and mark that achievement along the Great Wall of China course. The virtual journey begins at the Ming section of the wall and takes participants to Beijing.

The challenge is free for students and costs $10 for staff (a pedometer is included.)

For more information or to sign up, visit Athletics and Rec in A105 in Kelowna.

Disruptive Behaviour Workshop 

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is pleased to offer a 1.5 hour workshop that will help participants recognize and manage disruptive behaviour with a goal to creating a positive learning and working environment. Facilitated by Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Teaching, and Business instructor Teresa Kisilevich, this practical session will take place on Jan. 21 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in Room A131 at the Kelowna campus. To register for the workshop please visit the website.

The ILT is now accepting newsletter submissions
for the next issue of, Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching, on the theme of “Experiential Education and Service Learning.”  

Please join the conversation by sharing your experiences and best practices in this exciting area of active learning and teaching. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 2 and the intended publication date is the third week of February.

Guidelines for the newsletter submissions may be found online on the ILT website.    


Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship was interviewed by AM 1150 speaking about the federal government’s new apprentice loan program. Click here to listen to an interview with Steve Moores.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton recounts a year in review for the institution in an op-ed for the Okanagan Saturday, see President of college recalls 2014 highlights.

Vernon’s Westwood Electric is recognized for their $100,000 donation to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons: Building for Skills campaign in support of the College’s electrical trades programs, with articles and photos in both the Vernon Morning Star and the Kelowna Daily Courier.

When Kelowna Flightcraft announced half-a-million dollar contribution to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons: Building for Skills campaign, helping push the campaign over the $3-million mark, Premier Christy Clark was on hand alongside Flightcraft CEO Barry Lapointe and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton for the cheque presentation. This created waves in the headlines, see: Flightcraft donates half-a-million in the Okanagan Saturday, Flightcraft lifts campaign in the Vernon Morning Star, and the announcement in the Kelowna Capital News.

Furthering the Okanagan College’s Foundation Campaign goal, Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge pledged $100,000 to the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus, see OK Dodge revs up fundraising drive in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College Director of IT Laura Eagen explores the challenges of WiFi connectivity between all campus locations in the Okanagan and solutions being considered, for more details read College investigates WiFi service in the Vernon Morning Star.

The College is now offering a January-start Kelowna campus Advanced Geographic Information Systems certificate program. The new availability of the program was profiled, featuring students Chad Parrent and Teresa Robinson, and also Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development Dennis Silvestrone, see Program helps students map out their career in the Okanagan Saturday.

The Vernon campus is accepting participants in the Workers in Natural Gas (WiNG) program starting February 2, with tuition support available; see Natural gas industry training program offered in the Kelowna Capital News.

Ron Cannan, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, discusses how to use the federal Canada Job Grant in an op-ed published in the Kelowna Capital News, and recounts support of the grant by Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton from when they met in Ottawa. Read the article here.

President of Enactus Okanagan College Tom Arrowsmith and faculty adviser Dr. Kyleen Myrah provide insights into receiving three grants from Enactus Canada to support social entrepreneurships in our region, see College programs supports entrepreneurship in the Kelowna Daily Courier and Enactus receives grants in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College School of Business dean, Dr. Heather Banham has been elected 1st vice-chair of the Certified General Accountants Association of B.C. Board of Governors, see OC dean elected vice-president for CGA-BC board in the Kelowna Capital News and the announcement in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Business student Amanda Wright is looking for local non-profit organizations to participate in a research survey this January as part of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence within the Okanagan College School of Business, see College seeks non-profits for research in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Department of English professor Dr. Alix Hawley is featured in the Globe and Mail in anticipation of the release of her first fiction novel All True Not a Lie in It, about Daniel Boone’s life.

The OC Speakers Series in Penticton announces its lineup for the winter and spring schedules, see College announces winter-spring speaker series in the Okanagan Sunday.

Sponsored by Okanagan College, Classics at the Classic in Salmon Arms has returned after a two-year hiatus to showcase classic and foreign-language films. To see schedule, read Collaboration brings series back in the Salmon Arm Observer.

Osoyoos residents can participate in a five-session writing series offered by Okanagan College in partnership with the Similkameen Family Literacy. For more details see Writing workshops in Keremeos looking for local participants in the Osoyoos Times.

OC Honorary Fellow George Heiss is featured in a business article looking back at the twenty-five years of the BC Wine Institute and its VQA programs, see Wine explosion in the Okanagan Saturday.

The $33-million trades expansion and renovation at the Okanagan College Kelowna Campus and how it will help fill the labour shortage gap was third in the top 10 business stories of 2014 in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College business administration student Matthew Knegt and his wife Nicole garner support from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube with their gluten-free education videos, see Recipe for success: gluten-free cooking idea adopted by business student and spouse in the Kelowna Capital News and also Jamie Oliver likes Kelowna baker in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College alumna and Olympic ski cross silver-medalist Kelsey Serwa was the runner-up for the newsmaker of the year in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Newly elected Mayor of Kelowna and Okanagan College alumnus Colin Basran is this year’s newsmaker of the year. See Newsmaker of the year: Basran ushers in ‘a new era in decision making’ in the Kelowna Capital News, Basran ready to lead Kelowna in the Kelowna Daily Courier and Penticton Herald. Mayor Basran also provided a 2015 looking ahead contributed article in the Kelowna Capital News mentioning his commitment to staying connected to the Okanagan College, and other regional institutions, to work collaboratively on helping to create jobs for tomorrow.

Okanagan College hosted its annual concert on January 10, see Country and roots at college concert in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Eleven of the best Canadian chefs have been selected to participate in the annual Canadian Culinary Championships, sponsored by Okanagan College, in Kelowna on February 6 and 7. For event details see the Kelowna Daily Courier’s brief here.

Okanagan College's former Board Chair will finish his term as Chair of the Board of the Interior Health Authority as of Jan. 1, 2015. Read more in the Kelowna Capital News brief.

Robert Fine, Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College has taken on a new role as Director of Business and Entrepreneurial Development at the City of Kelowna. Read more about Robert's new role in 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 Jan. 27, 2015.