Golden Day of Service

OC50Okanagan College is encouraging employees, students and alumni to get out into the community and volunteer on Feb. 14.

Officially called the Golden Day of Service, the goal is to build on the College’s 50-year record of transforming lives and communities.

“We’re encouraging our employees, students and alumni to take some time on Valentine’s Day to volunteer in the community,” says College President Jim Hamilton. “It will be an important reminder of the collective service of our College and the impact we have when we work together.

"The Golden Day of Service will also allow our College to acknowledge the support we have received from our communities over the past 50 years."

The concept of the Golden Day of Service is resonating deeply within the community. President Jim Hamilton made reference to the Golden Day of Service in his Winter Convocation address and within hours media outlets picked up the story and used it as an opportunity to remark on the value of Okanagan College's contributions over the past 50 years. 

Read front page coverage from the Daily Courier and an editorial from Jon Manchester.

As part of the Golden Day of Service, the College is reaching out to community organizations that are in need of volunteers or who have projects that can be completed on Feb. 14.

If you are involved with an organization that could use volunteers on the Golden Day of Service, register it here.

Once you submit your project proposal, it will be reviewed and posted and volunteers will have an opportunity to respond directly to you.

To find a volunteer opportunity, visit the website.

Lace up for Half Marathon

Half Marathon Michelle LowryThe Okanagan College Half Marathon event is now open for registrations for three different events: a 10 K, a half marathon, and a half marathon relay race. Each of the events will take place Sunday, Apr. 6 in Kelowna.

Since its launch in 2002, the Okanagan College Half Marathon has expanded to offer a variety of distances and fun events to encourage participation from every type of runner – from newbies to corporate challenge teams to competitive racers.

Proceeds from the race go to support students. Last year, the Half Marathon committee created a new bursary and handed out $3,000 to deserving students this fall.

Volunteers help to make the event possible, with more signing up each year. To take part this year, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fees and deadlines, visit

Winter Convocation marks 50 years of academic success

Convocation 2014A career change at age 30 was a daunting prospect for Casino slot attendant David Brodie, but with a young family at home he knew he needed a career with more stability.

So after doing his research, Brodie enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Okanagan College.

Four years later on Saturday, Jan. 11, Brodie graduated with distinction at the Winter Convocation ceremony at the Kelowna campus’s Centre for Learning.

In total, 297 students graduated this winter representing more than 20 programs including Business, Practical Nursing, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Computer Information Systems, and university studies in Arts and Science.

“Okanagan College was clearly the best education option for me,” says Brodie.

“I benefited from the business program’s hands-on practical approach and the professional experience of the instructors. I am now working as a staff accountant at White Kennedy LLP Chartered Accountants, and plan to pursue my Chartered Professional Accounting designation in May.”

In the 2012/2013 academic year, Okanagan College conferred 2,748 credentials. The next convocation ceremony takes place on June 6.

College on receiving end of BC government investment in Aboriginal skills development

An Okanagan College program is among 27 community-based education and training programs for Aboriginal learners in the province that have received funding from the provincial government.

The province announced this morning that it contributed $5.6 million dollars to the initiatives since 2012 – Okanagan College has received approximately $148,000 to offer a Continuing Studies program in Vernon in partnership with the Okanagan Indian Band to develop industry-focused pre-employment skills development and training.  

"The skills that learners develop in these community-based education and training programs will be the key that opens doors to employment and creates success for individuals, their families and their communities," said Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. "My priority is to ensure young Aboriginal people are prepared to fill many of the million jobs we know will be opening up in British Columbia by 2020."

Read more about the province-wide initiatives go online to the BC newsroom.

Sweeten up with Winter Indulgence events

Pastry Arts StudentsSo far this year, the temperatures outside have been unseasonably warm, but the Kelowna Cafeteria will soon be transformed into a winter wonderland for two special events.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, and promote the exceptional skills of the students in the pastry arts program, Okanagan College is holding a Winter Indulgence dessert gala on Feb. 14, from 7-9 p.m.

Winter Indulgence features seven themed tables brimming with cakes and French pastries such as Sacher torte, hazelnut madelines, French macarons, flourless chocolate pyramids, vanilla bean cheesecake tarts with wine berry compote, and Guinness stout ginger cake with caramel sauce. 

The event will also include charcuterie and flambé stations as well as coffee/tea and wine pairings supplied by local wineries. Tickets for this public event will be $35 per person and the deadline for purchase is Feb. 10.

As a special treat for all Okanagan College staff and students, Pastry Arts will also be hosting a sneak peak event on Jan. 30 from 3-5 p.m. The Winter Indulgence preview will feature many of the same confections as the public event, but tickets are only $5. The ticket purchase deadline for the campus-only event is Jan. 27.

“These events really celebrate the beauty of winter while at the same time showcasing 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.

Proceeds from both events go back to support the Pastry Arts program. Tickets must be purchased in advance at Infusions, the Cafeteria or by calling Food Services at 250-762-5445, ext. 4426.

Getting the word out

The Public Affairs Department of Okanagan College sent out the following media releases in the last month:

College half marathon set for April 6, registration now open

Kelowna man cashes in chips to pursue his dreams at Okanagan College
New language testing option offers hope for citizenship-seekers: College brings IELTS testing to Interior
Okanagan College business programs accredited
Dietze joins Okanagan College as Director of Learning and Teaching
Local students earn a spot in Super Bowl of business competitions
Proposed land donation advances Salmon Arm’s agenda for downtown campus


Learning and Teaching has new Director

Beverlie Dietze 220Dr. Beverlie Dietze brings a wealth of post-secondary experience to her new post as Director of Learning and Teaching, having spent nearly three decades in the sector in a variety of roles that include faculty member, department head, director and campus dean.

Most recently she has been working as an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and concurrently as an online Adult Education Facilitator with Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ont. – a position she has held for nine years.

“I am looking forward to contributing to Okanagan College and supporting faculty and staff to achieve success for students,” said Dietze. “I have a passion for teaching and learning and believe collaboration is the key to providing the best environment for students in pursuit of their education, career goals and in their desire to learn.”

Prior to joining Mount Saint Vincent, Dietze spent four years as Dean of the Brockville campus of St. Lawrence College in Ontario. She served 12 years as Director of Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Loyalist College in Ontario and nearly as many as a Department Head at New Brunswick Community College in Saint John.

Dietze holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Toronto, a Master’s of Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick.

Her first day will be Jan. 27. To learn more about Dietze, read the press release.

Trades lunch fuels the Food Bank

The annual Trades department lunch in Kelowna, which feeds hungry employees and College partners, also raises money and food for the Kelowna Food Bank. The event, which took place on Dec. 20, was a resounding success again this year.

Besides getting everyone in the holiday spirit, the event on Dec. 20 collected 275 pounds of food and raised $770.20. The Gospel Mission also accepted the food that was left over, so nothing went to waste.

To thank everyone for their donations, Jim Gamble, Chair of the Electrical Trades department, wrote a poem, which you can read here.

Fundraising effort for former employee's new baby

Christy FellFormer Kelowna campus Recruiting and Events Co-ordinator Christy Fell (nee Cave), recently gave birth to a baby boy, Shea, with special medical challenges.  

On Dec. 9, Shea was born with a very rare condition called Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa, which makes his skin so sensitive that even the slightest friction gives him blisters.

As a consequence of his incurable illness, he requires special seamless clothing, ultra soft blankets and special linings for bathtubs, car seats and his crib. It also means an ongoing need for medical supplies and attention.

To help the Fell’s pay for Shea’s care, a fundraising campaign is underway. The goal is to raise $25,000. If you wish to donate, email or visit at

Jan. 14, 2014 Vol. 8, Issue 20


Trades training area access policy

The Trades Department will be implementing new access policies for the Trades shop and back compound area in Kelowna to improve safety during renovation and construction of the new building. Here is the new protocol:

  • The East and West gates will be kept closed at all times. Only approved traffic will be permitted to use these gates. No general pedestrian or vehicle access will be granted without approval.
  • Access to all trades shops and the compound area will be through the front of each shop via the hallway.
  • Anyone in the shops and compound area must be wearing the necessary personal protection equipment, i.e., vest, hardhat. This applies to all staff, students, instructors, and visitors to these areas.
  • Information will be available at each shop on what personal protection equipment is needed.
  • Please check in with each shop as you access it.

If you have any questions, please contact the Chair of the appropriate Trades department for more details.

Upcoming Family Award Deadline

The deadline for applications for the Okanagan College Family Award is Jan. 17.

The award is designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees who are starting terms between Jan. 1 and Apr. 30.

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

Employee and Family Assistance Provider

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 aging with vibrancy and a positive outlook. Read the Balance Sheet newsletter here.

The webinar takes place on Jan. 29 at noon, and is free.
To register, click here.


Cancer prevention motivation

Did you know more than 50 per cent of all cancers are preventable? Most of us have the power to radically reduce our risk for getting cancer but are hampered by psychological barriers to making those changes stick, such as quitting smoking or exercising.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, from 12 -1 p.m., Karen Barnstable of the BC Cancer Agency and Laura Tamblyn, UBCO pre-med student, will explore how we can reduce our cancer risk and how we can overcome the typical motivational barriers to help us stay healthy. Kelowna campus, room details, TBD. Visit for more information.

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.

“Neither Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark is endowed with any special gifts,” he says. It’s through dedicated training and technology that they are able to exhibit the superhuman abilities of Batman and Iron Man respectively.

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 his talk, “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 and the Vernon Winter Carnival of Superheroes.

Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit

Register now for OC Cycling event

Cycling enthusiasts take note: Registration is open for OC4 Cyclosportif. The scenic three-day, two-wheeled ride between all four Okanagan College campuses takes place June 13-15 and is only $125.

Riders can choose to tackle all three days or opt to take part in just one. The event kicks off on Friday in Salmon Arm with a ride to Vernon. On Saturday morning the riders head from Vernon to the Kelowna campus. On Sunday, participants ride from Kelowna through Summerland to Penticton.

At the end of each ride, the destination campus hosts a gourmet meal for the participants. Aid stations will be located along the route, as will transportation for riders and bicycles from campus to campus.

For more information and to register, visit


During the Winter Convocation ceremony, President Hamilton talked about the Golden Day of Service, see College urges show of gratitude, Okanagan success, and An Okanagan Success.

The School of Business recently received a prestigious accreditation, see Okanagan College gets accreditation for business programs, School of Business garners full international accreditation, and College’s business programs recognized.

Winter Convocation marked Okanagan College’s 50th year of granting credentials, see Global Okanagan coverage of the event.

The College helped a Kelowna man make a better life for his family, see Local man cashes in casino chips to pursue dreams.

The Kelowna Daily Courier covered Steve Moores' appointment as Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, see New man in charge of trades at college.

Beverlie Dietze’s appointment as the College’s new Director of Learning and Teaching received wide coverage, see New director brings passion to college post, College hires new director of learning, teaching, and College gets new director.

A land donation to Okanagan College in downtown Salmon Arm made the news, see Land donated for OC, College campus closer, and Generous gift of land most welcome.

The Penticton campus and Enactus Okanagan College brightened the holidays for 14 students, see College students makes sure their classmates have a happy Christmas, and Spirit of giving is alive at college.

Registrar Jane Muskens stressed the importance of researching the job market before taking an educational path in her Capital News column, see Make sure you know what your education will get you.

English Professor Alix Hawley is the winner of the Canada Writes Bloodlines short story contest, see Local writer wins prestigious honour.

The College has courses to help people seeking to complete milestones in 2014, such as write a book or learn Spanish, see College can help with resolutions, and Not too late to register for 2014 art courses.

For would-be citizens whose first language is not English, IELTS testing is now available in the Okanagan Valley, see English testing now available at Okanagan College, and New language testing option offers hope to citizenship seekers.

Student winners of RoboCup Jr. made the news, see Robo Bros come to OSC, and King’s students score with rescue robot.

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs supported a College student in Penticton, see Club lends a hand to single mother who has hers full with baby, studies.

A recent economic development survey revealed where local grads want to reside, see College, UBCO alumni prefer to stay in Okanagan, and Students want to remain in valley.

An alumnus and his wife welcomed Penticton’s New Year’s baby, see 1st baby of the year here, and First baby makes a graceful entry.

A Kelowna Writing and Publishing student is leaving for Africa on a medical aid mission, see Local man to tell stories from floating hospital.

The son of Kelowna campus Finance department employee, Kristine Ritchie, will be taking part in the Variety Show of Hearts telethon in January to raise money for kids with similar medical challenges, see Making a huge difference for local family.

Former Okanagan College Athletics and Recreation coordinator, Mike Craig was part of the ice-making crew at the NHL Winter Classic, see Winter Classic played on Okanagan ice.

Okanagan College is one of the partners helping to build a new food bank in Lake Country, see Food bank eyes move.

Alumna and ski racing Olympic hopeful, Kelsey Serwa, is overcoming a knee injury, see Injuries overcome, Serwa a podium threat.

An Okanagan College Business student gives tips on budgeting and financing, listen to a clip from CBC Daybreak.

Accelerate Okanagan CEO, Jeff Keen, discussed the booming tech industry and Okanagan College’s contribution to it on CBC’s Daybreak.

A former Okanagan College student and owner of a construction company is one of the Penticton Herald’s Top 40 Under 40, see A dream to build green.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, local biologist and author, Richard Cannings revealed his political plans, see Cannings seeking nomination for NDP seat in federal riding.