Dave Harris to retire after a quarter century

daveDave Harris has announced he will retire from the position of Director of IT Services at the end of December 2011, a few months shy of his 25-year employment milestone.

Dave’s relationship with Okanagan College began in the late 1960s when the computer business he worked at took on the College as a client, printing class lists from punched cards. In the 1970s, without computers of its own, the young Okanagan College hired Dave’s time-sharing company to run portions of their CIS program off site at Dave’s office.

The first computer was delivered to Okanagan College in 1979 and a few years later the College went looking for a programmer. Dave took on the role in 1987 on a part-time basis, joining Dave Goodall and raising the staff headcount in IT Services to four (3 FTE). Following two resignations, IT Services was, for a short time, the Dave and Dave show.

Twenty-four years later, IT Services has grown to include 33 employees, among them are the original Daves.

daveyoungThough he began his career in IT Services and will retire from the same department, Dave Harris spent five years working as program administrator in Continuing Education, developing curriculum around computer training. In 1995 the College acquired Banner software and Dave returned to IT Services to help implement the system. He became Manager of Information Systems in 1997, where he remained until the transition. In 2005 Dave was appointed Director of IT Services, a role that has continued to interest and challenge him but that he will retire from in 10 months.

“Okanagan College has been very good to me,” said Dave. “I have been privileged to work with an incredible group of people and have had the opportunity to take on some interesting, challenging projects.”

One of the many highlights of Dave’s career was the development of myOkanagan in 1999. The College was the second in Canada to go live with a system that integrated WebCT, grades, scheduling and registration.

He has been reluctant to retire, putting it off for the past year because of a series of interesting projects currently under development.

“I’m excited about exploring mobile services at the College and a number of other great projects but have decided December will be the right time to retire. I’d like to get back to my hobbies and get back to music. I plan on learning to play the piano and will have more time for other interests like gardening, cooking, travel and calligraphy. I have a great deal of confidence in the department’s continued success because we have a great bunch of people in IT Services and throughout the organization.”

College students will take part in CCSSE

Beginning next week, a random sample of about 1,300 students in 60 classes at Okanagan College will be participating in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). More than 750 colleges across North America have participated in the survey since 2001.

Participation in CCSSE arises from an institutional commitment to focus on student engagement – it was one of five Key Directions identified in the recently adopted Strategic Plan. A survey of student engagement has been listed as one of Okanagan College’s key performance measures for several years and, while the annual student satisfaction survey has served that purpose in part, the CCSSE will provide additional information that will allow the college to benchmark and compare itself to national averages, explains Steve Koehle, Vice President Students.

“More than 1.7 million students from around North America have participated in this survey, which will help us compare our performance and practices with national and international norms,” says Koehle. “This isn’t just about measuring where we are – it is also about identifying areas where we can improve students’ experiences at Okanagan College to help them succeed at attaining their goals.”

The survey will be administered in-class, and instructors whose classes are involved are being advised about the purposes of the survey and scheduling. The surveying will take several weeks to complete.

Questions on the survey focus on five areas that affect student engagement and success: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners.

To learn more about CCSSE, you can visit the Centre for Community College Student Engagement online at or contact Jan O'Brien, Manager of Institutional Research.

College earns honourable mention in Canstruction event

canstA partnership between Civil Engineering Technology students and members of SIFE Okanagan proved to be a win-win partnership for the College and community after the Okanagan College team earned an honourable mention at the Canstruction event and collected hundreds of pounds of food for the Food Bank.

Canstruction is a community hunger awareness event and food drive campaign that charges teams with building a structure out of non-perishable food items. SIFE Okanagan not only competed in the event but also partnered with the host committee to administer the weeklong event.

civilcanAs a part of their Let’s Can Hunger initiative, SIFE Okanagan collected 2,500 cans of Campbell’s soup then turned to Okanagan College Civil Engineering students to come up with a design for the structure. With the event falling close to Valentine’s Day, the team decided to build a Hershey’s Kiss out of tomato soup cans. Engineering students Ben and Chris built a diagram for the structure and proved to be flexible in their design during the build.

Though they didn’t win the event, the College students raised awareness and food for their Let’s Can Hunger campaign. With the campaign now well underway, SIFE Okanagan reports they have now collected 61,417 pounds of food and are well on their way to reaching their goal of 80,000 pounds.

Kayfish and Styffe to lead College Board

kayfishLance Kayfish has been re-elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors, while the South Okanagan’s Tom Styffe was chosen as the new Vice Chair.

Kayfish and Styffe were elected at the Board’s regular meeting in January.

Kayfish has served on the College Board since 2007, became Chair in 2010, and is a risk management expert with the City of Kelowna. He holds baccalaureate degrees in both commerce and political science. 

Styffe joined the College Board in January 2010 and was appointed to a one-year term. He was reappointed in December and replaces Yvonne Pinder as Vice Chair. 

“The Board is incredibly appreciative of Yvonne’s contributions as Vice Chair and her continued input on the Board as a member will serve the institution well,” said Kayfish.

styffeStyffe is a semi-retired Okanagan Falls resident with more than three decades of experience in construction project management. His portfolio includes projects ranging from the $25-million New Westminster campus of Douglas College to schools, hospitals, commercial projects and more than 1,000 units of residential construction.

He is also serving his second term as an Alternate Director for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and has been active in municipal and provincial politics, including serving as a councillor for Logan Lake.

“Tom’s leadership and experience are extremely valuable to the Board of Governors,” said Kayfish. “I am confident his personal and professional backgrounds will benefit the Board, as will his South Okanagan perspective.” 

Kayfish and Styffe are joined on the Board by appointed members Bill Cooke, Brian Hughes, Douglas Manning, Sunddip Nahal, Yvonne Pinder, and Loretta Swite-Ghostkeeper, and by elected members Michael Conlin, Lianne Rozniak, Jacek Gabanowicz, Phillippe Bourbeau as well as ex officio members Jim Hamilton (President, Okanagan College) and Rick Gee (Chair, Okanagan College Education Council).

InStill Life project earns TELUS LIVE UNITED Youth Project Grant

telusTwo members of SIFE Okanagan were recently honoured for their role in bringing the InStill Life project to fruition in the Central Okanagan. Sponsored by TELUS and the United Way, 10 youth grants were handed out to individuals and groups of young people in the south and central Okanagan who are working to make their communities better places to live.

Through the InStill Life project, SIFE members work with local elementary school children to develop hand-made greeting cards. The greeting cards are then sold to supporters of the program, with proceeds being directed toward entrepreneurs in developing nations via a micro-lending initiative. The work of SIFE Okanagan was recognized with an $800 grant toward the program. The team’s project ranked fifth out of 17 with a score of 95/110.

The following is some of the feedback SIFE received from the judges. 

“Your project was the most sophisticated and complex one submitted (which we expected it to be, coming from SIFE). The committee liked that it had a “pay it forward” kind of theme and multiple partners already involved. They were interested in supporting the local education component, particularly around older students supporting younger ones in applying classroom learning in the real world on a broad range of topics.”

College students don gumboots to learn about sustainable farming

valeStudents in professor Arnica Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class at Okanagan College traded their street shoes for gumboots earlier this month and made the trip to Lumby to visit a working cattle and sheep farm. 

“We drove out to Vale Farms because they are a model of sustainable practices in the agricultural industry,” said Rowan. “This family farm demonstrates that operating an ethically-driven business can be very successful.” 

The farm is certified organic, SPCA certified, and sells their grass-fed meats directly to the public through Okanagan farmer’s markets. The third- and fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration students learned about niche marketing, the process of becoming an organic farm, and right-sizing a business. They also chased sheep and took a lamb inventory while Hladych performed non-surgical castrations.

The field trip was the first of many connections with the Okanagan green economy for Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class. 

“Going green is no longer a fad or a way of capturing a new market,” stated Rowan. “It’s a completely different way of doing business that values an organization’s community and environmental impact as much as the bottom line.” 

In the challenging course, students learn to do a triple-bottom-line report, an industrial ecology plan, and a green business impact assessment. 

“The students love the course because they get to see a whole new approach, and learn how to apply their analytical business skills in a new realm. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”


Vernon student raises $12,000 for Cancer Foundation

butchVernon Business student Butch Williamson turned a personal experience with Cancer into a much larger community campaign, raising $12,610 for the BC Cancer Foundation.

After beating cancer, Butch decided to embark on a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. After losing his hair to chemotherapy, Butch decided to grow his hair and a long beard and committed to take it all off for cancer.

On January 29 he shaved his head and face and his wife decided to take part too. Many of Butch’s classmates and many staff at Okanagan College supported his campaign, resulting in a significant donation to the Cancer Foundation. To find out more about Butch, watch a clip from CHBC, go online or visit his Facebook group: Taking it Off for Cancer.

Nathan Bartlett will return to Institutional Research


Nathan Bartlett has accepted the one-year position of Manager of Institutional Research from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 while Jan O’Brien is away on leave. Nathan says that although he’ll miss the excitement and student contact in the Office of the Registrar, he’s looking forward to the interesting work and relative calm of Institutional Research.

Social Entrepreneurship students host global awareness events

As part of their class work for Buad 309 - Social Entrepreneurship – students Rochelle Saddleman and Tiffany Davis will be hosting two events to help raise awareness about the issues of women and children in conflict zones around the world. 

For the first event, as part of Global Citizen Week, Michel Chikwanine, Former Child Soldier and 'Me to We' speaker, will be speaking about his story about living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a young child, Michel witnessed his father tortured, his mother raped, and endured his own torture.

This event takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at Trinity Baptist Church on 1905 Springfield Rd from 7 - 8:30 p.m. 

Thinking Globally: An International Perspective On Women's Rights. Join Dr. Samantha Nutt, Founder & Executive Director of War Child Canada who was recently named one of Canada’s 25 Transformational Canadians,  as she reflects on 15 years of working with women in some of the most challenging humanitarian environments.

This event takes place in Kelowna on Wednesday, March 9 at the Okanagan College Auditorium from 7 - 8:30 p.m. All tickets are $5 for students, teachers, school staff, and seniors and $10 for general admission and can be purchased at the Streaming Cafe or online at All net proceeds are donated to War Child Canada.

Friends, colleagues celebrate Sandi’s career

sandiSandi Gould celebrated her retirement on Feb. 14 with a tropical themed party that included lots of friends, stories and memories of her 36 years at Okanagan College. Sandi’s influence on Okanagan College and its students has been significant, as was evident recently when a former student who Sandi had supported for several years through her educational journey invited Sandi to attend her graduation from Civil Engineering.

“Receiving an invitation to be a part of that special day was really the icing on the cake of a great career,” said Sandi.

Today is Sandi’s final day at Okanagan College – she will be heading off on a six-week vacation in the Caribbean to kick off her retirement.
Feb. 15, 2011 Vol. 4 Issue 22


Update on the status of negotiations

Negotiations to renew collective agreements with the College’s three unions continue. A series of meetings with the OCFA has resulted in the resolution of 15 Articles and Letters of Understanding. Discussions on complex issues such as conversion, evaluations and workforce adjustments will continue over the next weeks. 

Negotiations with the Vocational Instructors commenced on January 26 and 27, 2011. The initial session was attended by President Hamilton. He provided the parties with information on the context for this round of negotiations and encouraged both parties to continue to build on our positive working relationships during this round of contract discussions.

Both the College and the BCGEU tabled their proposal packages and provided each other with an explanation of their proposals. The parties have a number of housekeeping and substantive proposals to address and got off to a good start by resolving eight housekeeping matters over the initial two days. Bargaining dates with the Vocational Instructors have been set to continue in February and March.

Resumption of the Faculty and BCGEU Vocational Common Table negotiations will likely not occur until negotiations with the Faculty Association and the BCGEU Vocational Instructors are further along.

Negotiations at the Support Staff Compensation Template Table (CT Table) are scheduled to commence on February 17 and 18, 2011. Local negotiations to renew the support staff collective agreement have been suspended pending the commencement of the CT Table. Twenty-nine Articles and Letters of Understanding have thus far been signed off with this group at the local level.

New Telecommuting Policy now online

Okanagan College has adopted a new policy concerning Telecommuting – Emergency & Extraordinary Situations. The policy is now available for review online. Please contact Linda LeGallee for more information. 

2011-12 Calendar update

Okanagan College’s 2011-12 Calendar will be published on March 31, 2011. This new annual publishing date has been set to provide more complete information to prospective and current students at an earlier time. A second edition will be published in June. Any program and course changes that will miss the March Education Council meeting will still be included in the electronic calendar as it is updated on a monthly basis.

Please review your Calendar content and submit any minor changes to Inga Wheeler by March 4, 2011. In keeping with our institutional goal of sustainability and in support of the College’s green initiatives, printed sections for review are not being sent to departments this year. 

You can review your content online:

Help improve myOkanagan’s Employee Tab

IT Services is undertaking a project to redesign the Employee Tab in myOkanagan and the department is asking staff to weigh in. IT Services has created a short 10-question survey to determine how the Tab can be improved. To complete the survey, please log on to myOkanagan and visit the Home Tab under Announcements.

Reach Out February now online

The Registrar’s Office (Kelowna) has published another edition of its monthly e-newsletter. This month’s edition includes information on the coordinated scheduling project, health and dental, February’s Education Council meeting, as well as information about who does what in Admissions. Please visit: to view the newsletter or email Inga to be added to the email distribution list.

College hosts social media bootcamp - Eat.Drink.Tweet.

The Penticton campus is hosting an innovative social media conference with a focus on tourism, hospitality and the wine industry on Friday, March 11.

“Eat.Drink.Tweet. combines education, food and wine, an ideal professional development event as the Okanagan becomes a culinary destination," explained Donna Lomas, Okanagan College Regional Dean of the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

The event will bring tourism stakeholders together to learn about social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The event will also offer gourmet food and wine sessions to complement the conference. 

The keynote speaker, Rick Bakas, will kick off the event on Friday evening with a presentation. Recognized as the world’s first winery social media director, Bakas recently released the book Social Bites, and has championed worldwide wine tastings via the micro-blogging social network, Twitter.

To find out more about the conference and all that it offers, go online: or read the complete press release.

Penticton and Kelowna Town Hall Sessions this week

After hosting a series of Strategic Plan town hall sessions in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kelowna, there are still two sessions available for staff to attend. Sessions are taking place on the following days:

 – Feb. 16, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. 
Room: C13

Kelowna – Feb 18
, 12 – 1 p.m. 
Room: Lecture Theatre

For those unable to attend, Friday's session in Kelowna will be broadcast online at the following url:

Making vacation plans for next winter?

Human Resources has developed a communiqué outlining important dates and College closures for the December 2011 and January 2010 break. To review this information, please follow this link to download a PDF.

EdTech relocates to Library

The EdTech Centre in Kelowna is relocating to L100 on Wednesday, Feb. 16. L100 is in the Centre for Learning Atrium under the stairs and behind Fezziwigs. EdTech winter hours will continue to be 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Summer hours are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Signing Authority Policy Revised

Okanagan College’s Signing Authority Policy has been revised and approved by the Board of Governors. It is now available for review online. For more information, contact Linda LeGallee.  

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Alix Hawley from the English Department in Kelowna, who won the Feb. 11 payday draw for $575.

All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. If you wish to sign up, registration forms are available from Dawn Douglas (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus), from Human Resources.


Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, was recently elected to the board of the Certified General Accountants Association of BC to represent the Thompson Okanagan. Read more in: OC dean elected to the CGA-BC board.

Arnica Rowan, Business Professor, brought a group of third- and fourth-year students to Vale Farms in Lumby to look deeper at their sustainable business practices.  Read more in: Students avail Vale Farms.

The World Religion Conference hosted events at the Kelowna campus on Feb. 12. The Interfaith Symposium was moderated by MP Ron Cannon. Read more about the event in: Value of religion based on beliefs and Need for religion to be debated.

A speaker’s series, hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women’s Vernon chapter, will have speakers present on their dreams and how they are achieving them. The proceeds from the events go toward Okanagan College student scholarships. Read more in: University Women present Capsule College.

The College co-sponsored a presentation of Derek Beaulieu at Gallery Vertigo at the end of January. Read more about Derek and his work in: Visual poet to read at Vertigo today.

SIFE Okanagan hosted their annual fundraising event on Feb. 4. The event received coverage in Maxine DeHart's column. Read more in: Business students help food bank, women’s resource centre.

SIFE’s Salmon Arm campus contingent is contributing to the Let’s Can Hunger campaign with a new label design compelling people to participate with the line “Donations - an easy way to feed your soul.” Read more in: Students confront issues of hunger.

The Coyotes recently played SFU and FVU. Read about these games in: College Coyotes split home games.

The Board of Governors will continue to be led by Lance Kayfish, who was re-elected to a one-year term as chair, and Tom Styffe, who was elected as vice-chair. More details can be found in: Kayfish, Styffe to lead Okanagan College board.

Ryan Donn, Young Alumnus of the Year, is helping bring the Global Music Fest to life Feb. 26. Ryan will play the show along with Shane Koyczan, also an alumnus, and others. Read more in: Events planned for Global Citizen week.

Heather Schneider, Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan, was recognized as a key volunteer through her role as Chair of the International Children’s Winter Games. Read more in: Local Volunteers honoured with 2011 sports hero awards and Heroes lauded.

The College sponsored the recent Young Woman of Excellence Award, which was awarded to Charmaine Chard. The awards were part of the bigger It’s All About Women Conference held in Salmon Arm. Read more in: Conference supports women.

SIFE Okanagan participated in and coordinated social media publicity for the Canstruction 2011 event to raise food donations for the Kelowna Food Bank. Read about the event in: Can-do attitude, Canstruction Creativity, Fighting Hunger, and Can Sculpting or watch a clip from CHBC TV.

The Okanagan College Business Expo and Employment Fair received press in the Daily Courier after the event. See the coverage in: Job fair packs ‘em in or watch a clip from the event.

The Vernon campus played host to McGill University’s director of the Office of Science and Society, Dr. Schwarcz, as he presented a lecture to demystify the chemistry in our daily lives. Read more in: Famed scientist set to dazzle local crowd.
Vernon area politicians are setting up committees to work on a referendum regarding a proposed track facility at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College. Read more in: Greater Vernon lays groundwork ahead of sports facility decision.

In her weekly School’s In column Jane Muskens, Registrar, discusses the participation in sponsored programs to pay for an education, like the Armed Forces new partnership with the Okanagan College Electronic Engineering program in Exciting high-tech career options offered by the military. The previous week Jane looked at first year students declining emotional health and the reasons behind it in: Study shows emotional health for new students is on the decline.

Stan Chung, former Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational, discusses how we each look at ourselves and manage our self perceptions in his Global Citizen column: Statistical Sweet Nothings.


Feb. 24 – Okanagan College will host auditions for the CBC program Dragons' Den in the Centre for Learning in Kelowna from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find out more about the auditions, go online. 

Feb. 26 - Okanagan College and partner, Kelowna Resource Center, will host the second annual Diversity Health Fair, which will be held in the Centre for Learning Atrium on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The fair is for all ethnic groups of the public and endeavours to present various aspects of services available in Kelowna that contribute to healthy living. 

If you would like to participate by having a booth at the fair (exhibitor) or you know of someone on campus who would like to do so, please contact Doreen Rosvold at the Kelowna Resources Center at: 250-763-8008, ext 29. For more info please contact Jane Smith. 

Feb. 28 - (Mon) Kalamalka Speakers Series presents "Social Potluck" with Gabriel Newman. The dinner table (or family/communal eating venue) is the most important performance venue in the world. A great meal in exchange for stories becomes fodder for Gabriel, who is working on his master’s thesis in performance art at UBC Okanagan, with Social Potluck as his thesis. Kalamalka Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Mar. 2 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon)     

Personal Knowledge Management: Software Tools to Help You Cope with Information Overload with Glen Coulthard, Business, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)

Mar. 7 (Mon) Kalamalka Speakers Series presents “How to Succeed or Fail in Afghanistan” with Wynn Polnicky. The western approach to the troubles in Afghanistan will be examined in terms of lessons from similar historical situations such as Vietnam, Northern Ireland and Malaya. Lieutenant-Commander (retired) Wynn Polnicky served as an operational analyst on the staff of the Canadian general commanding in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007 and as such helped to evaluate what was possible to achieve and to develop a campaign plan for the Canadian military. Kalamalka Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Mar. 10 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna)      
Research in English Writing History with Terry Scarborough, English, Okanagan College  (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.) 

Mar. 14 (Mon) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon)    

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)

Mar. 16 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm) 

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College  (Room 143 12 – 1 p.m.)

Mar. 27 – Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race – register online at:

Apr. 7 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna)         

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE?
Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer. The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.