Sun and students warm up Winter Convocation

Winter 2013 ConvocationThe sun was out and so were the smiles at Okanagan College’s Winter Convocation held this past Saturday at the Centre for Learning Atrium in the Kelowna campus.

The College recognized the success of more than 300 students from throughout the region. Credentials were awarded to students from more than 20 different programs including Commercial Aviation, Business Administration, Human Kinetics, Human Service Work, Practical Nursing and Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology.

The Winter Convocation is the first convocation to take place in the calendar year. Last year Okanagan College recognized more than 2,800 students at its various ceremonies. The largest ceremonies are held in June.

College releases upgraded Mobile App

OC app V3aOkanagan College's in-house team from IT Services has released the latest version of the Okanagan College Mobile App.

The new app, which is free to download, includes upgrades such as direct links to the Library’s mobile site, the College’s social media feeds and an enhanced interface. Students can gain quick access to their grades, their schedule, College maps and news.

Okanagan College first launched its app in the summer of 2011, coming out with an app available on both iPhones and android smart phones. The IT Services mobile team is now working on the next version, which will be available for download on Blackberry and Windows Phone 8.

Finance team tallies up top result at Queen’s

Queen's 2013 financeFor the second year in a row, Okanagan College has been named one of the top three Finance teams in the country following its performance at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) held at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario last weekend.

Josh Widmann, who just graduated with his Bachelor of Business Administration at the Winter Convocation, along with his team partner  and Daniella Hallam (also in Business Administration)  took second in the Finance category, up against Concordia, which took first place, while the University of Calgary team came in third.

The students prepped for the highly competitive event under the direction of Okanagan School of Business Professor Derek Cook.

When the College entered the finance team for the first time last year, Cook was thrilled when they took first place. Now with the team moving up the ranks, he said judges are starting to notice this college from the West.

"There is no question people are starting to ask questions about what we're doing here at the College when it comes to teaching finance," Cook said.

To read the full media release, click here.

Research and innovation champion on hunt for Okanagan College

Peter Haubrich Jan 2013The Okanagan’s most recognized champion of innovation and research in the high-tech industry is taking on a new role to help Okanagan College capture new partnerships and research ventures.

Peter Haubrich, who led the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre and helped set up several successful research labs for major electronics companies, will be on contract with the College.

Haubrich said with the establishment of the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, the College is in a perfect position to make new inroads with interested parties.

“This is a leading edge building, one of the greenest, most sustainable buildings of its type in the world. The opportunity to leverage the technology and the resources of the College is significant,” he said, adding “Okanagan College’s accreditation as a research institution by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in 2011 also bodes well.”

Shaw cable interviewed Haubrich on the initiative.

Haubrich was named as an Honorary Fellow of the Okanagan College in 2010 when he was recognized for his contributions to the high-tech community in the region.

To read the full media release, click here.

Students take action with new brand

Enactus logo webOne of the most successful student-run non-profits in the world has got a new name for itself, along with a brand new website.

SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), which has an award-winning chapter at Okanagan College, has been rebranded Enactus.

The new name stands for entrepreneurial, action, and us, and is designed to highlight the role student leaders (guided by both academic advisors and business experts) take in sharing their classroom skills by creating real solutions for people in the community.

Enactus Okanagan College will continue to operate several key projects in the region, including:

  • Venture Okanagan – where students help set up the infrastructure that supports adult entrepreneurs with early stage investors and mentors
  • Help Hunger Disappear (formerly Let’s Can Hunger) – where team members tackle hunger by addressing long and short-term needs and raising awareness
  • Launch-a-Preneur – a platform for entrepreneurs of all ages in the Salmon Arm area
  • MOMentum – A two-phase project that helps new mothers with basic financial lessons, workforce preparedness training, and mentorship to pursue entrepreneurial interests

“This is a more powerful name for us,” said Adrienne Renaud, a third-year Okanagan School of Business student at the Kelowna campus and vice president of marketing for Enactus Okanagan College. “We’re about taking action. We don’t just sit around and come up with ideas, we make things happen.”

For more information about Enactus Okanagan College, visit their website at

To read the full media release, click here.

Architects named for College’s Trades Complex

Diamond Schmitt Architects logoOne of Canada’s top architectural firms specializing in sustainable design has been hired to design Okanagan College’s $33-million Kelowna Trades facility expansion.

Diamond Schmitt Architects, based in Toronto, arrived in Kelowna last week to take part in 15 consultation sessions where they heard from about 160 College students and employees about what’s needed in the new design.

“Our architects dubbed the sessions 'King of the Consultation' process,” said Heather Schneider, Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan. “They were very impressed with the number of participants and the quality of the feedback they received.”

Diamond Schmitt has managed projects for some of Canada’s top post-secondary institutions, including the Ryerson Image Centre and School of Image Arts, the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, Queen’s University’s School of Medicine and the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at the Banff Centre.

“It is exciting to partner with an architectural firm with the depth of experience and knowledge that Diamond Schmitt brings to the table,” said Bob Eby, Vice President of Finance and Administration for the College. “They are well known for their innovative sustainable design solutions and have developed some very exciting initial concepts for our project.”

To read the full media release, click here.

Centre for Learning earns LEED Gold

cflThe first building in the Central Okanagan built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard has now been certified by the Canada Green Building Council.

Following the stringent guidelines, Okanagan College broke ground on the five-storey $28-million Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus in 2006. The doors opened to students in 2009, but the building only recently received certification.

“The certification process has been longer than anyone could have expected but it is a really important final piece of the Centre for Learning,” said Steve Robinson, Director of Facilities Management for the College. “We designed and built the facility at a time when very few people were thinking along the sustainability path. We have had a few years to monitor the building’s performance and have been so pleased with the technologies we utilized.”

One other building in Kelowna has achieved LEED Gold status – the Clinical Academic Campus for UBC’s Faculty of Medicine on Pandosy Street in late 2011.

College panellists tackle changing face of education

ilt smallThe College's Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is hosting a panel discussion at the Kelowna campus Monday, Jan. 21 to examine the big changes influencing the future of post-secondary education.

Where are We Headed: The Next 10 Years in Higher Education Teaching and Learning will look at the 'big picture' and explore how these shifts will affect the way educators teach and learn in the future.

Panellists taking part are: Phil Ashman (Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology) Charlotte Jones (Professor, Modern Languages), Mike Minions (Educational Technology Coordinator) and Dr. Rosalind Warner (Professor, Political Science).

The panel takes place from 1 - 2 p.m. at the Lecture Theatre in Kelowna as part of the Institute for Learning and Teaching Lunch & Learn Series.

For more information, visit the ILT website.

Celebrate the Snake at Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2013Okanagan College’s international students take centre stage Jan. 22 when they put on their annual performance celebrating the Year of the Snake and International Night.

This event is one of the biggest of year, featuring a parade of students in cultural dress and winding up with ethic food.

Tickets are required for this free event, which takes place from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus, room S104. Tickets can be picked up at the Athletics, Rec and Student Life Office, room A105.

January orientation success

Penticton winter orientationStudents enrolled at the Penticton campus got to celebrate the New Year with the first ever January mini-orientation, complete with lunch, learning and loads of giveaways.

More than 200 students took part, asked questions, and learned about the various student services on campus, including the Student Union, and Enactus (formerly SIFE).

“I was very pleased with the turnout and hope that the opportunity to put names with faces will help new students access the services and departments our College has to offer,” said Donna Lomas, Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “I want to extend a huge thank-you to all the staff who helped to make this such a success.”

To build on the success, feedback can be sent to Recruiting and Events Coordinator Jill Smith.


Article examines early views on human resources

Okanagan School of Business professor Catherine Fitzgerald had just had an article published in the latest issue of Research and Practice in Human Resource Management.

Fitzgerald, along with co-author Albert J. Mills from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, took a look at the textbooks being used to instruct students in the field of Canadian Human Resource Management dating back to the early 1970s.

The results revealed that in many cases the textbooks relied on American data, and contained limited Canadian research, theories, context and culture.

The full text of the article, Human Resource Management a Function of the Past: A Content Analysis of the First Edition Canadian Introductory Human Resource Management Textbooks, is available to read online.

Fundraiser being held for employee's son

Ritchie familyFunds are being raised at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Friday, Jan. 18 to assist the family of Kristine Ritchie, who works in the Continuing Studies department.

Ritchie’s four-year-old son Brendan has been diagnosed with a rare incurable disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. The disease causes high blood pressure in the lungs resulting in insufficient oxygen. As a result, Brendan cannot run, jump or exert himself. Brendan is one of only three children in the province with this disease, which is progressive.

A special Pit Stop event is being held at Infusions from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. where all donations collected will go towards helping the family pay for their medication and travel expenses to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Interested donors can also choose to purchase tickets for a wine basket. Tickets ($5 each or three for $10) are available through Heather Carson (ext. 4360) or Angie March (ext. 4501).

Jan. 15, 2013 Vol. 7 Issue 19


New B.C. Statutory Holiday in February

This year marks the first time employees will be enjoying British Columbia’s newest statutory holiday – Family Day.

Family Day is Monday, Feb.11. The next statutory holiday is Easter (Good Friday, March 29 and Easter Monday, April 1).

Getting fit goes corporate

Corporate memberships at Kelowna area fitness facilities are multiplying at Okanagan College.

Both The Woman’s Place and Global Fitness Centre are offering corporate memberships to Okanagan College employees.

In addition, the Parkinson Recreation Centre is also offering a reduced rate when a minimum of five employees sign up at the same time. To take advantage of that opportunity, contact Heather Carson.

Dress up, and hammer hard

The upcoming Red Dot production of Les Belles-Soeurs is looking for some backstage crew-members to help with costumes, sets and other aspects of production, including stage management.

To help out, contact director Jeremy Beaulne.


Jan. 17 – The City of Kelowna hosts an open house on the Okanagan College Transit Exchange and the KLO Road Improvement Project. The open house takes place 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium, followed by a session for the general public from 5 – 7 p.m. For more information about the project, visit city's Transit Projects site.

Jan. 18 – This marks the first of the season’s Hang Ten weekly Friday events where students head off for an affordable night of skiing at Big White. Sign up no later than Thursday at the Student Athletic and Recreation office, Room A105.

Jan. 19 – Take part in the Second Annual Student Day at Big White where students get to have an affordable day skiing, tubing, and skating, including transportation. Deadline to sign up is Jan. 16. For more details, contact Lynn Johnson.

Jan. 21 – ILT Lunch and Learn Series hosts a panel discussion on the future of education in an era filled with online learning, greater internationalization and tighter budgets. The panel runs from 1 – 2 p.m. at the Centre for Learning Atrium at the Kelowna campus.

Jan. 22 – Celebrate Chinese New Year with one of the most colourful events of the year at the Kelowna campus. The celebration features presentations from the International Education department. This free event takes place from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. Tickets are available through the Athletics and Recreation office, Room A105.

Jan. 23 – Okanagan College students graduating this spring or summer are invited to attend the Grad Fair taking place at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Centre for Learning. This is the place to apply to attend Convocation, purchase class rings, and sign up for professional portraits. For more information call 250-862-5473.


Okanagan College’s Winter Convocation received front page coverage featuring Bachelor of Business Administration graduate Josh Widmann. Read: Grad’s secret triggers tears of joy, in the Courier.

Josh Widmann, along with his finance team partner Daniella Hallam, also landed in local media for their second place finish at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) held at Queen’s University. Read: College means business, and Students finesse finance contest, in the Capital News. The Capital News also picked up an earlier media release announcing their selection to attend the finals. Read: Business students bound for Queen’s competition.

Paleontologist Dr. Philip Currie will be at the Vernon campus for the Science in Society Speaker Series Feb. 2. Read: Expert says dinosaurs hunted in packs, from the Courier.

There was considerable media interest in the media release regarding the latest version of the College’s new Mobile App. Read: College updates mobile app (Morning Star), College mobile apps help students tap into services (Penticton Herald), and Mobile App connects students to services (Capital News).

Okanagan College has added a well-regarded high-tech champion to its roster  - Peter Haubrich. Read: College gains expert to capitalize on opportunities, in the Morning Star, and High-tech guru to lend expertise (Penticton Herald).

The B.C. government is investing more than $847,000 in new skills training equipment at Okanagan College. Read: Okanagan College receives skills funding, from the Morning Star. The media release also appeared in the Courier, Penticton Herald, and Capital News.

Seventy more student spaces will be created at Okanagan College with the release of additional government funding. Read: Trades program opens up 70 spaces, in the Courier and Provincial funds support skills training in valley (Morning Star).

Okanagan Sunday ran an item about a Women in Trades information session. Read: Subsidized trades training offered to women.

The Capital News featured the announcement of architect Diamond Schmitt in its business section. Read: Diamond Schmitt leads $33-million trades expansion.

Registrar Jane Muskens examined the labour shortage and the Sandy Hook tragedy in her two most recent columns in the Capital News. Read: Reflecting on the skilled labour shortage of the past year, and Keep a lookout for problem signs in schools.

The unveiling of Enactus Okanagan College – the new brand name for SIFE Okanagan – received wide coverage. Read: New name for student group, in the Courier, Student-powered entrepreneurial SIFE initiative rebranded as Enactus, in the Capital News, and Okanagan College students relaunch business group (Morning Star.)

An article on a walking track at the Wesbild Centre in Vernon referenced plans for a new outdoor running track at the proposed sports complex at Okanagan College. Read: Arena sets sights on walking track, from the Morning Star.

The proposed sports complex also received attention for various budgeting discussions and decisions of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. Read: Cost savings pitched for sports facility, Directors taking final look at sports complex plan, and later Referendum costs cut by $1 million, all in the Morning Star. The coverage prompted this letter: Consider our wallets.

The Capital News reported on the scholarship success of 16 Okanagan College students. Read: Sixteen OC students recipients of Ike Barber scholarships.

The former home of playwright George Ryga is now up for sale in Summerland. Ryga's work inspired the creation of Okanagan College's Ryga Journal. Read: Ryga house on the market, from the Summerland Review.

The popular Okanagan College Speakers Series kicked off its winter schedule with a talk featuring Penticton author and historian Randy Manuel. Read: Speakers Series starts Jan. 14.

An article about the Central Okanagan School District referenced positive historical relationships with Okanagan College. Read: District focusing on collaboration, in the Courier.

Okanagan College has received $10,000 for an archeological study on the 10-acre property at the Vernon campus slated for the sports complex. Read: Cash provided for archeological study.

Vernon’s Nolan Clark, who teaches GIS at Okanagan College, is making a game of the social media marketing world. Read: ProxMe! Launches in Okanagan, in the Morning Star.

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 Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.