Your say: Okanagan College in 50 years

What do you think the College will look like when it turns 100 years old?
Public Affairs is developing a video to be shown at Connections, our annual employee learning conference, held on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and Wednesday, Aug. 20 at the Kelowna campus. We want to hear what you think. Help us bring the video to life.

On the heels of last year’s video theme (Okanagan College at 50 years), we’re asking the question, “What will Okanagan College be like 50 years from now?”

We are confident our employees will have lots of ideas and predictions about our College and its future. So ask yourself these questions:

  •   What will Okanagan College look like at our centennial (in 2063)?
  •   What technologies will be at play?
  •   How will sustainability impact our operations?
  •   What will be the big issues?
  •   What kind of programs will we be teaching?
  •   What will classrooms look like – will they exist at all?
  •   How will the students of 2063 be different from today’s students?
  •   What will Okanagan College be known for?
  •   What will comprise student services?
  •   Will parking still be an issue, if we all have flying cars, or Google-drive automobiles?

If you are interested in participating or know of a colleague who might be a great interview subject, please email Michelle Lowry.

Public Affairs will be shooting the video on the following days and will be available at each of the campuses (dates on different campuses will depend on responses and employee schedules): July 29-Aug. 1 (Tuesday – Friday) and Aug. 5-6 (Tuesday – Wednesday).
Michelle will respond to your email with information about the video shoot and will coordinate the shooting schedule. All you need to do is start thinking about the future of our College.

Boosting the B.C. wine industry

Wine Server Course homepageOkanagan College and the British Columbia Wine Institute have partnered on a new, free online course to educate wine and food servers across Canada about B.C. wine.

The new course takes about two hours to complete and gives servers a greater understanding of the distinguishing factors of B.C. VQA wine, as well tips on serving wine and enhancing the tasting experience. It features interactive videos and draws in a broad range of experts and personalities from the industry.

It was the brainchild of the British Columbia Wine Institute CEO, Miles Prodan and Okanagan College’s Director of Wine, Food and Tourism, Jonathan Rouse.

“We saw an opportunity and need to provide education and insight to some of the people who can have a real impact on wine sales in B.C., and on the wine tourist experience,” says Prodan.

“This is a tremendous way to help the industry,” says Rouse. “It means everyone who is involved in serving wine in this province, whether they are in Fort St. John, Ucluelet, Vancouver or Naramata, can gain a better understanding of the industry and the product that our residents and tourists are interested in.”

The course is available at

Jonathan Rouse was interviewed on CBC’s Daybreak about the new course, listen to the interview by clicking this link.

Accountability report

Accountability report coverOkanagan College has completed and posted its annual Accountability Report and Plan, a document that is mandated by the Ministry of Advanced Education, and which summarizes the institution's undertakings and achievements of the past year. Every public post-secondary institution in the province has to file these reports annually.

It's a snapshot look at what's been happening regionally and describes alignment between what the College is doing, the strategic plan and the Ministry's service plan. (The report is produced by Public Affairs and Institutional Research and is reviewed by the Board of Governors before it is submitted to the Province.)

“…(W)e hope you gain an appreciation of the connection we make to the citizens of the region, through educational programs and through the many associated endeavours of our students and employees,” writes Okanagan College Board Chair Tom Styffe and President Jim Hamilton in their introductory letter to Minister Amrik Virk. “When our institution was relaunched in 2005, we promised that an integral part of the region’s social, cultural and economic fabric – Okanagan College – would become even more connected and important.

“Our hope is that this report reflects our successes in that regard. We hope it also illuminates the College’s capacity to meet provincial, regional, community and individual expectations.”

Download a copy of the 31-page report here.

Improve your teaching skills

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is offering three upcoming learning opportunities for Okanagan College employees.

Service and Support in a Learner-Centred Organization Certificate program
The Service and Support in a Learner-Centred Organization (SLCO) Certificate program starts Sept. 25. This program is for anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge and skills in service excellence, workplace communication, client service strategies, and conflict resolution methods.

Learner-Centred Instructors Certificate program

The Institute of Learning and Teaching is currently accepting applications for the Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate program (LCIC), which begins Sept. 4. The 60-hour program is delivered online through the Moodle classroom and is designed to enhance participants’ learning and teaching skills focusing on the concept and strategies used in learner-centred environments.

Planting the Seeds workshop
The Institute for Learning and Teaching is hosting the first annual Planting the Seeds: Cultivating Teaching and Learning at Okanagan College for new and continuing faculty and instructors. This two-day workshop takes place Aug. 25-26, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Kelowna campus. It is devoted exclusively to exploring, discussing, and engaging faculty and instructors in cultivating effective learning and teaching environments.

For more information about these courses and registration details, click on the above links.

The ultimate food and wine experience

Wine and Food Intensive course logoOkanagan College’s Penticton campus is hosting the inaugural Okanagan Wine and Food Intensive—an unparalleled wine and food experience running Friday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 3.  

Each day starts and ends in the state-of-the-art B.C. Wine Information Society–Sensory Centre at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. Daily fieldtrips and transportation on a private Grape Escapes tour company bus, seasonal Okanagan lunches, and sensory wine and food education sessions are all included in the Okanagan Wine and Food Intensive learning experience. A Certificate of Participation will be awarded after program completion.

Designed to appeal to both newbies and oenophiles, the course is being led by expert instructors and offers participants the chance to interact with some of the regions top industry experts.

The cost for the three-day course, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, is $630.  Please note, this course is not tuition exempt.

For more details and to register, visit the Food, Wine and Tourism website.


Miracle for Megan fundraiser

Miracle for MeganOkanagan College Carpentry instructor Gerry Leverrier has a granddaughter currently undergoing treatment at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto. On March 19, four–year-old Megan was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer and her treatment requires her to undergo a liver transplant.

Her extended family has put together the “Miracle for Megan” bracelet campaign to raise money for some of the major expenses the family will be facing in the coming months.  

To help, the Trades & Apprenticeship department will be raffling off two gift baskets on Friday, July 18. Drop by the Trades & Apprenticeship Office to see the baskets and purchase tickets or bracelets.

Heather Grassick and Angie March will also be bringing the baskets and tickets around to employees on Wednesday, July 16.

Bracelets are $5; gift basket tickets are $5 each, 3 for $10 or 8 for $20.

Art Mooney remembered

The College flag has been lowered in remembrance of a face familiar to many at the Vernon campus, Art Mooney, who passed away on July 5.

After a long career in the Alberta Oil patch, Art and his wife Fran moved to Vernon to retire in 1989. Art started working part-time in security at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus shortly thereafter. He retired again at the age of 84 in November 2013.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, July 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 5101-25th Avenue, in Vernon.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the North Okanagan Hospice Society or the Canadian Cancer Society.

Raffle draw prize winners

The first 100 registrants to Connections 2014 employee conference were entered into a random draw to win a bottle of mead, supplied by Planet Bee.

The following were the winners of the random draw:

  • Sandy Ungarian, Financial Services
  • Kevin Trotzuk, Institutional Research
  • Dianne Sarnecki, Records and Registration
  • Jill Smith, Records and Registration
Jul. 15, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 8

Health and well-being resources

Okanagan College's employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and well-being.

This month’s The Balance Sheet newsletter offers some general advice pertaining to stress management. The first article, Adopting a Stress Resistant Lifestyle, touches upon some measures you can take to reduce both your stress and the effect that it has on you. The next article Balancing Act: Work and Family Life discusses the importance of managing an effective balance between work and family obligations, and strategies you can use in maintaining that balance.
This month’s webinar takes place on July 23 at 12 p.m. and examines Optum’s Employee Assistance Plan and the variety of services it offers to help you. Sign up here.

Kelowna Fitness Facility construction

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility is undergoing some much-needed repairs. Stay tuned for the grand re-opening at the end of July. If you are missing your workouts, stop by the Athletics and Recreation office for a one-week pass to Global Fitness or Mission Fitness or visit the Facebook page for some fun and effective outdoor workout ideas.


Connections 2014

If you haven't done so already, please register for Connections, Okanagan College’s ninth Annual Employee Learning Conference.

This is a great opportunity learn what’s on the horizon for the College, participate in fun and informational workshops on a variety of topics such as learning to survive in the woods, making healthy meal choices, creating a killer Prezi and effectively use Moodle, not to mention the chance to socialize with your colleagues while enjoying beverages supplied by Tree Brewing, The View Winery and Okanagan Spirits.

Connections 2014 takes place at the Kelowna Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and Wednesday, Aug. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Attendees can register for one day. Click here for more details.

Yoga at work

Two Okanagan College employees Kim Snyder and Dawn Balic are also yoga instructors and hold yoga classes on a weekly basis. It’s a great opportunity to relieve tension and restore energy. All levels are welcome. Bring a yoga mat, towel (for under your mat) and water. Wear comfortable clothes.

Summer schedule:

  • Monday from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday from Noon to 1 p.m.

Classes either take place in the courtyard if the weather is warm and dry or in an available classroom. The cost is free for students, and staff pay $7.

Email Kim Snyder to receive notices of classes and locations.


The fleet feet of Okanagan College’s Half-Marathon and 10 km event participants were showcased in the July 2014 edition of Champions, see Running: Okanagan College Half Marathon.

Three Okanagan College graduands, Colleen Vipond, Gaby Klassen and Judith Kranenborg were photographed in the Vernon Morning Star.

One of Princess Margaret Secondary School’s valedictorians is planning to attend Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in the fall, see Valedictorians not done with Penticton quite yet.

A culinary legend is joining Okanagan College as culinary manager and the local press were impressed, see Creating food culture in the Okanagan in the Kelowna Capital News, Culinary careers promoted in the Vernon Morning Star, Culinary star cooking at college in Westside Weekly, and Top chef joins college and Maxine DeHart's column in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College and the B.C. Wine Institute have collaborated on a free online course for wine servers in B.C., see Improve your wine knowledge with online course in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Free course aimed at B.C.’s wine servers in the Vernon Morning Star.

Connie Denesiuk, Board of Governors' Vice Chair, has been given the green light to put her name forth as candidate in the next federal election, see Denesiuk to vie for Liberal banner. Denesiuk was also featured in an announcement for a trail alongside Highway 97 in Summerland, see Funding presented for trail in the Summerland Review.

Jane Muskens writes about a new report from the Okanagan Economic Development Commission, which revealed that area employers expect the labour force to grow by 18.5 per cent between now and 2020, see Skilled workers needed in the Kelowna Capital News.

The cost to the taxpayer of two electric car-charging stations at the Penticton campus was the subject of an article in the Penticton Western News, see Charging station not getting jolt for dollar.

A new cooperative of farms are starting their own farmers market and a spokesperson told the Kelowna Capital News that the group aims to deepening ties with community groups including Okanagan College, see A second farmers’ market.

The RV Owners Lifestyle Seminars took place at the College’s Kelowna campus in June, see, Enlightening: RV Owners Lifestyle Seminars in Forever Young.

The British Columbia Youth Writers’ Camps took place at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus, see Doing it the write way in the Penticton Herald and Budding writers in Southern Exposure.

Education technology coordinator Mike Minions is starring as Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing, see Much Ado about love for the Bard in eVent.

Alumnus and coach of the Kelowna Rockets Ryan Huska is moving on to work for the Calgary Flames farm team, see Dan Lambert, new coach of the Kelowna Rockets in the Business Examiner.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 July 29, 2014.