Students qualify for final round at ICBC

ICBC Finalists 2013Considered the Olympics of Canadian business case competitions, the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) at Queen's University will see four Okanagan College business students participating in the finals on Jan. 2-4, 2014.

ICBC features teams of two students creating an innovative and viable business solution to a problem in one of the following categories: Accounting, Business Policy, Ethics, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Management Information Systems, and Debate.

Okanagan College business students Amanda Wright and Jared Cook will be participating in the Accounting finals and Kelsey Matheson and Alanna Eastcott are competing in the Ethics final.

“It’s a great opportunity to compare what we’ve learned at Okanagan College to that of students from universities across the country,” said accounting finalist Jared Cook.

The students are up against rival teams from the likes of McGill University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, and even from as far afield as the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“This is a wonderfully enriching experience for all of the students who participate,” says Ethics team mentor and Associate Dean of the School of Business, Barry McGillivray.

The mentor working with the accounting team is Business Professor Randy Newton.

Veteran trades educator joins College

Steve MooresA new Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship is joining Okanagan College in the New Year and brings with him more than 30 years of experience in education and trades instruction.

Steve Moores holds a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from San Diego State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Vocational Education from the University of Alberta, and is certified as a Red Seal Machinist Journeyperson.

He spent 23 years at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), where he started as an instructor in the mechanical trades and then became Program Chair of the Machinist program. He went on to work on special projects for NAIT, including curriculum and program development, both domestically and internationally and eventually was appointed Associate Dean of the School of Trades.

His most recent experience took him to Saudi Arabia, where he was hired in the role of Dean at Jazan Economic City Polytechnic and was responsible for Vocational Development. Moores' first day will be Jan. 6, 2014.

For more, see the press release.

Whipping up holiday memories

Making CookiesOkanagan College Culinary Arts students were handing out holiday stockings to kids in need at the “Making Memories” performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 8 at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

The stockings were brimming with toys, gift cards and goodies donated to the charity, including more than 3,000 cookies whipped up by the College’s culinary students and staff.

“It’s great to see our students and instructors take the time to give back to members of our community,” said Jonathan Rouse, the College's Director of Wine, Food, and Tourism.

“It’s a small gesture that will have a big impact on a lot of children this season and is a great example of how our students take their education and training outside of the classroom.”

Every year, the Canadian School of Ballet and Ballet Kelowna hosts the “Making Memories” event exclusively for 856 area youth and families who would not normally have the opportunity to attend the performance.

The College’s Culinary Arts department partnered with the Junior Chapter of the Okanagan Chefs Association, Okanagan Grocery and Sysco for the campaign.

Responding to industry needs

Heavy Duty ShopOkanagan College is the first B.C. College to respond to industry needs by offering a revised Heavy Mechanical Trades program developed to train students in four separate trades in high demand.

“We have been providing training in Heavy Duty Equipment and Commercial Transport Mechanics for five decades,” said Randy Werger, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“Heavy Duty was one of our first programs and a lot has changed in 50 years. We have constantly adapted the curriculum to meet industry demands.

“Our program used to cover training in two distinct areas—heavy duty and commercial transport mechanics—we’ve kept those components because they are still extremely valuable and relevant but we’ve added two new elements: diesel engine mechanic and transport trailer technician, which will give students a much broader range of skills and ultimately make them more knowledgeable and employable.”  

“What is most exciting is that both graduates and employers are going to benefit,” said Werger. “Industry gets more versatile employees with broader skill sets, and graduates can take advantage of flexible further education options and enhanced work opportunities. Everybody wins."

For more, see the press release.

Cultivating young writers

The winners of the fourth annual Okanagan College 3-Hour Short Story contest were announced on Dec. 6.

Mary Bevan, an Okanagan College Kelowna campus student, was the grand prize winner for her story, “The Use in Usefulness.” She won a $500 tuition credit and a published chapbook of her winning story.

The contest took place on Saturday, Nov. 16 on all four Okanagan College campuses. Participants had three hours to write an original piece of literary fiction that incorporated the phrase “burning fields,” which was revealed at the beginning of the contest.

Each campus declared a winner and then Bevan’s story was chosen as a finalist. The other regional winners, who each took home a $250 tuition credit, were Amelia Moore, a Salmon Arm Secondary student, for “The Silent Road Trip,” Carley Dolman, an Okanagan College Vernon campus student, for “Kella the Seer,” and Gwyneth Meghan Steele, an Okanagan College Penticton campus student, for “Sunlit Memories.”

“There were a number of strong entries in this year’s contest. As always, selecting the overall winner was a challenge,” said Okanagan College English professor and contest judge Jeremy Beaulne.

 There were about 65 people registered this year, with the largest group writing in Kelowna.

For more, see the press release.

Discover Trades Conference

Discover Trades ConferenceYouth in the Central Okanagan School Districts are soon to find out more about trades from their parents, planning teachers and counselors.
Trades and Apprenticeship opened up their doors to host a Discover Trades Conference on Dec. 6. The goal was to bring together parents and educators to show them firsthand what the trades are all about and cultivate a better understanding of why trades careers could be the better choice for their children or students.

Opportunities were provided to do hands-on trades activities, talk to industry, learn about web resources, and get involved in the new Maker Day Movement—a grass roots campaign to encourage invention and handicraft. The Secondary School Technology Education teachers and the College's Trades Instructors started off the day doing a teambuilding exercise, which was followed by discussions around Generation Y. 

Deemed a success, everyone attending said they were eager to share what they had learned and hoped that this would become an annual event.

Getting the word out

The Public Affairs Department of Okanagan College sent out the following media releases in the last two weeks:
Kelowna writer wins Canada Writes short story contest

Okanagan College to benefit from experience of Steve Moores, new Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship

Culinary Arts students bake up some holiday memories for charity

Kelowna student declared winner of Okanagan College writing contest

Okanagan College English professor nominated for prestigious Journey Prize

Solving B.C. skills shortage starts with parents

Okanagan College first in the province to offer expanded heavy mechanical trades program


Alix Hawley wins BloodLines

Alix Hawley and OmaDuring WWII, Alix Hawley's grandmother risked her life to smuggle a pig across Nazi occupied Holland.

A creative retelling of this tale was the basis of the Okanagan College English Professor’s entry into the BloodLines category of the Canada Writes short story contest. On Dec. 12, it was announced that Hawley’s story “Pig (for Oma)” beat out 800 other entries to win the top prize.

“I don't usually write creative non-fiction (I like to make things up),” says Hawley. “But I loved having access to other people's lives and histories in the other entries and I wanted to join that,” she says about the inspiration to enter the contest.

According to novelist and Massey Lecturer Lawrence Hill, who judged the shortlisted stories, “Pig (for Oma)” is  “sharp and fresh” and “beautifully rendered, from the first sentence to the last.”

“I'm surprised and happy to have won, especially because I admire Lawrence Hill's writing so much. I'm also delighted on my grandmother's behalf, because she loves to tell stories, and now this one has a new audience.”

Read the press release for more details and links to Hawley’s winning story.

Dissertation defenses: Barmby and Bowman-Broz

Jim Barmby 2Jim Barmby, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke, successfully defended his thesis on Dec. 11 at the University of British Columbia. Barmby’s thesis, “The Art and Craft of University Coordination,” studied how universities and senior government officials in Alberta managed to balance the government's requirement that the universities be accountable for the use of public funds while respecting the universities’ need to maintain autonomy in order to ensure academic freedom.

"It has been quite a rollercoaster ride for the last seven years,” says Barmby. “I am not yet used to the idea that it's over."

In Kelowna, English and Interdisciplinary studies professor Norah Bowman-Broz, calls the successful completion of her PhD on Dec. 5 a group effort.

“Without the support I received from Okanagan College and my colleagues, the University of Alberta and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, it wouldn’t have been possible,” she says.

Norah BowmanHer thesis, “The Mountain Pine Beetle Chronicles: A Bioregional Literary Study of the Anomalous Mountain Pine Beetle and the Lodgepole Pine Forests in the Northern Interior of British Columbia,” explores the cultural ideas that BC settlers have about the beetle, the forest and environment and how those ideas are reflected through literature, poetry and art.

Trades gives to family in need

The Trades and Apprenticeship departments were looking for a way to give back to the community this year and decided to focus their efforts on The Salvation Army’s Christmas Family program.
Generous donations of money and time are sure to bring smiles and happiness to a family of six on Christmas morning. 

Chi-Fui Chong to retire

ChongWith plans of travelling, gardening, volunteering and developing his calligraphy skills, Okanagan College’s Director of Finance, Chi-Fui Chong, has announced he will retire on May 31, 2014.

Chi-Fui joined the College in 2007, bringing with him a varied background and extensive experience in several sectors.

“I worked in six different organizations before coming to the College and I’ve never worked with a more cohesive and hard-working team than the group in Finance,” said Chong. “We are a lean group and I think that helps us work so efficiently. We have really achieved a lot in a short amount of time.”

Chi-Fui’s impact has been felt across the organization through the implementation of several major projects. His most notable contributions have been in the areas of program costing, budgeting and projection, and restructuring accounting coding, says Bob Eby, Vice President of Finance and Administration.

Interdepartmental generosity

OC Staff donationIn the spirit of interdepartmental cooperation, the Advancement and Alumni, Ancillary and Business Services, and Facilities Management departments, led by Jennifer Klotz, Judy Zachary, Katerina Hay and Dawn Douglas, teamed up this holiday season to make the holidays brighter for two Okanagan College students and their families.

The College's Financial Aid department identified two students, who are both single moms, and the employees from the three departments collectively donated more than $800 in cash and gifts to help them out.

“We do it because we want to ease the stress and burden for these families, and to let them know that the employees at Okanagan College care about them,” says Dawn Douglas, Executive Assistant, Advancement and Alumni.

Frosty 5 km

Santa Shuffle 2013Despite the -14C temperature and a -17C wind chill, there was a record turnout at the 2013 Santa Shuffle Walk/Run on Dec. 7 in Kelowna.

Okanagan College participated with a corporate team for the fourth straight year. Lacing up on the frosty Saturday were employees Drew Petrie, Markus Heinrichs, Michelle Lowry, Val Tuhkala and Mark Scorah, and Michelle Sinclair.

According to Suzie Docherty from the Salvation Army, there were 50 participants in 2010 when this event began in Kelowna but the 2013 event had more than 200 participants. The date for next year’s event is Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014.


Dec. 17 Vol. 8, issue 19


Holiday closure for 2013

Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season beginning Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 at 3 p.m., and will re-open on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. The 2013-14 Holiday Season Closure can be viewed online.

Volunteers needed for Winter Convocation

Public Affairs is looking for volunteers for Winter Convocation on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, to help with gown distribution, serve as ushers, and organize the reception. The ceremony is at 10:30 a.m. and would require about three to four hours of your time. If you are interested, please contact Michelle Lowry.

ACCC Annual Conference

Speaker proposals are currently being accepted for the 2014 Association of Canadian Community Colleges Annual Conference. The deadline is Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.

Submissions should focus on leading-edge work undertaken within the applicant's institution, jointly with other ACCC member institutions or with community partners.

Hosted by Algonquin College and La Cité, the conference will take place May 25-27, 2014, in Ottawa and will provide a forum for member institutions to learn from each other by sharing insights and experience. 

The overall goal of the conference is to enhance the capacity of member institutions to further their visions, mandates and strategic orientations. The theme Collaboration ● Innovation ● Transformation will focus on leading-edge approaches in teaching and learning, quality, governance, institutional leadership, and collaborative partnerships.

Apply here using the online form.

IT Services system maintenance

IT Services will be conducting system wide maintenance on the weekend of Dec. 21-22.

Many systems will still be available including:
•    Limited myOkanagan self-service channels for students (check grades, registration) and faculty (grade entry)
•    Website
•    Apply online
•    Classfinders
•    CS online registration
•    OC Banner (basic only, no reporting)
•    Moodle
Email and access to network files on the Kelowna campus will not be available.

Jan. fitness facility hours

The Fitness Facility in Kelowna will be closed from Dec. 24 starting at 3 p.m. to Jan. 1.

On Jan. 2, it will reopen with new hours of operation:

Monday-Friday: 6 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Family Award application deadline

Applications are now being accepted for the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees taking programs or starting terms between Jan. 1 and Apr. 30. 

An application form and full award criteria can be found in myOkanagan. All applications must be date-stamped by Jan. 17, 2014. 


Annual Holiday Trades lunch

Employees are invited to enjoy food and fun at the Trades Holiday Luncheon in Kelowna on Friday, Dec. 20 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. 
 Again this year, Trades is collecting food and donations for the Kelowna Food Bank. The Food Bank can purchase $3 worth of food for every dollar they receive. Please bring a non-perishable food item–or a cash donation–to the lunch. 

This year, the Luncheon will be held in the new Heavy Duty Mechanics shop located on the Northeast corner of the Trades Complex across from the Centre for Learning’s staff parking lot #14. Please enter from that area and use the compound’s East Gate.

EFAP December

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 wellbeing.

This month’s webinar, Personal Finances 101-Investing in Your Future, is Dec. 19. This webinar showcases some simple yet effective tips for investing in your future. Takes place at noon and admission is free. To register, click here.

PPC Canada's December edition of its newsletter, Balance Sheet is all about managing your finances. Articles include "Take Control of Your Finances With A Budget" and "How to Buy for Less" to save money on both big and small expenses.

OC4 Cyclosportif Early Bird Pricing

Get to the front of the pack and register for OC4 Cyclosportif for the low early bird price of $90 on or before Dec. 31.

This scenic three-day, two-wheeled ride travels between all four Okanagan College campuses, starting off in Salmon Arm on Jun. 13, touching down in Kelowna on Jun. 14, and ending in Penticton on Jun. 15. 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.

Participants are limited to 125, so commit now to ensure your spot and enjoy the low early-bird registration fee of $90, which will increase to $125 on Jan. 1, 2014. For more information and to register, visit

Yogis come through for the food bank

Okanagan College Yoga Instructors Dawn Balic and Kim Snyder thank all those who participated in the Om for the Holidays: Free Yoga with Food Bank Donation sessions on Dec. 2, 9 and 10. Four bags of groceries were collected for the food bank.
Yoga is ongoing at the Kelowna campus and all employees and students are encouraged to participate.

Regular hours are Mondays 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. and Tue/Thu  noon – 1 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. Staff cost $7 and students are free.

To get on the Yoga Email Group List, please email Kim Snyder.

The last class of 2014 will be Dec. 19, 2013, and resume Jan. 13, 2014.


Okanagan College Coyotes alumnus Mike Monster, of Kelowna, was signed by Anaheim Angels Major League baseball team, see Champions.

Okanagan College’s fall enrolment numbers made the news, see College enrolment is up.

Okanagan Life readers’ choice awards voted Okanagan College into the top three Best Private School/College categories in Central, North and South regions.

Steve Moores has been appointed the new Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, see New Dean to head up trades, OK College enhances trades program, and New trades dean at OC.

Okanagan College’s announcement of its new $33 million Trades Training Facility made headlines, see Okanagan College responds to industry needs.

The College is expanding its Heavy Duty Mechanical Trades program, see OC to expand trades program.

Culinary Arts students and staff created and packaged more than 3,000 cookies for charity, see Baking up some memories.

Partnering with Discover Trades BC, the College hosted its first ever Parents open house on Dec. 6, see Solving B.C.’s skills shortage starts with parents.

Mary Bevan, a Kelowna campus Writing and Publishing student, was the grand prize winner of the 2013 3-Hour Short Story Contest, see Kelowna student wins College’s three-hour writing contest, and Student wins writing contest.

Vernon-based English professor, Jeremy Lanaway’s short story “Downturn” was nominated for the Journey Prize, see English prof up for literary prize, and Okanagan writer nominated for prize.

English professor Alix Hawley won Canada Writes BloodLines short story contest, see Kelowna writer wins short story contest.

The Jan. intakes of Autism Spectrum Certificate taking place in Vernon and Penticton helps parents, see New program offers support to parents dealing with autism, and Autism course aids parents.

Registrar Jane Muskens had two columns in the Kelowna Capital News, see Several factors have led to shrinkage of skilled workforce, and Recruitment drives debate.

The 2013 Robocup Jr. competition at the Kelowna campus was a phenomenal success, see Robo bros claim sixth cup, and Competing students rock RoboCup.

Alumnus and HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes has launched a non profit, The Next Big Thing, see HootSuite helping entrepreneurs.

Bank of Canada Economist Farid Novin spoke at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, see The real economic challenge.

An Okanagan College student was on the receiving end of food bank generosity, see Life went sideways in a hurry for young family.

Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs helped out an Okanagan College student and single mom, see Club helps mom focus on studies.

Local art is showcased at the College, see Alternative art showcased at Gallery Vertigo and college.

The Coyote Reads program, which takes place at the Salmon Arm campus, launched in December, see Literacy success moves up to middle school.

The Penticton campus will host a fitness course in January, see College to host CFES Knowledge Course.

A survey of UBC and Okanagan College students revealed interesting findings, see Post-secondary survey suggests most want to stay in Okanagan.

The Kelowna Daily Courier reported that the College was given degree-granting status in its “25 years ago” column, see Degrees on the way.

Premier Christy Clark toured the winery of alumnus Bobby Gidda, see Premier announces liquor policy changes.

Distinguished alumnus Jon Garrett and his wife Tanya, of Whisk Cake Company, were awarded best wedding cake by BC Wedding Awards, see Local wedding professionals tops in B.C.

Honourary Fellow and bird biologist Dick Cannings spoke at a public wetlands workshop, see Endangered species the result of habitat loss.