Trades receives financial lift at Okanagan College

electrical RevelstokeStudents attending Okanagan College are among those at 10 post-secondary institutions in the province benefiting from more than $1.7 million in one-time funding being provided to prepare workers for jobs as part of the B.C. Skills and Training Plan.

These funds are to be used for Foundation training, with Okanagan College being provided with $342,872 of those funds resulting in 82 seats.

"The funding we're announcing is helping to train-up workers for the current job market," said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, in making the announcement. “It's another key step in B.C.'s Jobs Plan where we are delivering the right mix of workers, with the right skills in the right regions to meet local labour demands.”

Funding to the College is being allocated as follows:

Kelowna Campus
Electrical – 36 seats
    Two intakes - Sept. 4, 2012 - Feb. 22, 2013 and Feb. 25 - Aug. 9, 2013

Metal Fabrication – 16 seats
    One intake - Sept. 10, 2012 - Feb. 22, 2013

Plumbing and Piping – 18 seats
    One intake - Sept. 4, 2012 to Mar. 1, 2013

Revelstoke Centre
Electrical – 12 seats
    One intake -  Aug. 7, 2012 - Jan. 25, 2013  
Foundation training programs provide trainees with the basic knowledge and skills needed for entry into a particular occupation. Students receive credit for the first level of apprenticeship training in the specific field by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) once they have successfully completed the foundation program.

Another announcement regarding trades equipment funding will be taking place at the Kelowna campus Wednesday afternoon.

Leading Paleontologist to speak in Vernon

 Phil Currie
 Photo credit: Alberta Order of Excellence

One of the biggest names in paleontology will be in Vernon Feb. 2 to speak on his ground-breaking theory into the habits of carnivorous dinosaurs that roamed the Red Deer River badlands of Alberta.

Dr. Philip Currie, who came to international acclaim for his research, will be the featured guest at a matinee presentation as part of Okanagan College’s Science in Society Speaker Series.

His presentation, entitled Albertosaurus – Did this giant flesh-eating dinosaur hunt in terrifying Dino Gangs? will delve into his theory that dinosaurs were intelligent enough to hunt in packs.

“The Albertosaurus bonebed and several other localities suggest behavioural patterns more complex than people have been willing to attribute to dinosaurs until recently,” said the University of Alberta professor who currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Dinosaur Paleobiology.

This marks the second time Currie has spoken to the Vernon community, which will be hosting a pre-historic carnival in conjunction with the event.

Currie's talk takes place at 3:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. Tickets are available in advance for $10 through the Okanagan Science Centre, or $12 at the door.

Currie has been at the forefront of dinosaur discovery throughout his career, naming 25 new species and promoting new theories on dinosaur behaviour and the origin of birds.

The Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by the Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College) is sponsored by the Sparkling Hill Resort, Starbucks Coffee, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, and the Vernon Morning Star.

College Board of Governors goes paperless

kayfishOkanagan College's Board of Governors deepened its commitment to sustainability when it conducted its first entirely paperless meeting Nov. 27.

"Being a leader in sustainability is one of our key directions here at the College," said Board of Governors Chair Lance Kayfish.

Arriving at this point has taken years of research, examination of budget initiatives, and focus, he said.

The first hurdle was passed in April 2009 with the launch of a Board website for document management and archiving. Now the Board has incorporated tablets, with the purchase of a number of iPads that will be dedicated for College use only. In addition, some members are using their own laptops or iPads. Kayfish gave credit to the Board's Executive Secretary Linda Le Gallee for doing the legwork to get paperless meetings running smoothly and Jake Block from Information Technology Services for their support to the project.

"We recognize that it's challenging for everyone to rid themselves of paper, but by making this commitment, the result is that we have come up with new ways and means of communicating with each other and getting the job done," Kayfish said. "Sometimes it takes a line in the sand to create something new."

Kayfish said the costs will be recovered in just over one budget year.  The savings are mainly from simply reducing the amount of paper and copying required to produce agenda documents for each of the Board members and staff.

More information about the Board of Governors is available on the website.


New interim director of Continuing Studies

Joanne Thomsen has accepted the position of Interim Director of Continuing Studies.
Thomsen, who is currently the Associate Director of Continuing Studies, will fill the role until March 31. She steps into the role following Heather Schneider. Schneider, the Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan, has been in the interim role for the last 18 months, but additional responsibilities as a consequence of the new Trades building project have led to a need to direct more energies to the Regional Dean’s role.
A search for a permanent Director will begin in January.

Sociology professor speaks to CBC on Missing Women Inquiry

Melissa MunnSociology Professor Melissa Munn, based at the Salmon Arm campus, ended up on two CBC Radio programs this week, providing her analysis of the recently released Forsaken Report, by Commissioner Wally Oppal.

Munn was interviewed on the Daybreak programs broadcasting out of the Kelowna bureau, and the newly established Kamloops bureau.

Hosts Chris Walker and Shelley Joyce asked Munn for her perspective leading up to the release of the report, and then requested she provide her response the following day.

To hear her interviews from Daybreak Kelowna, click here.

Trades rings up big bucks for Food Bank

trades christmasThe annual traditional Trades Department holiday luncheon drew in the crowds, and the cash raising more than $860 for the Kelowna Food Bank.

Dean John Haller and Associate Dean Randy Werger played starring roles carving up roast beef and ham inside the Collision Repair building, for what appeared to be a never-ending line-up of Okanagan College employees.

The College’s Culinary Arts department prepared all the food, including healthy seasonal salads and delectable festive cupcakes.

Central Okanagan Regional Dean Heather Schneider thanked everyone for taking part in the event.

“We raised a lot of money for the Food Bank at a time of year that is really critical for them and the community they serve,” she said. “Thank you all for your donations to this worthy cause.”

Facilities builds up Christmas with gifts

facilitiesMembers of the Facilities Management department pooled their resources, and their personal talents, to help out two single-parent Okanagan College student families.

As part of the team’s annual holiday get-together, they donated gifts for the families through Kelowna Community Resources, supplied them with Superstore gift certificates, and one employee even created a toy digger from reclaimed materials from the Trades department.


Dec. 18, 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 18


Results released from spring Student Satisfaction Survey

Institutional Research has released the results of the fifth student satisfaction survey, and results are showing the College in a favourable light.

Ninety-two per cent of those who responded say that attending Okanagan College has been a good experience, and 88 per cent would recommend their program to others.

The survey was conducted in spring of 2012, with results very similar to previous years.

Institutional Research Manager Jan O’Brien said notable improvements include more agreement that the fee payment process is clear and efficient and the library study space meets student needs.

To view the full report, visit the reports channel on the employee tab of myOkanagan.

Protect yourself from identity theft

Wallets move in and out of pockets so fast these days, and unfortunately for some – into the hands of those with nefarious intent.

With the recent incident of identify theft involving a College employee fresh in his mind, Arch Doody of Okanagan College’s Security Services provides some tips on how to ensure your identity remains yours, and no one else’s.

  • if you haven’t used an identification card, credit card or consumer rewards card in three months, move it from your wallet into a safe place at home
  • remove your SIN card from your wallet and store it in a safe place at home. No one needs that information except Revenue Canada or your bank
  • remove credit card receipts from your wallet or purse, and ensure details are unreadable when you dispose of them
  • use a low-limit credit card for your on-line shopping and leave it in a safe place near your computer
  • change your PIN every year (at least) on all your credit cards, ditto for your debit card
  • when travelling either in or out of country, take only the cards you will both need and use, and let your credit card company know in advance of your plans so they don’t flag your card for suspicious use
  • report all suspicious credit card loss or confirmed theft “immediately," and report any credit card misplacement following an unsuccessful search
  • take a photograph of the identification and expiry date of your passport and keep it with you on vacation in case you lose your passport

Stay on top of eating habits

This month's issue of PPC Canada's Balance Sheet offers up some helpful tips on how to stay in control of your eating this holiday season.

The issue also features information on dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

For those who tend to binge more with finances than with food, check out the free webinar this Wednesday - Financial Planning for your Future, which runs from noon to 12:45 p.m. To register, click here.

Holiday season closure dates

Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season beginning Monday, Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and will re-open on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

Road closures at Kelowna campus

There will be some periodic road closures on Campus West Road directly behind the Trades area during the week of Dec. 24 - Dec. 28. This is due to the work being done on the Heavy Duty Mechanics building. Drivers may want to use Campus East Road to access the north side of the campus next week when possible.

Kelowna Fitness facility closures

A reminder that the fitness facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until end of day Friday. The facility is closed for the holiday season starting Dec. 22, and will re-open Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6 a.m.

Kelowna room bookings

Staff and faculty needing rooms for events on campus will be able to begin booking rooms as of Jan. 14, following the winter 2013 stable enrolment date of Jan. 11, 2013.
Room booking exceptions that will be considered prior to this date are:
- bookings required for a Saturday or Sunday
- evening bookings
- orientation-type bookings
The Kelowna Scheduling office reserves the right to bump events booked prior to Jan. 11, 2013.
Contact the following to book a room:
Karma Lacoff (ext. 4614) - orientation and internal event bookings
Kim Snyder (ext. 4625) - academic, vocational and foundational course bookings
Lois Harrold (ext. 4544) - external event bookings
Marie Crossley (ext. 4231) - trades bookings
Room booking requests for the new semester will be processed beginning Jan. 14.


Jan. 3 – Students celebrate the New Year with a Welcome Back Winter BBQ at the Kelowna campus. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Services building. Sign up sheets available for a variety of events, including volleyball intramurals and trips to Big White.

Jan. 8 – The Okanagan College Art Group meets from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. This drop-in group is open to all current and former students and staff. Room E107 at the Kelowna campus. The event is free, and people can bring their own projects and supplies.

Jan. 9 – New and returning students mingle with staff at the Penticton campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Demonstration Lab PC 113. The event includes a free beef-on-a-bun lunch.

Jan. 12 – Winter Convocation takes place at the Kelowna campus from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for all graduates finishing programs by December 2012.

Jan. 23 – Students graduating this spring or summer get a chance to check out the Graduation Fair where they can apply to attend Convocation, purchase class rings or document frames, and sign up for portraits. The fair takes place at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Feb. 2 – Dr. Phil Currie, one of the biggest names in paleontology worldwide, will be in Vernon for the Science in Society Speaker Series, presenting a talk on the Albertosaurus. The event takes place at 3:30 p.m. at the lecture theatre at the Okanagan College Vernon campus. Tickets are $10 in advance through the Okanagan Science Centre, or $12 at the door.


The Phoenix, a student-run newspaper, announced that it’s back to distributing the paper at Okanagan College, and featuring local content. Read: We’re back at Okanagan College.

Okanagan College international student Abdullah Alotibi shared stories about his home country. See: International Studies, from the Morning Star.

A Grade 10 Kalamalka Secondary student got to try out welding as part of a demonstration at the Vernon Recreation Complex. See: Trying out the Trades, from the Morning Star.

The provincial government is providing new opportunities for skills training in the province, including 82 seats at Okanagan College. Read: Province supports skills training boost, in the Capital News.

Two teams from Okanagan College’s School of Business taking part in this year’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition at Queen’s University resulted in news stories in various papers. Read: Teams reach finals of national business competition, from Okanagan Sunday.

The appointment of Jonathan Rouse as Director of Wine, Food and Tourism continued to receive coverage throughout the region. Read: Okanagan College strengthens ties to local hospitality industry (Capital News), College advancing in wine, culinary, tourism and hospitality (Morning Star).

Blasted Church vineyard manager Morton Serbon led information night talks for the upcoming Viticulture Certificate program. Read: Learn more about careers in wine from the Westside Weekly, and Viticulture courses start soon (Okanagan Sunday.)

A media release regarding The Canada Green Building Council granting LEED gold standard to Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning was picked up by Okanagan Saturday. Read: Green status for college building worth the wait.

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation picked up a handful of new awards recently. Read: New awards for College building, in the Business Thompson Okanagan.

Enactus Okanagan College (formerly SIFE Okanagan) partnered with Birth Right Penticton and Valley First Credit Union to deliver a financial literacy program to single parents. See: Good Deeds, in the Penticton Herald.

Okanagan College business students are stepping up their efforts to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in the Okanagan. Read: New name, direction, from the Capital News.

Local Liberal MLA Norm Letnick, who is on leave from Okanagan College as a Business Professor, joined his fellow local MLAs to talk economy with the Chamber of Commerce. Read: Local MLAs talk the economy in annual address to business leaders.

This year’s RoboCup event continued to receive coverage throughout the region. Read: Schier adds to RoboCup medals (Morning Star), A.M.E. Robotics Club (Capital News), Neil Bruce students have a way with robots (Capital News).

The Vernon Morning Star continued to examine the future of the sports complex at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College. Read: Sports complex faces cuts and Sports complex info looming.

Two winners of the College’s 3-Hour Short Story Contest were featured in stories the Capital News. Read: Local student wins OC short story contest, and Valerie Scott.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused her School’s In column in the Capital News on overcoming fear. Read: Students shouldn’t fear failure but learn from it.

Two teenagers a world apart inspired a $1,000 donation from the Okanagan College Faculty Association. Read: College faculty takes a stand, in the Morning Star.

In the Courier’s 25 Years Ago column, the paper harked back to the promotion of Bill Bowering. Read: Bowering new college boss.

A panel discussion on gender-based violence taking place at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus was mentioned in the Penticton Herald. Read: Massacre marked at college.

Okanagan College professor Ann McKinnon was interviewed by The Phoenix regarding the future of UBC-O’s Bachelor of Social Work program. Read: Social Work goes to Senate.

A current Okanagan College student, and one with hopes of entering the trades program, are among those featured as part of the Courier’s Be an Angel Campaign. Read: Single teenage mom struggling, and Helping young parents through downtime.

Dr. Kyleen Myrah was mentioned for her recent ACCC Teaching Excellence award, as part of an article in the Globe and Mail. Read: Why this engineering teacher aims to make his students leave college.


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. 15, 2013.