Wireless improvements on campus

In response to student and staff feedback IT Services has upgraded the College's wireless infrastructure. This recently completed project will result in increased quality of coverage and capacity to improve the user's wireless experience.

The project included:

  • Completion of wireless design for each campus
  • Installation of 80 new access points
  • Repositioning of the 120 existing access points
  • Simplified device registration
  • Improved security
  • Monitoring tools and continuous assessment
IT Services will continue to assess the wireless needs of the College and will be seeking additional input in the new year. In the meantime, to share comments/observations, email IT Services at

Business students prepare to head east
for prominent case competition

Jessica Lenz ICBCEight Okanagan College School of Business students will be competing against the best of the best at the prestigious Queen’s University Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) in Kingston, Ont., in January 2016.

Jessica Lenz, a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration Honours student whose team earned the top spot in accounting last year, is hoping she can help her team bring home a gold medal once again. This year she is competing in the finance division of the longest-running Canadian undergraduate case competition. Okanagan College teams also qualified in the debate, management of information systems, and marketing disciplines.

“Making it twice to the competition I think is proof of the quality of education I’ve received at Okanagan College. It distinctly shows that I didn’t just memorize and pass exams; it’s a demonstration of how the knowledge we gain is applicable to the real world.”

In total 15 Okanagan College students competed in the preliminary round with seven teams submitting case analyses in a pool that included more than 100 teams from post-secondary institutions across Canada and the world. Okanagan College student teams competing in the finals on Jan. 14-16 at Queen’s University are:
  • Finance: Jessica Lenz and Karen Vandergaag (professor coach Derek Cook)
  • Marketing: Megan Whittingham and Nicole Arbuthnot (professor coach Alan Rice)
  • Management of Information Systems: Ariel Richards and Jesse Tate (professor coach Glen Coulthard)
  • Debate: Two additional students (professor coach David Cram)

For more information about the competition, read the press release here and visit the website.

Horizon Electric lights up Okanagan College with donation

Horizon Electric vansThere was a hustle and bustle at the Kelowna campus on Friday Nov. 27, when 21 Horizon Electric vans lined-up along Campus West road and more than 50 of the company’s employees joined President Jerry Pasitney to present a $100,000 donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign.

The donation will provide Okanagan College students in the Electrician program access to three new cutting edge electrical controls labs in the new Trades Training Complex outfitted with the latest equipment, technology, and workstations specifically geared for electricians. As an added benefit of the new space and facilities, the College will be able to bring back to campus more than 700 students currently training at leased facilities on Acland and Penno Road.

Horizon Electric chequeLaunched in 2006, the Electrician program is the largest program in the College’s Trades portfolio with more than 500 FTE (full-time equivalent) enrolments in 2014-15, and is one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province. Over the next seven years, it is expected that the Thompson Okanagan will need more than 1,000 new electricians. Provincially, the government has identified electricians as one of the top trades-sector jobs over the next decade, along with heavy duty mechanics.

To read more about the donation read the press release here and visit the campaign’s website.

Upcoming employee Winter Carnival in Kelowna

A new event will help celebrate the holiday season this year at the Kelowna campus.
An afternoon reception for Okanagan College staff will be held on Dec. 23 in the atrium of the Centre for Learning and will replace the annual trades luncheon for 2015. The Carnival will begin at 3 p.m. and run until 4:30 p.m. Hot and cold appetizers will be served along with coffee, hot chocolate and cold drinks.
Hosted by the Central Okanagan Regional Dean’s office, there will also be door prizes and games. All staff are encouraged to attend.

Penticton campus rallies to boost
the Emergency Student Fund

Penticton HennaPenticton employees and students hosted two luncheon events in November to raise money for the College’s Emergency Student Fund.

Taco lunch PentictonInspired by the Diwali festival in India, the Library Services employees hosted the annual Taste of India luncheon on Nov. 2. More than 150 students enjoyed a culinary feast for $5 a plate which included samosas, butter chicken and cauliflower, tomato chutney, and chickpeas made by Penticton Library Clerk Surandar Dasanjh, and served by employees.

International students Manjot Kaur, Harshdeep Chahil, and Kirandeep Sidhu offered traditional henna hand painting to attendees. Adding to the festive atmosphere, students also participated in Indian dance performances. More than $1,000 was raised.

Later in the month, on Nov. 19, the Aboriginal Access and Services team hosted the Indian Taco Sale which raised $425. Following a similar format, for $5 students enjoyed tacos made from bannock filled with chili and a variety of traditional garnishes.

BC Student Outcomes data and dashboard improvements

The BC Student Outcomes dashboard has been updated with new data from the 2013 to 2015 Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Student Outcomes Survey (DACSO).

The dashboard has also been improved to enhance the review of the valuable data for public reporting. The updated interface includes easy to understand graphics, improved reporting consistency across the different surveys, availability of previous cycles results and multi-year results, and enhanced printing functionality.

Jan O’Brien, Institutional Research Manager at the College co-chairs the provincial $1.2 million project and is leading the modernization of reporting tools including the dashboard for better institutional reporting.

The BC Student Outcomes Project annually surveys over 50,000 former students of B.C. public post-secondary educational institutions to determine satisfaction with programs, program relevance, and labour market outcomes.

School district looks to OC grads
to fill anticipated needs

North Okanagan Shuswap School District #83 is anticipating a significant number of retirements in the next couple of years, and graduates of Okanagan College’s Education Assistant (EA) certificate program will be ready to meet the community’s needs.

In a classroom, EAs support children with diverse and unique learning needs, including physical, cognitive and/or behavioural challenges. A valuable component of the program, recognized by employers, is the 120-hour practicum during which time students are placed in a school to practice and hone their skills.

Nora Kennett, District Administrator – Student Services SD #83 organizes practicums for students with the school district and also sits on the College’s program advisory committee and is an instructor.

“During the practicum, students are encouraged to reflect – to examine whether or not certain strategies worked and develop thoughts on how they could do things differently next time,” says Kennett. “A school is a dynamic place and practicum students need to have the ability to be flexible and to quickly shift and change directions when needed, all within a team context.”

The next intake for Okanagan College’s Education Assistant certificate program is January 2016 at the Salmon Arm campus. Follow this link to read the press release.


Recognizing employees' long-standing service
to the College

On Nov. 25, the College honoured 119 employees for their continued commitment and milestone years of service (10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 45 years) to the institution at the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony.

Erika Henfling, 1970Forty-five years ago, in August 1970, Erika Henfling launched her Library Services career at OC as a page (an assistant helping shelve books). She is the employee with the most years of service in the College’s history, and is also an alumna having earned a Diploma in Arts, and is a College donor. What she values the most is the impact she, and the College as a whole, has on students.

Erika Henfling, 2015“It was, and is, always a pleasure going to work,” she says. “I knew I was helping students accomplish great things and setting them up for their own careers. What a joy to come to work and be surrounded by such wonderful, educated people.”

In a gesture of giving back to the College, a few years ago she made a donation and created the Hermann Henfling Trade Awards: two annual awards, one for an Automotive Service Technician student and another in Heavy Mechanical Foundation. The awards are named after her father who worked his whole life in trades, and is a nod to her brother who is a millwright.

New roles within Financial Services team

Financial Services is welcoming two existing employees into newly created manager positions after two external competitions resulted in the advancement of Tiffaney Keis and Shelley Dos Santos.

Tiffaney, who has been working as an Accounts Payable Business Analyst, will assume the position of Manager, Financial Services, and will oversee the payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable processes and related reporting.

Shelley, who is currently the Tuition and Accounting Business Analyst, will assume the position of Manager, Financial Services and will oversee the operational reporting and variance analysis.

Both positions will oversee the Finance support staff and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department and all reporting requirements. These changes are part of Financial Services’ succession planning, revision of processes, and employee engagement and retention practices.

Early Childhood Education students
research children’s rights for event

ECE national child dayAs part of their program’s curriculum, 23 Okanagan College first-year Early Childhood Education students participated in a National Child Day luncheon event at the Laurel Packing House on Nov. 20 hosted by Kelowna’s Community Action Towards Children’s Health (CATCH).

The students hosted informational booths about the United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child and how these rights are being actualized locally today. The project helped students develop their children’s rights advocacy skills. Students engaged in conversations with the nearly 200 guests in attendance who included childcare providers, local politicians, advocacy groups and family services providers. To learn more about the event, read the Kelowna Capital News article CATCH marks national Child Day in Kelowna

Let’s play ball: an evening with Sportsnet’s Gregg Zaun

Gregg ZaunBaseball fever took Canada by storm this fall with the Blue Jays’ impressive season. A little closer to home, the Okanagan College Coyotes are looking to keep the momentum of support for the sport going.

On Jan. 14, 2016, baseball and sports fans can meet, mingle, and hear from Sportsnet’s baseball (and Blue Jays) analyst Gregg Zaun at a special fundraising reception being held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus in support of our local team. Enjoy an evening of appetizers and beverages from The Canadian Brewhouse, a silent auction and a 50/50 draw.

Zaun is a retired professional baseball catcher with 16 years of Major League Baseball experience. He played for nine teams, including with the Florida Marlins during their 1997 World Series win, and with the Blue Jays.

The event will be in the atrium of the Centre for Learning starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 and available on the Coyotes website.

Dec. 1, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 18


Winter Convocation volunteers needed

Public Affairs is seeking volunteers for Winter Convocation on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 to serve as ushers at Convocation and assist with the reception thereafter. Your time would be needed from 9:30 a.m. to approximately 1:30 p.m. (the ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m.). Please contact Michelle Lowry if available and interested.
Faculty who would like to attend the ceremony should advise Michelle in advance. If a regalia rental is required, please provide your height, highest awarded credential and which institution your credential is from.

ILT newsletter now available

The Fall 2015 Institute for Learning and Teaching's newsletter Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching is now available. The edition's theme is "Applied Research: Collaboration and Community" and includes articles by faculty and staff sharing their expertise, research and insights on this topic.

To provide feedback on this issue, propose an idea for a future theme, or to review article submission guidelines, please visit the ILT newsletter webpage.

Family Award applications
deadline Jan. 31, 2016 

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2016.
Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms," and then click on “Foundation." All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna (or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm) by Jan. 31. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office by email or 250-862-5419.

Pay It Forward deadline Dec. 3

Donations to the Pay It Forward Giving Challenge are being accepted until Dec. 3 in the oversized giftwrapped boxes scattered around the Kelowna and Vernon campuses. Visit the alumni website for a detailed list of in-demand donations.

Accessing the recruitment events schedule

A reminder that employees can access the shared recruitment events schedule to stay informed on the various events the recruitment team is hosting and/or participating in throughout the year. To access the schedule, login to myOkanagan and in the College Matters tab under the Popular Links heading you will find the schedule. The document is updated periodically to reflect any changes. Questions can be directed to Steph Bodden or contact your local recruiter.

Kelowna fitness facility holiday hours

December hours at the Kelowna fitness facility will be Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and closed Saturdays and Sundays.

The facility will be closed during the holidays from Friday, Dec. 18 at 4:30 p.m., re-opening on Monday, Jan. 4.

Penticton fitness facility holiday hours

Penticton fitness facilities hours will be changing for the holiday season as follows:

Dec. 1-11:

  • Mon. 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Tue. 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Wed. 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Thu. 7 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Fri. 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Dec. 14 -23: Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Penticton Speakers Series
Dr. Jarkko Jalava

Dec. 7 – Join OC Criminology Professor Dr. Jarkko Jalava for his presentation titled “The Myth of the Born Criminal” from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Penticton campus lecture theatre. Admission is by donation. For more information visit the website.

RoboCup coming up

Dec. 11 – The 10th annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior competition will see elementary, middle, and secondary school students compete in three main robot-building challenges: soccer, rescue and dance. The event takes place from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Visit the website for more information. 

Holiday party tickets still available

Dec. 19 – Employees still have time to purchase tickets to the annual holiday party at the German Canadian Harmonie Club (1969 Cary Road, Kelowna). Join your colleagues for an evening of holiday cheer. Doors open at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. with live entertainment by the Blue City Trio. Tickets are $35. View the poster for additional details. 


Horizon Electric’s $100,000 donation to the College’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign caught the eye of news editors across Kelowna. The Kelowna Capital News, Kelowna Now, and Castanet each reported on the generous contribution.

Castanet helped spread the word about the international festivities taking place at the Kelowna campus as part of OC’s International Education Week in the article Around the world at OC

The Residential Construction program’s upcoming spring intake will provide aspiring builders and carpenters job-site experience in building the most energy efficient homes in the region. Those interested were able to attend an information session in late November. Read more in the Vernon Morning Star article: Construction opens doors.

Infotel News online reported that Okanagan College could soon be offering a diploma in 2D animation in conjunction with Capilano University, pending approval of an MOU. Read more in: Animation diploma in the works at Okanagan College.

The Vernon Morning Star reported that six North Okanagan OC alumni each received the $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship as they transfer to universities in the province to complete their degree programs. Read more in: Scholarships help local students move.

In an online article, the Revelstoke Review shared details about the College’s Culinary Arts Cook Level One program coming to Revelstoke next year, and an information session being held in the community.

Predator Ridge Chef Jeremy Luypen, an OC Culinary Arts alumnus and instructor, is profiled in the  Kelowna Daily Courier’s Top Forty under 40 series. Read more about his successful culinary career in: Rockies meet the Okanagan.

In a recap article about the National Child Day event by the Community Action Towards Children’s Health (CATCH) the Kelowna Capital News noted that Early Childhood Education students presented on children’s rights to the 200 attendees and quoted instructor Betty Cleland. OC Professor Dr. Norah Bowman was also part of the panel discussion.

The Penticton Herald published a photo of Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Richard Cannings being officially sworn in as a Member of Parliament. The newspaper also published a contributed editorial by Cannings about news from Parliament Hill. Read more in: We must not fall prey to this fear.

Honorary Fellow Annette Sharkey is quoted in a Vernon Morning Star article about the city’s plans to bring in refugees and the newly formed North Okanagan Refugee Committee. Read more in: Local agency confident refugees aren’t a risk.

The Kelowna Daily Courier’s column A look back at life in the Okanagan noted that 50 years ago the Department of Indian Affairs accepted terms for the College’s site on Indian land.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Axelle Bazett.

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 Dec.15, 2015.