Okanagan College goes back to school

penOkanagan College welcomed back students to campus this week with orientations, pancake breakfasts and barbeques, among other events.

backtoschoolA whole host of staff including administrators, faculty an support staff pitched in to offer campus tours and provide information to new and returning students on Monday and Tuesday. Expect student activity on campuses to increase next week with the arrival of more students in a range of programs.

H1N1 Pandemic update

sneezeIn the next days, Okanagan College students and staff will start to see evidence of the College's preparation for the H1N1 pandemic.

Hundreds of hand wash stations will be installed throughout the College campuses and centres in the next weeks, and a series of bright yellow posters are being distributed and will be displayed as part of an awareness campaign about the pandemic and hygiene.

The College will also be increasing cleaning activity, with washroom cleaning frequency doubled and special cleaning attention to entry doors.

A webpage has been established - - that will serve as a clearing house for information about the pandemic (especially as it relates to the College) and will provide links to other sources of information (the Public Health Agency of Canada, Interior Health, etc.)

Links to that webpage have been established under Quick Links on the homepage, and notices appear for both staff and students as they log into myOkanagan. Important developments or information related to the pandemic will be distributed via global e-mail as required, and regular updates will appear in Inside Okanagan College.


Sustainability: students, employees, campuses, communities

Congratulations to the presenters, participants, and the organizing team for making this year's Connections event a great success! Almost 400 College employees attended the sessions, where they enjoyed some terrific weather, inspiring activities, and good old-fashioned socializing with friends and colleagues, both new and old.

Many thanks to IT Services (Karen, Mike, and Jake and his crew) and facilities for their tremendous work getting the event set up and for the incredibly popular plants to brighten our offices. Highlights from this year’s event included: morning coffee, a delicious lunch, the OC Sustainability video, Peter Gregg's uplifting challenge to awaken our spirits, exceptional learning sessions, and the talented Tom-and-Arch band. This year marked the fourth year of this unique event bringing together all corners of the institution from all regions and all employee groups.

Your feedback is important to us - whether you were able to attend or not, please take a few minutes to fill out a very quick online survey.

Or feel free to contact Kaya with comments, suggestions, or recommendations for making next year's event even better.

Were you unable to attend Connections? Did you miss Graham's punch line because everyone around you was laughing at his outtakes on the blooper reel? We've posted some video from the day, including the Okanagan College Sustainability video, the message from Jim Hamilton and several of the afternoon learning sessions on the Public Affairs website.

International Education staff to visit Brazil

netiaOkanagan College’s International Education will participate in the British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE) Sao Paulo Education Initiative in Brazil, from Sept. 15-25. The College will be represented by Netia Simpson and Michelle Somerville, along with representatives from other British Columbia school districts and post-secondary institutions. International Education’s goal is to enter the market in Brazil, which has one of the strongest economies in Latin America. The initiative will include embassy visits, school presentations, agent workshops, and an education fair.

International Education will also participate in marketing and recruitment trips to the Caribbean, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, the Middle East and India this fall. For more information, please contact International Education.

Welcome to our little scholars!

daycareThe Little Scholars Child Care Centre opened its doors in Kelowna on Aug. 31. Centre Manager Colleen Keeler and her six staff welcomed both infants and toddlers on the first day. All of the infant spaces are full with just a few spaces remaining for 3-5 year olds. The Centre was made possible by a $474,942 grant from the Provincial Government and will be operated by the YM-YWCA of the Central Okanagan.

Built by Team Construction, with the help from the Residential Construction students at Okanagan College, the Centre has many sustainability features such as geothermal heating and solar panels. The landscaping was completed in August with the donation of landscape designs by Urban Systems and materials, labour and supplies from many other community groups. Thanks to everyone who helped make this Centre a reality for staff and students on the Kelowna Campus.

Toyota Technical College celebrates 18-year friendship with College

toyotaToyota Technical College’s largest ever class (48 students, 2 teachers) completed a four-week Autobody/ESL program at Okanagan College on August 21. This was the 18th annual training visit, which highlights the strong connection between Okanagan College and Toyota Technical College. The partnership began nearly two decades ago and offers Japanese students the opportunity to better their knowledge and practice of English, while learning Automotive Collision Repair skills from instructors in Okanagan College’s award-winning program.

This year, seven additional students also completed a three-week ESL program at the Vernon Campus. President Jim Hamilton will visit Toyota Technical College in Nagoya, Japan this fall along with Automotive Collision Repair instructor Jeff Francis and International Education’s Glen and Kyoko Jones.

College graduates another 34 Practical Nurses

lpnOkanagan College celebrated two more Convocation ceremonies this past month as two classes of Practical Nurses completed their programs. Thirteen nurses were honoured in Vernon on Aug. 27, while another 21 in Kelowna graduated on Aug. 28. One of the highlights of the Kelowna Convocation ceremony was the success of former Board of Governors student representative Amaris Langley.

Vice Chair of the Board Lance Kayfish made special mention of Amaris’ achievement and her contribution to the Board on behalf of the students of Okanagan College. After the Convocation ceremony Amaris took a moment out of her celebration to pose for a photo with Jim Hamilton and Lance Kayfish.

Centre for Learning now open

libraryKelowna's Centre for Learning is now open for students. There are some great new services available through the Centre including: the brand new Educational Technology Centre (second floor), and eight new student meeting spaces (these can be booked by students through the Ed Tech Centre).

In addition, IT Services will have a new service desk right on the ground floor of the building. The food services outlet planned for the building is due to begin construction soon (also on the ground floor). E310 has been designated as a staff and student exercise space so there if finally a home for yoga, pilates and exercise classes. Work on the renovations on the second and third floor of the Library will continue into the fall to complete this exciting campus facility project.


Richard Nygren to retire

nygrenAfter more than 16 years with Okanagan College, Richard Nygren will retire this week from Science, Technology and Health, where he specialized in laboratory safety and support for the Civil Engineering Technology department. In addition to his work in the Civil department, Richard has contributed a great deal to the success of one of Okanagan College’s trademark events, the Spaghetti Bridge Building Competition.

A celebration in honour of his career will be held on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 in the teacher’s lounge in the C Building (C246). All staff are invited to drop by to wish Richard well in his retirement.

Former College instructor gives back to deserving student

toolboxEntry-level automotive service technician student Sarah Luxmore completed her training this week with an unexpected surprise from a new friend. Just prior to writing her final exam, the 18-year-old was presented with two antique tool boxes full of Snap-On tools. The tools were donated by former Automotive instructor George Turner. George acquired the tool boxes in 1948 when he trained at General Motors in Flint, Michigan. George had a long and successful career as an Automotive Service Technician before joining Okanagan College in 1974 where he shared his knowledge with students.

Faced with downsizing in order to move into a retirement facility, George decided to donate his tools, which are valued at more than $5,000, to someone who would really appreciate them. Al Cohoe, Chair of Motor Vehicle Trades, came up with the idea of offering an essay competition among ELTT students and asked them what a career in the field means to them. According to her instructor, Corey Bransfield, Sarah’s essay was the clear winner. George made a special trip to campus to present Sarah with his tools. The following is an excerpt from Sarah's essay - to read the full essay, follow this link

"Being a woman in a trade is tough; you have to know your stuff! While some of the guys can get away with joking and pranks, I have to know what I am doing all the time. No, girls aren’t as strong as boys, but that’s why they made tools! If the bolt is seized, there’s a breaker bar, if it still doesn’t work, that’s why they made impacts."

Ben Kendal tries a TRIben

Information Services’ Ben Kendal completed the Apple Triathlon (Olympic distance) on Aug. 23 in Kelowna with a time of 2:42:44. This was Ben’s first triathlon. He is an active member of the Kelowna Master’s swim club and finished strongly in the swim portion. Despite admitting that his training in the other portions of the race could have been stronger (Ben had never even run a 10 km distance before) he finished 35th overall in his age group. Follow this link to more race results from the Apple Triathlon.

Sarah Cherrey joins Campus Planning and Facilities Management


Campus Planning and Facilities Management welcomed Sarah Cherrey to the department three weeks ago to join the front office team. Sarah will be looking after internal room bookings, room signage, proximity cards, security codes, parking passes and salto id activation as well as the usual radio dispatch, emergency and first aid calls, customer service and secretarial help to the various Facilities managers. She can be contacted at local 4614 or by email at

Salmon Arm campus lands internationally acclaimed author

portraitThe Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College welcomes internationally acclaimed author, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, who will be teaching a series of classes at the campus this fall. Gail’s fictional style has been coined as “Pacific Northwest Gothic” by the Boston Globe. She has been published worldwide in English and in many other languages.

A Recipe for Bees and The Cure for Death by Lighting were international bestsellers, and were both finalists for the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada. The Cure for Death by Lightning won the UK’s Betty Trask Prize among other awards.

“We feel extremely proud that Gail chose to work with us in presenting a series of workshops that I am positive will be well received by the public,” said Don Kolysher, manager of Continuing Studies.

Among the workshops being offered are: Turning Fact into Fiction, Building Believable Characters, and The Ten Most Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make.

For more information on these classes call 804-8888 or visit the web at: (Photo by Mitch Krupp)

September 1, 2009 Vol. 3 Issue 10


IT Services – Banner upgrade scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend

The Banner system will be upgraded to version eight over the Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 10-12). Banner and all systems that integrate directly with it will be unavailable from 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9 until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13. IT Services is working to ensure there will be minimal or no interruption of service for other systems. Watch Inside Okanagan College for a list indicating the availability of services over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Print Services now has an online print request

Just in time for the new semester, Print Services has developed an online print request available on myOkanagan. The form can be found under OC Express – Requests and Notices, and will save you time and unnecessary paperwork by allowing you to link your digital files with the request.

As always, Print Services is available to staff and faculty for any of their colour and black & white printing needs, and offers many advantages, in addition to cost savings, over the convenience copiers located on campus. Print Services has a wide assortment of papers (colour and weight) to choose from, as well as various finishing options, including booklet making, folding, coil/cerlox binding, and laminating. Best of all, Print Services is full service; just send the job via the online print request, email (, or hardcopy and Print Services will get it back to you as soon as possible, whether it be a few hours, or a few days.

Price comparison between the convenience copiers and Print Services:

100 B/W copies of four pages, printed double-sided:
Convenience copiers - $36
Print Services - $20.40

125 B/W copies of two pages, printed single-sided:
 Convenience Copiers - $22.50
 Print Services - $15.25

Kalamalka Campus to host Percy Schmeiser

Okanagan College (Sociology and Women’s Studies) is co-sponsoring a lecture by Percy Schmeiser, renowned speaker and recipient of the 2007 Right Livelihood Award. Schemiser will address students, staff and the general public at the Kalamalka campus on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. Schmeiser will speak about genetically engineered food and farming and will cover the issue of farmer’s rights and will share information about genetically engineered foods in the Canadian food supply. The lecture costs $5. For more information about Schmeiser, visit the web:

Tobacco reduction strategy underway

The College’s smoking committee has developed a tobacco reduction strategy plan for the College with the goal to reduce tobacco use on campus by 50 per cent by 2012. As part of that strategy the Clean Air campaign will continue this year.

You may have seen the signs, student ambassadors and “butt” police out on the campus helping to keep our doorways and walkways free from second hand smoke. The Clean Air campaign also provides a variety of support services through campus health to staff or students who wish to quit smoking.

A key part of the campaign is awareness and adherence to the College’s smoking policy. The College policy permits smoking on campus in designated smoking areas only (i.e. gazebos). The smoking committee is looking for volunteers to help with the Clean Air and awareness campaign this fall. If you can help, please contact Heather Schneider at local 4789.

Ever wondered what you can recycle?

Campus Planning and Facilities Management have put together an informational page to help staff understand the College’s recycling capabilities. Follow this link to a pdf, which lists all recyclable items as accepted by the Regional District Waste Reduction Office. Okanagan College offers additional recycling opportunities over and above these guidelines that include styrofoam recycling and paper towel composting. For more information, contact Graham Kershaw.

Fall CS Brochures – now online

The Continuing Studies Fall 2009 regional brochures are now available online. Remember that employees can take any of these courses free of charge using the tuition waiver form. Find this form on myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms,” “Continuing Studies” or call Jill at 4589 to get a copy of the form and the guidelines.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Kathyrn Bockhold from the Biology department in Kelowna who won last week's payday draw for $487.50. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources or online.


Okanagan College’s Director of Public Affairs was interviewed on CHBC discussing the College’s preparedness for the H1N1 pandemic. Watch and listen to Allan Coyle on CHBC.

Automotive Service Technician student Sarah Luxmore and former AST instructor George Turner were featured in the Kelowna Daily Courier after Sarah’s winning essay earned her George’s vintage tool boxes, complete with a lifetime’s worth of tools. Read more about George’s generosity and Sarah’s promising career in: Donated tools give career a jump-start.

Okanagan College was mentioned in the Vancouver Sun as a part of a group of post-secondary institutions who will take part in an international recruiting initiative. Read more in: School districts join Team BC to recruit international students.

Okanagan College alumnus and Kelowna City Councillor Brian Given died on Aug. 17. A series of articles were printed about the Councillor and his life work. Read more in: Family came first, Did he make a difference? That’s a Given, Brian Given, Brian Given loses battle with cancer, Longtime councilor loses battle with cancer and Letnick delivers heartfelt message.

The Journal of Commerce reported Okanagan College’s planned expansion of its trades training facility in Salmon Arm. Read more in: Okanagan College expands Salmon Arm, British Columbia facility.

The finalists for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature were announced and received media coverage in the Penticton Western. Read more in: Ryga award list released.

Allan Coyle was quoted in a Kelowna Daily Courier article discussing the College’s grade policy after a Simon Fraser University student received an FD grade (failure with dishonesty). Read more from Allan in: FD not an option in the Valley.

The Kelowna Capital News ran a brief about Okanagan College’s baseball tryouts. Find out more in: OC holds baseball tryouts.

The Vernon Morning Star published a feature on Okanagan College alumna Emma Muir. Emma recently graduated with a degree in education after immigrating from the Philippines. Read more in: It’s never too late to start again.

Public Affairs issued a press release about a new writing series offered by Dona Sturmanis through Continuing Studies. Read more about the series in: Scribe swings series of Saturday sessions. reported on Okanagan College’s increase in application numbers. Read more in: Economic downturn driving up College applications.

Another Public Affairs press release covering Continuing Studies offerings was picked up by the Kelowna Daily Courier. Check it out: OC adds photography classes to roster.

Okanagan College’s Registrar, Jane Muskens’ column covered the topics of increasing application rates at the College and the unique optimism that is a virtue of Canada’s youth. Read more in: Footsteps beating to OC’s door and Optimism lies within our youth.

In his Global Citizen column Stan Chung wrote about his father’s struggle with mental illness and his own difficulty separating the man from the disease. Read the first part of one of Stan’s most personal columns: When mental illness takes over.


Sept. 9 – The Kelowna campus will host a Community Services Expo for students from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Services at Okanagan College, as well as community services, will be on display in the Pit. Some of the vendors will have draws for the students to enter.

Sept. 16 – Okanagan College and The Canadian Federation of University Women will present LISTEN to the Whispers, a seminar about the signs and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. The free event will take place on Wednesday evening from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Kelowna Lecture Theatre. To register or learn more about Ovarian Cancer Canada contact the Pacific Regional Office Toll-free at 1-800-749-9310 or email

Sept. 27 – Join staff from Okanagan College for the 13th Annual Okanagan Family Aids Walk in Kelowna. The event will take place on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Waterfront Park. Anyone who is interested in attending on behalf of Okanagan College can contact Linda Moore at extension 4692. Anyone wishing to pledge or donate can also contact Linda.


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

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009.