John Lent to receive Distinguished Service award

John Lent resizeOkanagan College will honour retired Regional Dean John Lent with a Distinguished Service award during the College’s Vernon Convocation ceremony on Jun. 25.

This is the highest honour bestowed upon a former employee and recognizes those who have given outstanding service to Okanagan College, who share and support its mission, vision and values, and are active within and outside the College community.

“John Lent is a very deserving recipient of the Distinguished Service award as he significantly contributed to the national reputation that Okanagan College has earned for creative writing and publishing,” says Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton.

“He was also instrumental in creating a community infrastructure that supports creative writing across the Okanagan region, including the development of groundbreaking projects like the Kalamalka Press.”

For more than 30 years, Lent taught English at Okanagan College in Vernon. In 2007, he became Regional Dean of the Vernon campus, a position he held until he retired in 2011.

In addition to his work at the College, Lent has been a successful author with an international reputation for three decades, having published 10 books in poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

“I am thrilled to receive the award,” says Lent. “When you do something you love over a span of decades, you don’t ever look at it holistically, you just find yourself completing one thing and moving on to the next.”

For more details see the media release.

Okanagan College announces 2014 Honorary Fellow recipients

Margriet Ruurs resizeMargriet Ruurs, Raghwa Gopal, Jim Henderson, and Garry Benson will take their place among an elite group as Okanagan College’s 2014 Honorary Fellows.

“These four individuals have made meaningful contributions in a range of areas – from the promotion of children’s literacy, to economic development and mentorship, First Nations and environmental advocacy, to fundraising,” said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “And while the diversity is great, what they share in common is even more important, a longstanding dedication to the communities they serve.”

Margriet Ruurs has dedicated her life to promoting literacy and giving children a place to express themselves creatively. She will be the first to address graduates at the College’s Spring Convocation ceremony on the morning of Jun. 7.

Gopal headshotSuccessful business owner, software developer and an advisor to students in the College’s School of Business, Raghwa Gopal gives his time and expertise to help entrepreneurs in the Okanagan Valley. He will be addressing the College’s business graduates during the Spring Convocation ceremony on the afternoon of Jun. 7.

Jim Henderson smallA tireless Penticton-area volunteer and respected businessperson, Jim Henderson’s involvement with the College began 15 years ago when he owned the Canadian Tire next door to the Penticton Campus. As president of the Okanagan College Foundation, Henderson was instrumental in raising the funds to build the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Henderson will join Gopal on Jun. 7 to address graduating business students.

garry headGarry Benson, QC, is a member of the Beaver Lake First Nation and founding partner of Benson Law LLP in Kelowna. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009. Specializing in business, real estate and First Nations law, Benson has long advocated for environmental interests within industry. He will be addressing graduates at the Summer Convocation ceremony on Jun. 26.

For more details on the recipients, see the press release.

Three-hour Poetry Contest winners

Kourtney Bootsma cropOn Apr. 3, 36 aspiring writers from Okanagan College and students from local Grade 11 and 12 classes put their creativity to the test at the first ever Three-hour Poetry Contest.

The contestants had 180 minutes to create a poem in a specific poetic form revealed at the beginning of the contest. The form the judges selected was the palindrome poem. Often referred to as the mirror poem, it is written in such a way that the second half of the poem is a reflection of the first half, using the same lines in reverse.

In the end, four winners, one from each regional campus, were selected. They were:

Salmon Arm: Lauren Reaka

Kelowna: Alison Hodgins

Penticton: Sydney Kemp

Vernon: Kourtney Bootsma (pictured)

Out of this group, the judges selected an overall winner: Vernon’s Kourtney Bootsma for her poem, “One Letter Sent Away.”

To read it, visit the Three-hour Poetry Contest website.

Each winner received an Okanagan College $250 tuition credit, and the overall winner received an additional credit of $250.

“The quality of submissions was very high,” says Okanagan College English Professor and contest organizer Kerry Gilbert. “Participants did really well with the type of poem we chose, which was very challenging.” 

For details, read the media release.

ESL enrolment is up

On Apr. 30, the ESL team assessed more than 40 new International and Domestic students at Kelowna campus. This is an increase of 20% from last May's number of new International students. For many of the new International students, this is their first step on their journey toward a Canadian degree.

The ESL Department runs a full program from May to August. Several English for Specific Purposes courses are also given to mainly Japanese institutions and corporations. Toyota, for example, has expanded its employee need for English language curriculum from Japanese mechanics to sales representatives.


Interactive workshop to boost learning

Interactive workshopOn May 6, 2014, University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and Okanagan College co-hosted a one-day workshop for faculty members.

“Using Interactive Learning Activities in the Classroom: Experiences, Challenges and Recommendations” was lead by Dr. Norman Sheehan, Associate Professor from the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan. 

Tamara Ebl from UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Management, and Randy Newton from the Okanagan College’s School of Business organized the session.

This event was possible through funding from the Chartered Accountants Education Foundation Speaker Series.

Clean up the Creek

Creek cleanupOn May 9, a number of industrious Kelowna campus employees participated in a clean up of the creek running from Raymer to KLO Road.

Organized by Executive Assistant to the Regional Dean in Kelowna, Angie March, and joined by Rick Gee, Vladimir Neykov and Rob St. Onge, the team picked up garbage and painted fish on the storm drains to help send the message to area residents that whatever goes into the drain ends up in the lake. This project is part of the "Yellow Fish Road" Campaign.

The next clean up will be in August. Please contact Angie March at ext. 4501, if you are interested in volunteering.

In memory 

The flags at the Kelowna campus were lowered in memory of Dr. Gordon Springate, former Dean of Applied Studies at Okanagan University College, who died on May 9.
Dr. Springate joined Okanagan University College in 1987 and remained Dean until 1996.  He came to OUC after teaching in Vancouver and Prince George.
He was active in many community organizations, including Scouts Canada, Westbank Toastmasters Club; Probus Canada; Red Cross; and the Rotary Club to name a few.

50-donation milestone

elana wiensElena Wiens, who works in circulation and processing at the Kelowna campus library, received received a citation for completing 50 blood donations from Canadian Blood Services on May 14.

Elena started donating more than 30 years ago.

“It’s important to me to share what I have freely with a cheerful heart knowing someone has been helped because blood was available,” she says.

Kate Gilchrist Memorial Award

Yi and BrianThe ESL Department awarded the second annual Kate Gilchrist Memorial Award to Yi Zhu on Apr. 22. The annual award honours former ESL instructor and department chair Kate Gilchrist and recognizes excellence in English language learning.

Yi, who hails from China, was delighted with the $1,000 award and said that her English has significantly improved since becoming a student here.

Approximately 70 people attended the event, which was held in the Kelowna campus lecture theatre.

ESL alumna publishes book

ESL student book launchWanda (My Hoa) Truong, an Okanagan College alumna, hosted a launch party on Apr. 20 for her book, Second Chance in Canada.

Truong attended the Kelowna campus from 2007 to 2012, taking mainly English courses first from ESL and then from AACP.

She is pictured with retired instructor Colleen Hanscom, who Truong credits with encouraging her book-writing journey.

May 20, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 4


Municipal Pension Plan

Watch for your Municipal Pension Plan Member Benefit Statement. Read the announcement for more details.

Wellness resources

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance Provider (EFAP), Optum PPC, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and wellbeing.

This month’s newsletter focuses on workplace safety and mental illness. The first article, "Safely Working Towards a Safe Workplace," focuses on improving safety on the job examining both an office environment and a work site. The next article is "Do One Thing," which looks at both the difficulty of navigating depression and the small steps that can be taken to achieve a healthier emotional balance. To read the May issue of the Balance Sheet newsletter, click here.
Optum PPC Canada’s next webinar is Wednesday, May 28, at 12 p.m. Tune in for strategies on "Creating a Psychologically Healthy Workplace," which focuses on reducing and preventing conflict and stress in the work environment. Register for the webinar here.


Mark your calendar for Excellence May 21

Okanagan College will be celebrating on Wednesday, May 21 when the Employee Excellence Awards take place at the Kelowna campus.

A total of 22 finalists have been named. The finalists are as follows: Teaching Excellence: Derek Cook, Jim Ingram, Tracy Riley; Service Excellence – Group: Administration Support Salmon Arm/Revelstoke Campus: Verna Bazinet, Jennifer Beckett, Mandie Belle, Ferne Davis, Tanya Egli, Shannon Kiehlbauch, Alison Landry, Stacey Larsen, Renee Myers, Margaret Scharf; Carly Chute and Ann Marie Ruether; Women in Trades: Nancy Darling, Amanda Hancock, Bob Lingor, Cam McRobb, Carrera Teal, Carolyn Theiss; Service Excellence – Individual: Alison Beaumont, Connie Beckett, Liz Plamondon; Strong Start: Kathleen Lausman, Richard McAdam, Alisa McAuliffe; Key Directions: Amy Cohen, Laurie Donovan, Nadir Ould-Khessal; Leadership: Chris Clarkson, Bob Eby, Donna Selski; Scholarly Activity: Jeremy Beaulne, Cathy Fitzgerald, Rosalind Warner; Innovation: Automated Staffing Process: Eve Avis, Bianka Blandon, Dorie Burnham, Liz Currie, Arlene DeBruin, Lynda Dreaper, Laura Eagen, Patti Heinzelmann, Margo Kendal, Jasmine McGee, Carmen Nadon, Dawn Southern, Deb Matheson; Chi-Fui Chong; Welding Department: Sherwood Brocke, Greg Burkett, Dave Dutcher, Fred Geisler, Tracee Harder, Sean Jarvis, Alex Kortzman, Don Lingor, Murray Perrett, Tyson Powell, Raymond Proulx, Ken Soucy, Mark Stathers, Aaron Thomas, Mike Tourigan, Greg Wagner; Career Achievement: Dianne Crommer, Kathy Hamilton, Janice Ulrich.

Employee milestones will also be acknowledged at the event, which starts at 3 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning. All employees are encouraged to attend.

Connections 2014

Okanagan College's ninth Annual Employee Learning Conference, Connections 2014 takes place at the Kelowna Campus on Aug. 19 and 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn what’s happening at Okanagan College from President Jim Hamilton and attend workshops on a range of topics, including new technologies in practical assessment, a Pearson Canada product overview, a how-to on healthy eating, and even a primer about surviving in the mountains of B.C. 

There will also be many opportunities to network with colleagues from all four campuses. Beverages during the social hour will be provided by Tree Brewing, Okanagan Spirits and the View Winery. To register for Connections 2014, click here.

To plan your day, see full descriptions of each workshop in the Workshop Planner.

Trunk sale

Just in time for spring-cleaning, the annual Trunk Sale at Okanagan College is taking place on Saturday, May 24, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. This is a great opportunity to get rid of your unwanted goods and promote reuse and recycling at the same time.

Organized by the Regional Waste Reduction Office, this massive garage sale takes place in parking lot #17 (next to the student residences) of Okanagan College. Due to construction, access on sale day will be off Raymer Avenue only. Set up for sellers is between 7-8 a.m.

Deadline to reserve a spot is May 21. To register, call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250.

Get social on the green

On Jun. 13, the Okanagan College Social Club is hosting a 9-hole co-ed golf tournament. Join in the fun by dressing in your best tacky golf costume to win prizes. Tickets are $25. Tee times start at 3 p.m., Mission Creek Golf Club, Kelowna.

If you are unable to attend the golf portion, come to the restaurant for dinner (everyone will be ordering off the menu). Contact Angie March at ext. 4501 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Links for Learning

On Jun. 20, the 18th annual ACIC Links to Learning Golf Tournament takes place at the Talking Rock Golf Club, Quaaout Lodge Hotel and Resort, in Chase. The tournament is a hosted by Okanagan College's Salmon Arm Campus and the All Canadian Investment Corp., with all proceeds going directly to local Okanagan College students in need. Shotgun start at 12:30 p.m., $200 per person. To register, fill out the form.

Contact Leslie Bogula at local 8259 for more information.

Be Well Challenge

The Athletics and Recreation department on the Kelowna campus is hosting the Be Well at Okanagan College Challenge on Wednesdays from 12 – 1 p.m. until Jun. 25. On May 21, participants will meet in the International department’s kitchen in the Centre for Learning for a healthy lunch demonstration. On May 28, they will hike on the Greenway at Spiers and KLO roads.

Participants of the Be Well Okanagan College Challenge will participate in a daily 10,000-step challenge and weekly group walks, and also receive fitness tips, healthy recipes, myth busters and giveaways. It’s $10 for staff and free for students to participate. Register at A105 or online.

Chi-Fui Retirement

To celebrate Chi-Fui's contribution to the College and retirement on May 31, a party will be held on Wednesday, May 28, from 3-5 p.m. at Infusions Restaurant at the Kelowna Campus. Please RSVP to Sharon Oliver if you plan to attend.


The Vancouver Observer wrote a review of Chief Bev Sellars’ Ryga Award–winning bookThey Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School.

The Catalyst to Commerce in Penticton publication featured Okanagan College prominently, see Quality Education.

College trades students won 11 medals at the B.C skills competition, see Medals galore for college trades students in the Daily Courier.

Okanagan College employees were tops at the Kal Tire Spelling Bee to raise funds for Junction literacy, see Bee spells out success for Junction in the Vernon Morning Star.

Penticton campus biology professor Sharon Mansiere appeared with other nature and conservation experts at the Meadowlark Nature Festival, see Bird expert spreads message that coffee should be kinder to feathered friends, in the Penticton Herald.

Okanagan College Board of Governors vice-chair Connie Denesiuk is seeking the Liberal nomination for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding, see Would-be federal Liberal candidate Denesiuk is disillusioned ex-Tory in Osoyoos Times, Denesiuk to seek federal Liberal role in Summerland Review, Denesiuk seeks Liberal nomination in Penticton Western News, Denesiuk has eye on federal liberal seat in Southern Exposure.

The College has been involved in conceiving and helping develop the concept of a building in downtown Kelowna that will serve as an incubator for new technology companies, see Library may get six-storey neighbor in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Technology innovation centre unveiled in the Kelowna Capital News.

Business professor Devin Rubadeau received an award at the Enactus National Competition, see Professor earns national recognition for mentorship in the Kelowna Capital News and College professor honoured as adviser in the Okanagan Saturday.

Business administration students at Okanagan College created a digital marketing campaign for Inn from the Cold for a school project, see Student video about homelessness goes viral in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Ann Johnson will be Okanagan College’s new director of Finance, see College director selected in Vernon Morning Star, New Finance director for college in the Kelowna Capital News, and New finance boss has experience in Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College’s Coyotes baseball team had a strong run going into the championships but lost in quarterfinals, see Every part of game counts as Coyotes turn season around, Coyotes head to Alberta for CCBC and OC Coyotes fall to Prairie Baseball Academy in quarterfinals in the Kelowna Capital News, and Weekend split for OCC and OC Coyotes fall to Dawgs in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College School of Business professor Blair Baldwin was interviewed about the popularity and growth of the Spring Wine Festival, see Growth not taken for granted in the Kelowna Capital News.

Honorary doctorate Charles Armstrong spoke at a Penticton city council meeting about a proposed land development site, see Park plan shelved in Penticton Herald.

SD 23 and Okanagan College signed an MoU to collaborate on a new dual-credit program, see Students can enter Early College in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Early College sets new direction in the Kelowna Capital News.

Four deserving recipients are to receive Honorary Fellow distinctions from Okanagan College, see Quartet to receive Okanagan College’s highest honour in the Kelowna Capital News.

A Vernon student from Okanagan College wins the inaugural Three-hour Poetry Contest, see Iconic rock song inspires winner of poetry contest in eVent.

Author Sara Williams will present a talk and a book signing at Okanagan College, see Award winning gardening author and educator coming to Kelowna in the Kelowna Capital News.

Registrar Jane Muskens wrote about the Okanagan College’s Alumni Association award recipients in her column in the Kelowna Capital News, see Alumni Awards go to truly inspiring people.


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 Jun. 3, 2014.