John Lent to retire

lentAfter 32 years with Okanagan College, Regional Dean John Lent will retire at the end of April.

John began his career with the College in 1978 when he was hired to teach an evening section of Business English at the Vernon campus. The following year John settled into a full-time teaching position in the English department, where his passion for teaching and writing flourished.

John spent many years developing curriculum and fondly remembers teaching his first creative writing class in 1984 –the first time creative writing had been offered in the Okanagan. While John was teaching for Okanagan College he also published nine books of poetry and fiction and was able to pursue his own writing career.

Over the past three decades John witnessed many changes - from the opening of the Vernon building (students had previously studied at the Army barracks) to the publishing of the first Kal Press book in 1988. He joined the College’s administrative team in 2007 when he became Regional Dean of the North Okanagan.

johnvernon“We all have appreciated John’s steadying influence on our Leadership Team, and the fabulous work he has been doing for Okanagan College,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education. “The Ryga Journal is now poised to become a solid entity, the Vernon Campus may soon have a full track and field facility, the Southern Writers Partnership program with Selkirk and College of the Rockies is nearing the launch stage, and we even have a cross country ski team that competes nationally – all thanks to John’s passion for the North Okanagan.”

Looking ahead to his retirement, John plans to dedicate much of his time to his writing and editing. He is also looking forward to traveling and working with his wife Jude Clarke. 

Okanagan College students top scholarship list

Fourteen Okanagan College students are among 85 students across the province who have been awarded Irving K. Barber transfer scholarships. Okanagan College and Camosun College each had 14 recipients, more than any other institution in the province.

The $5,000 scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate service to their school or community and achieve a grade average of at least 3.5 or 87.5 per cent for 54 credits completed.

This year's winners from Okanagan College include: Nancy Argueta, Julianne Daase, Stephanie Hopkins, David Nault, Mathew Sydor, Erica Wooley, Cassie Tomson, Christopher MePhedran, Doris Born, Jessica Donaldson, Joel Dyck, Sarah Gibson, Warren Woodhurst and Michelle Moerkoert.

Engineering students make a good thing better

bigwhiteOn Dec. 12 a group of Mechanical Engineering Technology students from Okanagan College had the opportunity to watch their design come to life as a product they helped refine was tested on the slopes of Kelowna’s Big White Ski Resort.

The students and their professor Iain Cameron joined forces with Paul Auger, President of SNO-LIMO Mountain Eco-Touring, a company that has developed a chauffeured touring chair that can whisk non-skiers around a ski hill for a first-hand experience of resort slopes, after Auger identified a need to bring engineering expertise to help improve his fleet of SNO-LIMOs.

Auger developed the concept and the first fleet of chairs several years ago. His chairs were at work at Whistler for the Olympics and have been on the slopes at Big White for five years. But as functional, practical and safe as his sliding chairs have been, Auger saw the need to bring some engineering expertise to bear as he contemplates improvements and developing the next fleet of SNO-LIMOs.

Auger approached Cameron, who saw an opportunity to give his class of students a chance to undertake a project that would incorporate problem-solving and brainstorming while refining, improving, prototyping and testing a real-world product. 

Auger admits that the kind of detailed analysis, testing and development the students have undertaken would have been beyond his company’s means – the connection with Okanagan College made it possible. 

The College students developed improvements to the braking system, to sled articulation, and to rider comfort. A student design team working on the suspension and seat developed a pneumatic system that allows standard ski lifts to transport the chairs up the hill. They’ve taken them from the idea stage, through mockups and validation and into prototype development.

For Cameron, the connection with SNO-LIMO and Auger was a great opportunity to put a full class to work on a project that meets the course needs and requirements for students. “It was a product they could see and understand, and most of them ski, so they could appreciate what was going on.”

“Truthfully, it is an example of how a College is part of applied innovation in this country. It’s great to teach students that they have a role to play now and later, as technologists, in innovation.”

Auger’s company has earned national and international media attention with the product and service associated with the SNO-LIMO. As the company’s website notes, significant portions of the public who visit ski resorts don’t actually ski or board: the SNO-LIMO is a way for them to get the true, on-hill experience that many of them may be seeking.

College Business teams qualify for Canada’s top case competition

queensWhile most students in the Okanagan School of Business will spend the winter break with their textbooks closed, five top students will use the precious time to prepare for the final round of the Inter-collegiate Business Case Competition (ICBC) hosted by Queen’s University. ICBC isn’t just Canada’s longest-running business competition – it is also the largest, most prestigious and is now open to the top business schools in Asia.

Every year Queen’s invites a select group of universities and colleges to compete. This year over 160 teams entered the competition. Two Okanagan College teams made it through the preliminary round to qualify for the finals.

The team of Robert Maier, Ramandeep Dhaliwal and Robert Moore will travel with coaches Lee Cartier and Laura Thurnheer to compete for national honours in Business Policy against teams from Wilfrid Laurier University, McGill University, Bishop’s University, the University of Calgary, and the National University of Singapore. 

“We are doubly excited, as this is the second year in a row that a Business Policy team has advanced to the final round in Kingston. It really demonstrates how well prepared our businesses graduates are to take their place in the business world,” said Cartier.

A second team of students - Shawn Miller and Corey Wein - will compete in the Caro Systems MIS (Management Information Systems) event against Queen’s University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Brock University, the University of British Columbia and McGill University. The duo is coached by professor Glen Coulthard. 

“The fact that these students have taken a single MIS course and are able to compete at such a high level speaks volumes about their ability to integrate, apply, and communicate all that they have learned in our program,” said Coulthard.

The final round of competition will take place in Ontario from Jan. 6 - 8, 2011. 
The top six finalists in seven categories (Okanagan College participated in six of those preliminary categories) travel to Kingston in January where they are presented with a flawed business case.

The teams are given five hours to analyze the new case and spend just 20 minutes before a panel of industry expert judges where they present their case. To find out more about the competition, visit:

ILLT Lunch and Learn Schedule

The ILLT will host a series of free seminars that aim to enhance learning and teaching for instructors, students and community members. Bring along a brown bag lunch and enjoy the presentations. Please contact Rob Kjarsgaard with questions or for more information.

Jan. 12 (Wed)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon Campus)   
Supporting Dual Credit Students with Diana Thomson, Transitions Coordinator, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m.)

Jan. 13 (Thu)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna Campus)        
Supporting Dual Credit Students with Diana Thomson, Transitions Coordinator, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)
Jan. 18 (Tue) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm Campus)   
Supporting Dual Credit Students with Diana Thomson, Transitions Coordinator, Okanagan College (Room 136 12 -1 p.m.)

Jan. 24 (Mon)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon Campus)     
Mentorship with Jake Kennedy, English, Okanagan College  (Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m.)
Jan. 26 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm Campus) 
Mentorship with Jake Kennedy, English, Okanagan College (Room 143 12 -1 p.m.)

Feb. 9  (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon Campus)     
Why Diversity Matters with James Coble, Aboriginal Access & Services Coordinator, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)

Feb. 10 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm Campus)   
Why Diversity Matters with James Coble, Aboriginal Access & Services Coordinator, Okanagan College  (The Gathering Place 12 -1 p.m.)
Feb. 23 (Wed)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna Campus)       
Mentorship with Jake Kennedy, English, Okanagan College  (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)
Mar. 2 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon Campus)    
Personal Knowledge Management: Software Tools to Help You Cope with Information Overload with Glen Coulthard, Business, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)
Mar. 14 (Mon) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon Campus)   
Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)
Mar. 16 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm Campus) 
Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College  (Room 143 12 – 1 p.m.)

Mar. 24 (Thu)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna Campus)       
Research in English Writing History with Terry Scarborough, English, Okanagan College  (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)
Apr. 7   (Thu)  ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna Campus)         
Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)
ILLT Lunch and Learns in Penticton TBA.

Students put expertise to work for local non-profits

ymcaA classroom at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus was transformed into a boardroom as students from Laura Thurnheer’s Social Entrepreneurship class (BuAd 309) presented their service learning projects to a variety of industry leaders and business owners in the not-for-profit sector. 

The upper-year business students spend the semester working with a client to provide solutions and expertise that are in line with the needs of the non-profit.

For Andrew Beston, taking part in the BuAd 309 class meant he had an opportunity to work closely with Shari Slattery, Administration and Fund Development Coordinator for the YMCA-YWCA of the Central Okanagan, to provide advice and strategies for best practices in financial sponsorship.

Andrew set to work reviewing the organization’s budget, growth trends and sustainability goals before producing two reports for Slattery – the first was a report on Kelowna’s demographics and the second was based on a large survey of financial assistance practices from other YMCA-YWCA organizations across Western Canada.

Slattery said Andrew’s research and commitment to the project produced results that will help inform the Central Okanagan YMCA-YWCA’s future practices.

“We had identified this project as something we wanted to undertake but didn’t have the resources,” explained Slattery. “We had worked with students from Okanagan College before and had absolutely no hesitation about opening up our offices to Andrew. His background in sociology was a great fit for this project and he really did a great job. His recommendations and reports will be forwarded on to management and will be taken very seriously as we plan for the future.”

In a different project, Ian Larocque partnered with Communities for Kids – Success by Six to produce a video for young children of the Okanagan Similkameen region. Ian lives in Lumby but travelled to Oliver, Osoyoos and Princeton to film the awareness video. Check out Ian’s work on YouTube. His client Blair Lischeron was also extremely pleased with the project’s success.

In all, 16 community-based projects were developed and executed by Thurnheer’s students.  


Campus Planning and Facilities Management give to Food Bank

On Dec 10, all Campus Planning and Facilities Management employees along with Deb Peterson from Ancillary Business Services, made a donation of $260 to the Kelowna Food Bank. This donation will give the Kelowna Food Bank the material equivalent purchasing power of $760. The contribution was made possible, in part, after employees decided to forgo the usual office Secret Santa gift exchange, instead donating to the Food Bank.

Staff seasonal celebrations help Can Hunger

In a series of staff-initiated holiday events, Okanagan College was able to contribute 385 pounds of food and $1,073 to SIFE Okanagan’s Let’s Can Hunger campaign.

Cam McRobb hosted an Okanagan College staff Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 11. Everyone who purchased tickets to the event was asked to bring a donation to SIFE Okanagan’s Let’s Can Hunger initiative. The results from the party are in – Okanagan College staff contributed $466.57 and 215 pounds of food.

At a luncheon hosted by the Trades department, staff contributed 170 pounds of food and $107. This year IT Services donated the proceeds of its annual gift basket raffle ($500) to the campaign. The money from IT will be channeled through SIFE to the Salvation Army.

SIFE Okanagan has set a goal of collecting 80,000 pounds of food for the Campbell’s Soup Let’s Can Hunger campaign. Now partway through the campaign, the students have collected more than 11,000 pounds toward their goal. They are getting support from faculty and staff, many of whom are upping the ante on the contest by offering up themselves in acts of embarrassment when specific goals are met.

Communications professor Marc Arellano agreed to shave his head when the students reached 10,000 pounds. (Safe to guess that Marc will spend the winter break preparing for early onset baldness of 2011).

The Okanagan College Coyotes Hockey team will be dyeing their hair in a vibrant Okanagan College hue of red when the campaign reaches 20,000.

Dr. Kyleen Myrah has agreed to dye her hair (colour yet to be determined) when the students raise 30,000 pounds. Any other staff wishing to get involved in the Let’s Can Hunger campaign can contact Sattu Dhaliwal.
Dec. 21, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 19


Stores Closure/Truck Run – Winter Break 2010

The Central Stores Department at the Kelowna Campus will be closed after 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23. Central Stores will re-open Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 8 a.m.

The last truck runs of 2010…

·        to Salmon Arm and Vernon - Tuesday, Dec. 21 
·        to Penticton - Thursday, Dec. 23 

Regularly scheduled truck runs will resume the week of Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 with the first run to Vernon and Salmon Arm on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and Penticton on Thursday, Jan. 6.

Multi-Functional Copiers – Repairs and Supplies

Okanagan College’s account executive with Ricoh, Carol Zuckerman, has resigned. The new contact for Ricoh is Tony Lenarcic. For orders or service questions, please contact Tony by calling or emailing:

Tony Lenarcic
250-860-4779, ext. 235

Fax:  250-763-7580

And a reminder … 
All colour laser printers use original equipment toners only and should be purchased through Supply Management. 
Remanufactured toners should not be used in any equipment or you may risk damage to the equipment.

International student newsletter

International Education has issued its December newsletter. This edition includes articles about the origins of Santa Claus, Aboriginal influences in Canada, and a spotlight on the experiences of students from Yeungnam. Follow this link to read more.

December edition of PPC’s The Balance Sheet

Okanagan College’s employee family assistance provider PPC has issued its December newsletter. Follow this link to read the new edition, which includes tips on everything from how to stay organized during the holidays to handling grief and loss during this time of year. 

Apply now for Okanagan College Family Award

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award. Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan – follow the link to OC Express - Forms and then click through to Foundation.

All applications must be date-stamped at the Welcome Centre in Kelowna or the Campus Administration office at your campus by Jan. 21, 2011. This round of applications are for programs or terms starting between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2011.

Please direct any questions about the Okanagan College Family Award to the Kelowna Campus Financial Aid & Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Alan Kennedy from Computer Science in Kelowna who won the Dec. 17 payday draw for $597.50.

All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. If you wish to sign up, registration forms are available from Dawn Douglas (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus), from Human Resources.


Fourteen Okanagan College students were among those awarded Irving K. Barber scholarships after achieving grade averages over 3.5 throughout their two years of study at the College. Read more about Nancy Argueta, Julianne Daase, Stephanie Hopkins, David Nault, Mathew Sydor, Erica Wooley, Cassie Tomson, Christopher MePhedran, Doris Born, Jessica Donaldson, Joel Dyck, Sarah Gibson, Warren Woodhurst and Michelle Moerkoert in: College students now in position to transfer.

Okanagan College students Lincoln McGowan and Sean Caroll are among five Central Okanagan students who will receive grants through the B.C. Aboriginal Student Awards. Read more in Interior students benefit from fund.

Congratulations to the latest round of Okanagan College business grads who passed the Institute of Chartered Accountants exam. Lee Bradshaw, Stephen Brown, Ryan Cavan, Shawn Harrison, Ken Harvey, Laura Henderson, Andrew Ingenhorst, James Lawson, Elizabeth Mackenzie, Andrew Malashewsky, Bo Peng, Kevin Schmidt, and Scott White were recognized in the article: Students pass CA test.

Okanagan College business alumnus Paul Brownfield has partnered with his mom to open a new business in downtown Kelowna, catering to those who want to eat healthy but have little time. Read more in: Home-cooked meals in a jiff.

Mechanical Engineering instructor Iain Cameron and his students earned media recognition after undertaking a project to improve the design of a chauffeured touring chair used by SNO-LIMO Mountain Eco-Touring. The chair hit the slopes of Big White recently. Read more in: Product improvement process turns into great learning experience for students.  

Two teams of students from Okanagan College’s School of Business have earned the right to compete in the final round of the 2011 Queen’s University Business Case Competition January 6. Robert Maier, Ramandeep Dhaliwal and Robert Moore will compete in Business Policy (coached by Lee Cartier and Laura Thurnheer) and Shawn Miller and Corey Wein will compete in Management Information Systems (coached by Glen Coulthard). Read more in: Okanagan College sending teams to prestigious business competition and Two OC teams reach business contest finals.

Regional Dean Heather Schneider was recognized for her work outside of Okanagan College. Schneider is the chairperson for the local host committee for the International Children’s Winter Games. The games begin Jan. 26, 2011. Read more about the preparations in: Children’s games fast approaching.

Dale Keegstra, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer program chairperson, was interviewed about how the Vernon program’s students have weathered the recession. Read more in College course takes flight.

Jenny Davies is hoping to start the Women in Trades program at the College as she prepares to train for a career that will help sustain her family in the future. Jenny and her family were featured in the Daily Courier’s Be An Angel campaign. Read more in: Angels spring into action.

Stan Chung, former Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational programs, launched his first book, Global Citizen – River of Love and Other Essays, in Kelowna last week. Read more in: New author flattered by positive reader response and Okanagan Sunday writer published his first book.

In his Global Citizen column, Chung wrote about the discomfort of being alone. Read the column: How to be Lonely.  

In her weekly School’s In column, Jane Muskens, Registrar, discussed how to decide which trade to pursue when aiming for Red Seal certification in New statistics shine a light on best Red Seal trades options and the importance of researching career opportunities before embarking on a program when retraining in Never easy for adults to face new career retraining.

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe made the headlines of the Penticton Herald earlier this year when they were named honorary co-chairs of the Centre for Excellence fundraising campaign. The story was revisited in the Herald’s article about the highlights of 2010. Read more in: Looking back on the year’s headlines.

The proposed track and field facility to be built at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus is being discussed in the community for its pros and cons. Read more in: City councillors back sports facility and District denies it is opposed to track site.


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, Jan. 18, 2010.