Province announces funding for new Trades seats

Minister Mark announcement Aug 2017 Inside OCOkanagan College has received $196,000 in funding from the B.C. Government to create 48 new Trades seats. Sheet metal apprentice, plumbing trades, and heavy mechanical trades foundation programs will each receive an additional 16 seats. 

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark was at the Kelowna campus on Friday, Aug. 18 to share the news with students, instructors and staff. 

“It’s very apparent that the trades offer good-paying jobs, and that they play an essential role in building strong communities and growing our economy,” said Mark.

“This funding will create additional capacity in some of our most in-demand trades programs,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Those students will be better prepared to enter the workforce and will do much to meet the labour-market demands of the region.”

Reporters from Global News Okanagan, the Kelowna Capital News, and Castanet attended the announcement and shared the news within the community. 

For more on this announcement, read the press release.

Connections underway

Bree Connections 2017The 11th annual Okanagan College employee conference – Connections – kicked off today at the Kelowna campus. Nearly 400 employees are registered to participate in informative sessions today, Tuesday, Aug. 22 and tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Employees who have not registered but wish to participate can show up to the breezeway at 8:30 a.m. to register for events on Wednesday. Sessions span an array of topics from Excel tips and tricks, emergency preparedness, photography, social media, and a walk around the na’ʔk’ʷulamən Garden to learn about indigenous plants. All employees are invited to join the afternoon social reception, also in the breezeway to enjoy delectable appetizers prepared by colleagues and beverages sponsored by Urban Distilleries, Big Surf Rider Cider and Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

For a glimpse into the culinary bites being prepared by Chef Bernard Casavant, Chef Danny Capadouca and colleagues in the interactive food session, download the recipes.

Visit the Connections website for more information.

Maori scholar places spotlight on Indigenous Education

Dr. Graham Smith Inside OCInternational scholar and global leader at the forefront of transforming Maori and Indigenous Education, Dr. Graham Hingangaroa Smith was at the Kelowna campus on Friday, Aug.18 to deliver a public presentation on indigenization.

His message for institutions, such as Okanagan College, was that before taking on the grand projects associated with big changes, it’s important to first change the inherent thinking within the institution. This starts with what he calls a “two-inch long revolution,” change in our minds and the way we think. He continued to communicate that everyone shares the responsibility for indigenization and that it is a communal journey. While simple in concept, he emphasized that those two-inches can sometimes take years to traverse.

Dr. Smith’s life work has been dedicated to building up the emergence of Maori Education Studies through the development of immersion schools (elementary to post-secondary level). In 2005 he received an honorary Doctor of Literature from Okanagan University College (OUC).

Read the event's press release for more information.

Okanagan College proudly operates on the traditional territories of the Syilx and Secwepemc peoples. An Indigenization Task Force was created to fulfill the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan’s vision of the institution’s ongoing commitment to working with, and learning from, the Indigenous Community. To learn more, visit the webpage.

Solar eclipse draws crowds

Penticton Solar EclipseThe Penticton Campus was a hub for astronomy enthusiasts on Monday, Aug. 21 as a crowd gathered in the grassy courtyard to view the solar eclipse. With the help of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, College staff, students, and the public were able to safely observe the unique natural phenomenon. Appropriate glasses, sun spotters and some small filtered telescopes made it possible to see the eclipse. 

A little further north, at the Kelowna Curling Club, more than 1,000 people came out to see the partial solar eclipse. Terry Bridges, physics and astronomy instructor at the College, helped organize the event which was hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Okanagan Centre. Eclipse glasses, various filtered telescopes, and pinhole projection devices were on hand to allow the public to view the sun safely. A live feed was also set up to allow attendees to witness the total solar eclipse as seen in Oregon and other sites in the United States. During the maximum eclipse the quality of the light and the drop in temperature were quite noticeable, which contributed to the excitement of the morning. 

The eclipse peaked at 10:25 a.m. and was completed by 11:42 a.m. In the Okanagan the moon eclipsed about 83 per cent of the sun, while the full eclipse band was a little further south from Oregon to South Carolina.

Celebrating 26 years of successful international training partnership 

Toyota Inside OCMarking 26 years of successful educational and cultural partnership, students and officials from the Toyota Technical College celebrated the completion of yet another year with Okanagan College on August 16.

The exchange program sees students from the Japanese institution travel to the College’s Kelowna campus for training in the state-of-the-art Trades facilities. Students learned Collision Repair and customer service at the College. They also had the chance to explore Kelowna and experience Canadian culture during their stay. 

This year a record group of 120 students attended, bringing the total number of participants over the past 26 years to more than 1,100. 

Changing Tomorrow Today – Annual Report on Giving

Foundation CoverFrom yesterday to today to tomorrow, the Okanagan College Foundation and its donors are creating opportunities and changing lives.

Amanda Wright is just one example of an alumna who is now giving back to another worthy student - Julie Dorsey. Rahaf Albitar and Mustafa Zakreet, both Syrian refugees, inspire us with their stories of finding hope as students in their new home, Canada.

Dorothea Hench and Walter Rupp share their vision for future generations through their future gift. Companies such as priMe haBitat seek to build a brighter future for the community by supporting students in the innovative Sustainable Construction Management Technology program.

Read the Okanagan College Foundation 2016-17 Annual Report on Giving and explore the highlights of the past year and the stories of donor impact on our students and how they are changing tomorrow today.


Heska joins College as Director of Human Resources

Linda Heska Inside OCLinda Heska will join Okanagan College on Sept. 18 as the new Director of Human Resources. She brings with her nearly 30 years of management and consulting experience in the public sector as a post-secondary administrator.

Heska recently moved to the Okanagan from the Lower Mainland where she served in a number of Human Resource leadership roles with Kwantlen Polytechnic University over the past 27 years, most recently as Director, Employee Relations – a role she occupied for almost 10 years.

She holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and a Management Certificate, major in Human Resources, from BCIT. She has also published a book on organizational practices that contribute to employee engagement.

Click here to read more about Heska joining the College.

In memory of Derek Cook

Derek Cook Inside OCOn Thursday, Aug. 10, long-time and well-respected Okanagan College School of Business professor Derek Cook passed away.

Derek joined Okanagan College in August 2005. During his 12-year career with the School of Business he taught at all levels of the Accounting and Finance streams. He is remembered for his extraordinary dedication to his students and willingness to lend a helping hand to his colleagues whenever it was needed.

“Derek loved to see his students succeed and he would go to any length to help them do so,” said Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean, School of Business. “Year after year he coached our Queen's Finance team with great results.”  

Derek is also remembered for championing the School of Business internationally. He taught for several years in Germany on exchange and was instrumental in establishing a dual degree program between Okanagan College and Hochschule Worms, University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

“Derek made a vital and far-reaching contribution to the College,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “His legacy lies in the hundreds of students and alumni out in the world who benefited from his dedication, positive attitude and generosity as an educator.”

Continuing Studies instructor shares passion for leadership

Gibson Inside OCWhen Carolyn Gibson first moved to Revelstoke in early 2014, she had no inkling she would end up combining her passions for teaching and leadership at Okanagan College.

Glancing at a Continuing Studies brochure she saw an ad indicating OC would be open to discussions from professionals in the community regarding potential new course offerings. The rest is history as she celebrates three years and counting as a College instructor, sharing her love for leadership across the College’s campuses from Revelstoke to Penticton.

Gibson teaches the Leadership Essential Series course: a five-part series consisting of one-day seminars focused on specific leadership skills required in today’s workplace. Students in the course have ranged from CEOs to those entirely new to leadership.

For more information, read the press release and check out the new Fall 2017 Continuing Studies Brochures here

August 22, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 35


Statutory holiday closure

Okanagan College will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4 in observance of the Labour Day statutory holiday.

Employee summer hours ending

Employee summer hours will conclude Friday, Sept. 1.
Regular operation hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

OC Library closure

All OC Libraries will be closed on Wednesday, Aug. 30 for Library Services' annual staff in-service meeting.

Kelowna Fitness Facility hours

The fitness facility at the Kelowna campus will be closing Friday, Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. for the Labour Day weekend. The facility will reopen at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Fall hours, starting on Sept. 5 will be:

  • Mon. - Thu.  6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Fri. 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 12 - 4 p.m.

Volunteer for Orientation in Kelowna

Volunteers are still needed for the Kelowna campus orientation day events: Kick-Off. If you are available on Tuesday, Sept. 5, please visit the webpage to sign-up. Volunteers receive a complimentary lunch.

Youth Exhibition Powwow – call for volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the 9th Annual Exhibition Youth Powwow, coming up on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus. If you can volunteer your time to set up booths, assist elders, direct guests, serve food, or help with other tasks on event day, please register online or contact Gail Smith at 250-762-5445 Ext. 4682.

myOkanagan login changes

As a reminder, a new login interface has been launched for myOkanagan. Staff will now need to click on the “login to myOkanagan” link once they are on the landing page. Your username will have a new format: 300xxxxxx@emp.oc. Also, your password will now be the same for your workstation and email (only one username and one password). If you need tech support or have questions, contact the IT Services Help Desk (local 4444).

Copyright best practices and resources

Okanagan College has a license with Access Copyright which gives the College and its staff permission to copy and distribute portions of more than 100-million published titles.

Much of the material posted to Moodle originates from e-journals and other sources for which OC Library holds site licenses. The use of these resources is subject to the terms and conditions of the individual publisher and vendor licenses. For more information, see the “Library Licenses” section of the Library’s Copyright Guide. Employees are also encouraged to consult OC Library’s Copyright Guidelines. Login to College Matters for further details.


Coyotes Basketball Season Openers

Cheer on the new OC Coyotes Basketball teams. Games will be held at Immaculata High School (1493 KLO Road, Kelowna).


  • Aug. 25, 3 p.m.
  • Sept. 8, 6 p.m. (home opener)
  • Sept. 9, 11 a.m.


  • Aug. 25, 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 8, 8 p.m. (home opener)
  • Sept. 9, 1 p.m.

For the full season schedule and more information, visit the website.

Planting the Seeds two day workshop

Planting the Seeds: Cultivating Teaching and Learning at Okanagan College. is a two-day workshop presented by Learning and Applied Research, with Information Technology Services, on Aug. 29 and 30 from 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. in room E103. To register please email Learning and Applied Research.  

Kelowna Blood Donor Clinic open weekly

Mon.,Tue., and Thu. from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Every second Sat. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Sept. 2, 16 and 30)

Please take the online quiz to check your eligibility before you donate or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) for more information.


Word of additional trades seats at Okanagan College made possible by an investment from the B.C. Government was shared by Global News, The Salmon Arm Observer, and Castanet.

Crush Magazine’s Summer 2017 issue featured an interview with Dr. Gabriel Balift, Chair of the new Viticulture Technician diploma program launching at the Penticton campus this fall. Harry McWatters, who received an Honorary Doctorate from OUC in 2001, was also recognized in the issue for his 50-year career in the B.C. wine industry.

The Vernon Morning Star stopped by the Vernon campus recently to snap some photos of youth trying their hand at metal fabrication, one of many exciting Camp OC offerings happening this month.

The upcoming Wine and Culinary Futures conference taking place in Kelowna, Oct. 17-20 drew the attention of the Kelowna Capital News and Castanet. Profiled in both pieces was Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism and Associate Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. 

Okanagan College and Toyota Technical College celebrated 26 years of an educational and cultural exchange program that once again saw students from the Japanese institution journey to the Kelowna campus to learn Collision Repair and Customer Service. KelownaNow ran a story about this year’s largest ever group of students (120) who spent the summer in Kelowna. 

The College’s Penticton campus was among many popular spots in the region to view the solar eclipse that occurred on Aug. 21, as told by the Penticton Western News

Chef Mike Barillaro of the College’s Culinary Arts team made the Aug. 16 edition of the Kelowna Capital News for his involvement in the annual Feast of Fields fundraiser, which once again saw hundreds of visitors turn out to enjoy local produce and culinary creations by some of the valley’s foremost chefs. 

Bree Cawley, Marketing and Communications Specialist for Continuing Studies, recently launched the Okanagan chapter of Girls Club, a non-profit project dedicated to providing resources and support for girls of all ages with neuro/developmental differences, and their families. Her inspiring story made the front page of the Vernon Morning Star on Aug. 4.

Kristina Thompson is one of Okanagan College’s newest business graduates and her parents took the time to recognize her accomplishments with a shout out in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College’s new Continuing Studies brochure hit mailboxes this month (it can also be read online here.) The story of Okanagan College instructor Carolyn Gibson, who teaches the Leadership Essentials series and who is featured on the cover of the brochure, was shared throughout the region by Castanet.

An international scholar and global leader at the forefront of transforming Maori and Indigenous education, Dr. Graham Smith, recently spoke at Okanagan College and his visit was heralded by Castanet.

Okanagan College will welcome Linda Heska as its new Director of Human Resources in September. News of Heska’s arrival and extensive experience in HR was shared by Castanet.  

Vancouver’s Farhan Umedaly, a well-known filmmaker and principal of VoVo Productions, was at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus from August 8-12 leading a film workshop geared toward Indigenous youth, as shared by the Vernon Morning Star

The Vernon Morning Star also helped to spread word to readers in the community about a scheduled power outage at the Vernon campus on August 11. Classes were not affected and Camp OC continued as usual.

Winners of the Ryga Festival play contest were announced earlier this month in the Summerland Review and the Vernon Morning Star. This year marked the first year that the Ryga Festival Society has offered the 10-minute play competition.


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 September 5, 2017.