Centre of Excellence raises first walls (and a little bit of a stink)

pclWhile construction of the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus is continuing on schedule, the progress hasn’t come without some disruptions. The most persistent of those disruptions has been parking (or the distinct lack thereof), but last Thursday there was another disturbance that wasn’t planned for: an excavator operator struck a gas line that led to a campus-wide evacuation. The evacuation lasted about an hour and involved firefighters coming to campus to help ventilate the buildings.

Despite this short-lived evacuation, progress is being made. The first set of prefabricated gym wall panels have been installed in Penticton - the second set should be arriving in three weeks. These panels will be the source of radiant heating and cooling for the gymnasium. The walls were designed to be lighter, contain only three inches of concrete (for the heating and cooling), and have all the necessary piping and electrical pre-installed.

The new entrance to the campus and the return of on-campus parking is on schedule to be complete by August 1. The parking lot has been adjusted so that the campus will retain the use of the portables for the 2010/2011 academic year.

Overall the building is on track and on budget with the completion of tendering. PCL believes that the building will be at lock up stage by mid fall. The Centre of Excellence is already meeting some of its vision as a teaching building; apprenticeship classes have been through the site to learn new techniques and this will continue throughout the building process.  

There are currently 50 people working on the site – that number is expected to reach 85 by August. Wondering exactly what all this looks like? Check out the live web cam and watch the transformation of the Penticton campus.

Negotiations underway with BCGEU Support Staff and OCFA

Local negotiations with two of the College’s three unions started during the week of June 14. The College’s Negotiating Committees met with the BCGEU Support Staff on June 14 and 15 and with the OCFA on June 16 and 17. President Jim Hamilton started each session with opening remarks to set the context for their round of negotiations with the two unions. 

Protocol Agreements were signed at both tables and all of the Negotiating Committees tabled and provided a brief review of their proposals. Minor housekeeping changes to the Support Staff Collective Agreement and the OCFA Collective Agreement were agreed upon.
 Negotiations with the Support Staff are scheduled to continue from August 23 to 27 and for two additional days in mid-September. 

Dates for negotiations with the OCFA are scheduled from August 31 to September 3 and for each Monday and Friday thereafter into early October.
 Watch Inside Okanagan College for further information on the negotiation process and outcomes.

College-bound Boucherie grad earns Thorpe & Friends Scholarship

hoferDanielle Hofer, a Mount Boucherie graduate with a keen interest in social entrepreneurship, is the 2010 recipient of the $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.

Over the course of the last year, when not busy working on papers, exams and school projects, Danielle lead several fundraising initiatives in her school to support children in Kenya. Along with several of her classmates, Danielle traveled to a village in Kenya earlier this year to help find solutions for attaining clean drinking water, medical support and educational opportunities.

Danielle will be attending the Kelowna campus in the fall and has enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program. She was drawn to Okanagan College due to its community profile and the opportunities to engage in social entrepreneurship through a variety of pathways, including Students in Free Enterprise.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship supports students from the former MLA’s riding and is based on a combination of financial need, academic standing, leadership potential and demonstration of contribution to their community.

GM Canada supports training at Okanagan College

gmA donation of a dozen prototype engines by GM Canada is helping ensure that Okanagan College’s auto service technician program fires on all cylinders.
The donation – 12 non-saleable 5.3-litre V8 engines – was unveiled this month at the College’s Kelowna trades training facility.

“We believe this to be an important investment in future auto service technicians,” said Tom Odell, Technology Planning Manager for GM Canada. “Giving students the opportunity to research and understand current engine technology using a hands-on approach clearly provides a rich learning opportunity.”

The engines will be used by second-year apprentices at the College, explained John Haller, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“We rely extensively on industry support of our programs, and GM Canada has been a leader on that front. Their donations of cars, engines and other materials have helped our apprentices and entry-level trades people for many years.”

“A challenge for us - and one that industry expects us to meet in our role as trainers - is to ensure that our apprentices leave Okanagan College with an education in current technology,” said Al Cohoe, chair of the Motor Vehicle Trades Department at the College. “There was a big smile on my face when GM called to let me know about this donation and I can assure you that students are eager to get their hands on these engines.”

High demand results in additional Employee Survey Task Force session

Over the course of the past two weeks, each of the College’s four regions has hosted a town hall meeting with members of the Employee Survey Task Force.

The Task Force - with representation from all employee groups - has engaged in a very intensive process to review the outcomes of the employee survey, to identify the key issues contributing to the survey results, and to delve deeply into the factors behind these results.
 The town hall sessions were intended to provide employees with information and recommendations arising from this work and to gather employee feedback on a range of possible actions.

If you missed those sessions but have an interest, here is some good news!

The Employee Survey Task Force members have determined - in part because of the size of the Kelowna staff and the strong response to the June 10 session - that there is a need for another focus group opportunity in Kelowna.

“With the interest level so high, and the valuable comments and suggestions we’ve received, we would like to hold one more session before we hit the July-August peak holiday period,” noted Vice President Steve Koehle.

Anyone interested in attending this final session should meet in room E103 on Friday, June 25 from 12:15 – 2 p.m.

Goodbye Novell, hello Windows: the work continues

Just a reminder that the work to migrate Okanagan College File and Print Services from the Novell Netware platform to Microsoft Windows continues, with plans to complete by August. It is a process that involves moving all existing files on the F drives and K drives to the new infrastructure, and updating all Okanagan College desktop and laptop computers. 

As noted in the last issue of Inside Okanagan College, the project is well underway, and many administrative and support departments have been migrated. IT Services will be toiling over the next two months to complete as much of the remaining work as possible, including converting all of the computers in labs, classrooms and the Information Commons. 

That said, IT Services recognizes there will be some staff with laptops who will not return to campus until August and those laptops may not have been updated. 

Please note the following:

1.      To learn more about the new infrastructure including logging in and finding your files, click here
2.      If any of your course notes or student handouts refer to either the F drive or the K drive you will need to update them because, in the new infrastructure, disk drives are not referenced using single letters.

3.      If you received a new R400 laptop or X200 tablet PC this spring, then your computer is likely ready for the new infrastructure.

4.      If your laptop was not replaced this year but has been worked on by IT Services in the past couple of months then it probably is ready for the new infrastructure. 

5.     If either #3 or #4 above do not apply to you or you are not sure, please call the IT Helpdesk at 4444 or submit an IT Service Request at your convenience. That way we can check it, and, if necessary, update it. 

Depending on the availability of a technician this process may take half an hour or you may need to leave your laptop with us for a while.

Hint: if you are able to login with your nine-digit Employee ID then your laptop has already been converted. For additional information, click on the AskUS link at the bottom of the IT Services home page, AskUS. For assistance please call the IT Help Desk at local 4444.

College staff and their supporters run for a cause

24A diverse group of staff from Okanagan College laced up their sneakers and downed caffeinated beverages in order to support the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay in Kelowna on June 12-13.

The 24 Hour Relay raised over $202,000 for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and for Easter Seals Camp Winfield. The College undertook fundraising efforts including the Mother’s Day hanging baskets, raffle ticket sales, a tremendous bake sale and a fundraising BBQ. One of the main goals this year was to try to get as many people as possible from Okanagan College to get involved.

Between Okanagan College staff, friends and family, close to 100 people ran or walked on behalf of Okanagan College. Together the Okanagan College Team raised $2,224 (ranked 4th) and also finished fourth in total number of laps run (which amounts to 440).

Medical community gets behind Centre of Excellence

On Thursday June 17 a group of physicians and their spouses from the South Okanagan Similkameen region gathered at the home of Jim and Sandy Henderson to learn more and pledge their support for Penticton’s Centre of Excellence.

The Centre of Excellence is all about sustainability and healthy choices for the environment and for the people of the region, and is a project the medical community is really getting behind. President Hamilton and Dr. Andrew Hay spoke about the building, the Living Building Challenge and the impact this development is having on Okanagan College, the City of Penticton and the South Okanagan.

Dr. Gerry Karr, a local physician who helped organize the event, commented, “This venture will create opportunities for the highest training and education, it will bring interest back into the City of Penticton that we have not seen since DRAO opened its doors in the 1970’s. It will not only bring students into the community to receive their education, but it will offer reasons for them to stay.”

This event was the first of several targeting support from different professional groups within the South Okanagan Similkameen. 


Beth Van Vorst retires

bethOn June 11 Beth Van Vorst retired after spending 23 years as an employee of Okanagan College. Beth spent the last eight years in International Education, where she dedicated her time to students and exhibited great patience and concern for the needs of international students.

Beth was recognized for her outstanding service at the International student graduation, which was held at the Harvest Golf Club on June 6, and at a staff reception held on June 8 at Okanagan College.

Beth will be on campus in the coming weeks to help train her replacement so any staff who wish to say goodbye can stop by International Education in Kelowna.

Torch passes from Gould to Ebner

ebnergouldJoelle Ebner has been appointed as the Chair of the Association of Student Awards Personnel of BC, in a unanimous decision that will see her serve in the role for the 2010-11 year.

Joelle takes over from Sandi Gould, who was the previous Chair. Sandi was the first employee from Okanagan College to hold the position. The Chair is responsible for calling and running monthly executive meetings in Vancouver, acting as official spokesperson for the Association, and liaising with senior management at the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. 

Land Lubbing kids take to the high seas

piratesIf you happened to be out on Okanagan Lake on Saturday and thought you saw a familiar face aboard an ominous-looking pirate ship, you might have spotted Iron William Kidd (aka Director of Public Affairs Allan Coyle), who was helping out with the Variety Club’s Boats for Hope event, sponsored in part by the Boys and Girls Club.

Volunteers from the Kelowna Yacht Club and a host of other organizations gave of their time and resources to provide children with disabilities and their families a chance to get out on the water and have some fun.

It’s the fourth year that the Variety Club has held the event, which drew about 200 disabled children. (FYI – Coyle’s Pirate name is courtesy of a website only an old salt like he could find – with help from Google, of course -

Also spotted on the lake as part of the event (although not in pirate garb) were MP Ron Cannan and Mayor Sharon Shepherd. There are rumours that neither returned to shore as dry as they’d started their journey - something to do with water fights . . .

Reg office staff strike it rich…but not quite rich enough to give up their day jobs

Staff in the Registrar’s Office received some welcome news last week when they were informed they had won money on Friday’s Lotto. A group of staff got 6 out of 7 numbers correct for a total win of $5,415.60. Each employee who participates in the group Lotto received $246.16. The group also won some free tickets.

Hula girls show team spirit at Ladies Golf Tournament

golfThe Okanagan College Ladies Golf Tournament was hosted on June 21 in Kelowna. Forty-three ladies participated – some for fun and others for bragging rights. The team of Joan Kleinsteuber, Sandi Gould, Brenda Foster and Lynn Johnson won the tournament.

Another team was recognized, not necessarily for their skill but for their spirit! The team of Diane Adair, Bianka Blandon, Liz Currie and Lynda Dreaper (the Hula Girls) won best team spirit.

June 22, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 6


Canada Day long weekend closure

Okanagan College will close on Thursday, July 1 in observance of the Canada Day statutory civic holiday. The College will re-open on Friday, July 2.

Okanagan College policy update

Two new policies have recently been approved by Okanagan College. They are:
Internet Service at Home (effective October 1, 2010)
Research Ethics Board Policy

All Okanagan College policies, including Internet Service at Home and the Research Ethics Board Policy, can be found online.

July long weekend truck run schedule

Due to the Canada Day statutory holiday (Thursday, July 1) the regularly scheduled truck run to Penticton will instead be Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

Pharmacy Tech program accredited at highest level

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program, offered by Continuing Studies and Distance Education, recently received accreditation from the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). The CCAPP accreditation process ensures that accredited programs contain the necessary content to teach the competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) necessary for successful graduates to safely and effectively do the job of a regulated pharmacy technician.

The regulation of Pharmacy Technicians, a national initiative, will result in the creation of a new health care professional. Okanagan College is now qualified to train students for employment in this important field.

Extra, Extra – International Newsletter hot off the press

International Education has just produced their June newsletter and this month’s edition is making noise about the success of Jamaican Culinary Arts grad Lorraine Simon-Lewis, who was presented with the 2010 Okanagan Chefs’ Association Award at Trades Commencement. Read more about Lorraine and her job at the Harvest Golf Club or check out an update from International in Vernon, who just welcomed a group of Korean students from Yeungnam College of Science and Technology.

Fascieux Creek clean for summer

creekA team of staff volunteers in Kelowna joined forces with one of the College’s neighbours for the semi-annual cleaning of Fascieux Creek. The group collected 10 bags of garbage and invasive weeds from the water and creek bed.

The crew spotted one snake and several ducks with ducklings – evidence of the importance of keeping the College’s waterway clean. 

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Kathryn Bockhold from Biology in Kelowna who won last week’s payday draw for $ 522.50. 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.


June 24 – The award-winning and Oscar nominated documentary FOOD, INC. will be featured in the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre in Kelowna at 7 p.m. FOOD, INC is an unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry. Admission is free - all are welcome.

June 25 – The 14th annual All Canadian Investment Corporation Links to Learning Golf Tournament will take place at the Salmon Arm Golf Club. A shot gun start will take place at 1:30 p.m. Go online to register or for more information contact Patty Bruce. 

June 28 – Vernon Commencement and Convocation, 4:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Centre in Vernon. Contact Michelle Lowry for more information.

June 29 – Summer Convocation, 6 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Contact Michelle Lowry for more information.

Aug 25-26 - Don't miss Connections 2010. The two-day employee learning conference is shaping up to be bigger and better than last year and all College staff are invited to attend one of the two days to receive professional development, network with colleagues and provide feedback on issues affecting Okanagan College, its staff and students. For more information about Connections or to register, go online.


Culinary Arts students will gain hands-on experience at the Gold Medal Plates competition, which will be held in Kelowna for the next five years. The 2011 edition will be February 18 - 19 and will include the black box competition at the Kelowna Campus. Read more from the Capital News in Culinary competitors drawn to the Okanagan and the Daily Courier's Chefs fired up in Kelowna.
Ethan Baptiste, an Aboriginal mentor at Okanagan College, died as a result of a motor vehicle collision on June 15. Read more about Ethan and his legacy in Crash claims life of ‘prominent young leader’ and Collision claims life of Okanagan Nation cultural leader.

This week Stan Chung honoured Ethan Baptiste in his Global Citizen column. Read Stan’s beautiful and touching tribute For the People: Fire, Sumac and Ethan Baptiste.

Shane Koyczan, alumnus of Okanagan University College, is performing to benefit Project Literacy this Friday, June 25 at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna. Shane credits John Lent as being a big part of finding his own voice. Read more in Slam poet expects to open eyes.

A U Pass for Okanagan College students is in the works after the provincial government announced it would deliver a U Pass to all post-secondary students beginning this September. Read more in Students await details on universal buss pass.

Communications instructor Marc Arellano attended a press conference for the Okanagan International Film Festival last week. Marc’s film Strange Fruit will be screened in his festival début on July 23 at the Kelowna campus. The festival runs July 21 to 25. Find more details in More screenings than ever at Okanagan Film Festival.

This September the College will begin offering a Studio Woodworking program for the first time. For more information read College offers one-of-a-kind woodworking program.

MLA Bill Barisoff’s Victoria Views column touched on the new U Pass program, which Okanagan College students will have the opportunity to vote on joining.
In support of Okanagan College Kalamalka students’ bursary fund, the band A Day Late and a Dollar Short played at the Vernon campus in mid-June. More about the event and band can be found in Bluegrass band raises dollars for students.

Elementary aged students came to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to learn more about birds and fish as part of the Wild Festival. One of the main activities was building birdhouses. Read the event review, Wild Festival shelters students’ creative side.

Jonathan Rouse, current dean of the Vancouver Community College’s School of Hospitality and Business, is joining the faculty of Okanagan School of Business. Read more in Rouse joins business faculty and an announcement in the Capital News.

Students in Free Enterprise and Okanagan College were partners in presenting the third annual Young Entrepreneur Dragon’s Den contest. The event gave middle and high school students in Vernon the opportunity to present a business plan for the chance at feedback and cash prizes. For information on the winners read Dragon’s Den dishes cash.

Viticulture and Wine Studies students from the South Okanagan are benefiting from the generosity of the Ramada Inn, Penticton, which donated $16,240 to the Viticulture Education Fund. Read more in Boost from area business.

Public Affairs’ Christine Ulmer filed the School’s In column this week in Jane Muskens’ absence. She shared her insight into how experiential learning sticks with students after they graduate. Read the column SIFE reflects college’s mission to help transform lives.

Jane Muskens, Registrar, commented on the coming labour shortages in the Thomson Okanagan and around BC, and how it will affect her and those retiring in the next five to ten years in Job skill shortages predicted.

Alana Lubchynski, a graduate of the Assistant Winemaking program, was profiled in the Kelowna Capital News. At the age of 22 she has been involved with eight vintages at her family’s winery Beaumont Family Estate Winery and worked in Australia and New Zealand during harvest and crush. Learn more in the Capital News article Beaumont is an Organic Family Affair.

Forever Young ran a feature article about Motor Vehicle Trades Chair Al Cohoe and Okanagan College's RV Lifestyle Seminar, which gets underway this Friday. Read more in: Mr. RV at your service.


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, July 6, 2010.