College writers sweep the Three Hour Short Story Contest

threehourA quartet of Okanagan College writers were rewarded for their creativity, skill and the ability to work under pressure during the second-annual Three Hour Short Story Contest, which took place on Saturday at each of the College’s campuses.

The competition was open to Okanagan College students as well as secondary school students in Grades 11 and 12. With just 180 minutes at their disposal, writers were challenged to pen an original story with a twist – at the beginning of the competition the organizers told writers they had to include the phrase “punctured air mattress” in the body of their stories.

Five prizes were handed out – four regional winners earned a $250 tuition credit and an overall winner took home an additional $500 tuition credit after being selected as the Judges’ Choice.

Penticton’s Gwenellen Tarbet won the Judges’ Choice as well as the South Okanagan prize for her entry, The Hudson’s Bay Blanket. In Salmon Arm Katherine Goertz’s story This Is the Way won the regional prize while Karen Bissenden’s Three Points took home the North Okanagan title and Joe Dermo won in the Central Okanagan category with Bank Robber.

Fifty-six writers took part in the 2011 competition, a sign there is demand for this kind of unique challenge. “Working with creative writing students all the time, as I do, it's easy to take the energy and enthusiasm for granted but every year this contest reminds me again what a great creative community we have here at the college," said English professor and contest organizer Sean Johnston. "I am always amazed by what our students can do under such constraints -- no two of these stories were the same and each one I read was surprising in some way."

Moodle Missive: First Info Session Dec. 6

Get ahead of the learning curve and pick up some tips when educational technology coordinator Mike Minions previews what to expect from Moodle – the College’s new open-source learning management system.

In the Mood for Moodle offers a quick overview of the look and function of Moodle, plus what instructors can expect when they switch material over from Blackboard.

The session takes place Dec. 6 from 4 - 5: 30 p.m. in the Kelowna lecture theatre and  coincides with the day set for many departmental meetings. Some energy-boosting Moodle Munchies will be provided prior to the start of the session.

In the Mood for Moodle is only the first of many instructional sessions that will take place between now and implementation in May of 2012. Blackboard will be turned off in September 2012.

More in-depth workshops will be presented at each campus beginning in January, with Minions providing hands-on instruction in computer labs. The workshop schedule will be set shortly.

Watch Inside Okanagan College for workshop dates or go online. Instructors will also be able to access a series of College-developed brief instructional videos, plus an extensive on-line FAQ list, and tutorials available on the College’s Moodle website.

Instructors can also obtain a temporary license to access the online software-training site Any College employee can sign out a account for two weeks through myOkanagan.

To access, visit the Employee tab of myOkanagan and click on training account request under the OC Express Requests and Notices channel.

Podium finish for Okanagan College’s first STARS assessment

leafOkanagan College is the first community college in the province to earn a silver ranking in sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The assessment comes as part of Okanagan College’s participation in the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) program, a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. The silver rating was based on the performance of all four campuses. 

The College received STARS recognition for numerous practices and innovations including: 

-   The treated effluent water and heat recovery system at the Centre for Learning in Kelowna

-   The use of a crusher to safely and efficiently dispose of Compact Florescent Lights 

-   Offering sustainability courses in 12 departments. 

Follow this link to read the complete Public Affairs press release. For more information about the STARS assessment program, visit 

Certified Dental Assistant program receives big boost

dentoformStudents in Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assistant program will benefit from a generous donation from Columbia Dentoform, a leading innovator in patient simulation products for dental education.

The company donated a new radiographic mannequin to the program, which relies on simulation training throughout the course of the program. The students are getting to know their new classmate Fletcher and have welcomed him to the department where he joins a fleet of older, more mature mannequins named Dexter.


Farewell sendoff for Dave Harris

daveColleagues and friends are invited to help celebrate Dave Harris’s 25-year career and wish him well into retirement at an event in Kelowna at Infusions on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.

The Director of IT Services announced his retirement earlier this year – his last day of work will be Dec. 23. 

Human Kinetics student tops local Ironman competition

carlsonWade Carlson is one of many Okanagan College students making good use of the new fitness facility in the Centre of Excellence.

Wade is looking to improve his running speed throughout the winter so that he can have a solid professional triathlon debut season next year.

The Human Kinetics student finished as the top local athlete at Ironman Canada in Penticton last August. His race time of 9:53:45 placed him third in his age class division and qualified him for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii this past fall where he had a strong race and competed with the best triathletes from around the world.

For the past two years, Carlson has combined part-time studies at the Penticton Campus with serious triathlon training. And, he hopes that the combination of high performance sport experience and post-secondary education will lead to a career in sport coaching. This past season, he was coached by Scott McMillan, a professional triathlon coach and part-time Human Kinetics faculty member.

Penticton campus staff enjoy a Taste of India

tasteofindiaLibrary and campus staff in Penticton ran a successful Taste of India event in early November. Food preparation and cooking for Taste of India was done by library staff member Surandar Dasanjh with setup, serving and cleanup help from other library staff (Deborah Cutt, Jessie Lampreau, Anne Cossentine and Ross Tyner) as well as Donna Lomas, Laurie Minuk, Amberlee Erdmann, and Divya Saksena.

Students and campus staff had a chance to sample Indian food with entertainment provided by students in Liisa Tukhala’s Bahiti Belly Dancers troupe. The event was a fundraiser for campus students in financial distress.

Ogren earns ASTTBC bursary

ogrenCivil Engineering Technology student Dean Ogren was recognized at the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) annual Technology Awards and Recognition Celebration in Vancouver on November 5.

Ogren, who is enrolled at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, received a $1,000 bursary established by Martin MacGregor, AscT, as part of the ASTTBC Foundation for Education and Advancement in Technology (FEAT). The bursary is granted to a student who is the child or grandchild of an ASTTBC member and who is pursuing studies in technology.

Photo caption (left to right): Mike Iviney (AScT), Chair of the ASTTBC Foundation for Education & Advancement in Technology, Dean Ogren, Okanagan College Civil Engineering Tech student, Bill MacPherson (AScT), ASTTBC President, and  Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, Minister, Advanced Education.

How Civil Engineering students are impacting local sustainability

by John Kenny

civilIn their final semester, Okanagan College Civil Engineering Technology students complete a supervised project on an advanced topic related to Civil Engineering Technology.

The project includes elements of research, problem analysis, comparison of solutions, presentations and a final report. Over the years, the department has actively encouraged students to incorporate principles of sustainability into their projects. This year, one group of students is investigating several municipal design options for minimizing water consumption for a new strata development.

Their design options include using greywater treatment systems to recycle shower/bath and laundry water, and to reuse it to flush toilets. It has been reported that these greywater systems can reduce residential water consumption by up to 40 per cent. In addition, the students are considering designs that would permit treated water from the strata's wastewater treatment facility to be used to irrigate community parks and green spaces.

The students are also considering solar power to help meet the pumping requirements of their designs. As water is such a precious resource, the students feel that many of these designs will become standard practice for future strata developments in the Okanagan.   

(If you have your own 100-150 word Sustainability in Education story please send it to David Williams so that it can be featured in upcoming articles.)

Carter and Kemp release photo book

Continuing Studies instructors Laurie Carter and Bruce Kemp are launching a new photo book - Gifts of the Okanagan - through Little White 

Both photographers are teachers in the Continuing Studies department and offer classes at the Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon campuses. Although both photographers are national award winners and Kemp is an international award winner, this is their first joint effort.

The married couple met on assignment in Malaysia. Kemp was part of 
the Toronto media scene for nearly 30 years before moving to Kelowna and Carter is a long-time resident as well as the Senior Editor with 
Okanagan Life Magazine. Gifts of the Okanagan and Carter's smash book from last year - Grandma Wears Hiking Boots - are available through 
the College bookstore as well as retail outlets.

For more information visit:
November 22, 2011 Vol. 5 Issue 17


Final week for Employee Survey

surveyJust a reminder that there’s still time to take part in this year’s Employee Satisfaction Survey. The survey is open until midnight on Friday, Nov. 25. To make sure your voice is counted, go to myOkanagan and click on the Employee Survey graphic.

Manulife updates its site for employees

Manulife has announced that it will launch a new redesigned Group Benefits website on Sunday, Dec. 4. The improved site will focus on usability for employees. The modernized site will make it easier to complete transactions and find information. Follow this link to find out everything you need to know about the new site or click here for full details on how and when the new site will be implemented for Okanagan College employees. 

Expenditures streamlined

Not sure if you are authorized to make a request to Finance? Check out the new expenditure matrix in myOkanagan. The matrix is a new tool that was developed by Finance to provide support to employees. The link can be found in myOkanagan by first clicking the employee tab, then going to OC Express-Reports and selecting Finance. If you have any questions on the Expenditure Matrix, please contact Vicki Pannell at ext. 4312.

Getting better all the time

Public Affairs would like to receive your feedback about Career Fair 2011. If you participated in Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 6 please take a moment to provide your feedback via this survey in an effort to make next year’s event even better.

Pay it forward

A quick dig through your closet could turn up gold for the Pay it Forward giving campaign. A gently used scarf, mitts, hat, or even a winter coat can experience new life when dropped into one of the gift-wrapped bins located throughout the College.

Cash and donations of new toiletries, new socks and new underwear are also gratefully appreciated for this annual community fundraiser. Donations go to Kelowna Gospel Mission and Inn from the Cold.

The program continues through to Dec. 8. For more information, contact please contact Jenn, Lynn or Heather in Student Recreation and Athletics at 4754 or 4360.

Winter Convocation

Winter Convocation is coming up on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. If you are planning to attend as presenting faculty please contact Michelle Lowry by Nov. 28. If you require regalia please provide your height and highest awarded credential.  

Public Affairs is also putting out a call for volunteers for Winter Convocation. Volunteers are needed to support the ceremonies as ushers, to hand out gowns to students and for the reception following the ceremonies. If you are interested in helping out please contact Michelle.

Access your relationships

When it comes to software, Access can be your friend. Take part in the Access in a Day course – Friday, Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The course covers the basics of database design, and how to use Microsoft Access to manage a relational database project. Create tables, query databases, and create forms and reports to retrieve and display information stored in an Access database.

Participants must have a confident understanding of computer fundamentals including file naming and saving. Previous experience with Microsoft Office products including Word and Excel would be beneficial.
Please contact Continuing Studies to register, and don’t forget you can use the tuition waiver form found in myOkanagan.

Christmas comes early at Campus Stores

storesBrowse through the campus store now, then come back for the sale Thursday, Nov. 24 for the Campus Store Customer Appreciation Sale on at all locations – Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm. Refreshments and goodies will be provided to help set the mood.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Leslie Bogula, from the Registrar’s Office in Salmon Arm, who won the Friday, Nov. 18 payday draw for $595. This staff lottery contributes to annual Okanagan Foundation awards that total more than $1 million.

If you’re interested in joining nearly 200 staff colleagues who participate, please contact Tessa Derksen (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni office (located in P103, KLO Campus). Or download a registration form online.  


Nov. 23 - Kalamalka Speaker Series –  Just as the White House denies it has contact with aliens, Deborah Warren, an expert on extraterrestrial intelligence and political activism, hits the stage in Vernon. This free event takes place from 1 - 2 p.m. in room D333 at the Vernon Campus.

Nov. 24 – Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular Audio Engineering and Music Production with the The Man Bear Pig Awareness Concert, at the Kelowna campus theatre. The concert features two Kelowna alternative bands - Smash Blvd, and The Flu, with behind-the-scenes work of 20 students enrolled in this 700-hour program. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available
at the door, or online at

Nov. 29  - Kalamalka Speaker Series – Permaculture Design with Gordon Hiebert, B.Comm, PDC. This free event takes place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus Lecture Theatre.


There is nothing better in the world than doing something you love. That was the focus Morning Star reporter Cara Brady took on adult learning at Okanagan College. Read her story about student Alison Lauridsen’s experience in A Path to a Rewarding Career.

Move over Penticton Vees! The jewel of the South Okanagan has something new to be proud of – the Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College. Vince Rabbitte was so thrilled by the opening, he shared his views in a Penticton Herald letter to the editor. Read: Achievement of OK College.

Business Thompson Okanagan reported news that Bardel Entertainment is working with Okanagan College, among others, on a new animation program. Read more in: Vancouver-based animator Bardel Entertainment is opening a satellite studio in Kelowna.

Canstruction 2012 chairman Mike Wilding’s pitch for more cans went public in The Daily Courier with his plea for 30,000. Read more in: Canstruction not overflowing with participants.

The Globe and Mail included an article on Penticton’s Centre of Excellence in a special feature on colleges, read the article: Cash windfall drives expansion.

The Okanagan College Coyotes made up part of a hat-trick of weekend hockey news in the Okanagan Saturday. Read more about the team’s success in: Chiefs, OK Rockets, OC all in action.

The Coyotes are giving the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack something to howl about this season. Read Coyotes’ comeback evens season record, which appeared in the Daily Courier.

Members of the Coyotes are among those taking part in Movember (along with Board Chair Lance Kayfish) – a cause that raises awareness and funds for prostate cancer. The team also encouraged their fans to wear pink to the rink – read more about the awareness campaign in: Coyotes looking to score for Movember.

Coyote Captain Dave Mann told The Daily Courier his team was eager to take on the Eagles from Eastern Washington University, a first time match for the two foes. Read Coyotes sweep Vikes in Victoria.

A media release announcing a new endowment from the College and Institute Retirees Association of British Columbia (CIRA-BC) was picked up by both The Daily Courier and the Vernon Morning Star. See Endowment named in honour of former teacher and New scholarship created.

A piece of Okanagan College history was recalled in a letter to the editor that appeared in The Daily Courier. Read Gray helped push college campaign over the top.

Event Magazine helped get the word out on the Three Hour Short Story competition. Read Students can still register for short story competition.

A media release on extreme deep-sea life featuring guest lecturer Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe at the Vernon campus was picked up by the Morning Star. See Ocean life focus of college lecture.

Event magazine and the Kelowna Capital News pricked up their ears when they learned Okanagan College students in Audio Engineering were holding their 10th annual concert. Read: Okanagan College students all ears, and: Upcoming concert.

The Kelowna Capital News helped get the word out on the 14th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest, sponsored in part by Okanagan College. Read Short story contest returns.

Registrar Jane Muskens offered her Capital News readers a global perspective on tuition fees. Read Tuition fees in Canada still remain fairly reasonable.


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

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 Tuesday, Dec. 6.