Your feedback counts

The fourth Okanagan College Employee Survey is now being conducted. It will yield valuable feedback and help guide the College’s plans.

Previous surveys, for example, led to co-operative development of the mandatory orientation for new staff and development of College Matters (our employee communications portal housed within myOkanagan). The 2009 survey (and subsequent consultation and collaboration) led to the development of our program for employee recognition.

Our surveys and consequent consultations have resulted in an emphasis on employee engagement in our strategic plan.

 Gauging employee satisfaction is important as Okanagan College continues to pursue its key direction of employee engagement. Survey responses will assist in setting organizational priorities. 

The survey will be online until midnight Nov. 25. Results will be shared through College Matters. 

The feedback employees provide through the survey is confidential. While the survey instrument asks for basic demographic data, the categories have been kept deliberately broad to preclude individual responses from being identified. If you would prefer a paper copy of the survey, please contact your Dean or Director or Institutional Research.

Please take time to complete the survey, which can be reached by visiting myOkanagan or follow this link.

Hamilton will lead Okanagan College for next four years

Okanangan College President Jim HamiltonOne of Okanagan College’s longest-serving employees – its leader – will continue his connection to the institution for a while longer.

The College’s Board of Governors recently extended President Jim Hamilton’s existing contract by an additional two years until Oct. 31, 2017.

He has served in the position since late 2004.

“Jim has provided tremendous leadership for the College through dramatic changes and rapid development,” explains Board Chair Tom Styffe. “We asked Jim if he would be interested in having his current contract extended and he agreed. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

Hamilton is already the longest-serving president in the B.C. College system.

To read the complete press release, click here

Okanagan College and School District 67 expand educational opportunities for international students

School District 76 OC Mou signing A new partnership between School District 67 and Okanagan College will benefit international students who come to the South Okanagan to study.

On Oct. 16, Superintendent Wendy Hyer,  Okanagan College’s Director of International Education Russel Boris, and VP Education Andrew Hay signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which will pave the way for a closer working relationship between the two organizations in an effort to make the transition from secondary to post-secondary easier for students.

The College and School District have been working together for many years but the MOU takes the working relationship one step further.

“As partners in international education, we want to encourage more international students to choose Penticton as their destination for studying,” said Boris. “But equally as important are the opportunities that open up for domestic students. We are preparing students to succeed in an increasingly global workplace and studying shoulder-to-shoulder with students from different countries enhances the learning experience.” 

To read the complete press release, click here.

Support the longest-running Career Fair in the region and promote the College

For more than 30 years, Okanagan College’s Career Fair has been helping connect our community to insights about careers and education. On Nov. 3, hundreds of students, job seekers and employers descend on Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to investigate their educational options, research potential career paths, and discover available job opportunities. With this year’s event less than two weeks away, Public Affairs needs volunteers to act as hosts and ambassadors from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. All volunteers will receive a gift and are invited to stay after the fair and attend a reception.

If you are interested in volunteering or know of a potential exhibitor, please contact Michelle Lowry.

President’s Entrance Scholarship Winners

President's Entrance Scholarships 2013 President's Entrance Scholarship Awards were presented at a dinner on Thursday, Oct. 17.  The awards are designed to support high school graduates who have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and a commitment to their communities. Okanagan College awards up to eight scholarships each year distributed among our four college regions.

Vernon student Keenan Carey is one of the outstanding students to receive a 2013 President’s Entrance Scholarship. Keenan is taking the Water Engineering Technology diploma program in Kelowna. He graduated from Kalamalka Secondary where he received the School Life award for participation and excellence. Among his many achievements, Keenan organized a battery drive so that zinc from donated batteries could be extracted, made into pill form and distributed to people in need in developing countries.

Other recipients include:

Courtney Madeira – South Okanagan Region
High School: Princess Margaret Secondary
Associate of Arts Degree
Justin Rantucci – Central Okanagan Region
High School: Immaculata Secondary
Business Administration Diploma
Jonathan Sader – Central Okanagan Region
High School: Mount Boucherie Secondary
Associate of Science Degree
Keenan Carey  - North Okanagan Region
High School:  Kalamalka Secondary
Water Engineering Technology Diploma   
Danielle Kerswell – Revelstoke/Shuswap Region
High School: Salmon Arm Secondary
Associate of Arts Degree
Sydney Chesham – Revelstoke/Shuswap Region
High School: Salmon Arm Secondary
Associate of Science Degree
Isaac Nazaroff – South Okanagan Region
High School: South Okanagan Secondary
Associate of Arts Degree
(unable to attend Oct 17th Dinner Event) 

Sparking creativity in young writers

The English department of Okanagan College is promoting one of the department’s most exciting annual events, the three-hour short story contest. Taking place on Nov. 16 from noon to 3 p.m., the event features Okanagan College students and Grade 11 and 12 high school students writing short stories simultaneously at each Okanagan College campus within a three-hour timeline. The stories must contain a mystery word, object or phrase to be revealed at the event and be written on College computers within the three-hour period. Students will not be able to use any supporting material.

“The contest is a way of getting students excited about the College and a way for them to learn about the great diversity and strength of the OC creative writing faculty,” says English professor and event organizer Sean Johnston.

Four regional winners (one from each campus) will be selected. From that group, an overall winner will be chosen to have their short story published in a limited edition publication produced by the students in Okanagan College's Writing and Publishing Diploma Program and Kalamalka Press. Each regional victor will receive a $250 Okanagan College tuition credit. All entries will be published online. Previous winners’ stories can be found on Okanagan College’s website, click here.

Get vaccinated and protect yourself against the flu

Flu vaccination clinics are being held at these locations tomorrow:

PENTICTON from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. in Sunoka PE A1E
SALMON ARM from Noon to 1 p.m. in room 134
VERNON from Noon to 2 p.m. in room E105

The Kelowna clinic was held on Tuesday.

The cost for employees is $10 per person, payable by cash (exact change) or cheque made out to Okanagan College. Attendees should review the Seasonal Flu Vaccination information sheet and fill out the consent form ahead of time, leaving the signature and date blank, as it needs to be witnessed by the nurse.

ILT lecture explores popular culture’s fascination with vampires and the novel that started it all

Terry ScarboroughLittle did author Bram Stoker know he was creating a cultural icon when he wrote Dracula in 1897. This blood-curdling tale has been the inspiration for everything from movies to breakfast cereal and has spurned a seemingly limitless fascination with the undead.

Okanagan College English professor and literary historian Terry Scarborough will reveal little known facts and surprising details about Bram Stoker and his famous protagonist at a free public lecture taking place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

“Many people make assumptions about Dracula based on the vampire films they’ve seen but many of the things they think they know are misled. Dracula is a very misunderstood literary figure,“ says professor Terry Scarborough.

You don’t need to be a literary buff to attend, says Scarborough. “There are many parallels to popular culture that can be drawn with Bram Stoker’s famous novel.”

Just in time for Halloween, “Welcome to my House” begins at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the S104 Lecture Theatre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. The Institute for Learning and Teaching is presenting this free event.

If you can’t attend, you can watch it live via webcast, click here.


Jayne Brooks retires on Oct. 31

Jayne Brooks Oct 2013After nearly four decades with Okanagan College – as both a student and employee – Jayne Brooks, Director of Learning and Teaching, will retire on Oct. 31.

Help celebrate Jayne’s esteemed career at an event in Infusions Dining Room on Wednesday, Oct. 30 beginning at 3 p.m.

Jayne joined Okanagan College in 1974 as a business student. She became an employee of the College in 1981 when she began teaching business in Vernon at the Army Barracks site. In 2000, she took on her first position in administration when she became the Dean of FACE (Faculty of Adult and Continuing Education).

A few years later, Jayne became Dean of the new Faculty of Business. In 2005, she was appointed Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, a position she held until 2010 when she took a deferred salary leave and spent a year travelling the world. Jayne returned to the College after her leave and in 2011 was named the Director of Learning and Teaching. Jayne was the first recipient of the Okanagan College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002.

Call for Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service nominations

The Okanagan College Tributes Committee is accepting nominations for the Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service awards for the 2014 convocation and commencement ceremonies. Nominations are due by Oct. 30, 2013.

An Honorary Fellow is recognition by Okanagan College of distinguished achievement or outstanding service. The criteria for the award are mentorship, excellence, eminence and accomplishment. The College welcomes nominations that reflect the values of the College and the diversity of Canadian society. Nominees will be persons who have made significant contributions to the College, the Okanagan Valley, the Province, nationally or on an international level. The award will not normally be given to a serving politician or current employee of the College.

The Distinguished Service award recognizes former Okanagan College employees who have given outstanding service to Okanagan College, who share and support the mission, vision and values of Okanagan College, and who are active within and outside the Okanagan College community. This award will not be given as a matter of routine and is extended to only those who are most deserving.

To make a nomination, click award link below
Honorary Fellow

Distinguished Service Award

Submit nominations by Oct. 30, 2013 to Joanna Campbell.

Okanagan College professor sets up social business venture in Uganda

David Northcott in Ethopia
Economics professor David Northcott is on his way to Uganda to set up a sustainable business to fight extreme poverty. Partnering with Canadian Humanitarian, a not-for-profit agency that provides after-school programs for children in Eastern Africa, Northcott’s social venture starts with purchasing 20 breeding sows—pork is the meat of choice in Uganda—and paying locals to look after them.

Eventually when the stock has grown to 100 pigs, a piggery and butcher shop will be established. Northcott is funding part of the startup costs by selling sponsorships to cover the cost of the sows at $160 per pig. If you are in interested in sponsoring a pig, contact Professor David Northcott.

English professor publishes essay in popular American literary journal

English professor Matt Cavanagh recently published an essay in the popular online American literary journal, The Millions.

The essay examines recent financial fiction by Irish writers seeking to make sense of the 2008 bust, which hit their country particularly hard. The work is part of Cavanagh’s ongoing project, examining fiction representations of finance.

Longtime Library employee passes away

mcnairThe life and career of Irene McNair, a former employee who worked at the Kelowna Library for nearly two decades, was celebrated and remembered on Oct. 21 at a service in Kelowna. Irene passed away on Oct. 1 at the age of 84.

Irene joined Okanagan College in 1975 and spent 19 years in the Library. Colleague Erika Henfling remembers working with Irene when she was a periodicals clerk. Henfling says she was passionate about her job and meticulous about her work.

Elections: The votes are in

Congratulations to all successful candidates in the recent elections for the Board of Governors and Education Council.

Board of Governors

Student: George Nielson

Student: Barry Antoniow

Education Council

Student: North Okanagan, Garry Schroth

Student: Shuswap/Revelstoke, Sean Rossouw

Student: South Okanagan Similkameen, Terrena Buck

Student: Central Okanagan, Bryan Bergen
Support Staff: Kim Naumann

If you have any questions, please contact Inga Wheeler, Chief Elections Officer.

Oct. 22, 2013 Vol. 8 Issue 15


Student application fee policy change

The Registrar’s Office has revised the student application fee procedures after analysis of the number of multiple and subsequent cancelled applications and a review of best practices at other institutions. While the fee amount stays the same, students are no longer allowed to apply to unlimited programs in a single year for one fee.

The application fee will remain $30 for a domestic applicant (Canadian Citizens, Landed Immigrants or Immigrants granted Refugee Status by Immigration Canada) and $100 for an international applicant. The fee entitles applicants to apply for admission to up to three programs or intakes of the same program in one application session. If an applicant wishes to apply to an additional program or intakes, he or she must pay the fee again for each additional application.

An application fee will not be charged if a returning student is continuing in the same program, provided that the student is returning within a 12-month period or a student is continuing to a program with no break in attendance (summer semester excepted), such as an ABE or ESL  student to another program.

For questions or more details, contact Diana Thomson, Associate Registrar, Recruitment and Admissions.

January 2014 term start date confusion

You may have noticed that first day of classes for the Winter 2014 term in the 2013-14 Important Dates schedule is Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. This is to ensure that the required number of in-class days is included in the term if a department has decided to offer Saturday classes. Since no academic department has scheduled Winter classes on a Saturday, the Winter term 2014 will officially begin on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.
To view the Important Dates schedules, click here.

2014 applications open Nov. 1

Okanagan College will begin accepting applications Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m. for programs that begin in the fall semester of 2014. Visit the website for more details.

Time to save for a rainy day

Okanagan College is offering employees the opportunity to participate in The Canada Payroll Savings Program. It’s easy to enrol and you can access your funds anytime. This year’s campaign closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2013.

Please see the Canada Payroll Savings fact sheet for details on how to sign up, and if you are an existing subscriber, how to manage your account.


United Way bake sale

The Registrar’s Office and Student Services will hold the third annual muffins and cupcakes fundraiser for the United Way on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 from 9 - 11 a.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium at the Kelowna campus. Bring your toonies and loonies and visit early before the best treats are gone.

High School Counsellors breakfast

High school counsellors from all school districts have been invited to a breakfast to learn about what's new at Okanagan College. The event is being held at the Penticton campus, PC113 on October 24, from 7:30 – 9 a.m.

Okanagan College Toastmasters club

The College's Toastmasters club meets every Wednesday from Noon – 1 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Anyone who is interested in further developing skills in public speaking and leadership is invited to attend. For more information, visit the OC Toastmasters Club website.

Salmon Arm Campus open house

Students, parents, adult learners and anyone who is interested in learning more about Okanagan College’s programs and services in Salmon Arm are invited to attend the open house being held in the Campus Café on Oct. 29 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Application fees will be waived for students who apply to programs during the open house. Attendees can also enter to win a $500 tuition voucher. No RSVP required.

Coping with Depression webinar

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance provider, PPC Canada, is holding a webinar on Oct. 30, at noon. The topic is coping with depression. One in seven adults will experience a major depressive disorder at some time in their lives. Increasing knowledge, raising awareness, and being able to better identify signs of possible depression (in yourself and others) are some of the key factors in addressing depression before it becomes unmanageable. To register for the webinar, click here. To read PPC's October newsletter, click here.

Venture Okanagan Investors Forum

Venture Okanagan is hosting the fall 2013 Investors Forum on Nov. 13 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus.  The Dragon’s Den-style forum showcases entrepreneurs pitching their business to potential investors, business leaders and members of the Okanagan community. The entrepreneur with the best presentation will walk away with a $5,000 cash prize. Presentations, which take place in H115, will be followed by a catered networking reception in the Atrium at the Centre for Learning, where you can mix and mingle with angel investors and entrepreneurs. Register now to save your seat,

College Pension Plan seminars

The College Pension Plan has a free retirement seminar for employees that are within five years of retirement. This seminar will help you understand the many important decisions you need to make when preparing for retirement. Space is available in the Kelowna seminar on Nov. 14. Click here for more information.

At this event, you will explore many topics, including:

  • Understanding your Member’s Benefit Statement
  • Choosing the best pension option for you
  • What to consider when determining your retirement income
  • How to use the tools and resources on the Plan website

Please note:

  • Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs.


  • Phone 250 356-2147 (Victoria) or 1 877 558-5571 (toll-free)


Premier Christy Clark wrote a special editorial about Okanagan College's 50th anniversary and the critical role the College has played in the economic development and prosperity of the region and the people who live here in the Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 22, see Special celebration for Okanagan College.

On Oct. 12, the Okanagan Saturday covered the news that Jim Hamilton will continue as president for another four years, see College leaders contract extended. Kelowna Capital News covered the same story on Oct. 15, Hamilton to lead OC for another 4 years, and the Vernon Morning Star did so on Oct. 16 (Hamilton continues role) as did AM 1150.

Dr. Dennis Silvestrone has been chosen as the new head of Continuing Studies. The story was reported in the Kelowna Daily Courier (New college director not new to the job) on Oct. 9, the Kelowna Capital News (New head of OC’s continuing studies) on Oct. 10, and the Vernon Morning Star (OC adds new director) on Oct. 11.

Kelowna Capital News reported Disney Interactive Studio’s principal creative lead Charity Gerbrandt has been appointed to the Okanagan College Board of Governors for a one-year term.

Okanagan College culinary students competed in The Young Chefs event as part of the Okanagan Wine Festival on Oct. 10. The Daily Courier gave advance coverage of the event on Oct. 9 in Culinary stars of tomorrow. It also covered the event in pictures on Oct. 17, featuring Okanagan College instructor Perry Bentley with his Top Apprentice Team in Young chefs show off.

The Kelowna Capital News was also at The Young Chefs event held at Okanagan College on Oct. 10 in Young chefs shine in culinary contest.

The Penticton Western News toasted Okanagan College’s announcement of a $300,000 donation from the B.C Wine information Society to be used to build the new sensory wine lab at the Penticton campus in Vintners decant cash on Oct. 4. Wine industry and Okanagan College forge close ties appeared in Southern Exposure on Oct. 8.

Okanagan College Registrar Jane Muskens discussed the vital role education plays in how happy you are with your life in her column, How happiness prevails, in the Vernon Morning Star on Oct. 9.

Vernon Morning Star reported that two North Okanagan students, Quinsy Leier and Devon Weston, received scholarships from Valley First Credit Union in Students earn awards.

Okanagan College’s retail and hospitality customer service training program in Vernon was promoted in the Daily Courier on Oct. 10, in Retail training could be free.

Wine maker and Okanagan College Continuing Studies instructor Howard Soon was profiled in the Kelowna Daily Courier on Oct. 21 in Soon a living pioneer, for his contribution to the local wine industry and to announce his appearance as a guest speaker at the Okanagan Historical Society.

The Okanagan College literacy program and its need for volunteers was covered in the Osoyoos Times on Oct. 9, Local volunteers are needed for program that teaches English and life skills to immigrants.

The tire recycling drive held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College was a big success, earning coverage in The Okanagan Sunday on Oct. 20, Tired of paying to recycle your tires.

The Kelowna Daily Courier published an article about the economic prospects and growth opportunities of the Okanagan Valley on Oct. 21, see the Okanagan advantage.

An article about the opening of vendor registration for Okanagan College’s Career Fair was published in the Vernon Morning Star on Oct. 18, see Exhibitors invited for Career Fair.

MP Ron Cannan wrote about how the Portfolios of Status of Women, and Labour intersect in important ways in Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 22.

Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod attended the 11th annual Okanagan Sport Leadership Conference at Okanagan College. See the Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 22, BodyBreak duo speaks at Kelowna sport conference.