Upgrading tuition fees introduced,
but financial aid solutions available to students

Today, Feb. 23, Okanagan College’s Board of Governors decided to implement tuition fees for domestic Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, but government and Okanagan College financial aid will mean many of those students won’t be out of pocket to pay.

The decision comes in the wake of a 2014 change in provincial direction to charge fees for upgrading and ESL at post-secondary institutions. Okanagan College is among the last B.C. institutions to implement fees.

The Board also chose to implement a College bursary program that will supplement the province’s Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG). As a result, students taking fundamental and intermediate level ABE and ESL courses can get their tuition covered if they apply for the financial aid. Students taking advanced and provincial level ABE and ESL courses will still be eligible for financial aid but income thresholds will come into play.

The tuition fees will come into effect in May 2016. Domestic students taking any level of ABE or ESL courses between May and September will be eligible for full tuition support, and the income thresholds for students taking advanced and provincial level courses will come into effect for the fall semester.

The move to implement tuition fees comes in the wake of a provincial policy shift and elimination of grants from the province to post-secondary institutions in the province to offset ABE and ESL tuition. In Okanagan College’s case, that grant reduction totalled $765,000 annually.

“We are doing what we can to minimize barriers for students who need upgrading courses,” explains Roy Daykin, Vice President of Finance and Administration. “While the College needs the tuition revenue from these programs to offset the loss of provincial grants, we also respect the need to give students access to the courses they require to move ahead in their career and education plans.”

Read the press release to learn more about the announcement.

Board raises College tuition two per cent

During its regular meeting, held today, the Board of Governors approved a tuition increase for the coming year of two per cent for domestic and international students.

The decision follows policy set by the provincial government, which limits fee increases to that amount.

For a university transfer arts student taking a full load of lecture courses, the increase will amount to approximately $64.26 per year, rising to $3,277.26.

For a student taking a six-month (24 week) electrical foundation program, tuition would increase by $50.72 to $2,586.56.

MOU with Westbank First Nation a step towards
Strategic Plan vision

WFN MOU SigningJust weeks after rolling out the Toward 2020 Strategic Plan, Okanagan College took a significant step closer to one of its key directions by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with its partners in the Westbank First Nation (WFN). During a WFN regular Council meeting on Feb. 1 Chief Robert Louie and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton signed the agreement for the College and band, which have a long history of partnership in educational and training programs, as well as cultural events.

Included in the MOU is a commitment by both organizations to work together on projects and programs that will increase access to post-secondary education and build professional capacity. Okanagan College has also committed to supporting WFN students achieve success in post-secondary. The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any institution in the sector. In 2015 the College delivered educational programming to 1,500 Aboriginal students.

Working With, and Learning From, the Indigenous Community is one of the five key directions for the College. Okanagan College is committing to developing an indigenization plan for the institution, which will enhance ties with Indigenous partners, strengthen support services for learners, and increase opportunities for the College community to learn from Indigenous knowledge and culture.

Read the press release to learn more about the MOU signing.

Patchwork Farms harvests a successful year

Patchwork FarmsWinter is not slowing down the work in the garden at the Vernon campus Patchwork Farms. It's a community collective farm offering meaningful activities that foster personal growth, strengthen the local food system and enhance appreciation for land, food, health and community.

In a report of its 2015 activities the farm notes that 1,665 pounds of produce (berries, vegetables, herbs, and fruits) was grown and harvested by more than 535 volunteers and program participants. Much of that produce was grown from seeds from the Kalamalka Seed Library (located at Okanagan College). The library collection grew this year to over 125 different heirloom seeds.

Integral to the success of Patchwork Farms was a new irrigation system. Thanks to the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) grant program, Okanagan College was able to support Patchwork Farms with the design and implementation of an updated irrigation system including new moisture sensor equipment that allowed the farm to save water, demonstrate best practices, and train farm personnel and volunteers on water conservation methods.

To learn more about Patchwork Farms and the Kalamalka Demonstration Garden, read the press release and visit

Business students pair up with Dairy Farmers for
sold out Poutine & Pinot event

Tim AllgaierIndustry partnerships and applied learning models proved once again to be successful when Okanagan College School of Business students partnered with the Dairy Farmers of Canada to bring to life the sold-out Poutine and Pinot event on Feb. 20, part of the Okanagan Wine Festivals signature events.

Tim Allgaier, an international exchange student from Germany, alongside his peers Yuan Wang from China, Patrick Martin from Ottawa, and Nick Naylor from Calgary developed a concept for the event and prepared a solid business plan for activation. The work was part of their Events Management and Marketing course under the direction of Business Professor and Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager Dr. Blair Baldwin.

“It was exciting to start the semester with a real-life business project,” says Allgaier, who was on exchange in Kelowna for the Fall 2015 semester. “As a student, to work with a real client who wants to invest real money and time into an event that you are creating is an entirely different learning experience.”

Within two weeks of launching a digital marketing campaign the event sold-out all 100 tickets. The event paired seven gourmet poutines created by Hotel Eldorado Chef Vince Van Wieringen with a series of British Columbia pinot varietals.

“We didn’t just start writing a business plan and then hand it in,” adds Allgaier. “I learned a lot about working in teams, how much details matter in a business idea, and the common rules of business. What the project was really about was turning an idea into reality.”

Read the press release for more about this exciting event, and hear from student Tim Allgaier, now back in Germany, in an interview with CBC Daybreak South radio.

College student co-organizes vigil for
Indigenous women victims

Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration student and Nisga’a Nation member Tina Miller joined forces with UBCO student Mary Song to help organize the fifth annual Women’s Memorial Vigil to Honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Kelowna on Feb. 14. A crowd of about 50 gathered in front of the Kelowna courthouse to remember the victims, give voice to the ongoing tragedy, and provide healing support to families and friends of the victims.

With courage, Miller shares that she experienced the loss of her mother’s friend from the Vancouver Downtown Eastside who fell victim to Robert Pickton’s atrocious crimes. Helping to co-organize the annual memorial vigil allows Miller to bring recognition to her family friend’s life as an individual who was loved and valued.

At the vigil, Okanagan College English and Women’s Studies Professor, and NDP candidate in the last federal election, Dr. Norah Bowman read a message on behalf of Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, who was not able to attend.

Builder of the year helping College
build for the future

Bellamy HomesNamed Builder of the Year in the Okanagan at the 2016 Tommie Awards, Bellamy Homes has donated $30,000 toward the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College. The company’s donation will support the construction of a new social/study area for students in the renovated and expanded facilities at the Kelowna campus.

“To maintain the quality and craftsmanship that goes into building our homes and communities, the valley needs skilled tradespeople and the College is a key supplier of that workforce,” says Les Bellamy, CEO and Owner of Bellamy Homes Inc.

According to Bellamy, the College’s vision for elevating trades in the Okanagan was one of the factors that inspired him to support the expansion project.

The valley’s home builders have contributed more than $500,000 to date, towards an overall goal of $1 million from this sector.

“Education truly is the foundation for a better future. It means so much to students to see employers investing in their futures,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.”

Read the press release for more about Bellamy Homes' donation announcement.


Greg Wallman joins Health, Safety and Emergency Management Services

Greg Wallman
Greg Wallman joined the College on Feb. 22 as a Health and Safety Coordinator. He brings with him a range of health and safety program experience in B.C. with Walter Energy and Teck Coal where his role was to prevent occupational illnesses via health monitoring.

He has also been a volunteer member of the Hosmer B.C. Fire Department, and has advanced first aid and motor vehicle accident response training. Greg has experience in mine rescue, environmental emergencies and incident command. He will be based at the Kelowna campus in office P110, and can be reached at local 5405.

High enrolments for the Learner Centred Instructor Certificate (LCIC)

The fall semester of the LCIC course has had one of its highest enrolments in the five years it has been offered. Thirteen College faculty and employees enrolled in the four-month long program. Promoting a learner-centred culture at the College, the LCIC course teaches participants about instructional planning, teaching techniques and assessment, ultimately improving the quality of learning Okanagan College students will experience.

The Institute for Learning & Teaching created the LCIC program in 2011, and since its inception more than 80 College employees have graduated from it. The certificate is comprised of six two-week courses in a blended format; the majority of the learning is delivered online but there is also one in-person session. Program graduates are eligible to receive two credits towards the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP).

Lynn JohnsonAthletics, Recreation, and Student Life Assistant Coordinator Lynn Johnson is a 2015 graduate, and says the certificate has changed her approach to teaching.

“I found the LCIC course to be very informative and instructionally rewarding in many aspects. From a student’s perspective I gained the understanding and the knowledge of adult learning behaviours and styles, and many learner centred strategies to motivate students to learn. From an instructor’s perspective this course gave me more teaching tools to empower my students.”

A tuition waiver is available for eligible College employees. For more information please see the ILT Website. Applications are now open for the May 2016 intake. 

Feb. 23, 2016, Vol. 10, Issue 23


Governance opportunities

Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the governance of Okanagan College. Elections for positions on the Education Council will take place from Feb. 29 to Mar. 13 online. For more information, and to vote, visit the Elections tab in myOkanagan.

Employee Excellence Awards nominations

Know a colleague who has contributed in significant and meaningful ways to the College community? Recognize their achievements and nominate them for an Employee Excellence Award. Nominations are open until midnight on Monday, March 14. For more information, including categories and nomination forms, visit the website.

If you have completed a credential, been published, or received an external award within the past year, please share the good news for the Milestones recognition.

Register for the Half Marathon

Time to hit the ground running with the 14th annual Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, taking place at the Kelowna campus on Sunday, April 3, 2016. Register online today.

Prefer to be involved on race day but not a runner? The race would not be possible without the countless volunteers that make it a reality. Email Michelle Lowry to get involved.

ILT Newsletter submissions

The deadline to submit an article to the next ILT newsletter is Monday, Feb. 29. The theme of the next edition is “professional development.” Please visit the ILT website for guidelines. Submissions or questions can be sent directly to Ross McKerlich

Municipal Pension Plan seminars

The Municipal Pension Plan provider will be hosting a series of informative seminars this spring.

The Thinking About Retiring seminar is ideal for those thinking about retiring in the next five years, and provides valuable tips and tools as your retirement approaches. Sessions will be held throughout the Valley in Feb., April, May, and June. Find out more and register today.

The Your Pension, Your Future seminar provides an overview of pension values, benefits, and about decisions that might affect your pension. A session will be held on May 10 in Kelowna and May 26 in Salmon Arm. Find out more and register today.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and employees are welcome to bring a spouse or a guest. Attendees are responsible for their own travel and associated costs. Be sure to check the website for scheduling updates. Contact Charlene Cornett, Pension and Benefits Coordinator, if you have questions about your pension.

Health and wellness resources

The February edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter provides a guide for healthy sleep with articles that share tips on falling asleep and the health benefits of a good night's sleep.

The Feb. 24 webinar titled "A Psychologically Healthy Workplace" will discuss strategies that can help establish a healthier workplace. Register today


Roundabout workshops registration 

Roundabout is a learning series co-sponsored by Learning & Teaching and IT Services. Workshops on various topics are offered throughout the year. Register today to attend the upcoming sessions:
Feb. 25 – In the third phase of the ongoing Project Management Series, Kim Fukushima and Alison Beaumont will guide the workshop titled "Executing a Project." The session will be held in room L103 at the Kelowna campus from 12 to 1 p.m. 

Feb. 29 – In "Submitting Expenses at OC," Finance's Vicki Pannell and Tiffany Keis will walk you through the steps and explain the ins and outs of submitting your College expenses. The session will be held in room E-202 (Centre for Dialogue) at the Kelowna campus from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Visit the Roundabout website for more information and schedule updates.

College authors' book launch

Feb. 26 – Celebrate the Arts & Foundational Programs' faculty who have published works in 2015 at an evening book launch reception. Three books will be featured: one by Dr. Rosalind Warner, another by Dr. Shelly Ikebuchi, and a third collaboratively authored by Jarkko Jalava, Dr. Stephanie Griffiths, and Michael Maraun (SFU).

The event will be held in The Pit (S122) in Kelowna from 4 – 6 p.m. While it is free to attend, advanced tickets are required: contact Rosalind Warner for more information and tickets.  

Focus group opportunity 

Feb. 26 - The Institute for Learning & Teaching is asking for input on the Service & Support in a Learner Centred Organization Certificate (SLCO). If you are working in a service or support role at the College, consider providing feedback on the content of the certificate curriculum as well as its delivery method (currently 100 per cent online).
The hour-long focus group session will be facilitated by Beverlie Dietze, the College’s Director of Learning and Teaching. The session will be held at 1 p.m. in room A125 at the Kelowna campus. To register, please email Ross McKerlich.

ECE curriculum workshop

Feb. 27 - Join Mary Burgaretta from the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society for a workshop about designing culturally focused early childhood education curriculum. Okanagan College has partnered with the Society to assist ECEs and others who work with young children, to incorporate Aboriginal cultural curriculum content into daily lessons and programming.

Register by Feb. 25 by calling 250-762-3536. The fee to participate is $35 for Society members and ECE students, and $45 for non-members. The workshop will be held in the atrium of the Centre for Learning in Kelowna from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Penticton Speakers Series

Feb. 29 – College English Professor, playwright, and Red Dot Players theatre troop member, Jeremy Beaulne will present “The Play’s the Thing: Community Theatre in the Okanagan Valley.”

Mar. 7 - Dorothy Tinning, artist, former Mayor of Penticton, and Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, will present “The Essential Elements for an Artist.”
The speaking events are hosted at the Penticton campus from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is by donation. To learn more, visit the website.

A trivia night

Mar. 10 – Enactus Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Alumni Association will host a fun Family Feud style trivia evening titled “Are you smarter than an Okanagan College graduate?” at the Mission Tap House (3110 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna) from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 each or $100 for a team of five, and price includes appetizers. More information and tickets are available online.

Solar Fair in Penticton

Mar. 12 – First Things First Okanagan will host a free symposium on solar energy at the Penticton campus from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The new society aims to engage the public in a dialogue about climate change and promote action to reduce society’s carbon footprint. Okanagan College joins a host of partners including the Penticton Indian Band and Swiss Solar as a sponsor of the event. The all-day event will include seminars by experts in the field, a panel discussion, solar installation displays, and much more. Read the press release for more information.

Connections 2016: Save the date 

Aug. 23 and 24 – Mark your calendars for Connections 2016, Okanagan College’s annual conference for employees by employees. This year’s theme is Building on Our Strengths.

If you are interested in leading an informative session to your colleagues, you can submit your idea online. Sessions are to be 50 to 55 minutes in length and should be both interactive and engaging. For more information please contact Kerry Rempel.


Okanagan College School of Business students’ involvement in the sold-out Poutine and Pinot event made headlines. Read more in the Kelowna Capital News’ Pairing students with dairy farmers, Okanagan Saturday’s Poutine and Pinot, and KelownaNow’s OC students created Okanagan poutine and wine event.

The Kelowna Daily Courier helped encourage runners to sign up for the College’s annual Half Marathon taking place on April 3. See Registration opens for races at College.

The Penticton Western News online shared details of the upcoming Feb. 24 info sessions in Penticton about the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies degree.

KelownaNow, Infotel and the Kelowna Capital News online reported on the MOU signing between Okanagan College and the Westbank First Nation.

Business Professor Kerry Rempel's work with the College’s new Strategic Plan, teaching students, and her countless volunteer commitments was spotlighted in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Focus on Business Women of the Okanagan 2016 special insert on Feb. 23.

In the same special insert, Allison Ramchuk, Development Officer with the Okanagan College Foundation, was spotlighted for her work in co-launching a micro-home business, Little House Contracting, alongside business partner Tara Tschritter. Read more in Former shelter director to build micro homes.

The insert also recognized local event planner Holly Dober for her work with foodie festival DEVOUR which is hosted at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Read more in Local event planner finds massive success with DEVOUR Kelowna.

Director of Learning and Teaching Dr. Beverlie Dietze received major funding from the Lawson Foundation for her research and project about child’s play. Read more in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Research more than child’s play.

Both the Vernon Morning Star and the Kelowna Capital News showcased the College’s RV Service Technician program, and alumnus Carl Hollmann, in articles about industry-led training that took place in early February at the Kelowna campus.

Bellamy Homes' $30,000 donation to the College’s new Trades Complex was reported by KelownaNow.

The Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates event continued to make headlines with a photo gallery published in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and the Kelowna Capital News reported on both the winning chef and the College’s aspiration to grow its Culinary Arts facility. The paper also published a brief by columnist Maxine DeHart.

The Vernon Morning Star published an article titled Okanagan College benefits from grants about government funding, quoting President Jim Hamilton about programming updates in response to employer and industry demands.

Giving voice to the murdered and missing Indigenous women, local media covered a Feb. 14 vigil that was co-organized by College Business student Tina Miller. Read more in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Aboriginal women to be remembered and Vigil for Victims, the Kelowna Capital News’ Missing and murdered Indigenous women honoured and Pushing back against being marginalized, and the Penticton Herald’s Rally draws attention to missing aboriginal women. Global News online also reported on the event.

The Summerland Review published a photo of retired Collision Repair instructor Randy Dewar speaking to high school students in Summerland about careers in Trades as part of the Skills B.C. initiative.

The Kelowna Capital News, Castanet, KelownaNow, and the Okanagan Saturday shared news that Raghwa Gopal, an Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, Vice-President at Large with the Okanagan College Foundation, and a College Entrepreneur in Residence in 2012, was announced as the new CEO of Accelerate Okanagan.

A performance of Stickboy, a Vancouver Opera production about bullying, written by spoken word artist and OUC alumnus Shane Koyczan will come to the Vernon stage on Feb. 25. Read more in the Vernon Morning Star and the Okanagan Saturday print editions.

A Penticton high school student with sights on enrolling in Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts program was named the first recipient of the Rotary Club’s Student of the Month award. Read more in the Penticton Herald’s Aspiring chef earns Rotary Club honour.

The Kelowna Daily Courier reminded readers of the upcoming deadline for the Okanagan College Faculty Association contest awarding 30 $1,000 cheques to current and former OC students to help combat student debt.

In the article Local group looks to inspire global awareness in Kelowna, the Kelowna Capital News notes Okanagan College partnering with the B.C. Council for International Cooperation and 20 local humanitarian groups for a series of globally-conscious events.

Castanet reports that a consulting firm will be brought in to look at acoustics for the proposed outdoor amphitheatre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.


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 Mar. 8, 2016.