Three hours proves to be ample time for talented young writers

3hrsA college-wide short story competition drew the interest of 63 Grade 11 and 12 students from Penticton to Salmon Arm who registered to compete for great prizes in the English Department’s inaugural short story contest.

The contest, which challenged writers to pen an original story in just 180 minutes while sitting in a computer lab at one of the College’s four campuses, took place on Saturday, Nov. 20 between noon and 3 p.m. Sound easy? Maybe for some but just to add interest to the competition and test the creativity of the writers, organizer Sean Johnston included a constraint for participants. Each of the authors had to include the words “booster cables” in their stories. The writers knew about the constraint but weren’t told the exact phrase until minutes before the clock started ticking.

The stories were judged by a panel of College professors and winners from each region were selected. Each campus winner received a $250 tuition credit to attend Okanagan College. Of the four winners, one writer’s story was selected as the overall winner in the judges’ choice category. The overall winner also received a $500 tuition credit for a total prize valued at $750.

Grade 12 Salmon Arm Secondary student Shvaugn Craig won the overall prize and Salmon Arm regional prize for her story Poppies and Leaves.

In Vernon Jessica Zotto won for Booster Cables.

Laura Savoie’s Wednesday Night at St. Augustine took the top prize in Kelowna.  

Penticton’s Jon Pelletier’s untitled work won the Penticton contest.

The next edition of Inside Okanagan College will feature each of the award-winning short stories.

Access Copyright license to expire on Dec. 31 – important faculty notice

Along with a large majority of other colleges and universities across Canada, Okanagan College’s license with Access Copyright will expire on Dec. 31, 2010. Access Copyright is a voluntary collective of publishers and other copyright holders that administers the rights for the copying of printed materials for use in class (e.g. course packs and classroom handouts).

The current situation has serious implications for instructors and faculty who use third-party printed materials in their courses. Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, copying and distribution of works covered under the Access Copyright agreement will no longer be permitted. This includes course packs and classroom handouts. Therefore, all course packs and classroom handouts for the Winter 2011 semester that include copyright material covered by the Access Copyright license must be printed prior to the end of December 2010.

Okanagan College is working closely with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and is monitoring direction provided to its members by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada as part of our collaborative efforts to explore alternatives and potential solutions. For a full explanation of the issues and of Access Copyright’s proposed changes to the current terms and conditions of its agreements, or for information regarding alternative options to Access Copyright, please see the full notice that was sent to instructors and faculty on Nov. 19.

Peters Bros. contributes $50,000 to Centre of Excellence 

peterbrosPeters Bros. Construction Ltd. is helping pave the way to improved access to post-secondary education in the South Okanagan and Similkameen with a $50,000 donation to support Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

“We know that sustainability is as much about creating access to education as it is about being environmentally responsible,” said Joe Cuzzocrea, President and General Manager of Peters Bros. “We see Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence as something that aligns closely with our goals of supporting the communities we serve, promoting environmental responsibility and pursuing excellence and giving students a closer-to-home education opportunity.”

Peters Bros. Construction Ltd. is a privately owned and operated paving firm in British Columbia with its head office in Penticton. The company, which has four plants in Penticton, Kelowna, Merritt, and Williams Lake, is a leading hot-in-place asphalt recycler that can recycle 100 per cent of the road being replaced.

“Peters Bros. is a well-known company with a reputation for innovation and excellence,” noted Yasmin and Rick Thorpe, who are honourary co-chairs of the $5-million fund-raising campaign for the $28-million Centre of Excellence, being conducted by the Okanagan College Foundation. “Their support is another signal of how much this building means to the corporate community in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. They see the value of investing in the means to create the skilled workforce that we’ll need to watch our economy grow and prosper.”

The Centre of Excellence campaign has exceeded $2 million.

Cullen addresses Poli Sci students in Kelowna

cullenThe College’s Department of Political Science welcomed the Honourable Roy Cullen, Member of Parliament from 1996 until 2008, to the KLO campus on Nov. 17.

Speaking before a group of Political Science students, Cullen shared his experiences as an MP, and offered a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Canada's political machine. Cullen offered his reflections on a career in politics, and fielded questions from students about the ethics of campaign promises.

The Beaux’ Stratagem holds second round of auditions

The Red Dot Players are holding a second round of auditions for the eighteenth-century comedy The Beaux' Stratagem on Thursday, Nov. 25. The auditions will take place from 2 -4 p.m. and 6 -8 p.m. in the main lecture theatre in the Student Services Building on the Kelowna campus.

Everyone is welcome to audition - no acting experience is necessary, according to the play’s director, Okanagan College Professor Jeremy Beaulne. Would be thespians will only be asked to read selections from the play at the auditions. Rehearsals will be held in January and February, says Beaulne, and the rollicking fun will be performed publicly in early March. Interested actors can visit:

The play, which will be staged in March, is George Farquahar’s The Beaux Stratagem. It tells the tale of two young men who depart London on the hunt for a wealthy mistress for at least one of them. The two pretend at being master and servant, switching roles as they move from town to town.

Beaulne will be casting for 18 roles.


Tuck retires from Foundation, Henderson elected President

tuckNearly a decade of service as President of the Okanagan College Foundation has come to a close for Steve Tuck, but his commitment to post-secondary education and supporting students is not waning.

Tuck retired on Wednesday from his role as the first and – to date – only President of the Foundation, which has grown to boast an endowment of more than $7 million, and a record of giving out more than $1 million annually in scholarships and bursaries to students.

hendersonHe is being replaced by Penticton’s Jim Henderson, who moves from his role as Vice-President of the Foundation. Henderson has been a member of the Foundation Board of Directors since 2004 and has also been leading the $5 million fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation in Penticton.

Tuck said his passion for supporting students comes from many sources, but credits the support he was given when he was pursuing higher education as a major driver.

When he’s not working on behalf of students and donors with the Foundation, or helping with other charities such as Sunshine Dream Lift for Kids, and the Agur Lake Camp Society, Tuck is the Publisher of Forever Young Magazine. He will continue in a titled role with the Foundation - that of President Emeritus. 

Three new vice presidents were named at the Foundation’s Board of Directors meeting: Frank Richter is the new Vice President Finance, Lorraine McGrath is the new Vice President Fundraising and Marketing and Jim Cookson is the Vice President Governance. (McGrath is an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College, while Cookson is a Distinguished Alumnus.)

Follow this link to read the complete Public Affairs press release.

Johnston defends doctoral dissertation

seanEnglish professor Sean Johnston successfully defended his PhD dissertation in Literary Studies last week at the University of South Dakota. Entitled, “Listen All You Bullets” the story is about a boy and his parents trapped in a violent western novel; the story moves from 1890s North Dakota to Horizon, Saskatchewan in the 1930s.

2010 has been a great year for Dr. Johnston, who has published a novel (All This Town Remembers) as well as a poetry chapbook (Bull Island) – both with Gaspereau Press.

English professor Jason Dewinetz will also publish a collection of poetry with Gaspereau in the spring of 2011.

Employees recognized for milestone achievements

The last edition of Inside Okanagan College featured an article about the 2010 employee recognition dinner reception. The President's Office has since received the photos from the event. Follow this link to view a slideshow featuring the employees who were honoured at the 2010 celebration.

Kennedy launches award-winning book of poetry

jakeNovember has proved to be a busy and productive month for Okanagan College English professors – Jake Kennedy traveled to Montreal to attend the launch of his new book of poetry The Lateral, which was published by Snare Books.

The Lateral has already won the 2010 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. When asked about the book’s title, Jake explained “it is inspired/stolen from some of John Lent’s ideas on ‘sideways’ poetics.”

Follow this link to find out more about The Lateral.

Pheasant and Quail Gunners win Slo Pitch tourney

The Pheasant and Quail Gunners Slo Pitch team, which includes a number of Okanagan College staff and students, has won the SPN Slo Pitch Fall Tournament for the second consecutive year.

ballMembers of the team include math professors Joe Hobart and Jennifer Johnstone, Kevin Trotzuk from Institutional Research, current Okanagan College students Henry Hobart (business), Peter Tolleener (culinary arts), and College alumni Gerry Doucette (trades) and Alyssa Watt (science).

The Gunners finished up the season with a 57-24 record (the same number of wins as the Pittsburg Pirates in half as many games). The team also had top five finishes in two other Kelowna tournaments, a third place finish in the Armstrong Funtastic tournament, and a top five finish in the NSA World Series in Calgary.

Pannell returns to Financial Services

Vicki Pannell, who was temporarily replaced by Jodi Otten during her maternity leave, has returned to Financial Services and has resumed her position of Manager, Payroll & Accounts Payable. Vicki can be reached by email at:
Nov. 23, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 17


Reach Out November now online

The Registrar’s Office (Kelowna) has published another edition of its monthly e-newsletter. Reach Out provides readers with reminders of important dates, notification of Education Council approvals and general information about what’s new in the Registrar’s Office. Please visit: to view the newsletter or email Inga to be added to the email distribution list.

Interlock renamed PPC Canada

Okanagan College’s employee family assistance program Interlock has undergone a name change after being purchased by PPC Worldwide. The organization is now PPC Canada (Personal Performance Consultants).

PPC offers a range of support services including e-counseling, telephone counseling and in-person counseling.  Their specialist team is only a phone call away and will discuss with you the most appropriate support package.
Employees now have access to a wide range of personal life management tools through Okanagan College’s Employee Assistance Program. PPC Canada has developed a new Life Management Model that can help you get the most out of life.

Crisis and bereavement counseling services are still available 24-7. Employees also have access to eldercare and childcare advisory services and financial and legal advice. Additionally, PPC online is a great web resource to help tackle life and career events while staying happy, healthy and focused. 

The 5 Step Model programs are available on a variety of topics and you’ll also find fact sheets and ideas to help find work/life balance, prepare for retirement, and help you with change management.

username: healthy
password: living
Telephone: 1-800-663-9099
Key code: healthyliving

Volcanic Hills offers College employee discount


Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, which is owned and operated by former Okanagan College employee Bobby Gidda and his family, are offering a promotion for all Okanagan College staff. Employees who provide a valid staff ID will receive a 10% discount on everything in the wine shop. This promotion will expire at the end of January, 2011 so stock up soon.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Carol Abernathy from AACP in Vernon who won the Nov. 19 payday draw for $592.50.

All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. If you wish to sign up, registration forms are available from Dawn Douglas (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus), from Human Resources.

Help the environment while supporting local animals

Drop off your cans and bottles at the following animal shelters and volunteers will sort and recycle the items for you with all proceeds going to assist in the care of SPCA animals. Please note, all bottles and cans must be bagged or boxed.

SPCA Kelowna Branch: 3785 Casorso Road
Monday through Sunday 12 – 4:30 p.m.
Drop off beside the building behind the dumpsters.
SPCA Vernon Branch: 4800 Haney Road
Wednesday through Saturday, 12 - 5 p.m. or leave at the gate if the branch is not open.
SPCA Penticton Branch: 2200 Dartmouth Drive
Monday through Saturday, 12 - 5 p.m.
Drop off by the dumpster.


Nov. 29 - Penticton Speaker Series – 7 p.m. Lecture Theatre – Extrasolar Planets: The Search for Other Worlds, Roland Kothes (DRAO)

Eight planets are orbiting around our sun…but how many are orbiting around those billions of other stars in our galaxy? Astronomer Roland Kothes will give a brief overview of the short history of exoplanet discoveries, describe the methods we use to detect planets, and look a little bit into the future and discuss the possibility of discovering an earth-like planet.

Nov. 29Kalamalka Speaker Series – Eat your Greens! The Power of Outdoor Learning with Dr. Veronica Gaylie. Join Gaylie for a discussion based on the experience of creating a Learning Garden in an interdisciplinary, higher education program. The talk will focus on the practical and pedagogical benefits of experiential learning at the college level, while touching on the many urgent – and global - reasons why a student-land connection is now needed at all levels of learning.

Gaylie is a professor, poet and founder of The Learning Garden at The University of British Columbia. She is also the author of The Learning Garden: Ecology, Teaching and Transformation (Peter Lang, 2009). Classroom A204 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Dec. 3 – Okanagan College will host the fifth annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Kelowna campus. Registration for this event is free – to find out more about RoboCup, visit the web: or contact Nadir Ould-Khessal.

Dec. 16 - The Okanagan College Foundation is hosting a celebratory dinner for Steve Tuck, in recognition of his distinguished service to the Okanagan College Foundation. Steve was the founding President of the Foundation, and retired from the Board at its AGM on November 17.

The event will be held at Infusions on Thursday December 16, 2010.  To reserve your seat at this wonderful celebration, please contact Dawn Douglas  local 4774. The cost of dinner is $35 per person.


The 2010 Home for Learning program in Kelowna followed the Built Green standards and will be used as a research home for Icynene spray foam, which was used to improve the air tightness of the new home.  Read more in New home project built to greenest standards.

This year’s George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature went to a book co-written by Larry Campbell, Neil Boyd and Lori Culbert. The story explores Vancouver’s Downtown East side and the fight for its future. Read more in A Thousand Dreams wins George Ryga award.

Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo Voices Silver Car Readings series this fall featured three Okanagan College professors: Jason Dewinetz, Kevin McPherson Eckhoff and Jake Kennedy. Each of the profs read from their recent releases. Read more in Okanagan College writers drive silver cars to readings.

Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, will be lecturing to a third-year business and Canadian government policy class on Nov. 23. Letnick will discuss the need to focus attention on the health care system out of concern for competitiveness, including the challenges facing policy makers, key government initiatives and the sustainability of health care. Read more in Letnick leads look at health care.

The English department held its first three-hour writing contest on Nov. 20. The contest was open to Grade 11 and 12 students and current Okanagan College students. Prizes for the winning writers included tuition vouchers toward College programs. Read more in Story contest pressures writers to produce.

Peters Bros. Construction LTD. donated $50, 000 towards to the Centre for Excellence in Penticton. With a reputation for innovation, Peters Bros. is leading the way with a hot-in-place asphalt recycler. Read more in Peter Bros. paves the way.

The Coyotes hockey team was on a road trip to play Simon Fraser University last week. Read more in OC Coyotes to battle Clan.

SIFE’s one-day Halloween food drive raised 1,434 pounds of food. This event followed last year’s successful win of the Campbell’s Soup Let’s Can Hunger challenge. Read more in Generosity treat for SIFE students and Valley-wide campaign to battle hunger.

The Centre for Learning was recognized by FortisBC for its outstanding achievements in energy efficiency. Read more in FortisBC hands out PowerSense awards.

The Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program will hold an open house at the Aerospace campus at the Vernon Airport Nov. 24. Careers in the industry are increasing and the program is capitalizing on this. Read more in Aircraft careers take off in the Okanagan and Information night takes flight at college’s aerospace campus.

Auditions were held for Okanagan College’s Red Dots Players first production of George Farquahar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem. Read more in College troupe auditioning today.

A new contest being held by the Media and Cultural Studies department received coverage in the Kelowna Capital News. Find out more about Spread the Word in: Contest to reward creative applicants with prizes.

Taylor Pro Training, the Okanagan College training provider for safe operations of heavy equipment, moved locations. Taylor Pro Training also recently started training students in Salmon Arm in addition to students in Kelowna. Find more details in Equipment, driver training services looks to expand.

The Okanagan College Student Union campaign Educations Shouldn’t be a Debt Sentence received coverage for their interactive display at the Penticton campus on Nov. 18. Read more in Burden of debt.

In his Global Citizen column, former Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational programs, Stan Chung wrote about the complexities of creativity. Read more in: What is Creativity.

After nearly a decade of service to the Okanagan College Foundation, Steve Tuck has retired from his role as President. Penticton’s Jim Henderson will replace Tuck as president. Read more in Tuck steps down from foundation.

Allan Coyle filed Jane Muskens' School's in column in early November, discussing the role colleges play in providing skilled labor and the need to increase student transition rates to colleges from high schools.Read more in Shortchanged on future job skill needs.

In her School's In column, Jane Muskens covered the recent and future transitions of the work force while providing insight into the knowledge economy and its impacts. Read more in Study on baby-boomer retirements raises alarming stats.


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, Dec. 7, 2010.