College breaks ground in Penticton  

penWith support from the federal and provincial governments, staff, donors, students, alumni and friends, Okanagan College officially broke ground at the site of the $28 million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation on Friday, Nov. 20.

With golden shovels in hand, government representatives including: the Honorable Stockwell Day, MP Okanagan-Coquihalla, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway; Bill Barisoff, MLA, Penticton; and John Slater, MLA, Boundary-Similkameen; joined Regional Dean Donna Lomas, President Jim Hamilton, Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger, Board of Governors Chair Janet Shaw and OCSU representative Cory Nelmes on the construction site to make history.

At the media event President Hamilton shared information about the new building with interested onlookers including news that the building will aim to be among the first in North America to achieve the Living Building Challenge. Follow this link to view a photo gallery from the event.

Hamilton helps launch Education Quality Assurance

jimPresident Hamilton joined Minister Moira Stilwell last week in Victoria to help launch the Education Quality Assurance program. Jim represented both Okanagan College and the B.C. Council for International Education, where he sits on the Board.

B.C. is the first province in Canada to adopt the system, which seeks to provide post-secondary students with tools to make informed decisions about where they study and to promote British Columbia as an education destination of choice. For more information about the Education Quality Assurance program, follow this link to read a press release from the province.

2009 Community report now online


Public Affairs’ 2009 Report to the Community has been published and is now available online. The 32-page report highlights some of the College’s greatest achievements of the past year and includes student, staff and facility profiles.

To receive a hard copy of the print publication, contact Public Affairs. To go green and view the publication online, follow this link.

College signs on to eduroam

Things just got a little easier for Okanagan College staff, students and alumni who like to take their wireless Internet access on the road with them as they visit other institutions in Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Okanagan College is the first college in Canada to join eduroam, which is a network of hundreds of institutions across the globe (albeit with very few in the United States). Each university or college allows users to access a wireless network at a visited institution using the same credentials (username and password) that they would use at their home campus.

“We saw signing on with eduroam as an opportunity to assist our own staff and students – as well as our alumni who maintain their myOkanagan account – as they travel internationally,” explains Dave Harris, Director of IT Services. “Finding access to the Internet isn’t always simple to do and this will make it easier,” he notes. It also puts Okanagan College on the global map with those post-secondary staff who are travelling from abroad in Canada.

eduroam was started as a European consortium and Australia was first among non-European countries to join in 2004. Canada signed on in 2009 and today there are 17 institutions in the nation that belong.

New laptops being issued by IT currently are already configured for eduroam access, but there are instructions about how to configure your laptop at the College’s how-to site. You can also find out more about eduroam and the participating institutions by visiting:

PCL, BMO support learning in the South Okanagan

pclWith community support building for Penticton’s $28 million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, construction leaders PCL and BMO Financial Group announced major contributions to the Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign.

PCL announced a commitment of $100,000 to support educational and programming developments that will come as a result of the new building and BMO contributed one of its largest gifts in Penticton with $75,000 to support the campaign. For more information, follow these links to read Public Affairs press releases about PCL and BMO Financial Group.

College hosts largest ever RoboCup Junior

roboWith support from students and staff in Electronic Engineering Technology, Okanagan College hosted its largest ever RoboCup Junior competition on Friday, Nov. 20 in Kelowna. The College welcomed primary and secondary students to its campus where they competed in a series of challenges including robotic soccer, search and rescue and dance.

In the soccer challenge, teams from Kelowna Christian School finished first and second with a team from KSS finishing third. In search and rescue first went to Rutland Senior, second to A.L. Fortune and third to Rutland Senior. With names such as Robo Bros, RoboRockers and Bionic Frogs, teams in the dance competition finished in the following order: Silverstar Elementary, Naramata Elementary and Peachland Elementary. Winners of the challenges have the opportunity to represent Canada at the World RoboCup challenge this spring in Singapore. 

Connections 2010 planning has begun!

connMark your calendars, and plan to attend Connections 2010 on either Wednesday, Aug. 25 or Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010. Do you have ideas for sessions or activities you would like to see happen at next year's employee gathering? Have some expertise you are willing to share with friends and colleagues? Ideas are always welcome, and help to make the event a successful one! Contact Kaya Forest.

SIFE Okanagan column comes to

Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Okanagan are contributing a weekly column about their organization and its projects to The column will be published weekly on Mondays. A group of students from the organization will try their hand at writing and bring their projects and community partnerships to light with their personal insight. Visit and search “SIFE” to view past columns.


John Haller to offer leadership to provincial bodies


Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, John Haller, has been elected on a two-year term as Director of the Board of Governors for Skills Canada. John has also been named Vice President of the British Columbia Association of Trades and Technical Administrators. This association is made up of all Deans who deliver trades training programs in BC Colleges and Universities.

Cannings receives Bruce Naylor Award

canningsDr. Robert Cannings, who is an honorary fellow of Okanagan College, recently received the 2009 Bruce Naylor Award in Ottawa. The national award is presented by the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada (ANHMC) and recognizes exceptional contributions to the study of museum-based natural history in Canada. Cannings is the Curator of Entomology at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria and is well known for his work in the field of entomology (insects).

Cannings is seen in the photo with (left to right): Pauline Raffery, CEO, Royal BC Museum and President, Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada; Rob Cannings; Bill Greenlaw, CEO, Nova Scotia Museum and Chair, Awards Committee.

Bartlett named Associate Registrar-Systems


Institutional Research’s Nathan Bartlett will be taking over as Associate Registrar-Systems for a one-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2010. Nathan is a graduate of Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Computer Information Systems (2008) and was the recipient of the BCIS medal at his Convocation. In his new role Nathan will be instrumental in implementing the infosilem and the CAPP project.

Doug Schram

Business professor Doug Schram had a difficult Thanksgiving but is very thankful to be alive after an infection in his left foot spread rapidly and doctors had to amputate his leg. Doug’s surgery went well; he is in good spirits and is dealing with the situation in a very positive way. He is still in KGH rehab where he is undergoing physiotherapy three times a day. He is getting stronger all the time and hopes to be home in early December. Doug says he misses being on campus and seeing his colleagues and students, and he would love to have visitors drop by anytime for a visit.

Kat Hay welcomes Mikaela Paige

hayCongratulations to Advancement and Alumni Relations coordinator Katerina Hay, husband Rob, and big sister Annika who welcomed baby Mikaela Paige on the morning of Monday Nov. 16, 2009 in Kelowna. Mikaela weighed in at 7 lbs 11 oz. The whole family is doing great.

And the red dot goes to…

With two championships each to boast of, the question for President Jim Hamilton and Director of Public Affairs Allan Coyle is ‘who will triumph in the tie-breaker year’ for most visits to the South Okanagan-Similkameen in 2010-11?

dotCoyle secured top spot for visits to the South Okanagan Similkameen in 2009-10 – the second year he’s won the “red dot” contest, which is carefully refereed by Deborah Cutt. Hamilton was a close second.

Last Friday, Hamilton, Coyle and other members of the leadership team were given trophies for their visits and contributions to the campus. The ceremony took place just after the groundbreaking event for the Centre of Excellence was complete.

The unofficial competition was started in 2005 when Hamilton and others pledged that the leadership of the new Okanagan College would make real the promise of four regions of equal value by spending time at all campuses.

Penticton staff – led by Cutt – devised the “red dot” tracking system and then followed that up with increasingly ingenious trophies to celebrate and encourage the behaviour.

“We need to point out, however, that we’ve also tracked our Dean’s visits to other campuses, and Donna Lomas clearly spent more time in Kelowna and at other campuses than either the President or Allan spend in our region,” says Cutt. “She’s the best!”

Dental educators visit Kelowna

dentalOkanagan College’s Dental Assistant program hosted 58 participants from the Dental Assistant Educator Conference (DAEC) on Nov. 7. The conference consisted of three full days of learning, one of which brought learners to the College’s own campus.

The group spent the day sharing information related to teaching and best practices. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the College facilities and four educators won Okanagan College door prizes.

James Hamilton Series presents: Baptism by mud

A new book, Baptism by mud, has been released in the Kalamalka Press’ James Hamilton Series. The series was established in March 2009 in recognition of the contributions Jim has made to the greater Okanagan in education and culture. The book, which can be ordered online, is written by Rod Schumacher and published by the Kalamalka Press.

November 24, 2009 Vol. 3 Issue 16


Financial Services reminder

Financial Services would like to remind staff to submit mileage logs and meal expense claims ASAP as it is currently preparing for the 2009 T4’s - Statement of Remuneration Paid and need to account for any taxable benefits that may result from these claims. All expense claims must be received in the Finance Department no later than Dec. 14, 2009 for processing of the taxable benefits in the 2009 calendar year.

Kelowna recycling update

The recycling crew (William and Chris) are at the Kelowna campus on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to collect all by-products and recyclables at the campus. This can be a noisy task and the guys prefer to do their job as quietly as possible. In order to help them out staff are asked to please ensure all recycling containers are located in hallways.

The College is continuing to expand its recycling efforts and is doing so with help from Civil Engineering. Concrete, asphalt and soil test samples generated in the Civil Engineering Tech lab are now source separated and diverted to their individual recycle and reuse streams – resulting in less waste for the landfill.

Students and staff in Kelowna are encouraged to try out the new hydration station located in the Centre for Learning atrium beside the new food services outlet. Remember - refill not landfill.

Calling all student entrepreneurs

ACE Canada is hosting a student entrepreneur competition focused solely on full time Canadian post-secondary student entrepreneurs – with a first place cash prize of $10,000 – plus many other benefits and opportunities. ACE is asking staff to nominate these hardworking students who are running their own businesses. To be eligible for the competition, students must be enrolled full time and must own at least 50 per cent of their business. The businesses must also be fully operational as this is not a business plan competition. To find out more or to nominate a student, follow this link.

Kelowna campus Pays it Forward

Okanagan College’s annual giving drive Pay it Forward, is now underway at the Kelowna campus. The campaign was initiated by former business student Sarah Comba who was inspired by a concept taken from Catherine Hyde’s book “Pay it Forward,” which builds on the idea of promoting a chain reaction of single acts of kindness.

Now an Okanagan College alumna, Comba is continuing to lead the campaign, which aims to collect a variety of useful items, food and clothing for a range of non-profit organizations in Kelowna. 

Donations of clean and gently used warm clothing for adults, children and infants as well as non-perishable food items and household items are being accepted at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus until Dec. 8, 2009. Anyone interested in contributing cash or gift card/certificates can bring them to the Student Services building on Dec. 8 between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Workshop series to open the Ed Tech Centre

Premier Gordon Campbell called it the ‘Media Shop’ when he announced the new technology space dedicated to students in the Centre for Learning. The official title is the Educational Technology Centre but Mike Minions and company are calling it the Edge. Located in E217, the Ed Tech Centre provides equipment, multimedia workstations, studio and workshop space for faculty and students to create digital media for their courses. Over the next couple weeks Ed Tech Coordinator Mike Minions will be hosting a series of workshops at the Edge. For more details follow this link.

Holiday Season closure: 2009-10

Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season from Friday, Dec. 25, 2009 to Friday, Jan. 1, 2010 and will re-open Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

Employees not scheduled to work are expected to take vacation or leave without pay for the days outlined below. Also, Vocational Instructors may book CD/PD time if available for the days outlined below. Please ensure that the following information is shared within your department.

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009 (Support Staff floater day). Admin – Faculty and Vocational employees report to work unless on approved leave

Friday, Dec. 25 – Christmas Day (Statutory holiday)

Monday, Dec. 28 – Boxing Day (Statutory holiday)

Tuesday, Dec. 29 (Employees book a vacation day or leave without pay)

Wednesday, Dec. 30 (Employees book a vacation day or leave without pay)

Thursday, Dec. 31 (Employees book a vacation day or leave without pay)

Friday, January 1, 2010 – New Year’s Day (Statutory holiday)

Monday, Jan. 4, 2010 – Okanagan College is open for business (Report to work unless on approved leave).

In accordance with established procedure, on the last normal working day prior to Christmas Day, this year being Thursday, Dec. 24, departments may close at 3 p.m. During the closure, the heating in the buildings will be set to low, therefore, if there are requirements for employees to work, Facilities Management should be notified.

Volunteers needed for Practical Nursing Convocations

Okanagan College will host two more Convocation ceremonies in 2009 with the graduation of Practical Nursing students in Penticton (Dec. 17) and Kelowna (Dec. 18). Public Affairs is looking for one volunteer for each of the ceremonies to assist with greeting grads, their guests, and handing out programs.

Volunteers are needed for one hour, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. If you would like to help greet grads, their guests, hand out programs, and assist with holding doors open for the procession, please contact Karma Lacoff.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Nancy Darling from Trades and Apprenticeship who won last week's payday draw for $527.50. 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.


Nov. 30 - Penticton Speaker's Series presents a free screening of The Reader at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. Contact Kaya Forest for more information.

Nov. 30Kalamalka Speakers Series:  Keeping the Arts Alive presents More Than Picnics, Parties and Balls: A Summer of Endurance Curating with the Woodn’t Bees” with Molly Sigalet, curator and artist. This event will take place at 12:30 in the Lecture Theatre. Sigalet will talk about alternative curatorial/artistic practices in an arts funding crisis in Canada and will frame this discussion around her own practices with her curatorial collective called the Woodn’t Bees. Sigalet's interests include feminist art activism, performance art and art that involves humour.

As an artist, Sigalet is engaged with notions of assumed personae and a do-it-yourself aesthetic that informs her participation in her co-founded curatorial collective the Woodn’t Bees. Sigalet began her academic career at the Kalamalka campus and received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Carleton University and her Master of Arts in Art History from York University. This event is free. For more information please contact the Kalamalka Campus Library at 2247.   

Dec. 1 – The documentary film, This is what democracy looks like, will be screened in the Kelowna campus lecture theatre at 7 p.m. on the 10th anniversary of the Pro-democracy movement action that took place in Seattle in November and December 1999 when more than 50,000 people from environmental groups, religious groups, women's groups, human rights groups, labour union groups and more, protested the negotiations that were being conducted by the World Trade Organization. Some snacks and beverages will be provided.

Dec. 7 - Kalamalka Speakers Series: Keeping the Arts Alive presents at 12:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre Orchestra and Community: The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra with Rosemary Thomson, Music Director and Conductor. Thomas' presentation will be centered around the Okanagan Symphony and its role in the community as the 2009-2010 season celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season! This event is free. For more information please contact the Kalamalka Campus Library at 2247.   


The Centre of Excellence ground breaking was featured in the Penticton Herald on the day of the event in: Colour the Future Green and College breaking ground for new centre. The Okanagan Saturday covered the green project in College officials tickled pink as wok starts on green centre.
Okanagan College officially opened the Centre for Learning and the Capital News covered the event featuring a great photo of the event and building.
If you haven‘t heard, the Capital News included the announcement that Fezziwig’s Artisan Bakery Café will be the “brain food” provider in the Centre for Learning.

Plans for a print shop utilizing historic technologies was presented by Writing and Publishing program instructor Jason Dewinetz at a recent lecture at the Kalamalka campus. Read more in the Morning Star article: Speakers Series continues to help keep the arts alive.
John Lent was interviewed by the Morning Star in promotion of the most recent Kalamalka Press event. Read more: Open house launches new book and lecture series.
The college gets more attention for the Communities in Bloom special attractions category award for all the green initiatives happening on all campuses. Read more in the Penticton Western News article, College captures accolades.
The college hockey team, the Crusaders, played the Selkirk Saints last weekend at home to take them into a playoff position. Read more in the Daily Courier article, Crusaders sweep Saints and in the preview coverage, Crusaders embark on big homestand.
In his Global Citizen column, Stan Chung ponders the interactions people have with sound and silence. Is silence becoming extinct? Read more from his Daily Courier column: Thundering silence.
The RoboCup reigning dance challenge champions returned to Okanagan College’s 4th annual competition. Read more in the Daily Courier special: Brothers beginning run at 2nd RoboCup.
Check out an Okanagan Saturday photo of the Nov. 20 soccer RoboCup challenge.
The Vernon Morning Star helps celebrate the achievements of student Shanna Hunt as she received the Betty and Kathleen Atkinson Memorial Bursary. Read more: Student receives bursary.
Okanagan College’s 40 Community Spirit Awards which include a $1,000 scholarship, show students there is value to their contributions and signal the importance of these values to the College. The application deadline for the scholarship is March 5, 2010. Read more in the Morning Star article: New scholarships boost OC spirit.
In her weekly School’s In column, Interim Registrar Jane Muskens discusses the opportunities after, access to and cost differentials between post-secondary in Canada than the U.S in College options in Canada more varied than in U.S. In Investment in international students pays global benefits, Jane discusses the ethics involved in the new brain drain to Canada for less developed nations.  
One of many accomplishments and goals of business student Amanda Lewis has come to fruition as she launches her first book of poetry in support of the Agur Lake Camp Society, which plans to open a camp for children with special needs, like Lewis, who has cerebral palsy. Read more in the Penticton Herald article Poems a reflection of life.
A new Community Futures program helps employees of small businesses continue life long learning, with students choosing to access courses at Okanagan College. Read more in Morning Star article Program creates new opportunities.
Okanagan College business students taking sports and events marketing and SIFE partnered with Elevation Outdoors to host a fundraiser at Habitat for youth in Kelowna who otherwise could not afford to participate in Elevation’s Learn to Shred program. Read more in the Okanagan Saturday article Students help with fundraiser.


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. 8, 2009.