Board of Governors and Education Council elections results

With a record voter turnout, the Okanagan College faculty and staff voted Laura Thurnheer (faculty) and Alison Beaumont (support staff) to the College’s Board of Governors. Thurnheer is the Chair of the Business Administration program at the College, and Beaumont is the Scheduling Officer at Kelowna’s Registrar’s Office. Both join the Board for three-year terms.
The Education Council also welcomes new members who will participate in guiding the College’s curriculum and educational policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The following faculty representatives join the council for two-year terms:

  • Frances Greenslade, South Okanagan Similkameen (by acclamation)
  • Michelle Nicholson, Central Okanagan (by acclamation)
  • Jennifer Sigalet, North Okanagan (filled by volunteer)
  • Steven Weber, Shuswap Revelstoke (filled by volunteer)

Two additional seats on the Education Council were filled with a by-election:

  • Pam Wetterstrand, Health and Social Development Faculty (effective April 1, 2015, by acclamation)
  • Kevin Douglas, Science and Technology Faculty (effective August 1, 2015, filled by lot)

A lifetime of tools donated to Okanagan College

Tools donated SchoofRetired Okanagan journeyman Bill Schoof has generously donated his collection of highly sought-after precision measurement and machinist tools that will give Okanagan College automotive service technician and mechanical engineering technology programs students some heavy-duty hands-on learning opportunities.
The collection, which he acquired over the course of Schoof's 40-year career as a tool and die-maker, includes digital vernier calipers, micrometers and other machinist equipment that is valued at over $4,500.

Schoof’s donation is one of several major donations of equipment to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign.

Read the full press release here and to learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved please visit the campaign’s website.

Celebrating the success and heritage
of our Aboriginal Students

Darwin AsapaceHonouring his Aboriginal heritage and upholding tradition is important to Darwin Asapace, who is upgrading in AACP courses at Okanagan College. At the sixth annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Celebration held in Kelowna last weekend, wearing intricate bead-craftwork he makes, Asapace performed a traditional grass dance that has been in his family for over 100 years. It is a dance to bless the ground, and to protect the community from danger.
“I am very honoured to dance today. It’s important to practice our culture so that we don’t lose it,” said Asapace. A member of the Plains Cree, Asapace recounted how his people used to live off of the buffalo but over time, as the majestic animal neared extinction, the Elders gathered and collectively began looking at education to be the new buffalo. While keeping his cultural roots and pursuing his educational goals, Asapace acknowledges education as providing him sustenance, skills and opportunity to excel in today’s modern world.
Surrounded by family and friends, 27 Aboriginal students were honoured at the March 21 cultural celebration that recognized their student successes. The ceremony respects the heritage of Aboriginal celebration and included drumming, traditional prayer, dancing, and a feast of traditional foods.
Aboriginal Recognition Ceremony 2015Syilx Elder Wilfred Barnes opened the ceremony with a traditional prayer and celebrated Cree author and storyteller Frank Christopher Busch delivered a keynote address.  Additional speakers included Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Professor Dr. Bill Cohen, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society Executive Director Edna Terbasket, as well as students Michael Ochoa, Kacheena Naytowhow and Karen Chase.

College business students reach podium twice
in western Canadian competitions

Okanagan College’s School of Business earned more hardware recently in the areas of accounting and human resources, with two podium finishes in two separate western Canadian business competitions.
In Winnipeg, Okanagan College’s team of Lexi Keen and Rue Mulimba took silver in the 2015 Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Case Competition. They were second only to Thompson Rivers University; other finalists included the University of Alberta, University of Regina, Mount Royal University, and a second team from Okanagan College.
HR students winIn Calgary, Okanagan College’s Bria Young, Ryan Lazauskas and Miranda Birkbeck finished third in the 2015 HRC West case competition, recognized as a leading Human Resources case competition. Okanagan College advanced to the finals along with the University of Alberta and the host team from Mount Royal University.  
Okanagan College was the only, and first ever, business school from outside of Alberta invited to compete at this event. College professors Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler coached the team to their successful finish.

Click here to read the press release.

Deeper than roots, going back to our seeds

Seeds 2A new Seed Library project launched by the Vernon Campus Okanagan College Library, in conjunction with Kalamalka Demonstration Garden, Patchwork Farms and the Vernon Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) aims to preserve heirloom and native seeds. It will help promote awareness of seed preservation and sustainable gardening within the College and the greater community.

The ORL has available two informative step-by-step guides to learn how to save heirloom seeds.  Gardeners can drop seeds at the upstairs information desk of the ORL by placing them in individual envelops per vegetable, labeled with type, variety, date collected and general location.  Once enough seeds have been collected, gardeners can check out seeds on the condition they replace the seeds the following season from the plants they grew. For more information on the ORL Seed Library please contact Peter at 250-546-7610.        

Seeds 1On Sunday April 19, join the Seedy Sunday event to help kick-start the spring sowing season. See the events section for more details.     

The project has received generous support from the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, a project of USC Canada delivered in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada and supported by the W. Garfield Weston foundation. More information is available on this website or contact Karen Friesen (local 2268).

Students promote good oral health on campus

To celebrate National Oral Health Month the Certified Dental Assistant students will be circulating around the Kelowna campus in uniform offering nutritional counseling sessions as it relates to your oral health. Throughout the month, on Mondays or Wednesdays, CDA students will approach and invite those on campus to have one-on-one discussions about their nutrition and oral health.  The counseling session can take 15 minutes and is a way to get specific answers about your oral health. Participants receive a toothbrush for their time.

The CDA program recommends three easy steps to help prevent dental erosion:

  • Choose drinks that are low in acid. Carbonated soft drinks are high in acid, which can harm your teeth
  • Do not swish or hold high acid drinks in your mouth for long periods of time or suck on citrus fruits
  • It is best to consume foods and drinks high in acid at the end of mealtime while there is still plenty of saliva in your mouth to wash away sugars and acids

Stepping Forward in Salmon Arm

Stepping ForwardThe Salmon Arm campus celebrated the success of 22 graduates of the Aboriginal Community-Based Partnership “Stepping Forward” program in February. In partnership with the Splatsin’ First Nation and the Adams Lake, Little Shuswap Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands, the College offered a five-month series of pre-employment courses, cultural activities, essential skills training, and math and English upgrading for the students.
These inspiring students plan to further their training by pursuing enrolment in the Health Care Assistant, Psychology, Residential Construction, Human Service Work, Office Administration, Cook’s Attendant, Custodial Work and Nursing programs.

Learning about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Looking at methods to minimize stimulation and create an environment where learners affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are more likely to succeed, guest speaker Renae Sanford led a group of College staff members and volunteer tutors in an interactive workshop in February in Salmon Arm.

Individuals with FASD, who are fortunate enough to have an understanding support network throughout their lives, can become productive citizens in our communities. Those in the workshops also learned how they can help relay information in order to be best equipped to help others understand the disorder.  

The presentation was hosted by the College’s Volunteer Literacy Tutor program. Sanford is well respected in the field with over 40 years of experience working with adults affected by FASD as well as assisting others who work with affected adults. 


Student aims for the sky

Samantha flight awardAn Aircraft Maintenance Engineer student has set her flight path to success: Samantha Wardrop has received the Len Neufeld Award from the Vernon Flying Club. Vernon’s Acting Mayor Catherine Lord and Vernon Flying Club President Rick Thorburn presented the award to Wardrop.

Instructors recognized Wardrop’s excellence in her academic grades, both theory and practical, and also her perfect attendance record. The runway to success continues, as she has also been selected to represent the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) “M” program at the BC Skills Competition in Abbotsford coming up in April.

Students make a splash in research pool

Second-year Okanagan College Geography & Earth and Environmental Science students Mike Kerkovius and Graeme Barber made waves when they each presented at the Okanagan Water Research Splashdown event held earlier in March at UBC Okanagan.

Kerkovius’s presentation titled The relationship between precipitation and the magnetic susceptibility of soils in the Okanagan Valley received an Honourable Mention award from the judges.

The event highlights the advances researchers— faculty, post-docs, and graduate students – have made in water research in the Okanagan in three-minute presentations. Once again, Okanagan College students punched above their weight: as undergraduates they presented extremely well in an arena of competitive academic research.

Mar. 24, 2015, Vol. 9, Issue 24

Easter statutory holidays

Okanagan College will be closed on Friday April 3 and Monday April 6 in observance of the Good Friday and Easter statutory holidays.

Penticton Campus planned
power outage March 29

Power will be shut down at the Penticton Campus on Sunday March 29 from midnight to 5 a.m. as part of a planned City of Penticton outage initiative to address broader community power issues.

All major electrical loads will be turned off remotely prior to the power outage.

If you have any concerns or issues, please contact the Regional Dean’s office.

Registration for Camp OC 2015
now open (Kelowna)

Appealing to the most junior scholars Camp OC is accepting registration for its 99 camps available over the course of nine weeks this summer at the Kelowna Campus. New camps this year includes Lost in the Wilderness, Secrets of a Pastry Chef, Find the Superhero in You, Film Making, Sport Camps and many more.

The camps are available for kids in Grades 2 and 3, Grades 4 to 6, and Grades 7 to 9. College staff are eligible for a 10 per cent discount for their kids or grandkids. Go to for more information or e-mail Helena Jordo. Camps in Penticton and Vernon coming soon.

Faculty professional development
LCI and SLCO May intake

The Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate (designed for beginning and continuing faculty/instructors) and the Service & Support in a Learner Centred Organization (a program certificate ideal for those who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in service excellence) will be offered beginning in May 2015.  

ILT Newsletter submissions

A reminder that the deadline to submit articles for the next Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) newsletter, Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching is Tuesday April 7. The theme is Self-Care and Happiness in the Workplace. 
Guidelines for submissions can be found online on the ILT website.


Strategic Plan session in Salmon Arm

The Strategic Plan committee will host four consultation sessions for College employees in Salmon Arm on March 25 (10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and March 26 (9 a.m. and 12 p.m.) in room 131. The face-to-face one-hour sessions are an opportunity to get involved and provide your feedback in the discussion of our future and our focus as we head into OC2020.

For more information visit the OC 2020 webpage or contact Kerry Rempel.

Aboriginal Leadership & Education
Our Shared Canadian Journey 

On Thursday March 26, the College will host nationally-recognized Gabrielle Scrimshaw, a member of the Hatchet Lake First Nations, for a public guest lecture titled “Aboriginal Leadership & Education: our shared Canadian Journey." She will speak about how the Aboriginal population is growing, educational attainment rates and what it means for the Canadian economy. For more information, read the press release here.

The Kelowna event takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Center for Learning Atrium and will be live- streamed to Salmon Arm and Penticton campuses.

The Vernon event will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre.

Science in Society events
explore the universe

On Thursday March 26, distinguished American astrophysicist Dr. Geraldine Peters will present key advancements in her research on binary stars in a free public event. The event is sponsored by the American Astronomical Society as part of its Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship program. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.

Then on Thursday April 2, nano-materials scientist Dr. MacLachlan, Chemistry professor at the University of British Columbia, dives into the beautiful world of how plants and animals uniquely amazing characteristics inspire scientists in their pursuit to create new materials with improved strength, durability, and elasticity with his talk titled “Bug shells and butterfly wings: can nature inspire the creation of new materials?”  Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, please call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. The event will be held at the Vernon lecture theatre.

Click here to read the press release, and visit the Science in Society website for more information. 

Gear up for Half Marathon on March 29

Runners will storm Kelowna streets on Sunday March 29 for the 2015 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race. You can still lace up and join the race: online registration is open until end of day Wednesday March 25, as well as on Saturday March 28 and on race day onsite.

Who are the OC students? Interactive workshop

College employees can register today for an interactive workshop in Kelowna on Tuesday March 31 with James Coble, Director of Student Services, that looks at OC student demographics. This fun workshop will either confirm or surprise you with what you think you know about the typical Okanagan College student. Using Socrative, an interactive mobile polling app, participants will choose what they think is the correct statistic of common OC demographics. After instantaneous polling the truth will be revealed and discussed. The one-hour session starts at 11:30 a.m. and will be held in room E212 in Kelowna.

Save a life, get swabbed

The Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is responsible for finding and matching volunteer donors to patients who require stem cell transplants. If you are between 17 to 35 years old, find out if you could be a match to save a life on Wednesday April 8 at the Get Swabbed event being held in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna Campus (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.). Okanagan College is among many organizations that are a Partner for Life with Canadian Blood Services

Upcoming International Development Night event

On Wednesday April 8, join the inaugural International Development Night event from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Pit area of the Student Services Building at the Kelowna campus. The public event will explore the international development field and celebrate the contributions Okanagan residents and organizations have made to international humanitarian actions, aid and development efforts worldwide.  For more information please email, follow this link or contact Rosalind Warner (local 4763) or Linda Elmose (250-859-4750).

Seedy Sunday

Kick-start the spring sowing season at the Seedy Sunday event on Sunday April 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Vernon Okanagan Regional Library in the Community Room.  This free public event is open to anyone who would like to learn more about seed preservation and sustainable gardening, and is also an opportunity to share and swap seeds.

For more information please contact Karen Friesen at the Vernon Campus Seed Library or call 545-7291 Local 2268.

College Dental Clinic appointments

The Certified Dental Assistant Department will host its annual Oral Health Patient Treatment Clinic in May and is looking for patients between the ages of five and 15. To review treatments available, costs, guidelines, and eligibility criteria, click here. Employees and the public who have children in this age group can call the clinic at 250-862-5424 to book an appointment with one of the students. There are still appointments available, most of them between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. from May 13-28.

Annual Charity Golf Tournament
register today

The 24th annual Okanagan College Foundation Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday May 21 at the Okanagan Golf Club. To register online click here  or use this form. PDF For more information, to volunteer, or to have your department host an on-course booth, please contact Dawn Douglas.


Okanagan College Honorary Fellow recipient Allan Gatzke is among those who have landed with the Yes side in the rail corridor referendum debate ramping up in Lake Country. Voting yes is the right thing to do, says the renowned orchardist in an article in the Vernon Morning Star of March 18.

Two names associated with Okanagan College – fundraising committee chair Dennis Gabelhouse and OC’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Dave Krysko – are among those nominated for the 40th annual Kelowna Civic Awards. The list of nominees was published in the March 18 edition of the Kelowna Capital News and also in the March 17 edition of the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College’s press release on two upcoming presentations in the Science in Society Speaker Series in Vernon earned several column inches in the Okanagan Saturday on March 21. Infotel News and Castanet also carried the release online.

The Coyotes’ season opener was the feature in the Kelowna Capital News on March 18. In follow-up, the OC Coyotes are “ready to howl in 2015” according to a headline in the Kelowna Capital News on March 20, outlining what coach Geoff White had to tell reporter Warren Henderson in the article on page A18.

The College’s role in the construction of the Lake Country Food Bank (with Residential Construction students from Vernon providing help with construction) was touched on briefly in a Page A3 cutline to accompany a photo in the Kelowna Daily Courier on March 19 and in an article in the Vernon Morning Star on March 24. Global News carried a significant story on the start of the Food Bank. KelownaNow also carried the story. In advance, the word that construction was about to start on the Lake Country Food Bank, supported by students from OC’s Residential Construction program, was contained in a brief article on March 16 in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

A component of the Aboriginal Potluck held at the College's Vernon campus captured photographer Lisa Vandervelde’s attention and ended up reflected in two photos in the Vernon Morning Star on March 15: the first focused on the dancing while the second captured two singers from the Okanagan Indian Band Cultural Immersion School.

Another Okanagan College alumnus was profiled as part of the Daily Courier’s Kelowna Top Forty Under 40 series – this time Evan Dizak, the 23-year-old youth entrepreneurship co-ordinator with Central Okanagan Community Futures earned the nomination. Dizak is a graduate of our School of Business.

Also a Top Forty Under 40 nominee is Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran who attended Okanagan College. He has identified Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan as two of the driving forces in the regional economy. The article on Basran appeared March 11 in the Daily Courier.

An OC press release on successful scholarship winner Kathleen McCaffrey and an accompanying photograph played prominently in the Penticton Herald on March 11. McCaffrey won a $1,500 scholarship from the BC Wine Information Society.

The story of Bill Schoof’s donation of tools to Okanagan College earned a photo in the Daily Courier on March 12, and mention in Kelowna Capital News columnist Maxine Dehart’s article on March 18. It also appeared online with Castanet.

Ideal for professional development and to feed the interest of food and wine enthusiasts the College's Penticton Sensory Center is offering new courses as part of the Food, Wine and Tourism program, which reporter, author and OC instructor Jennifer Schell highlights in a Wine Trails Magazine article.

Word of the winning ways of Okanagan College business admin students warranted a headline in the Okanagan Sunday on March 15, with an accompanying story about how the teams brought silver home in the CPA Case Competition and bronze in the 2015 HRC West Case competition as well.

OC Aboriginal Transitions planner Carolyn Chartier was at the centre of attention when she organized a successful bannock-making event at the Salmon Arm campus recently. A significant feature and a couple of photos captured the spirit of the event in the Salmon Arm Observer on March 4.

The Kelowna Capital News noted the outcomes of the Spaghetti Bridge competition in its March 13 edition, as did the Vernon Morning Star with a story on March 11.

A long-time instructor at Okanagan College, and renowned winemaker Howard Soon was given the Spirited Industry Professional Award at the 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival, a fact caught in Steve MacNaull’s Valley Views column in the Daily Courier on March 11. It also caught the attention of Max Dehart in her March 18 column in the Kelowna Capital News.

Retired Regional Dean and author extraordinaire John Lent was among those who participated in a fundraiser hosted in Vernon by the Junction Literacy Centre – a photo of Lent graced page A3 of the March 8 edition of the Vernon Morning Star.

The Travelling World Community Film Festival landed at Okanagan College mid-month, a fact that was referenced in the Kelowna Capital News on March 13 and in the Kelowna Daily Courier on March 12.

Okanagan College alumna Kelsey Serway was recognized at Sport B.C.’s Athlete of the Year awards in Vancouver in mid-March, a fact registered in the Okanagan Saturday on March 14.

Seedy Saturday was held in the atrium of the Centre for Learning on Saturday, March 14.  A Page A4 story in the Okanagan Sunday focused on Shirley Wells, the Tomato Whisperer. The Kelowna Capital News also had a story on the event in its March 18 newspaper, and promoted it with a brief in the March 13 edition of the paper.

Funding changes for Adult Basic Education at the high school level was a focal point for a Kelowna Capital News story on March 18’s front page.

A press release from Public Affairs on Gabrielle Scrimshaw’s talks in Kelowna and Vernon on Thursday earned online posting from a number of sources including the Daily Courier online and on The talk was also announced in a ValleyinBrief note in the March 24 print edition of the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The Okanagan Business Students’ Association gala planned for Wednesday March 25 was highlighted in an article in the Kelowna Daily Courier on March 24.

The Okanagan College Accounting Club’s free tax preparation service was highlighted in a Castanet article on March 21.

Engineering technology alumnus Dr. Peter Ostafichuk has made quite a reputation for himself since graduating from OC in 1991. It was recently announced that Ostafischuk has been awarded a fellowship from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, in partnership with 3M Canada. The Vernon-born professor teaches Mechanical Engineering at UBC in Vancouver. His accomplishment was noted in the Vernon Morning Star’s online edition.

Visually-impaired student Mike Caley was a focal point for the Salmon Arm Observer’s story on exploring transit issues in that community.

Okanagan College’s Enactus team captured a first place finish in the Western Regional Championships in the entrepreneurship category, a fact not lost on the Calgary Herald when it reported on the outcome of the event.

Staff at Okanagan College’s Revelstoke Centre were sure to thank supporting partners in a Revelstoke Mountaineer article focused on new citizens to the country.

Kelowna has decided to bid on the 2017 B.C. Seniors Games, and the support of Okanagan College was noted in the KelownaNow coverage.

Irrigation improvements at the Patchwork Gardens at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus form one of the projects funded by the Okanagan Water Basin Board in the coming year. The news of that and other successful projects was captured by the Kelowna Capital News.

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 Apr. 7, 2015.