Golden Day by the numbers

Golden Day Penticton Owl HabitatThere was an overwhelming response to the Golden Day of Service.

Nearly 300 employees and students volunteered at a variety of community organizations across all four regions on Feb. 14.

Golden Day Salmon ArmActivities ran the gamut from cleaning up beaches to sorting donations at the food bank, walking dogs to upgrading websites.

Here’s how the numbers broke down:

  •     290 Okanagan College employees and students volunteered
  •     33 people volunteered in the North Okanagan
  •     14 people volunteered in the South Okanagan
  •     211 people volunteered in the Central Okanagan
  •     32 people volunteered in Salmon Arm/Revelstoke

To see more photos, visit the photo gallery.

3-hour Poetry Contest

poetry contest graphicBolstered by the success of the 3-hour short story writing contest, Okanagan College has launched its first 3-hour poetry contest.

On Apr. 3 from 6-9 p.m., all four Okanagan College campuses will welcome current Okanagan College students and high school students in Grades 11 and 12 to flex their creative muscles and write up to three poems in three hours. Poems must be written in specific poetic form (sonnet or haiku are potential examples) outlined prior to the event start.

For more details and complete contest rules, visit this link.

The winner from each campus will receive a $250 Okanagan College tuition credit and the poet deemed the top talent from those four will get an additional $250 tuition credit.

International Women's Day

A celebration of women’s rights will be held at Okanagan College on Mar. 8 from 6-9 p.m. in the atrium of the Centre for Learning in recognition of International Women’s Day 2014.

Organized by the Okanagan College Women’s Centre and sponsored by the Okanagan College Faculty Association, the event features guest speaker Marcy Cohen of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Hosted  by CBC Radio’s Alya Ramadan, the free event will also feature the presentation of the Gert Beadle Award, music from the Wee Feminists Children’s Choir, wine from The View Winery, and children’s activities.

This year’s theme – The Women are Coming! – is taken from an original poster made in 1970 by Cohen and other members of the Vancouver Women’s Caucus.  

“The caucus organized a caravan that travelled from Vancouver to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest restrictions to women’s control over their reproductive rights,” explains Ann McKinnon, College Professor in Women’s Studies and the Status of Women representative on the OCFA. “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that women are still fighting for their rights and for equality.”     

For more information about International Women’s Day 2014, click here.

Honouring Aboriginal women

Aboriginal event Feb 14More than 50 people gathered at the College on Valentine’s Day to take part in an event that honoured Aboriginal women and sought to promote awareness around issues of violence.

“This event is about remembering these women, but it’s also about prevention,” said Gail Smith, the College’s Aboriginal Transitions Planner.

“Educational institutions like Okanagan College have a role to play in prevention.”

The Feb. 14 date was first set aside back in 1991 to acknowledge missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Since then it has grown to include marches and demonstrations at 20 cities across the country.

For more information, read the press release.

New partnership formed with a growing industry

Mou cleantechOkanagan College and Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Feb. 19 focused on supporting and growing the cleantech industry.

Cleantech is a rapidly emerging field that encompasses a diverse range of products, services, and processes based upon renewable materials and energy sources.

This new partnership aims to make the most of each other’s expertise, facilities, and connections to help grow the cleantech industry and integrate post-secondary institutions in the development of the sector.

The industry is worth an estimated $2.5 billion annually to the B.C. economy.

To learn more about the agreement, read the press release.

Therapist Assistant program receives national recognition

Okanagan College’s Therapist Assistant program has received accreditation by the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program.

Therapist assistants are trained to work in the rehabilitation field alongside occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

The process, which took two years, results in increased exposure for the College, gives employers greater confidence in our students, and bestows graduates of the program with a more valuable credential.  

The Okanagan College Therapist Assistant program joins only five other institutions to have successfully completed the process. 

For more information, read the press release.

Sweetheart of an event

Winter Indulgence cakeNearly 100 people from the Kelowna community bought tickets for the inaugural Winter Indulgence event.

On Feb. 14, the cafeteria was transformed into a winter wonderland as guests savoured some sweets with their sweethearts. The gala event included seven tables of confections and wine pairings from local wineries. In addition to the sweets, a savory charcuterie table was also on offer.

“I’m really pleased,” says Pastry Arts Instructor and event organizer Anna Mandziuk.

“It was well received and did a great job of bringing awareness to Okanagan College's Pastry Arts program. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.”

Major kudos for video

A recently launched virtual orientation tour created for prospective students has won both gold and bronze at the Education Digital Marketing Awards.

Competing against hundreds of submissions from colleges and universities across North America, Okanagan College’s What’s It Really Like video, which was created in partnership with Kelowna-based Hustream Technologies, won gold in the Digital Video category and bronze in the Miscellaneous Interactive Media category.

Hosted by third-year business student Drew Vincent, the virtual tour gives viewers an inside look at Okanagan College life, walking viewers through a variety of the College’s features and processes.

“The high energy video tour offers viewers the functionality to jump to different parts of the tour at any time,” says Inga Wheeler, Manager, Student Information and Transitions.

“Initial response from students has been great, they really like the interactive features and the ability to watch what interests them,” she says.

Watch the What’s it Really Like video.

Celebrate your peers

Employee Excellence logo 220Great work deserves to get noticed.

At Okanagan College, we’re often so busy we forget to pat ourselves on the back for the important projects and initiatives we undertake throughout the year.

Now is the time to take a moment, confer with your workmates and nominate your peers for an Employee Excellence Award. You can nominate as many College employees as you wish, and one employee can be nominated in several categories. All Okanagan College employees are eligible.

Nominations will be accepted in the following categories:

  • Career Achievement

  • Teaching Excellence

  • Scholarly Activity

  • Key Directions

  • Service Excellence (Individual and Group)

  • Innovation

  • Leadership

  • Strong Start

  • President’s Award

The nominations will stay open until Mar. 31. Visit for more details and nomination forms.

The Employee Excellence Awards 2014 ceremony will take place May 21. All employees are welcome to attend the event.

Click here for a list of the 2013 winners.

Honouring 50 years of alumni achievements

Ryan Holmes 220On the subject of celebrating achievement, Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) recently opened nominations for the annual Alumni Awards.

Two awards are given out each year in the following categories: Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is open to alumni of Okanagan College or Okanagan University College for their contributions to the community and demonstrations of excellence in leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/ or support for OUC or Okanagan College.

The Young Alumni Award will recognize the outstanding contributions of an alumna or alumnus who is less than 35 years of age. 

To qualify as Distinguished or Young Alumni, nominees must have completed a certificate, diploma, degree, or apprenticeship program or have completed a minimum of 30 academic credits.

“Given this is the College’s 50th year and our Association’s 25th anniversary, we have had a lot of wonderful alumni highlighted for their accomplishments,” said Kara Kazimer, OCAA President. “We’re looking forward to honouring more great achievements with our awards this year while recognizing 50 years of alumni excellence.”

Nomination forms and details can be found at the following link.

Past recipients include Ryan Holmes, Founder and CEO Hootsuite, Jon Garratt, Chef and co-owner of Whisk Cake Co., and Shayne Koyczan, and author, poet and spoken word performer.

The 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award will be selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and presented at a reception in June.

University Transfer information nights

Information nights are being held at several campuses for prospective students looking to start their Arts and Science university degrees at Okanagan College.

Students can meet professors and current students, speak to education advisors about their future plans, and find out how to transfer from Okanagan College to a university. 

Penticton: Feb. 26 from 5-7 p.m.

Kelowna: Feb. 27 from 5-7 p.m.

Vernon: Mar. 13 at 6 p.m.

Follow this link for specific event details.

In addition, the Vernon campus is hosting a Business Administration Programs Information Session on Mar. 5 at 6 p.m. For more details, follow this link.


Multiple Sclerosis research published

Dr. Brett WadeDr. Brett Wade, Okanagan College Therapist Assistant Instructor and author of the Ekahi Method, has a research passion for studying complex diseases with uncertain causes.

He has recently published a paper in Multiple Sclerosis International specifically examining whether the current global scale for Multiple Sclerosis prevalence needs to be updated with more categories to reflect the extremely high rates of MS in countries such as Canada, Scotland and parts of northern Europe.

Read the paper at this link.

Vernon mourns passing of Murray Whiting

A longtime friend of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, Murray Whiting, passed away on Feb. 12.

Murray and his wife Tina operated the campus cafeteria for 16 years. In the near two decades of service to staff and students Murray and Tina got to know employees and for some, like Janice Ulrich, became like family.

“Murray knew everyone by name and going into the cafeteria was like going into mom’s kitchen,” said Ulrich. “He was always smiling and happy and treated people like they were a part of his family.”

Remembering Eric Buckley

The College community is remembering Dr. Eric Buckley, a 30-year employee of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College, who died on Feb. 21, 2014.

Born in Rossland, BC, Eric is survived by his wife Tonny, four children and several grandchildren.

With a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Alberta, Eric moved to Kelowna in 1971 and started teaching at Okanagan College. He retired in 2001 as Associate Dean of Science at Okanagan University College.

“Eric was a stalwart and I am really very grateful to have had someone like Eric to work with and rely on,” says Dr. Derek Muggeridge, who served as Dean of Science at OUC and as Associate Vice President Research at the institution. “Eric was someone you could count on getting things done."

His work in the community extended into the K-12 system. From 1977 to 2005 he served as a school trustee and as Chair of the School District 23 Board. He also served as president of the BC School Trustees Association.

A prayer service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at St. Charles Garnier Parish, 3645 Benvoulin Road, with a burial service on Mar. 1 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Society of BC. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

Tool Event

Showcasing fine craftsmanship

Studio Woodworking recently put its craft of fine woodworking on display during the third annual Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. 

Presented by the College’s Studio Woodworking program, the event on Feb. 21 and 22 featured workshops, question and answer sessions, and hand tool demonstrations.

In Kelowna, Studio Woodworking has a year-round focus at Okanagan College.

“We’re hoping to generate a community of woodworkers in the region to contribute to the local Arts and Crafts tradition,” said Alf Leimert, Chair of Construction Trades.

Feb. 25, 2014 Vol. 8, issue 23


Education Council election update

The following employees have been declared elected to Education Council by acclamation:

EDFP-2 Arts: Matt Kavanagh

EDFP-3 Science/Technology: Rick Gee

EDFP-5 Trades: Corey Bransfield

EDFP-6 Foundational: Nancy Noble-Hearle

ESS-1 Support Staff: Kim Naumann

ESS-2 Support Staff: Ardeth Anderson

An online election will be held Mar. 10 to 14 for the Business portfolio seat. Register your vote in the elections tab in myOkanagan. Two candidates have put their name forward: Edie Lowes and Drew McGillivray.

As no candidates have come forward for the Health and Social Development portfolio seat, interested persons can contact Rick Gee, Education Council Chair, to discuss this opportunity.

If you have any questions, please contact Inga Wheeler, Chief Elections Officer. For information on Education Council, please visit the website.

Reach Out newsletter

The Registrar’s Office in Kelowna publishes a monthly e-newsletter called Reach Out, which includes reminders of important dates, notification of Education Council approvals, program features and general information about what’s happening in the Registrar’s Office.

To view the newsletter, click here or email Carlyn Young to be added to the email distribution list.

Taking action against bullying

Each month, PPC Canada, Okanagan College’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider, focuses on a subject of concern to health and well being. February’s focus is on bullying. The Balance Sheet newsletter features articles about bullying in the workplace and includes some tips on what you can do if you are being bullied as well as providing some tools for helping your children prevent bullying.  
PPC’s next webinar, Strategies to Prevent Bullying in the Workplace, takes place on Feb. 26 at 12 p.m.
Click here to sign up for the webinar.

Updates from the ILT

The Institute for Learning and Teaching has just published the latest issue of its newsletter Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching 5:1 Winter 2014.

The theme for this issue is “Building an Information Literate Institution.”  Thank you to all of the authors for their valuable contributions.  Enjoy!

NEXT ISSUE of Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching

●  The theme of the next newsletter is ”The Student Experience: Supporting Student Success.”
●  Submissions are due by March 31, 2014 and the newsletter will be published mid-April. 

●  Guidelines for the newsletter submissions may be found online.

The ILT is pleased to announce its recently launched new webpage.


Science in Society Speaker Series

This speaker series brings science to the public and features two dynamic, internationally renowned speakers this month.

On Mar. 6, Dr. Federico Rosei, Canada Research Chair in Nanostructured Organic and Inorganic Materials, will present What Type of Energy Will Power the Future of Humanity?

Dr. Rosei will outline how nanotechnology can be used to solve the world’s energy problems.

Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Physicists, admission is free. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus Lecture Theatre.

On Mar. 13, Dr. Jessica Grahn, cognitive psychologist and assistant professor in the Brain and Mind Institute at the Department of Psychology at Western University, will present Music and the Brain: Why Do We Move to Music? Dr. Grahn will explore why music affects our brains so profoundly and how we can channel that power for treating degenerative neurological diseases. Admission is $7 in advance, $10 at the door. This event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the Lecture Theatre.

For more information about any Science in Society Speaker Series event, visit For tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644 or visit

ILT Lunch and Learn Series

On Mar. 6, Okanagan College’s Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke Jim Barmby will present Accountability vs. Autonomy. Barmby recently completed his dissertation on how provinces and post-secondary institutions balance accountability with institutional autonomy. This event takes place from Noon-1 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus.

For more information, click this link.

Lace up for the Half-Marathon

Run don’t walk to register now for the Okanagan College Half Marathon on Apr. 6. Participants have three distances to choose from: the half-marathon, the half-marathon relay and the 10 km. Lace up your sneakers, strap on your fuel belt and get training.  

Visit for information and registration details.

If you’re not up for the physical exertion of the event, then you can always get involved by volunteering. Contact Michelle Lowry if you can help out.

Register now for OC4 Cyclosportif

The second annual OC4 Cyclosportif cycling event takes place Jun. 13 to 15. Riders of all abilities can join fellow enthusiasts for all three days or just one leg of the event.

Registration is $125 for the first day and $25 for each additional day. Registration increases to $150 after May 1.

Race features include

•    Gourmet post-ride dinners
•    Extra meal tickets available for purchase
•    Paid bus transport back to route start
•    Prize draws daily
•    Aid stations
•    Mechanical support during race

For more information and to register, visit the website.


Academica top 10 included the recent accreditation of the College’s Therapist Assistant program, see Okanagan College’s Therapist Assistant program received accreditation.

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors saw the Chair and Vice Chair re-elected to their positions, see College maintains board chair.

The Golden Day of Service saw employees doing good in communities across the Okanagan Valley on Feb. 14, see OK College volunteers lend a helping hand.

Three Okanagan College employees created a groundbreaking new online course in Applied Sustainability, see Profs offer sustainable course.

Okanagan College’s Alumni Association put a call out for its 2014 Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni awards, see College opens nominations for annual alumni awards, Awards honour college alumni, and Alumni seek award nominees.

Fostering connections of alumni regardless of location was the impetus of the College’s Alumni Association’s new netCommunity platform, see College alumni can stay in touch online, and OC begins alumni connection.

Okanagan College recently partnered with Lie-Nielsen Tools to showcase the art of hand-tool woodworking, see College offers a look at old-school woodworking, and See fine woodworking in action.

An interactive video orientation tour for prospective students recently won both gold and bronze Education Digital Marketing Awards, see Video golden for College.

Okanagan College offers animation courses to help train people to work in the area’s booming movie industry, see Movies a bonus to local economy.

The Okanagan College Baseball team opened their 2014 season in Florida, see Coyotes start down south.

The first annual Winter Indulgence event at the Kelowna campus highlighted the skills of the Pastry Arts students and quality of the program, see College offers sweet treat.

The Canadian Culinary Championships that took place Feb. 7 and 8 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus and the Delta Grand made headlines: see Culinary Olympics and Kelowna to remain the site of Canadian Culinary Championships.

An alumni of Okanagan College’s Carpentry Apprentice program voiced concerns about industry regulations that promote unskilled workers, see Unskilled workers compete for same jobs as Red Seal certified carpenters.

Former Okanagan College employee Alistair (Al) Phillips recently passed away, see Al Phillips Obituary.

A fire was intentionally set to some trees on the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College and a suspect was arrested, see Row of cedars catches on fire.

Two local entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to CBC’s Dragons’ Den when it held auditions at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, see Entrepreneur hopes to pitch to Dragons finds target, and Entrepreneurs line up for a shot on Dragons’ Den.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 March 11, 2014.