Open House to showcase expanded campus

coeOkanagan College’s Penticton campus is hosting an open house on Saturday, Oct. 29, opening the doors to the new Centre of Excellence and the entire campus to give the public a chance to explore and learn about the revitalized campus.  

“The new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is a major addition to our facilities and has increased our program capabilities, but there’s so much more to the campus,” says Regional Dean Donna Lomas. “We want to showcase what we offer here, not just in terms of all the programs that students can take, but the services that are available to them and the positive learning environment.

“This is a community college campus, and we want the entire South Okanagan and Similkameen to share our pride - not just in terms of the buildings - but in terms of the staff, the students, and the incredible opportunities at hand.” 

The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking is free, and there will be activities for everyone.

College makes the case for continued investment in post-secondary

selectstandingOkanagan College’s Chair of the Board of Governors, Lance Kayfish, joined College President Jim Hamilton for a presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services earlier this month. Okanagan College was just one of many organizations that participated in the public consultations this fall.

Board Chair Kayfish and President Hamilton requested the government maintain and increase investment in B.C.’s colleges, pointing to several examples of the positive impact Okanagan College and its graduates have within the region.

From the development of the Centre of Excellence in Penticton to exceeding government-set enrolment targets to an increase in Aboriginal access to post-secondary, Okanagan College, and other colleges in B.C., play a critical role in the province, stated Kayfish.

Follow this link to read the minutes from the presentation. Remarks from Lance and Jim begin 15:35 into the agenda. 

Students asked to fire up imagination for 3-Hour Short Story Competition


It could be a word, a phrase, or even an object – but organizers know that’s all it will take for talented writers to emerge victorious at Okanagan College’s second annual 3-hour short story competition.

“What we’re looking for is a strong sense of imagination and creativity, and by giving students that one item to ponder at the beginning of the contest, we know that will spark something that will captivate the judges,” says English professor and organizer Sean Johnston.

The short story competition is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. The contest takes place simultaneously from noon – 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. Writers will work on College computers, and will not be able to access any pre-written material or anything online.

Four prizes of $250 tuition credit will be handed out – one for each campus winner. The grand prizewinner will receive an additional $500 tuition credit.

Last year more than 70 students took part, including Salmon Arm high school student Shvaugn Craig, who won with her story Poppies and Leaves.

“It was fun, and interesting,” says Craig, who is now enrolled in the Writing and Publishing program at Okanagan College. “When they gave us the prompt I wondered: how on earth do I include battery cables? But somehow I did.”

There is no fee to participate, but registration is required by noon Friday, Nov. 18. Visit to sign up.

Penticton Rotary clubs help students hit the books hard

rotaryWhen students at Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence sit down to study, they’ll literally be supported by their local Rotarians. The Penticton, Penticton-Okanagan and Skaha Rotary Clubs successfully pooled their resources to raise $21,660, which will create a designated study space.

“Education is one of the key focuses of Rotary, so this made perfect sense,” said Skaha Club director and lawyer Tom Kampman. “I remember what it was like trying to study during my academic years. I used to find a spot in the windowless basement of the library, and just put my head down. I think being in that academic air makes a difference.”

The three clubs presented their cheques to the Okanagan College Foundation at a special event held on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the College’s new Centre of Excellence. Following the presentation, the Rotarians toured the net-zero energy facility.

The donations from Penticton ($15,000), Penticton-Okanagan ($5,000) and Skaha ($1,600) combined with the donation from Summerland Rotary ($25,000) earlier this year mark the latest demonstration of community support for the College and its unique multi-million dollar building.

Follow this link
to read the complete press release.

Ready, set, Moodle

Behind-the-scenes work on the migration from BlackBoard to Moodle has now moved to the early test phase.

“We now have admin access to our Moodle production server,” said educational technology coordinator Mike Minions, who is heading up the project. “Migration of the first few pilot courses is imminent.”

Over the next few weeks a series of test migrations will take place that will allow the team to fine-tune the process so that courses will be in the most ‘ready-to-teach’ state possible. The aim is to run a small number of pilot courses in Moodle in January 2012. Critical to the migration is determining exactly how many courses need to be moved over.

Instructors have so far reviewed 1,310 course sections and identified 391 courses that need to be moved to the new system. The migration team is still looking for input from instructors on another 2,416 sections.

In the meantime, team members Allan Hickey and Tom Esson are working on the integration of the Banner registration system to automate user and course registration in Moodle.

“We have test instances of Banner and Moodle that we're trying to convince to play nicely,” Minions said.

Anyone interested in getting a head start on Moodle, can check out the Moodle 2.0 training resources being collected on the ed tech website.


Laura Eagen to lead IT Services

eagenLaura Eagen is looking forward to landing in the Okanagan to take over her new job as the College’s Director of Information Technology Services.

She’s worked in Ireland, Newfoundland and Ottawa over the course of the last three decades, and brings with her extensive experience in a number of different scenarios.

Most recently, she has been Chief Information Officer for Newfoundland Liquor. Before that was head of Strategic Development for the Bank of Ireland.

“I’m eager to immerse myself in the post-secondary environment,” she says. “Information Technology has always been an integral part of the education system, but from the business side of the equation to the classroom and to educational delivery, it is becoming increasingly critical. Okanagan College has a deserved reputation for leadership in post-secondary, and I’m hoping to help further bolster that.”

“Laura’s breadth of experience and her demonstrated capacity for innovation and for strategic development impressed us,” explains Bob Eby, Okanagan College’s Vice-President of Finance and Administration.

Laura will replace retiring IT Services Director Dave Harris, who wraps his career with Okanagan College in December after almost 25 years as an employee. His history with the College, though, goes further than that.

Dave’s relationship with Okanagan College began in the late 1960s when the computer business he worked at took on the College as a client, printing class lists from punched cards.

Eagen starts work in January.

Marie Scarborough earns master’s degree

marieAfter two years of hard work, Continuing Studies program coordinator Marie Scarborough has earned her master’s in Learning and Technology from Royal Roads University’s Education Studies department.

Marie’s coursework included an emphasis on best practices in learning – learning processes, planning for learning, designing for learning, facilitating learning, and assessing learning – all of which take place in a technology-mediated environment. 

College well represented at Banner User Conference

Several College employees, from various parts of the organization, attended the ninth annual Canadian Banner User Conference in Ottawa during the last week of September. 

IT Services’ Dan Larsen and Xavier Mendoza led a presentation about Okanagan College Mobile Development.

Version one of the College’s app is currently available in the Apple App Store and on the Android market.  

Look for version two to be released at the end of November. Additional features will include News, Grades, Schedules, ClassFinder, Maps and Feedback.  

Extreme deep-sea environments exposed by UVic professor in public talk

tunnicliffeDr. Verena Tunnicliffe, a pioneer and leading authority on deep-water life, will share images from extreme deep-sea environments with all who attend a public lecture at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus on Thursday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m.  

The talk is presented by the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Center and the Okanagan College).

Tunnicliffe is a University of Victoria professor in the departments of Biology and School of Earth/Ocean Sciences. She led the world’s first expedition to observe the hydrothermal vents off the west coast of Canada in 1983 and has logged more than 120 submersible deep-sea dives and hundreds of hours with seafloor remotely operated vehicle operations.

Tunnicliffe will explore some of the deep places in the ocean to reveal some astonishing wonders. Imagery from expeditions to hot vents, subsea volcanoes, and the depths of Canadian oceans will illustrate the beauty and the extraordinary dynamics of ecosystems seldom seen. Canada is a leader in development of subsea technologies that allow us to undertake such exploration: submersible, remotely operated vehicles and subsea observatories are world leading.

Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre or call (250) 545-3644 for advanced purchase of tickets or for more information. 

Leadership Team horses around in Salmon Arm

horseshoeOkanagan College’s Leadership Team took its regular meeting to Salmon Arm this month. In addition to the usual agenda, recruiting and events coordinator Leslie Bogula arranged a fun mixer at the Salmon Arm Horseshoe Club. During a lunch break, members of the Leadership Team had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Salmon Arm campus staff and students in a fun and challenging match of horseshoes.

While no official results from the competition were posted, eyewitness accounts reported Ferne Davis as a horseshoe ringer. 

October 25, 2011 Vol. 5 Issue 15


Of dark hollows and Halloween lore

halloweenGet set to recall centuries of fascination with the underworld. History Professor Howard Hisdal and English Professor Terry Scarborough are teaming up to give a noon-time presentation on the historical context and the narratives that surround Halloween as we know it, and why it continues to have both cultural significance and appeal. The event takes place on Friday, Oct. 28 at the Kelowna campus lecture theatre.

Of pitchforks and BBQs

Check out good eats with a Halloween spin on the popular United Way Fundraiser on Monday, Oct. 31 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Breezeway at the Kelowna campus. Fork over a fiver for a delicious burger, juice and Halloween treat, and do some good for the United Way.


The doors are now open to bring your canned goods to the Kelowna campus and help SIFE Okanagan reach its goal of collecting 1,500 items by Halloween. Look for the SIFE Let’s Can Hunger lunchbox in the atrium. If you want to get involved, contact project manager Dominique Tipton at 250-718-4339.

Kelowna campus to host all-candidates forum

Kelowna students will have an opportunity to engage in real-time politics when the College hosts an all-candidates forum on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Mingle with candidates running for mayor and city council in the Centre for Learning atrium starting at 10 a.m. Students will pose questions to the candidates from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Trades shop ramps up 3Rs

Sustainability in Education Series

The Construction Trades shop in Kelowna is diligently applying the principle of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Their new lighting system uses only 35 per cent of the energy of the previous fluorescent lights, and all lights are on motion sensors. Hardwood is sourced and milled locally, and projects are reused or repurposed when appropriate, plus all wood waste is properly recycled. Shop operation follows sustainable practices and students are encouraged to seek new ways to create a healthy indoor environment.

Stories about Sustainability in Education (100-150 words) can be submitted to David Williams.

Teaching sustainability

Two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to putting sustainability ideas into practice.

Discuss fresh research and debate ideas with teachers from various disciplines Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Kelowna campus, room L103 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. All College employees are welcome. The group meets regularly the first Wednesday of each month. For more information, contact Ellen Pedersen. This discussion group is a project of the Okanagan College Sustainability Curriculum Team.

Calling all thespians

Auditions get underway shortly for Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players production of the Noël Coward comedy Blithe Spirit. Auditions run Nov. 16 and 17 from 4-6 p.m., Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon, and Nov. 20 from 2-4 p.m.
For more information, visit:

Demystifying cholesterol in this edition of Wellness InFocus

The latest issue of Wellness InFocus by Mercer HR Consulting is now available with this issue focused on managing your cholesterol and blood pressure, plus a reality check on good fat or bad fat? The publication focuses on positive strategies for living a healthy and well-balanced life. The next edition will be published in February 2012.

Are you digging it?

With harvest season now over, it’s time to consider what bounty next year could bring. Two spots are available at the Community Garden Plots at the Kelowna campus. The cost is $15 per year. For more information, contact Angie at extension 4501.

Banish those speaking fears

Toastmasters now has a group at the Kelowna campus. Hone both your speaking and leadership skills at the weekly meetings Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in room B131. Everyone welcome, including guests. Contact Rob St.Onge, ext. 4876. for more details.

CSB deadline Nov. 1

The days are counting down to purchase a new Canada Savings Bond or increase existing payroll deductions. For more information, please click here. 

Mileage reimbursement and taxability

Financial Services has received numerous questions surrounding the Mileage Reimbursement Policy and how taxability is determined. A summary of what mileage is reimbursable and how that is calculated can be found here. Mileage logs that are incomplete or unclear will be returned for clarification. For specific questions, please refer to the Mileage Reimbursement Policy found in myOkanagan in the Policy Catalogue or contact Vicki Pannell ext. 4312.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Linda Dyck from the Cafeteria in Kelowna – the winner of the Sept. 23 payday draw for $582.50. All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. Anyone interested in donating can contact Tessa Derksen, ext. 4774, or pick up forms from HR.

Be a Knitwit

The newest Knitwit collection is now available at all Campus Stores. New creatures, plus some old friends each designed with humour and function in mind. Hats and mitts retail for $22.99.


Oct. 27 – The Okanagan College Coyotes athletic teams will host their annual breakfast fundraiser at the Capri Hotel at 7 a.m. This yearly event gives fans and supporters a chance to take part and give the team a boost.

Oct. 28 – Get spooky with an historical and literary perspective on Halloween with Professors Howard Hisdal and Terry Scarborough. Noon-1 p.m. at the Kelowna campus lecture theatre.

Oct. 29 – Penticton’s new Centre of Excellence building swings open its green doors to the community from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 1 – Applications will open for programs beginning Sept. 2012. The Registrar’s Office recommends early application for Certified Dental Assistant, all Engineering Technology programs, Criminal and Social Justice, Human Kinetics, Practical Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Nov. 1 - Kalamalka Speaker Series – Margaret Clark – Re-visioning Justice
The Restorative Justice Coordinator with Vernon’s RCMP Safe Communities Unit talks about how this extrajudicial measure helps young people in conflict with the law. The free event takes place from 12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. at the Vernon Campus Lecture Theatre.

Nov. 6 - Career Fair – The largest career fair in the Southern Interior runs Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus.

Nov. 7 - Kalamalka Speaker Series – Howard Hisdal - The Centennial of the B.C. Dragoons: 100 Years in the Okanagan and Overseas. This talk includes the story of two Victoria Cross members associated with the regiment and Canada’s first peacekeeping fatality. This free event takes place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Lounge on the Vernon Campus.

Nov. 11 – Okanagan College will be closed in observance of the Remembrance Day statutory holiday.

Nov. 15 - Kalamalka Speaker Series - Graphic artist and educator Tina Aziz-Siddiqui. In 2004 Aziz-Siddiqui received an award for portraiture and abstract paintings at the Open International Portrait Competition in Toronto. Her work has appeared around the world, including in the U.K., U.S., Pakistan and Dubai. This free event takes place from 1-2 p.m. in the Vernon Campus Lecture Theatre.

Nov. 23 - Kalamalka Speaker Series – Contacting extra-terrestrials: the CSETI protocols...political activism for the 21st Century with Deborah Warren Computer Science, Okanagan College. This free event is open to all and will take place from 1 - 2 p.m. in Classroom D333 on the Vernon Campus.

Nov. 29  - Kalamalka Speaker Series – Permaculture Design with Gordon Hiebert, B.Comm, PDC. This free event takes place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus Lecture Theatre.


Okanagan College got a hefty booster shot of media attention with news that nursing students can now complete the first half of their four-year Bachelor of Science degree at the Kelowna campus. Capturing attention were MLAs Ben Stewart and Norm Letnick checking out the College’s state-of-the-art health simulation lab. Read more in: College, UBCO team up for new nursing lab, and check out this CHBC clip.

Pitching for a home run on Vernon turf hit a media soft spot with news Okanagan College was appearing for the second time before the Agricultural Land Commission regarding a new sports complex for Vernon campus. Read more in Sports complex pitched again, and Vernon’s Morning Star editorial: Complex requires unified front.

A trio of Okanagan College writers pooled their talents to draw crowds, and media attention. Sean Johnston, Frances Greenslade and Melanie Murray got their chance in the spotlight with Greenslade making an appearance talking about her new book Shelter on CBC Radio’s new afternoon show Radio West. See also: College faculty celebrate publications.

It’s all hands on deck now that the federal government has granted Seaspan Marine an $8-billion dollar shipbuilding contract. That’s a boon to the College says Trades and Apprenticeship Dean John Haller. Read more in Set sail for a job boon or listen to John on AM 1150.

Okanagan College created buzz when Shell Busey, along with his wife Frances, toured the new $28-million Centre of Excellence in Penticton. When asked for his opinion, the energy-minded media personality called the building “remarkable.” Read: Busey big on lessons in Centre of Excellence.

Media turned to Okanagan College to celebrate Small Business Week, focusing its attention on Business Administration graduate Sattu Dhaliwal. See her story: Business connections give grads advantage.

There’s nothing like getting a heavy hitter to bring in the press, and the arrival of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie for the annual Okanagan College Coyotes Athletic fundraiser breakfast did just that. Read: Budding Blue Jay superstar to speak, and Jays’ Lawrie to address Coyotes.

And speaking of the Coyotes, they scored quite a few goals for the start of their new season. Check out OC’s Coyotes look for rebound, and Coyotes look to D vs. Clan.

The Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Structures program experienced some extra lift. Read: Aviation career training discussed, and Aircraft programs offered.

Helping the community makes a difference, and so did Okanagan College’s willingness to help people dispose of their old tires. Discard old tires; help banish mozzies.

Civic duty called and Okanagan College answered by offering up voting booths for the upcoming municipal election. Read: Expanded options for voters.

Positive press for new Business Administration student Jennifer Andrews – one of only 16 B.C. students to receive the Standing Tall Award. Read: Kelowna student receives Coast Capital Savings citizenship award.

The Okanagan College Foundation was among many recipients who shared a $95,000 donation from the Fest-of-Ale Society in Penticton. See: Fest-of Ale Society raises $95,000.

One of the founders of Okanagan College in 1968 – former bursar and Dean of Administrative Services, Clarence John (Dirk) Doerksen -- was honoured in the Globe and Mail’s Lives Lived. Click here for more.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer. 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 Tuesday, Nov. 8.