Toward 2020: Strategic Plan rolled out at each campus

StratPlan2020 imageOkanagan College employees had the opportunity to learn more about the new Strategic Plan, which was approved by the Board of Governors last month, during a series of engagement sessions held at each of the campuses over the past week. 

More than 175 employees attended the sessions, which included a short animated video describing the process and outcomes from the Strategic Planning Task Force. Project manager Kerry Rempel was joined by the regional deans and President Jim Hamilton at each of the sessions to engage in a conversation with employees about how the new plan will be adopted and integrated across our College.

“Development of the new Strategic Plan included input from more than 1,300 people across our College community,” explained Hamilton. “I’m really proud of the work that was done by both Kerry and the Task Force. They managed to collect so much input and still produce a concise and focused two-page document. The hard work of crafting the Strategic Plan is now behind us but we have a considerable challenge ahead as well. It’s up to us to bring the plan to life and to make meaningful and significant progress as an institution. With work on some of our key directions already underway, I’m confident we are going to be successful in the execution of our plan.”

At each of the recent consultation sessions Hamilton encouraged employees to engage in department-level discussions about how the Strategic Plan will guide and enhance the day-to-day and long term activities across the College. Anyone who is interested in having a member of the Executive join their department discussion about the new Strategic Plan can contact Joanna Campbell.

To review the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, visit the website.

Winter Convocation

Okanagan College celebrated the achievements of 310 students at the Winter Convocation ceremony held in Kelowna on Jan. 16. The College conferred 54 bachelor’s degrees, 18 associate degrees, 201 diplomas, and 37 certificates in Arts, Business, Computer Science, Engineering Technologies, Health and Social Development, and Science programs.

Amanda SchuffelsAmanda Schuffels, who graduated from the Water Engineering Technology program and is a single mother, was among those who crossed the stage. “Okanagan College afforded me a hands-on education in labs and the co-op terms were hugely beneficial,” she said. “I was able to take pumps and valves apart, conduct chemical deliveries off of trucks, troubleshoot problems, and engage in lots of lab work. It gave me real examples to speak about during interviews and I feel prepared for the job ahead.”

Read more about Schuffels’ OC experience and how it has helped her be job-ready in the press release.

College signs MOU for mining training program

The Ministry of Advanced Education and the Ministry of Energy and Mines announced today that Okanagan College is one of five post-secondary institutions that signed a memorandum of understanding that will make it easier for students across the province to train for careers in mineral exploration and mining. Students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will be able to complete the first year of BCIT’s Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology Diploma locally.
The pilot project stems from the B.C. Centre of Training Excellence in Mining (CTEM), and the College of New Caledonia, Northwest Community College, and Thompson Rivers University join Okanagan College in signing the agreement with BCIT.
For more information, read the B.C. Government press release.

Applying LEAN mapping to improve
applicants’ experience

A new version of “View my Application” in myOkanagan that will benefit applicants and also facilitate a smoother administrative process has been developed using an application of LEAN process management and mapping. It is part of the multi-year Registrar’s Office Admissions and Registration Project (RARP) that was worked on collaboratively with the IT Services department.

By using value stream mapping methods to look at the current and future state of admissions from application to enrolment, the group identified gaps with applicants accepting an offer of admission online but not being required to pay the admissions deposit at the same time, and also a lack of credit card payments being accepted. This resulted in a frustrating process and many work hours of follow-ups with students.

Applicants can now view their applications online and when accepting an offer online they can pay their deposit at the same time, ultimately saving valuable time for staff who no longer need to track down payments. The new look of the platform lends itself to better communication and instructions for applicants, is more functional, and is esthetically more pleasing.

The project was coordinated by Jillian Stamp with significant support provided by Moya Webb, Xavier Mendoza, and many others in IT Services and the Registrar’s Office.

Ninth annual Business Expo & Employment Fair

Bus. ExpoGraduating students, alumni and community members can meet with the companies who are hiring at the ninth annual Business Expo & Employment Fair at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Wednesday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning

More than 60 businesses will be present, looking to meet top candidates from across the Valley, representing a range of sectors including banking, business solutions, engineering technologies, IT, trades and even the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Coast Guard. The College’s Human Resources department will also have a booth at the event.

“It’s about connecting those looking for work, with those who do the hiring directly for these enterprises,” said organizer and Okanagan College School of Business Program and Event Coordinator Jamie Morrow. “Having a chance to get beyond being just a name on a resume and present yourself to human resources managers can bring you one step closer to having a job and launching a career.”

Some employers also book additional rooms to conduct more in-depth interviews on the spot for applicants who meet the job criteria.

For a full list of exhibitors and more information, visit the website.

Food, wine, tourism industry training for youth in the Osoyoos area

Destination Osoyoos and Okanagan College have partnered to deliver Passport to Employment – an innovative program that aims to grow the food, wine and tourism industry by providing free, hands-on training to high school students in Osoyoos and Oliver from Jan. 23 to mid-April.

Brianne Hearle, Director of Marketing with Destination Osoyoos, recognizes that offering a program like this can help retain the youth in the community by giving them training to be gainfully employed both during and after their school years, while helping the hospitality sector acquire a larger certified pool of candidates to choose from.

Passport to Employment’s curriculum contains hands-on training and certification options in areas that the food, wine and tourism industry has long recognized are skill gaps. Topics include essential employment skills, professionalism in the workplace, as well as front desk, housekeeping and cashier training. Students will also earn valuable industry recognized certificates, including FoodSafe, WorldHost, Serving it Right, WorkSafe BC Occupational First Aid, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) and BC Wine Server.

Students will receive four high school credits for successfully completing the program and have the opportunity to participate in a job fair sponsored by Destination Osoyoos. Graduates of the program will also be eligible to apply for a $1,000 scholarship to further their education.

For more information about the program, read the press release.

Book your appointment with Canadian Blood Services

Cdn Blood logoNursing students will host a booth in the Centre for Learning Atrium in Kelowna on Wednesday Jan. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to book staff and students into blood donation appointments for the week of Feb. 1 to 6 as part of the kickoff to making 2016 the year you start donating (and seasoned donors can book their first appointment of the year).
The Canadian Blood Services Kelowna Clinic has a need for 2,000 new donors this year. Since 2008 Okanagan College has been a Partner for Life organization committed to making blood donations throughout the year. You can register at the clinic to have your donation count as an Okanagan College member (only need to do this once) and it tracks your donation towards Okanagan College’s annual goal. The College’s Partner for Life identification number is OKAN002612.
In 2015 Okanagan College had pledged a contribution of 50 units. At year-end, College associated donors had provided 80 units. It was the second year the College had exceeded its goal for donations. For more information visit or use the Giveblood app.

Traveling environmental art show at libraries

Earth Matters displayPhotographs of artwork submitted to Earth Matters, an environmentally themed art show, are currently on display in the foyer of the Library at the Kelowna campus. Organized by Kathleen Jagger (Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science) the environmentally focused theme aimed to highlight the link between creative expression and academic study in the natural and social sciences.  

Submissions from 15 local artists ranging in age from 16 to 75 included 21 original 2D art pieces based on one of the important environmental issues facing modern society. Capturing one of the four themes of biodiversity, water resources, waste, or climate change, artists were asked to submit their rationale for creating each piece. The display will be traveling to the libraries in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton over the coming months.

Boyd donation to help promote automotive careers

Boyd DonationBoyd Autobody and Glass recently presented the College with a unique mobile collision repair demonstration vehicle which can be transported to local high schools. Boyd’s owner Methal Abougoush, who volunteers his time as an industry advisor for the College’s Collision Repair programs, has been touring the vehicle around Kelowna and sharing tips of the trade with students.

As a potential skills shortage looms that could affect the automotive sector in the Okanagan within the next five years, the donation is a way to rev up excitement for careers in collision repair.

In addition to the demonstration unit (valued at over $15,000) Boyd Autobody and Glass has also donated to support much needed locker space in the new trades building under construction at the Kelowna campus. Read the press release for more information.

Would-be students interested in starting training in Collision Repair at Okanagan College in 2016 should take note: an essay competition is running until the end of January. Entrance bursaries valued at up to $5,000 each will be awarded to 10 students who demonstrate financial need and who are able to enrol in eligible trades programs this year. Find out more here.


Okanagan College School of Business Dean’s Office
role changes

Barry McGillivray donationDr. Barry McGillivray has stepped into the role of acting Dean of the Okanagan School of Business for the first six months of 2016, to temporarily replace Dr. Heather Banham as she undertakes an alternate work assignment including academic and professional development, as well as applied research.

Banham’s research activity to date includes an award for outstanding research received for a blind-reviewed paper on “Chinese Entrepreneurs in Small and Medium Enterprises - an Emic View” that she co-authored with Dr. Yunke He, based on in-depth qualitative interviews that He conducted. The article has been accepted for publication in the Global Journal of Business Research.

Heather BanhamBanham is registered in the "Governance for Not for Profit Enterprises" program offered by the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. The program will further prepare her for her role as Chair of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) in 2017-18 along with her ongoing involvement on the Board and Executive Committee for CPABC.

Teresa Kisilevich has been seconded to serve in McGillivray’s role as an Associate Dean in the Okanagan School of Business. Kisilevich was the chair of Office Administration.

Dr. Beverlie Dietze’s project receives major funding

Beverlie Dietze, Jan 2016Advancing Early Childhood Educators’ (ECE) training curricula to include the benefits of unstructured outdoor play for children’s wellbeing is no child’s play for Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, it’s serious work that just received a significant $195,000 national funding boost from the Lawson Foundation. It is one of 14 projects across Canada to receive funding as part of an Outdoor Play Strategy.

Dietze is leading the Okanagan College project with valuable education partners including Dr. Diane Kashin from Toronto’s School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, faculty at Lethbridge College in Alberta and at Northern College in Ontario, the Justice Institute of British Columbia and the Canadian Child Care Federation. Together they will develop a specialized training model for ECEs about children’s outdoor play that can be delivered in person or online, at no cost to participants.

The project will develop 12 three-hour modules that will cover topics including: open space, intelligent materials, physical literacy, indigenous outdoor play practices, risk taking, accessibility, and diversity in children’s outdoor play needs. It is aimed at 400 current ECEs working in childcare centres in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, as well as ECE faculty at Canadian post-secondary institutions in order to help propel the training of the future labour force.

Read the press release to learn more about this exciting project.

Connections 2016: be a session leader, submit your idea 

Connections logoConnections 2016, Okanagan College’s annual conference for employees by employees, will take place on Aug. 23 and 24 with the theme being Building on Our Strengths.

The organizing committee is looking for employees to lead interesting and informative sessions that will enlighten their colleagues. Sessions are to be 50 to 55 minutes in length and should be both interactive and engaging. If you are interested in presenting a session, you can register online or for more information please contact Kerry Rempel.

BCIS students place in top 25 per cent globally
at 24-hour competition

IEEE StudentsResults are in from the fall’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Xtreme Programming world-wide competition; one of Okanagan College’s first-year Bachelor of Computer Information Systems teams made-up of Rob Bro, Martin Wallace, and Kevin Hall placed in the top 25 teams across Canada, and top 500 world-wide out of 2,000 global teams (and more than 6,400 students). This was the first year the College entered.  

Four three-member OC teams (12 students) participated in the consecutive 24-hour competition that saw student teams solve 29 unique problems using different algorithms and then translate those algorithms into a computer language. Their solutions were tested for accuracy, speed and correctness. The students stayed at the Kelowna campus for the round-the-clock event, working hard to solve these problems. It was the first time any of them competed in a programming competition, and Computer Information Systems Department Chair Dr. Youry Khmelevsky and Professor Kenneth Chidlow coached them.

“I don’t think any of us knew what to anticipate,” said Bro. “Some of the questions were super simple, however there were questions that were solvable but required you to solve them in a particular way to pass the time constrains. It was quite the challenge but lots of fun.”

The students have now formed an IEEE student branch at Okanagan College and will be looking forward to many more activities through 2016 including the Global Game Jam on Jan. 29. For more information, visit the website

Student’s business project looks at idling and air quality

Alex fullertonWhat are your thoughts about idling and air quality?  Fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration Honours student Alex Fullerton is conducting a study throughout the Central Okanagan as part of his course-work and he wants to hear from you.  

Working with the Regional Services department of the City of Kelowna (and its partners), Fullerton is using research methods to help provide insights about citizens’ perceptions and attitudes towards idling and air quality that could help the decision making process during future considerations of potential anti-idling bylaws in the region.

His survey takes approximately eight minutes to complete, and can be found at the Facebook page for The Central Okanagan Idling and Air Quality Attitudinal Study, or through the direct link to the survey here.

He encourages you and everyone within the Central Okanagan to partake in the study, and to also share it with friends and family in order to obtain a comprehensive snapshot of the Central Okanagan. 

College program enables a one-year flight path to top-demand career

AMES ShaelFor 32-year-old Okanagan College Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Structures (AME-S) alumnus Shael Riendeau, who works at KF Aerospace, the possibility of a one-year turnaround to a career was a strong pull to enrol in the program. “Knowing I could finish classes and there was a high probability of a job right away was reassuring. In less than one year I was able to apply, take the program, graduate, and get hired.”

His chosen industry is booming, with Boeing predicting a global demand for 609,000 aircraft maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it the most in-demand occupation in the aviation industry. Locally the demand is echoed at KF Aerospace, Kelowna’s largest privately owned employer. In the last four years, the company has hired 29 of Okanagan College’s AME-S graduates (including the entire 2014 class), representing more than a quarter of their AME-S technician labour force.

Partnering with industry to connect grads with employers is a pillar of Okanagan College’s success. Uniquely, the AME-S program is taught at the Kelowna airport sharing hangar space with KF Aerospace. This allows for additional applied learning that benefits the students’ experience. Riendeau recalls being taken on tours and having the chance to see unique projects in action as an asset to his education.

Over 70 per cent of the College’s AME-S graduates are hired locally in the aircraft and helicopter industry, while others go on to work provincially, nationally or globally in this exciting industry that includes the armed forces, search and rescue and airline companies.   

The AME-S program is accepting applicants for the Feb. 1 program start. To learn more read the press release.

Jan. 26, 2016, Vol. 10, Issue 21


Early-bird registration: Half Marathon

Time to hit the ground running with the 14th annual Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, taking place at the Kelowna campus on Sunday, April 3, 2016. Register online today to take advantage of the early bird pricing until Feb. 14.

Prefer to be involved on race day but not a runner? The race would not be possible without the countless volunteers that make it a reality. Email Michelle Lowry to get involved.

Infusions Restaurant news

Enjoy a delectable three-course dinner prepared by Culinary Arts students at Infusions Restaurant in Kelowna during Dine Around Thompson Okanagan until Feb. 7. Reservations are highly recommended to enjoy the special $35 menu.

The restaurant will also be offering a breakfast buffet every Wednesday starting on Jan. 27 from 9 to 11 a.m. for $8.95 + tax per person.

A lunch buffet will be offered every second Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m for $15.95 + tax per person. A popular lunch option, the Jan. 29 lunch is already fully reserved. The next lunch buffet will be Feb. 12. 

Please note Infusions’ updated hours of operations (cafeteria hours have not changed):

  • Breakfast: Tue - Fri, 9 to 11 a.m.
  • Lunch: Tue - Fri, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Dinner: Thu & Fri, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For reservations call 250-862-5455 or email Linda Dyck. For more information and menus, visit the webpage.

Family Award applications:
due Jan. 31, 2016 

The deadline to submit applications for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award is this week. The award is designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees in programs or terms starting between Jan. 1 and April 30, 2016.
Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms,” and then click on “Foundation.” All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna (or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm) by Jan. 31, 2016. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or call 250- 862-5419.

Health and wellness resources

The January edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter focuses on the health-related goals we set with the arrival of the new year. Articles explore the factors that can impact your physical well-being, steps you can take to improve your general health, and strategies to help keep you on track to achieving your goals.

On Jan. 27, join Mary Roncarelli, a certified Life Coach, who will be discussing measurable goals that can help you navigate your path to success in accomplishing your health-related goal for the year. Register here.

A comprehensive calendar of webinars for 2016 is also available, allowing you to register in advance for those that interest you.


Roundabout Learning Series events

Jan. 29 – In “Project Management: Planning Phase” Business Professor Roger Wheeler will guide you through the planning phase of launching a new project including establishing tasks and activities, a realistic schedule and budget, and assigning resources to activities. The session is part of the Project Management Series and will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room L103 at the Kelowna campus. Register today.

Roundabout, a series of workshops sponsored by Learning & Teaching and IT Services, is trying something new this year – department spotlights— to help strengthen inter-departmental knowledge and connections.

Feb. 1 – The Human Resources department hosts the first spotlight session from noon to 1 p.m. in their office on the fifth floor of the Centre for Learning (E building) in Kelowna. Please register via email.

For more information about these events visit the Roundabout website.

Penticton Speakers Series

Feb. 1 – Janet White, Registered Clinical Counsellor at Maya Counselling presents “The Importance of Anxiety” at the Penticton campus from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.

The talk will explore the value of emotions and moving through them as part of the richness in life. It will focus on ways that we consider all that anxiety can offer us when we see it as a possibility for further consideration of our actions. To learn more, visit the website.

Trivia night

Mar. 10 – Enactus Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Alumni Association will host a fun Family Feud style trivia evening titled “Are you smarter than an Okanagan College graduate?” at the Mission Tap House (3110 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna) from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 each or $100 for a team of five, and price includes appetizers. More information and tickets are available online


The first graduating College students of 2016 made headlines when they crossed the stage on Jan. 16. Okanagan Saturday published an article about single-mom Amanda Schuffels, see New grads, new skills, new futures, as did the Kelowna Capital News in the article Single parent graduate ready to pursue career. Okanagan Sunday attended the ceremony and published a full page of photos of smiling graduates in Graduate flying solo. The Summerland Review noted that four of the grads were from Summerland in Okanagan College holds convocation.  In advance, the Penticton Herald and Kelowna Daily Courier shared a brief about ceremony details, read more in: College students graduate Saturday.

A unique bursary essay contest launched by the Okanagan College Foundation made possible by a donation from The Joyce Foundation will give 10 Trades students a financial boost to achieving their education goals. The Vernon Morning Star shared the story of last year’s winner Rachel Broe from the Culinary Arts program in Essay contest offers bursary. The Okanagan Saturday shared a brief about the contest, see Bursary booster.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Structures (AME-S) alumnus Shael Riendeau had a career take flight in less than a year in a booming global industry with a job at KF Aerospace in Kelowna. His story was shared in the Okanagan Saturday’s article Fix a plane, and in the Kelowna Capital News article Program enables one-year flight path to top-demand career to help promote space remaining in the Feb. 1 intake of the program.

The Kelowna Capital News and KelownaNow were quick to share news that Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Teaching, received a $195,000 grant from the Lawson Foundation for a project with collaborating education partners to promote children outdoor play. Lethbridge College, one of the partners, also issued a press release to help share the news more broadly.

The Osoyoos Times and the Penticton Western News both reported on the new Passport to Employment program geared towards training South Okanagan youth in the food, wine and tourism industry. The program is offered as a partnership between Destination Osoyoos and Okanagan College.

Things were heating up in the realm of Culinary Arts as Okanagan College hosted the launch party for the annual Dine Around Thompson Okanagan (formerly Wine and Dine Okanagan) on Jan. 20. See the event photos in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s article Dining promotion begins. The Kelowna Daily Courier and the Penticton Herald published an article by columnist Steve MacNaull that mentioned the launch reception at the Kelowna campus. Meanwhile, a photo of three Okanagan College Pastry Arts students plating tasty cakes at the event graced the front page of the Kelowna Capital News, with a follow up article in the pages that follow. Global News online also posted about the successful event.

From one hot culinary event to another, things are gearing up for the popular 2016 Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates. Tickets to two main events being almost sold out is the focus of the Kelowna Daily Courier article Chefs’ competition a treat for senses.

Kelowna Daily Courier columnist Anna Jacyszyn included the Grape Debate event hosted at the Kelowna campus in her weekly events roundup column ArtaFact. She also noted that OUC Honorary Doctorate recipient Daphne Odig is one of 40 artists whose works will be displayed in a new show at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

Another OUC alumnus in the news, spoken word artist Shane Koyczan has ties to an Academy Award nomination (Oscars): he is included in the closing credits of the acclaimed film Mad Max: Fury Road. The Penticton Herald included a mention in a Valley In Brief.

The Vernon Morning Star continued to share the good news of the Lake Country Food Assistance Society receiving keys to a new building, which was built with the help of 10 Vernon Residential Construction students.

Kelowna’s Boyd Autobody & Glass donating a mobile collision repair demonstration vehicle and much needed locker space in the new Trades building under construction at the Kelowna campus was featured in an online article in Collision Repair Magazine.

In the article Lunelli family helps inspire future automotive trade job potential, the Kelowna Capital News reports on the $50,000 donation made to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign by Anthony’s Subaru.

The Kelowna Capital News published an article about the Okanagan College Faculty Association offering 30 cheques for $1,000 to current and former College students to help eliminate student debt.

On Jan. 15 the Kelowna Capital News reported optimism for OC alumna Kelly Scott as she headed into the B.C. Women’s Curling Championships. At the tournament, Scott was beat by Karla Thompson from Kamloops and as such Scott will not be heading to the Scotties, which the Kelowna Daily Courier reported on Jan. 25.


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 Feb. 9, 2016.