Connections 2013

ConnectionsOkanagan College's eighth annual employee learning conference took place on Aug. 20 and 21 at the Vernon Campus. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to interact with colleagues throughout the day, reflect on past accomplishments and get pumped for the year ahead.

The day started with breakfast and an illuminating video on Okanagan College’s history. Then President Jim Hamilton took the podium for his informative and often humorous take on the College’s accomplishments and what’s coming up for 2013-14. In addition, employees had the option of attending two workshops throughout the day.

Topics of these one-hour sessions included an Advanced MS Office Skills boot camp, a primer on cloud-based presentation software Prezi, an outdoor yoga class, and a healthy cooking seminar and tasting.

During lunch, colleagues were able to connect with each other and participate in a scavenger hunt. For staff not familiar with the attributes of the Vernon campus, it was an opportunity to get to know its unique architectural details and take in the picturesque scenery. The day culminated in a reception with refreshments provided by Tree Brewing, Okanagan Spirits and Planet Bee.

HCA program in Revelstoke

HCA RevelstokeOkanagan College, in partnership with Interior Health and Revelstoke District Health Foundation, is now offering a new, one-time only Health Care Assistant program starting in Revelstoke on Sept. 23. The program will help meet the community’s need for health care workers.

Graduates will be qualified to provide essential services to their clients including help with their hygiene, nutrition and mobility needs. Qualified students are eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Contact Michele McCready for more information. 


Retail and Hospitality Customer Service Training Program

Okanagan College will be offering a funded Retail and Hospitality Customer Service Training program starting in Sept. This full-time, eight-week program is designed to provide unemployed individuals with the necessary training and certification to provide exceptional customer experiences in the retail and hospitality industry.

Students will earn industry-recognized certificates including FoodSafe, Serving It Right, WorldHost and Occupational First Aid Level. This free program will be offered at the Neskonlith Education Centre from Sept.16 to Nov. 8, in Revelstoke from Sept. 30 to Nov. 22 and Kelowna from Oct. 7 to Nov. 29.

Okanagan College Professor Makes Provincial Equestrian Team

Ann McKinnon
Earlier this month, the Horse Council of B.C. announced its selections for the 2013 provincial equestrian team. Women's Studies Professor Ann McKinnon and her horse Akilah are chomping at the bit to compete alongside their teammates in the dressage competition at Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships.

The event takes place on Sept.13 to 15 at the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping venue in Calgary.

Horticulture and Landscape Training For Special Needs Students

In July, Continuing Studies ran a 70-hour Landscape course for six enthusiastic special needs students. Designed to help students enter the workforce, this practical, hands-on course introduced learners to a range of skills, attitudes and abilities relating to the field, including safety training, equipment use and maintenance practices, teamwork and general landscaping techniques. The classes took place in the Kalamalka Demonstration Garden located at the Vernon campus.

Big Year For Camp OC

Okanagan College’s annual summer camp for students in Grades 2 to 9 ends its most successful year to date with nearly 70 camps and 950 registrations.
New camps debuting this year included Metal Fabrication for Grades 7 to 9, a DJ and Music Producer Camp for Grades 4 through 9, and a Cooking Camp for all ages. For a full list of this year’s camps, check out
Thanks to all staff, instructors and volunteers who made this year’s success possible.

Winner announced for the 2013 Moodle Quality Awards

Sofia Sookochoff, instructor in the Adult Academic and Career Preparation program, is the winner of the 2013 Moodle Quality Awards (MQA).

“Sofia designed a beautiful course on Introduction to Computer Studies by following Okanagan College’s Online Course Quality Standards,” says Ross McKerlich, Education Technology Coordinator.

McKerlich wants to thank all 2013 entrants and encourages people to enter the 2014 MQA’s next year. If you have any questions about designing courses in Moodle, email McKerlich.

OC App for BlackBerry now live

OC Blackberry AppThe BlackBerry version of the popular OC Mobile app has been approved and is now available for BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook. The app has been running on iPhones and Android devices for more than two years now. Built primarily for student use, the app is free to download and includes a variety of resources and information for students including access to grades, schedules, College maps and news. The next app to be developed will be for the Windows 8 phone.


Former Okanagan College Young Alumni Award Winner Ryan Donn of Creative Okanagan is organizing a free global music festival taking place this Sat. Aug. 24 in Memorial Park in West Kelowna. See West Kelowna goes global.

The Vernon Morning Star captured Madelaine Befus, retired Associate Dean of the School of Business, as she shared a smile with her Buoyant Buddies teammates at the Vernon Dragon Boat Races on Aug. 17. See Paddle power.

Olympian ski-cross racer and former student Kelsey Serwa is recovering from surgery but optimistic about her chances for the upcoming race season. The Capital News featured the former Okanagan College student’s quest to not only make the Canadian Olympic team heading to Russia’s Sochi Olympics in 2014 but to win a spot on the podium as well. Read Chasing Olympic glory. A fundraiser is also being organized to assist Serwa financially in her quest for Olympic gold on Sept. 15. See Fundraiser set to help Serwa.

Global skin care company Dermalogica has partnered with Okanagan College to offer Esthetics and Nail Technology program students enhanced training and professional development opportunities starting this Sept. See College spa centre gains Dermalogica.

Okanagan College instructor and Chair of Motor Vehicle Trades Cam McRobb, will be one of several celebrity guests participating in the second annual Kennel Lock-In For The Animals on Aug. 23 at the Kelowna B.C. SPCA. For details, read Locked up to help put an end to animal cruelty.

Vancouver firm, Dialog, was recently announced as the project manager for the new sports complex being built at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. Construction is scheduled for completion by November 2014. Read Vancouver firm takes the reins over track plans.

Okanagan College computer science professor Youry Khmelevsky has been appointed interim chairman for the Okanagan region of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. See College prof steps up.

Employers can’t find enough technologists and technicians in B.C. to meet market demands, reports The Daily Courier. Despite Okanagan College’s extensive course offerings program spaces still go unfilled. Read more in Want to make $90,000 a year?

B.C. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk urges students to focus on training for skilled trades and resources industries to meet looming skills shortages in the near future. Read more in Pressure on the province to enhance job skills training.

Aug. 27, 2013 Vol. 8, Issue 11


Fitness Facility Closure

The Fitness Facility will be closing for the Labour Day weekend at 6 p.m. on Fri. Aug. 30. The facility will reopen on Tues. Sept. 3 at 6 a.m. with the start of regular fall hours, which are Mon. to Fri. 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kelowna Room Bookings

Be advised that Kelowna staff and faculty can only book rooms after the Fall 2013 enrolment date of Sept. 13, 2013.
The following exceptions may be considered prior to this date:
•    Bookings on Sat. and Sun.
•    Evening bookings
•    Orientation bookings for Sept. 3 
The Kelowna Scheduling Office reserves the right to move events booked prior to Sept. 13, 2013. Kelowna Campus room-booking responsibilities are as follows:
•    Alison Beaumont (4929): academic, vocational and foundational course bookings and final exams
•    Brad Haberstock (4614): internal event bookings (including orientation bookings)
•    Lois Harrold (4544): external event bookings
•    Marie Crossley (4231): trades bookings
Event booking requests for the new semester will be processed starting Sept. 16.

Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate

Spaces are available for the next Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate (LCIC) program beginning on Sept. 5. The program focuses on enhancing teaching and classroom management skills and exploring the concept of learner-centred instruction.
This 60-hour certificate program qualifies for a two-course credit towards the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program administered through Vancouver Community College. All applications must be received by Sept. 4, 2013.
For more information, visit the course calendar.

Plan Member Seminars

All municipal pension plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits, are invited to attend the following seminars being held this fall at locations throughout B.C.

Your Pension, Your Future (1.5 hours) for new and mid-career plan members.

Thinking About Retiring (2 hours) for members within five years of retirement.

To view the schedule and to register for an event near you:
Go to
Click on Resources
Click on Pension Information Seminars

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs.


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 September 10, 2013.