Employees find new ways to work and play together at Connections 2012

connectionsHundreds of employees from all four campuses took to the Kelowna campus last week in a wide-ranging effort to meet colleagues and learn new things at Connections 2012. 

More than 400 employees were on campus last Tuesday and Wednesday to attend Connections 2012: Work Together, Play Together, featuring sessions that covered everything from changes in copyright to Zumba.

The annual employee learning conference began with a video that showed highlights from the past year (anyone who missed the Connections video can follow this link to check it out online). Next up was President Jim Hamilton – he spent some time speaking to employees during his annual state-of-the-College address.

The day continued with networking events, and wrapped up with a social with prizes.

The organizing committee for Connections is looking for feedback about the employee event. Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey so the committee can continue to improve Connections for all who attend.

Demonstration Garden’s water projects now complete 

swaleTwo new water pathways designed to showcase water conservation have become the first completed projects at Okanagan College’s Kalamalka Demonstration Garden at the Vernon campus.

“The two vegetated swale pathways are one of several water conservation features that will be demonstrated in this new garden,” said Jane Lister, Regional Dean of the North Okanagan. “The aim of this garden is to create an educational space that promotes sustainable practices and ecological ventures in the Okanagan Valley.”

The professionally designed and built swales will filter water runoff, slow and spread the runoff for better absorption, and decrease erosion of the garden slope, Lister said.

The project was supported by a grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board under its Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant Program.
 Programming at the garden will centre on education and skill building through practical application as well as provide inclusive vocational and social opportunities for people living with physical, developmental and mental health conditions.

Working closely with Kindale Developmental Association and a number of community and municipal partners, Lister said work is now being focused on building the initial infrastructure required including irrigation systems, fencing, out-buildings and soil remediation.

With a solid site plan designed and the initial swale project completed, the next phase of the project is a demonstration food forest that will be planted in September.
The Kalamalka Demonstration Garden is an initiative of several community partners and in future will include a community farm, water conservation features, and permaculture agriculture practices.

Follow this link to read the complete press release.

Minister of Advanced Education visits Kelowna campus then announces funding at Penticton press conference

ttcministerWhile employees were busily learning new technologies, socializing and meeting up with new and old colleagues at Connections, the Minister of Advanced Education, Naomi Yamamoto, was also at the Kelowna campus touring several classrooms.

Minister Yamamoto arrived at Okanagan College on Tuesday afternoon and spent time with students in the College’s new Digital Animation program. She then had an opportunity to catch up with President Jim Hamilton, Chair of the Board of Governors Lance Kayfish and Director of Public Affairs, Allan Coyle.

penannounceShe returned to campus the following afternoon to spend time with students from Toyota Technical College who were taking part in the Collision Repair program. After trying out the paint simulator with President Hamilton and Jeff Francis, Minister Yamamoto dropped by a few Camp OC classes including Teen Cuisine and Amusement Park Physics.

The following day, the Minister joined MLA Bill Barisoff and students from the Penticton campus at a press conference where she announced $570,000 in capital funding to upgrade infrastructure throughout the College region. She also announced how $550,000 in one-time skills training funding will be utilized by the College. Follow this link to read the province’s press release.

Orientation day includes opening of The Bunker

bunkerOn Sept. 4 when the Vernon campus opens its doors to students for the fall semester there will be a brand new door opening. The campus will launch The Bunker – a letterpress print shop with more than 20,000lbs of vintage printing presses and metal type. 

After three years of planning, renovations, equipment installation and set-up, the presses will be rolling this year with students of the Writing & Publishing Diploma setting type and pulling proofs by hand. 

In conjunction with the launch of the print shop, Okanagan College’s literary imprint, Kalamalka Press, has been restructured and revamped, with forthcoming titles now to be printed letterpress by students in the shop. 

Kalamalka Press’ new editor is Okanagan College professor and author Kevin McPherson Eckhoff and English professor Jason Dewinetz, proprietor of Greenboathouse Press, will be heading up design and production. 

The Bunker will be open to the public on Orientation Day from 2-4 p.m., with a printing demonstration and display. Follow this link for more information.


Raghwa Gopal named Entrepreneur-in-Residence for 2012-13

gopalThe Okanagan School of Business has named its Entrepreneur-in-Residence for 2012-13. Raghwa Gopal, a dedicated entrepreneur with expertise in the dynamic world of software has accepted the role and will be the fifth renowned Okanagan business professional to bring his expertise to students at the College.

Gopal is a long-time Kelowna entrepreneur and president of the Okanagan Angel Network. Gopal co-founded and established Vadim Software, and retired as president and chief technology officer at the end of 2006. He is a Certified Business Coach, Certified Executive Coach, a lead mentor with British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) and venture advisor with Accelerate Okanagan.

As Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the academic year, Gopal will guest lecture, and provide one-on-one mentoring, giving students the opportunity to learn and examine in a personal way what entrepreneurs do to become successful.

“My vision is to bring a ‘real world’ perspective to the classroom by offering students pragmatic advice on their entrepreneurial ideas, business plans, strategies and pitches,” Gopal said. “I want to meet with students in groups, and in one-on-one sessions, and take time as well to collaborate with various faculty members on cases, courses and other activities.”

The role of Entrepreneur-in-Residence is yet one more way Gopal continues to serve the College community. He also sits as a member of the advisory committee for the Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree program, and serves as a director of the Okanagan College Foundation.

Skinner seeks help keeping Terry Fox's dream alive

Darrell Skinner is among the many Okanagan College employees who are active in the community. In addition to his role as an instructor in the Therapist Assistant program, Darrell has taken on the responsibility of organizing volunteers for the Kelowna Terry Fox Run. Darrell recently sent a message out to community members, and would like to share his message with colleagues.

When you hear Terry Fox’s name, what do you think of? I think of a young, determined man that gave his energy to a cause much greater than himself.  Terry dreamed of a world without cancer. Like many other Canadian families, our family has been significantly affected by cancer and my wife and I are proud members of Terry’s Team. 

The Terry Fox Foundation is a huge contributor to that. With 84 cents of every dollar going directly to cancer research, the Terry Fox Foundation is one of the most fiscally responsible charities in Canada. Every dollar raised truly does make a difference for all forms of cancer. We have a fun day planned with music, kids’ activities, healthy snacks from Quality Greens and a bbq (by donation) from Freybe Meats. You can walk, run, or bike your choice of 1.5, 5, or 9 km loop. 

Team Up for Terry is a great opportunity to make a difference in fighting cancer while commemorating an amazing Canadian. It’s easy to sign up on-line at and then follow the instructions to invite others to join your team or ask for their support.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

Terry Fox

If you would like to join Darrell, please sign up online:

Event details are as follows:

Sunday, September 16, 2012
Mission Sportsfield (Lexington & Gordon)
Registration: 10 a.m. Event Start: 11 a.m.
Bring your family, friends, dog & water bottle

Aug. 28, 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 10


Long weekend closure 

Okanagan College will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3 in observance of Labour Day. Anyone who wishes to use the gym in Kelowna should note the fitness facility will close on Friday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. It will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 6 a.m.

Classroom door access update

The existing proximity card system is being phased out at all campuses, and some classrooms previously on keys are being switched over to the Salto system. To avoid interruption to your access, be sure to get a Salto card before the start of the new semester.

In Kelowna visit Ancillary & Business Services; in Penticton and Vernon visit the bookstores and employees in Salmon Arm can visit the Library to have a photo taken. Facilities Management will activate employee cards and coordinate distribution.

Family Award application deadline - Sept. 21

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees.

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan – follow the link to OC Express - Forms and then click through to Foundation.

All applications must be date-stamped at the Welcome Centre in Kelowna, or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm, by Sept. 21, 2012.

This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. 

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

Fall putting classic to kick off in Kelowna

The Annual Fall Classic in Kelowna is almost here. Grab a partner and sign up your team for some mini putt fun on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Book your tee time anytime after 8 a.m. The theme this year is “students from around the world.” Prizes and trophy plaque honors can be yours this year. Contact Angie at ext. 4501 to sign up.


The Minister of Advanced Education, Naomi Yamamoto, held a press conference at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College last week where she announced capital funding and support for skills training throughout the region. Read more in the Penticton Herald: College gets more cash, the Okanagan Saturday: Facilities to be upgraded, programs expanded, or check out coverage from AM 1150: Okanagan College announces funding improvements.

The Okanagan School of Business has named its 2012-13 Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Raghwa Gopal will be the fifth entrepreneur to hold the position at Okanagan College. Read more in: Software entrepreneur to help OC business students or Mentoring students his new business.

News of Jayne Brooks’ appointment as Director of Learning and Teaching at Okanagan College made the pages of the Kelowna Capital News, Daily Courier and Penticton Herald. Read more in: Okanagan College appoints its first director of learning and teaching, Okanagan School of Business dean transitions into new role, and College names director of learning and teaching.

MLA of Penticton Bill Barisoff recently announced he will not seek re-election in 2013. The former cabinet minister and current Speaker of the House told supporters that he has remained in the public position to see a few important projects to fruition. Among those developments was Okanagan College’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence. Read more about MLA Barisoff’s announcement in: Speaker announces retirement, Barisoff won’t seek re-election, Barisoff has done much for the Valley, Barisoff’s greatest hits, Retiring Barisoff will be missed, and Columnist crossed line with attack on Barisoff.

A handful of local residents have expressed interest in pursuing the vacancy Barisoff will leave behind – among them is Okanagan College Board of Governors member Connie Denesiuk. Read more in: First contender for Barisoff’s riding, Denesiuk announces bid for Liberal nomination, Ziebarth seeks to represent Liberals, Finnis makes bid for NDP candidacy

In her School’s In column, Registrar Jane Muskens wrote about the complexities of post-secondary tuition, both locally and around the world. Read more about how various institutions cover their operating costs and how tuition contributes to striking a balanced budget in: College tuition 101.

Jena Huber, a student in the Okanagan School of Business, was recently profiled by Public Affairs in a media release about her experience as a participant in the Ogopogo Rotary Club’s exchange with Australia. Read more in: Tourism graduate gains insight into luxury lifestyle Down Under.

One of the Okanagan’s most celebrated winter athletes Kelsey Serwa has been taking summer classes at Okanagan College. Read more about the snowboarder’s career and sporting goals and why she chooses to pursue her education at Okanagan College in: Skiier (sic) Serwa hits the books before hitting the slopes.

Psychology professor Leora Dahl was featured in a few articles as she prepares to join a group of swimmers who will tackle the English Channel in July 2013. Read more in: Strong Kids advocates prep for Channel swim and Channel monster challenge.


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, Sept. 11.