Share your voice in College Matters

cmattersEmployees can now access frequent updates on internal Okanagan College affairs through a new communications portal in myOkanagan.

Launched on Friday, Feb. 24, College Matters features three blog sites focused on institutional issues, employee developments, plus commentary on post-secondary education. Each blog also provides an opportunity for interactive, frank internal discussion to take place. President Hamilton contributed the first entry with the announcement of Okanagan College’s new Employee Excellence Awards.

College Matters is also the new home for regular internal announcements like the 50/50 draw winner, and Human Resources and Finance reminders, plus a one-stop shop for popular links, and the latest College-related stories appearing in the media.

College Matters was developed in response to recommendations from the Employee Survey Implementation Task Force, and was created in consultation with the internal communications committee made up of Dianne Crommer, Pat Dandeneau, Sharon Josephson, Cam McRobb, Joanne Thomsen and Laura Thurnheer.

To find College Matters, log in to myOkanagan – unless you have customized your myOkanagan page, College Matters will appear as your new landing page.

Penticton Centre named as finalist in international architectural awards

coeThe Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is now a finalist in the ArchDaily Building of the Year awards. The Centre is up for gold in the category of Building of the Year under the category of education.

The first round of voting featured more than 3,000 projects in a variety of categories. After more than 30,000 votes, five finalists in each category were selected by readers of the magazine.

Okanagan College is the only Canadian institution in the final round. Other finalists include: Milstein Hall at Cornell University, USA; USJ Campus de L’Innovation et du Sport, Beirut, Lebanon; Basque Culinary Centre, Lima, Peru; and Sarreguemines Nursery, Sarreguemines, France.

The next round of voting is open to the public until Tuesday, March 6. Projects with the most votes win their category – you may vote once per day. 

The Building of the Year awards have been held since 2009. For more information about the awards or the finalists, follow this link. To cast your vote for The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence, click here.

Dual Credit enrolment spikes

dualcreditDiana Thomson, Associate Registrar, Recruitment and Admissions, reports that Winter 2012 semester enrolment of Dual Credit students is the largest ever in one semester.

One-hundred-and-sixty-four students from Okanagan College's partner school districts are beginning their education and training at the College. While earning credit at the post-secondary level, these students are also counting the credit towards completion of high school.

The majority of the students are in Trades Foundation programs - 115 are attending programs at a College campus or in Oliver, where Trades has rotated an intake of Welding Level C. Forty are undertaking a Trades program that is delivered at a school in partnership with the College.

Eight Salmon Arm students are beginning their Associate of Arts degree at the Salmon Arm campus. And finally, one student is taking the Health Care Assistant program in Kelowna. It is through agreement and collaborative work with School District partners that the College has been able to provide a head start to secondary school students. Admissions staff at each campus liaise closely with School District Career Coordinators to facilitate the admission of dual credit students.

Blithe Spirit comes to College, courtesy of Red Dot Players

The Red Dot Players are presenting Blithe Spirit, a hilarious comedy from playwright Noël Coward that tackles marriage, mortality, and much more. The play will run on March 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m. and March 18 at 2 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus lecture theatre. Tickets can be purchased at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College Bookstore, and the door.

Jeremy Beaulne, director of the Red Dot Players’ production of Blithe Spirit, says he was drawn to the play for a number of reasons. “Coward’s dialogue is very witty and urbane, and the play has some great visual gags,” says Beaulne. “But I also think Blithe Spirit has some really interesting things to say about marriage and how it changes over time.”

The Red Dot Players is a theatre troupe consisting of Okanagan College students and employees and community volunteers. The cast of their current production includes Chelsea Konechny, Jessie Greer, James Paley, Mike Boulter, Ann Marie Ruether, Dorothy Dalba, and Laura Savoie.

For more information, visit or to read the complete press release, follow this link.


Hawley and Johnston named to CBC longlist

johnstonOkanagan College’s English department is celebrating not one but two faculty members’ tremendous achievements in short story writing with news that Alix Hawley and Sean Johnston have recently been named as finalists in the CBC Short Story Prize.

More than 3,000 short stories were submitted to the competition – those submissions came from every province and territory of Canada, as well as from Canadians living abroad. Ten readers whittled the submissions down to just 35 titles that make up the contest’s longlist.

Hawley’s Tentcity and Johnston’s What About How Blue the Sky Is? are among the 35 nation-wide finalists. The shortlist will be selected and announced on March 5. Stay tuned to Inside Okanagan College for the results. To read the complete longlist, follow this link.

Infusions experience results in reward for Henfling

infusionsOkanagan College Librarian Erika Henfling was recently rewarded by Castanet for her submission to Wine & Dine 2012. Charged with recounting a tale of superior culinary experience, Henfling drew from her recent dinner she shared with her husband at Okanagan College’s Infusions restaurant and was rewarded with a gift certificate to Christopher’s restaurant in Kelowna.

My husband and I enjoyed a lovely meal at Okanagan College Infusions on February 1. It was a cool and damp evening; we opened the door to be greeted by a dimly lit room with candles, flowers (including one bouquet of multi-coloured gerbera daisies), and soft music.

foodOur student chef/server Elliott gave us impeccable service. My husband ordered a beef strip loin from the regular menu; it was grilled to perfection. I chose the Infusions Wine & Dine $15 three-course dinner - the starter course is roasted winter squash soup, it was accompanied by a dollop of sour cream and squash chips. The suggested wine, which I did not have was, Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser.  

The soup was creamy and delectable. After the soup Elliott brought a glass of orange sorbet to cleanse the palate; it was cool and refreshing. The rest of the meal was equally delicious; the experience magnifique.

O’Brien takes part in CHRP meetings

janInstitutional Research Manager Jan O'Brien travelled to Toronto in February to take part in the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) National Knowledge Exam meetings. CHRP is the national designation for HR practitioners, administered by the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations.

"I'm honoured to be chosen," said Jan, "as I believe in the value of this quality designation and that the people who achieve it have acquired the knowledge and skills to be HR professionals."

See the CHRP website for more information on the designation.

Science Speaker Series to examine role of social media in the scientific process

redfieldAs a part of the Science in Society Speaker Series, Dr. Rosie Redfield, a microbiologist from UBC and a passionate advocate for making science more open to the public, will answer the question, Is the blogosphere changing the face of science?

The event will take place at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College on Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.

In December 2010, NASA-funded researchers reported finding bacteria whose DNA contained arsenic in place of phosphorus. The initial media storm was followed by events that were very unusual for science: a twitter-fueled blast of scientific criticism; open blogging about ongoing research progress and problems, and public posting of a scientific manuscript before it had been peer reviewed and formally published.

Redfield will talk about the science itself (the scientific motivation for the original paper, and the problems with the research it described) and about how social media are changing the way scientists communicate.  

Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. For advanced tickets and more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at or call (250) 545-3644.

Sustainability in Education Series

By Dr. Michelle Superle, Communications and English departments

superleAnchoring CMNS/ENGL 235 with a thematic focus on sustainability was a natural fit—the class was comprised primarily of students from the Diploma in Environmental Studies program. Their enthusiasm for practices incorporating and discussions relating to sustainability created momentum in the class.

This theme inspired students to focus several assignments on sustainability-related topics. We mirrored our theoretical approach in classroom practices: we strove to go paperless, and we turned off the overhead lights whenever enough natural light shone through the windows.

As our classroom was in the Northwest corner of E building, this occurred approximately 90 per cent of the time.

From an instructional perspective, I was intellectually and philosophically inspired by our sustainability focus, as well as thrilled to see students so passionate and engaged.

If you have your own 100-150 word Sustainability in Education story please send it to David Williams so that it can be featured in upcoming editions of Inside Okanagan College.

College to be represented at Canadian Masters Swim Championships

swimmersPsychology professor Leora Dahl and Water Engineering Technology student Allegra Rogers will be competing in the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships being held in Kelowna at the H2O Centre from May 18-21.  

The event will host more than 500 swimmers from across Canada including former Canadian Olympic athletes. Leora will be competing in six events including the 200m butterfly, which consists of eight laps of the pool and is known as one of the most grueling competitive events in swimming. In order for the championships to be successful, over 170 volunteers are needed in positions such as timing, athlete registration, set-up/take-down, runners, and hospitality positions (t-shirts and meals will be provided).  

Any College employees who are interested in helping to make this a great event by volunteering can go online to register or please contact Leora.   
February 28, 2012 Vol. 5 Issue 23


Reminder: April 16 deadline for Innovation Projects

Okanagan College staff and faculty are reminded the deadline to submit ideas for 2012-13 Innovation Projects is April 16, 2012.

For more information on the Innovation Fund and for the Innovation Fund Application Form please follow this link. Additional information on the Innovation Projects is now available in College Matters. Please log in to myOkanagan to read more.

Call for volunteers – Okanagan College Half Marathon

It takes upwards of 75 volunteers to ensure the Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race runs smoothly. From passing out water to thirsty runners, to cheering them on and helping to keep them safe on the course as marshalls, great volunteers can be the difference between a positive and rewarding experience for runners and a difficult and challenging journey.

The Okanagan College Half Marathon committee (made up entirely of College volunteers) is seeking colleagues to help out on race day. There are a number of different opportunities for employees to find a position that suits their schedule and interests.

This year’s race takes place on Sunday, April 1, 2012 in Kelowna. The start and finish is at the Centre for Learning and the course covers the waterfront from Gyro to Knox Mountain.

Please go online to to fill out the volunteer request form or contact Michelle Lowry and help make the 2012 race the best event yet.

Using “My Account” for Municipal Pension Plan Members

My Account is an online service, available through the Municipal Pension Plan’s website, that allows plan members to access information about their pension and estimate their future pension entitlement. Please follow this link for more information about how to create “my account” access.

Coming up in Kelowna student recreation

The next few weeks will be jam packed with fun events and recreational opportunities for students and staff at the Kelowna campus. Athletics and Recreation is hosting the following events:

Feb. 29 - Activity + Knowledge this week will focus on How to Build a Functional Core. This event takes place at noon in the Pit. Next Wednesday, Mar. 7 is a lecture ‘Healthy Back’ by Lise, also at noon in room H111. Please RSVP to

March 3 - The Coyotes Hockey last regular season game is Saturday, March 3 at Memorial Arena. If you can’t make it to the game, you can catch it online. Ryan Watters is doing a free web telecast - watch live at Tickets are $5 and available at the KLO Athletics & Rec A105.

March 9 - Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts/Food Services is donating the proceeds from Pit Stop on Friday, March 9 to the Coyotes baseball and hockey teams.

March 12 - The bi-annual Ping Pong Tournament begins Monday, March 12 in the Pit 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., please sign up at KLO Athletics & Rec A105 before Wed, March 7.

April 19 - Join colleagues to help support the Coyotes at a Pasta Dinner Fundraiser on April 19 from 6-9 p.m. in Infusions. Tickets are $25 and are available from KLO Athletics & Rec A105.

Join International Education for Pub Night in the Pit

International Education is hosting a fun evening of entertainment on Thursday, March 8 from 5-9 p.m. in Kelowna. Pub Night in the Pit is open to all Okanagan College staff, faculty, students, family and friends. Tickets are only $10 and include your choice of burger (beef, chicken or veggie) and potato salad, entertainment and fun. Tickets are available at the International Education office and must be purchased by Tuesday, March 6. Proceeds from the event will benefit International Student bursary fund. 

Kalamalka Vertigo exhibits Bugs

Kalamalka Vertigo, located at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, is currently hosting a new exhibit by Lisa Torrie.

Bugs will be on view until March 15, 2012.

The exhibition presents a collection of photographic works of all sorts of bugs found in the Vernon area. From slugs to butterflies and aphids to a praying mantis, Torrie has captured her subjects in a way that makes them seem friendly and accessible, rather than cool and alien as bugs are often perceived.

Some of the bugs, like the praying mantis, are elegant and glamorous, while others, like the jumping spiders, are mischievous and scruffy and almost muppet-like. These bugs are not so scary. In fact, they are rather endearing. They remind us that bugs have their own part to play in our physical environment; that they are beautiful and magnificent in a way completely different from humans. 

Lisa Chambers Torrie spends her days as a Registered Massage Therapist and a mother of two. She has grown up preferring to be behind the lens rather than in front of it. Follow this link for more about Kalamalka Vertigo.

Campus Store inventory sale

Okanagan College Campus Stores are offering an inventory sale from March 5 – 16. All giftware will be 20 per cent off – clothing and tradebooks will be 40 per cent off.
The inventory sale does not include the following items: Mac computers, textbooks, software, stationery, confectionery, and backpacks.

Looking for the 50/50 winner?

If you normally race through the Notices section of Inside Okanagan College to feast your eyes on the current winner of the Foundation’s 50-50 Staff Lottery, you may be a little surprised to know that you won’t find the winner in Inside Okanagan College any longer.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be left wondering who is more than $500 richer every other week…you’ll just have to log in to myOkanagan’s College Matters to check out the winner. The new employee communications site will be the new host of information and news that is exclusively internally-focused.

Inside Okanagan College will continue to present information that is geared toward employees and will still announce news about the College and the people who work here. Have suggestions for where content should appear or ideas about features or news items we are not currently covering? Email Christine Ulmer.

Beyond the blues? In this edition of Wellness InFocus

The Okanagan cloud cover can make even the most positive person feel a little gloomy but this should not be confused with depression. The latest issue of Wellness InFocus by Mercer HR Consulting focuses on depression. The publication focuses on tips for managing this disease and where to turn to for help. Follow this link to read the new issue.

The next edition will be published in the spring of 2012.

Education Council and Board of Governors elections to open

Make your voice heard and vote for your Faculty Representatives on Education Council and on the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Advanced polls run on March 7 and March 8 with the election being held March 13 and 14, 2012. For more information, please view the Candidate List poster here.

Howard Hisdal, Drew McGillivray and Laura Thurnheer are running for Faculty Representative on the Board of Governors.

Jolaine Longeway
and Nancy Noble-Hearle are running for Portfolio Faculty Representative (Foundational) on Education Council.

Candidate biographies will be available later this week in College Matters.

Congratulations to those who put their name forward for other positions and who are declared elected by acclamation:

Board of Governors:
Support Staff: Lianne Rozniak
Education Council:
Faculty Representative Arts: Ayla Kilic
Faculty Representative Science/Technology: Rick Gee
Faculty Representative Health & Social Development: Siri Marken


March 2 – The 29th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition will take place at the Kelowna campus. Check out the excitement of the Heavyweight category in the lecture theatre around 1 p.m. 

March 2 – Students from International Education will provide spaghetti lunches during the Spaghetti Bridge Contest from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Atrium and kitchen of the Centre for Learning in Kelowna. Three dollars will get you spaghetti with tomato sauce and garlic bread. Tickets are available at the International office on Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2. Funds raised go to International Education scholarship funds. 

March 8 – International Education Pub Night at the Pit will take place in Kelowna from 5 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the International Education office. Funds raised go to International Education scholarship funds.

March 9 - International Education is hosting an event to mark the first anniversary of Japan tsunami and earthquake disaster. A group of the College’s Japanese students will take part in presentations and speeches, as well as present an official report on the outcome of the Hope for Japan campaign, and will share songs. Everyone is welcome to attend from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Atrium.

March 14 – The Institute for Learning and Teaching welcomes
 Michael Christy in a presentation on personal core values and their ultimate effect on your health. The event takes place in Room E 107 from 12 – 1 p.m.

April 1 – Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race will take place at the Kelowna campus. Races get underway at 8 a.m. Register before March 1 and secure early bird pricing. Go online for more info, to register or volunteer.


Okanagan College alumna and curling skip extraordinaire Kelly Scott continued to make herself a household name in Canada with performance at the Canadian women’s curling championship in Red Deer. Read: Destined for final, Scotties stage set, Silver lining for Scott, and Scott second best at Scotties.

Students from the Okanagan School of Business placed third among 30 colleges and institutions in the seventh annual Vanier BDC Marketing Case Competition held in Montreal earlier this month. Read: OC business students impress contest judges (Capital News) and College business team takes third (Daily Courier).

Okanagan College SIFE students continue to draw support, this time in Salmon Arm for their role in the creation of the new Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur. Read: Businesses pitch ideas, from the Salmon Arm Observer.

Producers of the Canadian TV series Dragons’ Den were in the Okanagan this month scouting for telegenic talent, with auditions being held at Okanagan College. Read: Into the lair of the dragon and Dragons’ Den comes to Kelowna (Daily Courier) and Dragons’ Den producers on the hunt (Capital News).

Nancy Darling from the Women’s in Trades program stopped by CFB Esquimalt to examine expanding opportunities for skilled women. Read: Bumping up the numbers, from CFB Esquimalt Lookout.

Okanagan College’s School of Business now represents an equal split between male and female students at its four regional campuses. Read: Business education at OC is a good start for women, from the Capital News' A Salute to Women in Business.

Columnist Maxine DeHart featured Okanagan College and the search for judges for the 2012 Young Entrepreneur Program in her Capital News column. Read: Dragons Den.

Youngsters from around the region arrived at Okanagan College for the Regional Science Fair. Read: Students prepare for science fair, Science fair delves into DNA, bacteria, District Science Fair opens up the world, and Powerful science fair project.

Columnist and Okanagan College registrar Jane Muskens focused on how improving job skills guards against erosion of the middle class. Read: A strong education system needed if this country is to grow.

The Okanagan College Coyotes hockey team ended a long winless streak and established themselves as legitimate contenders for a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League title. Read OC ends SFU run.

Frances Greenslade’s novel Shelter continues to attract national and international attention. Read: Frances Greenslade’s Shelter named one of the best of 2012 by UK book chain and Shelter by Frances Greenslade review (both in the Toronto Star), and Seeking shelter from life storms in the Vancouver Sun.

The 2012 Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team is having its own version of baseball spring training. Read: OC Coyotes get in some spring training in Vegas and Phoenix.

Registration for the 2012 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10K and relay races is still open. Read: OC Half Marathon accepting sign-ups.

The publication Champions in the Daily Courier featured in its 2012 Community Sports Heroes edition two faces who were once associated with Okanagan College sports: Rob Johnson and Alex Recsky. Read: Rob Johnson and Champions 2012 Community Sport Heroes Alex Recsky.

Okanagan College business student researcher Trevor Schick welcomed participants to take part in his neighbourhood concerns. Read: Research survey.

Ron Spence will present A Journey to Nickel Plate, with Apologies to Carlos Castaneda. Read: Talk to benefit college students.

Okanagan College’s Adult Special Education PACE program is seeking a 13-week volunteer work experience placement for a female student. Read: Student in need of work experience in the Penticton Herald.

Ross Saunders, Board Member and Okanagan College Students’ Union executive spoke out against rising debt and high tuition costs. Read: Students concerned about rising debt from the Salmon Arm Observer.

Okanagan College is offering a number of courses on permaculture in Vernon. Read: Seed Swaps can extend your harvest in the Morning Star.

Bachelor of Business Administration Alumna Courtney Christine Wallden has now completed the 2011 Uniform Final Examination for Chartered Accountants. Read: Wallden.

Students in Okanagan College’s Studio Woodworking program and members of the public received some hands-on instruction from Lie-Nielsen Tools. Read: Workmanship demonstrated with hand tools.

A first-year Okanagan College student joined in supporting youngsters at a public education rally in Penticton. Read Local teachers rally, from the Penticton Herald.


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, March 13, 2012