Connections 2008

connimageThis week saw staff from up and down the Valley attend two days of Connections 2008, an employee learning symposia hosted at the Kelowna campus. Each of the daylong sessions began with a video production and comments from Jim Hamilton. Staff had the opportunity to get creative with a postering activity before attending a variety of staff and faculty-led workshops. A social event concluded both days, which were capped off by a musical performance from a quartet of talented Okanagan College staff: John Lent, Arch Doody, Tom Esson and Dave Harris.
“Starting off the new year with Connections was fantastic,” said Chair of the organizing team, Kaya Forest. “The seminars were very well received and served to highlight the tremendous talent that exists within our staff. The key function of this event, in my mind, has been achieved – participants had a unique opportunity to network and socialize. The feedback I have received so far has stressed this aspect – that people appreciate the opportunity to gather as a community and to learn from each other. It was really inspiring to review what we have accomplished over the past year and energizing as we look
forward to the new school year. Thanks to everyone who participated.”

If you missed Connections 2008 follow this link to watch the event including Jim’s speech, footage from the day and the musical performance. To view the video that was presented at the beginning of Connections, follow this link. A slideshow of photos from the two days is also available online. Many thanks to organizers, and staff and faculty who made the event so great. Feedback about Connections can be sent to Kaya Forest.

College Wide Goals

During his address to staff at Connections 2008 Jim Hamilton outlined the outcomes of the College Wide Goals process, which began early this year with input from staff. The drafting of College Wide Goals stemmed from the need to focus the intentionally general nature of Okanagan College’s Key Directions to assist the College and influence planning and budget processes. To find out more about the College Wide Goals, view an example of a specific goal and review the Key Directions, follow this link. Watch Inside Okanagan College for more information about the College Wide Goals as the College moves further into budgeting and planning processes.

Jamaican Minister holds press conference at College

jamaicaThe honourable Pearnel Charles, Minister of Labour and Social Security from Jamaica, was at the Kelowna campus on Monday, Aug. 25 to announce new initiatives affecting Okanagan College and its students. Minister Charles addressed members of the media and Okanagan College staff affirming the importance of the strong relationships built between Okanagan College and the Caribbean. He went on to announce a rotating loan program that will see the Jamaican government provide $200,000 in financial aid for Jamaican students attending Okanagan College.

Minister Charles also announced the delivery of Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing curriculum to Jamaican students attending Jamaican post-secondary institutions. One of Okanagan College’s international students, Dudley Reid, who is currently enrolled in the collision repair refresher pilot program also spoke. For full details of the press conference read the Public Affairs press release, watch a video from CHBC or visit the media section to read coverage from the event.

College signs on to play ball

Obaseballkanagan College signed an agreement with the Kelowna Baseball Society to participate in the fall exhibition season of the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC). The College will also participate in the regular spring season of 2009. Other teams in the conference include those from Thompson Rivers University, the University of Calgary, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver Island University and the Prairie Baseball Academy (with players from the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Community College). Watch Inside Okanagan College for a schedule of upcoming games.

Castanet launches housing site for students

Castanet partnered with Okanagan College to address the growing need of affordable housing options for students in the Valley. Castanet is setting up a link on its website specifically for students. Landlords and anyone with accommodation for rent are encouraged to visit the site to post their listing. For more information watch a clip from CHBC-TV.

Digital Media Production continues to grow

The Educational Technology department has been slowly building the capacity to do interesting things with digital media at Okanagan College. The first step was to make video, audio and photography equipment available for faculty loan at all four campuses. Next the department started to acquire the necessary tools for various forms of digitization, duplication and original production.

karenNow they've added a full-time Media Production Technician to assist faculty and staff with their educational media projects. Karen Tessier is a graduate of a unique program at Capilano College that trained media technicians specifically for support roles in educational institutions. For 10 years she provided that support to teachers and administrators in the Coquitlam School District. Moving to Kelowna, she did some freelance media work for OUC while pursuing a BFA which she will complete this fall.

As part of IT Services based at KLO campus her current project list includes DVD duplication, VHS to DVD conversion, audio cassette digitization, converting 35mm slides for use in PowerPoint, digital photography, digital video recording and editing, maintaining media production loan equipment and providing training in its use. Please feel free to contact Karen directly for assistance with any curriculum-based media projects. (see photo of Karen)

Coffee break with Prestige Collision alumni

prestigeStaff from Okanagan College had the opportunity to enjoy coffee with several Okanagan College alumni who are currently working at Prestige Collision in Kelowna. Alumni Todd Regier (Collision Repair & Paint) and his brother Mark Regier (Business Administration) hosted the Okanagan College Works visit on Aug. 20. Todd and Mark have successfully co-owned the collision repair operation for five years and currently employ seven Okanagan College alumni. Kathy Butler, Marlis Wecels, and John Perrott of the Alumni Association attended their worksite (which was recently relocated into a larger space on Kirschner Road) to recognize and congratulate the Regier brothers on their impressive success and support of fellow Okanagan College alumni.


The Kelowna Daily Courier covered Okanagan College’s press conference with Jamaica’s Minister of Labour, Pearnel Charles. Read about the growing relationship in: Okanagan-Jamaica partnership expands. The Kelowna Capital News also provided coverage of the event with the article: Labour agreement a success for Okanagan College. CHBC-TV also covered the story – follow this link to watch the video. Read the Prince George Citizen’s coverage: Jamaicans helping fill trades sector shortage and Jamaican Labour Minister Here, and Jamaicans a no risk investment. 

Okanagan College’s Practical Nursing convocation in Kelowna received coverage from the Kelowna Daily Courier. Read about the bright futures of our graduates in: New nursing grads in high demand.

As was mentioned in the news section, business student and Sasquatch spokesperson Caleb Campbell won the battle against the Kokanee Beer Ranger in the live-or-die online voting contest. Read more about the Ranger’s fate and Caleb’s triumph in the Kelowna Capital News: Kelowna beer drinker helps put the Kokanee ranger to rest.

Communications professor Marc Arellano was featured in the Vernon Morning Star in an article about his eight-minute film, Kanadean. Marc’s film was screened this week in Montreal at the World Film Festival. Read more in: Teacher’s film headed for Montreal.

Okanagan School of Business professor Shelly Johnson was profiled for a feature in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s special After the Fire Anniversary edition. Read about Shelly’s experience in: Should we stay or should we go?

A press release from Public Affairs about a new student housing link on resulted in coverage from CHBC-TV. Check out the housing crunch in Kelowna by following this link.

Business professor and city councilor Norm Letnick was photographed in the Kelowna Daily Courier as he visited the TELUS Tour for the Cure display in Orchard Park Mall. Find out more about the initiative in: Tour urges women to get mammograms.

Another Okanagan School of Business professor received media coverage for a new survey targeting employee satisfaction. Michael Orwick will gather information about the factors that affect employees and their result on employee motivation. Read more about Michael’s survey in: Business survey intends to help inform employers.

An Okanagan College ECE student appeared in the Good Deeds section of the Kelowna Daily Courier for the work she did on behalf of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. Read about Desjardins Miller and how she received a Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarship. 

OUC alumnus, Rob Rintoul (BBA 2005) was recognized in the pages of the Vernon Morning Star after successfully completing his CA exam. Read more about Rob in: Rintoul passes CA exam.

Jane Muskens was back from vacation and back to her weekly column, School’s In. Read two new entries into Jane’s post-secondary column: Important for institutions to know their student base and Variety of stakeholders complicates budget spending.

Stan Chung’s Global Citizen column tackled the ever present issue of exhaustion. Read about Stan’s struggle with fatigue, his daily journal entries tracking his lethargy and his hope for a future without tiredness in: Tired of being tired.


Alix Hawley publishes collected works

alixOkanagan College English professor Alix Hawley will launch her book of short fiction, The Old Familiar, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at Infusions in Kelowna. Alix’s book is published by Thistledown Press:

“Alternating between controlled pathos and wicked wit, Alix Hawley’s stories refuse predictability, such as in “Romance,” when a young man, employed for the summer by a wealthy family, finds that he and his first-time lover have different sexual motivations, an in “They Call Her Lovely Rita,” in which a man goes in search of a wife he is sure he absentmindedly misplaced somewhere. Hawley also challenges the conjectures of beauty, revealing that a pristine surface does not secure a happy ending.

alixbook“Deadly and sharp, tightly written, this collection will surprise even readers familiar with the crust undersides of middle-class lives, and the bizarre obsessions that harbour there.”

Len Bidwell Retires

lenLen Bidwell from Print Services in Kelowna is retiring after 30 years with Okanagan College. Len’s knowledge and expertise will be sorely missed by all of his colleagues and those who rely on him to make their work look great. Len has various retirement plans (which include landscaping) once he no longer has to hop the fence and come to work in the Library building.
A retirement party will be held on Thursday, Sept. 11 at the KLO Campus. Please follow this link to see the attached invitation for details.  Don’t forget to RSVP to Shirley Marshall by Sept. 8, 2008.

Barb Neetz moves to Trades

Barb Neetz has left the Registration Office and is now working with the Trades and Apprenticeship Office.  Barb joins Tracy Harrison, Jan Leonard and Pat Dandeneau at the Apprenticeship Office where she will be primarily dedicated to admitting and recruiting new apprentices to Okanagan College. 

Ranger’s fate sealed

Those who have been following the fate of the Ranger in the live-or-die online challenge don’t need to be reminded of his fate. For those of you who haven’t heard, online voters spoke and thanks to the hard work of the Kokanee Beer Sasquatch spokesperson and Okanagan College business student, Caleb Campbell, the Ranger will be terminated. Congratulations to Caleb for running such a highly successful, albeit morbid, campaign. To find out more about Caleb’s work, visit:

August 29, 2008, Vol. 2 Issue10


IT Updates

New online AV booking system

Effective immediately audio visual and media production equipment at all four campuses can be booked online. Resource Scheduler is a major improvement to the existing online AV booking system at KLO and the binders on the counters in Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm. You can get detailed descriptions, photos, and even video tutorials for all sorts of AV and media gear. To find out more or to book equipment, visit the link off the IT Services page at:

AV equipment in classrooms

Classrooms in Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm are in the final stages of being completely outfitted with projectors, audio and DVD/CD players. In Kelowna, the A, H and B buildings are complete, with Trades and the C building nearing completion.  IT Services will not be supplying carts with TVs and DVD players (or AV Runners) in the buildings that are fully equipped. By September 2009, IT Services plans to eliminate all of the carts and the AV Runner service.   

10-digit dialing / Dial 7 for an outside line

Effective September 8, TELUS will start to enforce 10-digit dialing in the BC Interior. That means you will need to dial all 10 digits for local calls or your calls will not be completed. For example, in the Kelowna area, you will have to dial 250-762-5445 to reach the KLO Road campus. If your phone is equipped with speed call buttons you will probably want to reprogram them to include the extra three digits.

As well, you can now dial 7 as well as 9 to reach an outside line. At some point in the future 9 will be retired and you will have to use 7. IT Services will make another announcement before that happens. This is being done to avoid inadvertent 911 calls. Even after 9 is retired you will continue to reach the emergency call centre if you dial 911.

New printing limit for students

In an effort to reduce paper waste students at Okanagan College are being asked to “think before you print.” In order to make students aware of the amount of paper they print, Okanagan College is implementing a new 250 page limit on printing, intended to help reduce paper consumption at Okanagan College. To find out more about the new printing limit please visit myokanagan

Campus Stores going green

The Okanagan College Campus Stores are phasing out their plastic bags and introducing the Campus Stores renu bag - made of 100% recycled unwoven polypropylene. The bag retails for $2 (including tax) and is free with a purchase of $500 in the store. Any departments interested in a bulk purchase can contact Carla Macfarlane. The renu bag is available in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Salmon Arm while quantities last.

Winners of Admin scholarship

The Administrative Association has awarded two $500 scholarships to family members of Okanagan College staff. Christopher Simpson (son of Verna Simpson) and Jessica Zucchi (daughter of Kathleen Zucchi) will each receive scholarships from the Okanagan College Administrative Association.  

Alumni wine update

The Alumni Association recently received proposals for the 2008-09 Commemorative Wine Program. The Association is currently in negotiations with an Okanagan wine vendor and expects to announce the new partnership very soon.  Please stay tuned for a further announcement in Inside Okanagan College.

Pension Plan Update

The Municipal Pension Plan is holding pension seminars to educate members about their Plan. Two seminars will be offered in BC beginning in fall 2008. Your Pension, Your Future is aimed at new and mid-career plan members while Thinking About Retiring provides information for members within five years of  retirement. The Thinking About Retiring and Your Pension,Your Future seminar posters, schedules and application forms are also posted in the Pension Seminar section of the Municipal Pension  Plan website. Please direct your plan members to their pension plan website at for more information and to register for the seminar that’s right for  them.     

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Carol Abernathy from Adult Academic & Career Preparation in Vernon who won today's payday draw for $460. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources (Landmark V, Kelowna) or online.


Sept. 2 - Free Hot Dog lunch for all staff and students from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the completed-by-then patio area at the Kelowna campus.

Sept. 10 - Employer's Expo (aka Student Job Fair) being held at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Contact Angie, ext. 4501)

Sept. 11 - Community Services Expo - at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for businesses and Okanagan College departments who have services or discounts to offer students. Contact Angie for more information (ext. 4501)

Sept. 23 – Okanagan College Fall Putting Classic. You thought it was the Kelowna Campus courtyard. In fact, it is the field of dreams for would-be golf pros who want to prove their putting prowess. On Sept. 23, the second annual Fall Putting Contest will take place with tee times starting at 7:30 a.m. and running every 10 minutes. Organizers insist that skill is not required and that beginners are welcome. Call Angie March if you want to register (ext. 4501). (For those who keep track of such things, last year's winners were Pat Dandeneau and Tracy Harrison.)


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

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Sept. 12, 2008.