Board of Governors elects new Chair and Vice-Chair

styffeOkanagan College's Board of Governors has elected Tom Styffe and Connie Denesiuk to serve as the new Chair and Vice-Chair respectively.

Styffe has served on the Board since 2010, in the past two years as Vice-Chair. He brings with him a background as an experienced construction project management professional having worked on major initiatives including the $25-million New Westminister campus of Douglas College.

Styffe replaces Lance Kayfish who will continue to serve as a member of the Board until September.

Connie DenesiukDenesiuk, who joined the Board in 2012 after serving a three-year post as president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, also has a strong background in construction. She is a partner in R. Denesiuk Construction, a Summerland-based business she has run with her husband since 1980.

To read the full media release, click here.

Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards expand

Employee Excellence LogoThe second annual Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards will be held in May, this time with a new award added to the list, acknowledging the work of long-time employees.

The 2013 awards mark the second year that the College has held awards to honour employees for their dedication to the growth and development of the second largest college in B.C.

“We were so pleased with how the awards were received last year and realized there was room to create a new award for this year,” said Employee Excellence Awards task force Co-Chair Charlotte Kushner, Vice President, Students.

The new Career Achievement Award is designed for employees who have served 20 years or more with the College, and over that time made tangible contributions, including acting as a mentor.

The award event is also an opportunity to showcase the various achievements that have taken place over the previous year, known as Milestones.

Nominations for the awards are now open with the full list of awards available on the website, along with the general nomination form, the President’s Award nomination form and the FAQ list, and the Milestone form.

Okanagan College Half Marathon fit for all

Half marathon logoIt's never too early to think about running at Okanagan College.

The Okanagan College Half Marathon event is now open for registrations for three different events: a 10 K a half marathon, and a relay race. Each of the events will take place Sunday, April 7 in Kelowna.

“The 2013 race will be a celebration of running, fitness and participation in our community,” said Christine Ulmer, Race Director.

Since its launch in 2002, the Okanagan College Half Marathon has expanded to offer a variety of distances and fun events to encourage participation from every type of runner – from newbies to corporate challenge teams to competitive racers.

All proceeds from the race are donated to Okanagan College’s campus recreation programs.

Volunteers help to make the event possible, with more signing up each year. To take part this year, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit

ILT examines compassion and privilege in the classroom

Okanagan College’s Institute for Learning & Teaching will be focusing on diversity in its next presentation, following the successful panel discussion on new developments in post-secondary education.

Sociology professor Shelly Ikebuchi and Interdisciplinary Studies professor Norah Bowman-Broz will be hosting Diversity from the Inside Out: Building Compassion and Questioning Invisible Privilege in the Classroom at noon, Friday, Feb. 8 at the Kelowna campus.

ILT panelEarlier this month, the ILT presented Where are We Headed: The Next 10 Years in Higher Education, Teaching and Learning, with panellists Dr. Rosalind Warner (Political Science Professor) Phil Ashman (Network and Communications Technology), Mike Minions (Educational Technology Coordinator), Charlotte Jones (College Professor, Modern Languages).

The well-attended event covered numerous topics including the impact of social media and instant information access, the increasingly popular “massive open online courses,” known as MOOCs, with institutions like Princeton and Stanford participating in course offerings.

The ILT events are open to all employees, and provide an energetic and interactive forum for discussion on a wide range of issues post-secondary educators and institutions face today. For more information, visit the ILT website.

Monthly workshops launched on applied technology

TEa logoOkanagan College has launched a new group called TEa, focused on applying technology to education.

“It’s different because it is a peer-led short monthly event, with food (tea, coffee and pastries),” said TEa leader Ross McKerlich.

The first session takes place Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. in Room E107 at the Kelowna campus and features Dr. Rosalind Warner sharing her experience using the Moodle workshop activity in one of her Political Science classes. For more information, and to sign up to be a TEa leader, visit the Education Technology website or email Ross McKerlich.


Kate Gilchrist Memorial Award fund grows

Kate Gilchrist small More than $10,000 has now been donated by family, colleagues and friends in honour of former employee Kate Gilchrist.

When the award was announced last October, employees quickly contributed $3,000 to start up the award, and the Okanagan College Foundation provided an additional $2,000.

Donations are still being accepted, and can be contributed through payroll deduction by completing this form, going online at or in person at the Advancement Office P103.

The annual $1,000 award has been established for a domestic student enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Okanagan College in honour of Gilchrist who taught ESL at the College for 18 years.

The funds are to be disbursed over 10 years, beginning in April, 2013. More information can be found online in the Award Details.

Bring out the ugly sweaters

Sweater DayOkanagan College employees will be hot under the collar and likely carrying a bit of extra bulk come Thursday, Feb. 7.

Once again, Okanagan College is embracing National Sweater Day with a voluntary initiative to take action against climate change by yanking on sweaters and turning down thermostats.

Those interested in taking part can fill out the Wear a Sweater Day form and a member of the Facilities Management engineering team will come by and turn down the thermostat(s) in the requested area(s).

“Even if we can’t turn down your thermostat, don’t forget to show your support by wearing a bright sweater,” said the College’s Energy Manager, Rob St. Onge.

Last year more than 1.5 million Canadians and 300 organizations took part in the event, which was started by the World Wildlife Foundation. To convince others to pull on a pullover, download the toolkit available at the bottom of the National Sweater Day website.

Jan. 29, 2013 Vol. 7 Issue 20


Heart health - gotta love it

With all the love in the air leading up to Valentine’s Day, why not check out how your heart is really doing?

At noon, Wednesday, Jan. 30, the College’s Employee and Family Assistance program provider – PPC Canada – is hosting a free webinar Healthy Heart: Do You Know Your Number. To attend the one-hour webinar, complete the online registration form.

The latest issue of the Balance Sheet is also out, featuring numerous work/life balance related articles, including 7 Ways to Change Your Life in 7 Days and some thought-provoking resolutions to sneak into to your plans for a new you in 2013.

Retire with confidence

Registration is now open for two free seminars being offered for Municipal Pension Plan members.

  • Your Pension, Your Future is a 90-minute seminar designed for new and mid-career plan members
  • Thinking About Retiring is a two-hour seminar for members within five years of retirement

The seminars are open to all plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits.

More information about the seminars, including registration information, is available on the Municipal Pension Plan website.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Members should register early to avoid disappointment as these seminars are very popular and fill quickly. Members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs of attending a seminar. Questions? Contact the Municipal Pension Plan in Victoria at 250 356-8547, toll-free at 1-877-558-5573 or by e-mail.  

Beat the (winter) sugar blues

New Year’s resolutions don’t need to start and end in January! In fact, February might be just the time to try something a little different, starting with the food we eat.

Anyone interested can sign up at the Athletics & Recreation office, A105. Each week a challenge will be posted on Facebook and everyone who comments will be entered into a weekly draw and a grand prize at the end of the month.

The campaign gets underway Monday, Feb. 4 and runs through to Feb. 28. To get started, find out more.


Jan. 30 – The City of Kelowna has proclaimed that February 2013 will be Toastmaster's month for the city. The College's Toastmaster's club is inviting all employees and students to join one of its meetings as a guest during the month of February.

Okanagan College Toastmasters is open to those interested in furthering their public speaking skills. The session is held at the Kelowna campus from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, visit the OC Toastmasters website.

Feb. 1 – Students head off for an affordable night of skiing at Big White with the weekly Hang Ten Fridays event. Sign up no later than Thursday at the Student Athletic and Recreation office in Kelowna, Room A105.

Feb. 2 – The Big White Snowshoe Tour takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the bus leaving the Kelowna campus at 10 a.m. Cost for the event is $35. To take part, meet in the Pit at the Kelowna campus at 9:30 a.m.

Feb. 4 -  Continuing Studies instructor Merle Kindred discusses the progress of urban agriculture in the Kerala State region of India at this lecture taking place at the Penticton campus, starting at 7 p.m.

Feb. 5 – Salsa Night gets underway at 7 p.m. in the Pit at the Kelowna campus, with a chance to watch and even participate thanks to a few on-site lessons. The event includes coffee, tea and snacks, along with Valentine card decorating.

Feb. 6 – Okanagan College hosts the Business Expo & Employment Fair in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Feb 7 – Bring out the ugly sweater, and help save energy as part of National Sweater Day. For more information, see the story under “news.”


An Okanagan College media release announcing the new Chair and Vice-Chair for the Okanagan College Board of Governors was picked up in both Kelowna and Penticton. Read: College Board of Governors elects new officers, in the Penticton Herald, Board of governors elect chair and vice-chair, in the Capital News.

Okanagan College’s Distinguished Alumni recipient Ryan Holmes was mentioned as a recent recipient in the Export Awards. Read: Hootsuite from the Business Thompson Okanagan.

Okanagan College’s 6th annual Business Expo takes place Feb. 6. Read: Business Expo brings career opportunities to OC, from the Capital News.

If you have an idea for a new Shuswap business, there’s a chance to make it happen at Okanagan College’s Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur contest, put on by Enactus Okanagan College. Read: Launch-a-Preneur contest returns to the Shuswap, in the Salmon Arm Observer.

B.C. enjoys a post-secondary education system that we can proud of, wrote Steve Thomson in his MLA report. Read: Good news for Okanagan College, in the Capital news. The column generated a response from readers: Read: Colleges face funding hits, and International enrolment declining.

For the second year in a row, Okanagan College has been named one of the top three finance teams in the country, following its performance at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition. Read: Okanagan College students place in top three, from the Morning Star.

Business Thompson Okanagan ran a brief item about Jonathan Rouse’s new appointment as director of wine, food and tourism. Read: Jonathan Rouse. The announcement also appeared in the Morning Star.

The first building in Kelowna built to LEED gold standards has now been certified by the Canada Green Building Council. Read: Okanagan College building set the bar high. The news also appeared in the Morning Star.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused on aboriginal resources jobs, distance education and student safety in her School’s In column. Read: Clash of aboriginal resource jobs vs. environmental impact, Improvements in distance education open learning to all, and Student safety is critical.

The Morning Star announced that South Okanagan Regional Dean Donna Lomas would be speaking in Vernon about state-of-the-art sustainable building technologies. Read: Speaker showcases.

A number of new junior colleges are needed in B.C., and one of them should be established near Kelowna. That piece of 50-year-old news appeared in the Courier’s Look Back section. Read: Junior college touted.

Paul Anderson wrote a lengthy editorial letter to the Morning Star regarding the need for the sports complex planned for the College’s Vernon campus. Read: Say yes to sports complex.

More restaurants than ever are participating in this year’s wine and dine event, including Infusions restaurant at Okanagan College. Read: Wine and Dine begins.

The popular Science in Society Speaker Series held at the College’s Vernon campus is bringing back one of the biggest names in paleontology. Read: Prehistoric presentation in town, in the Morning Star.

A small group of pro-life supporters used graphic images to make their point on the sidewalk outside Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Read: Students upset by graphic signs.
Communications professor Marc Arellano wielded the video camera at a Kelowna Minor Hockey Association game with the results garnering an honorary award. Read: Novice team makes an impression.


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, Feb. 12, 2013.