Board tailors tuition approach for coming year

About 70 per cent of Okanagan College’s students will see their tuition remain steady for the coming year, as a result of a Board of Governors’ decision Tuesday.

The Board decided to replicate a decision it made last year and freeze those tuition fees at Okanagan College that are more than 10 per cent above average for similar programs at other institutions.

The result is that for many students, the fees at Okanagan College will remain the same next year.

“This is a student-centric decision that means that most of our students won’t be seeing increases for the coming year,” said Board Chair Lance Kayfish. “Where we are notably higher than other comparable institutions, we won’t be compounding that difference.

“Earlier this year, we adopted a new strategic plan and one of our core values is accessibility for students. This decision reflects our commitment to our students and access.”

For more on which programs' tuition will be frozen, read the complete Public Affairs press release.

College students offer Hope for Japan

japanA group of international and domestic students from Okanagan College have developed a campaign to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross to support victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The students have organized a series of public awareness campaigns as well as developed a logo and t-shirt, which they have been selling to raise money for the initiative. So far the group has sold more than 1,500 shirts.

They will be meeting with Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd tomorrow and have organized a public event called “Light for Japan” which will take place on Wednesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in Stewart Park in Kelowna. Watch a clip from CHBC of the students’ campaign.

Finance offers payroll deduction for staff wishing to contribute to Japan effort

Okanagan College will help accommodate staff who may want to contribute to international aid efforts through the Canadian Red Cross. Staff who want to donate to the Canadian Red Cross Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund and have it deducted from their April 22 paycheque can make a request to Finance to have a payroll deduction.

Requests and amounts should be forwarded to Vicki Pannell. E-mails should include your employee number and be sent before April 15 and should clearly say “Please deduct $__ from my pay for the Canadian Red Cross Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund.”

Your donation amount will be registered as a charitable contribution on tax forms issued by the College for 2011 (in early 2012).

If you’d prefer to make a donation by cash or cheque, you can access a form online  - be sure to specify the Red Cross Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund – and drop it off or mail it to the Okanagan College Foundation office. The Red Cross will directly receipt donations received through this channel.

Put the Strategic Plan to work for you

calendarOkanagan College’s Public Affairs department has developed a promotional desk calendar that highlights the new Strategic Plan. Designed as part of the package of promotional materials we use to tell our stories to various organizations, individuals, and the public, we’re making the calendar available first to staff who want a copy: if you want one, just ask and we’ll deliver.

If you can’t remember all five of our Key Directions, a quick flip to 2012 will remind you (engagement, learning and teaching, student transition, collaboration and partnership, and sustainability). Guiding Principles? Look no further than November ... To order your desktop calendar, please follow this link to fill out a form.

Okanagan College students Do it in the Dark

Okanagan College’s Skaha Student Residence recently competed in the “Do it in the Dark” energy reduction challenge. The College students competed against residences from all other universities and colleges in the province. Results of the challenge were announced today and Okanagan College finished in first place with the highest overall percentage reduction – nearly 30 per cent. Okanagan College’s team effort was led by Kathy Zucchi and her resident advisors but student participation and involvement made all the difference in the great results. 

HSBC donates $30,000 to Business Admin students

hsbcDuring a special presentation at the OBSA banquet last week, HSBC Bank Canada announced a $30,000 donation to establish the permanently endowed HSBC Bank Canada Entrance Award in Business Administration.

One award will be granted annually to a first-year student at Okanagan College enrolled in the Faculty of Business Administration. Award recipients must demonstrate academic achievement, financial need and community service.

“HSBC Bank Canada has a long-standing commitment to education, one of the main focuses of our charitable giving, and we are delighted to have established this award at Okanagan College,” said Sandra Stuart, Chief Operating Officer, HSBC Bank Canada. “We are proud that this donation will help students pursue post-secondary education, giving them a bright future and opportunities for success.”

Website gets a facelift

banner2Beginning last Friday, those who use as their homepage may have noticed a slight change in the format. The page now includes six thumbnails of the banners on the homepage that appear below the banner image itself. The banners also rotate automatically.

The changes were made partially in response to an issue that was developing with two new versions of web browsers introduced recently (Internet Explore 9 and Firefox 4). The changes also address an issue that had developed with some Blackberry users (they wouldn’t see the banners at all).

While the changes are relatively minor, there may be more significant changes afoot. A larger review of the website, with special attention to navigation, site architecture, templates and homepage look and feel, will soon be launched. The Web Steering Committee’s membership will be supplemented with representatives from faculty and staff and will undertake a review of the website over the coming months.

More details of the review, the consultation process, and expected timelines will be coming your way soon – watch Inside Okanagan College and myOkanagan for more information.

Agur Lake Camp Society signs MOU with College

agurPresidents from the Agur Lake Camp Society and Okanagan College met on March 18 to sign a new memorandum of understanding, which formalizes the organizations’ commitment to work together to provide educational opportunities for students while supporting community members of the South Okanagan.

The two organizations have developed a mutually beneficial relationship, partnering on recent projects such as the College’s Residential Construction program, which will see entry-level carpentry students build a cabin for the Agur Lake Camp Society and its users. 

The Agur Lake Camp Society was formed in 2004 after the Agur family signed a 99-year lease agreement, providing four acres of waterfront land to the registered society. The mandate of the Society is to provide barrier-free outdoor experiences to those who would not normally be able to attend a camp due to physical, sensory and/or medical challenges.

“Okanagan College has been a friend to the Agur Lake Camp Society for a number of years and today’s signing of a memorandum of understanding builds upon our existing relationship and acknowledges that both of our organizations can benefit from continued collaboration,” explained Barbara Hatton, President of the Agur Lake Camp Society.

OBSA hosts 32nd business banquet

obsaThe Okanagan Business Students’ Association hosted its 32nd annual business banquet on Thursday, March 24 at the Coast Capri Hotel Ballroom in Kelowna.

The event included a keynote presentation from The Clodhoppers – Chris Emery and Larry Finnson, creators of Clodhoppers candy.

Chris and Larry shared the story of how they became two of Canada’s great young entrepreneurs, taking their grandmother’s recipe and developing it into a multi-million dollar business.

The highlight of the evening came as the HSBC Bank Canada announced a $30,000 contribution to support financial awards for Business Administration students.

London Drugs announces new scholarships to support students at Penticton’s Centre of Excellence

londondrugsAt an early morning event in Penticton today, London Drugs announced it will donate $10,000 to support a series of annual financial awards for new programs, which will be offered at the new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation. 

Store Manager Colin Campbell made the announcement this morning at London Drugs’ Cherry Lane Mall store. The $10,000 commitment will fund two annual awards, each valued at $1,000 for the next five years.

“We are so pleased to be a part of the Centre of Excellence campaign,” said Campbell. “This partnership with Okanagan College and its students is a really good fit for London Drugs. We are deeply committed to our community and the Centre of Excellence is going to be an incredible facility and resource for the people of Penticton.”

“This donation is going to make a real difference to local students in helping to finance their education and training,” said Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for the support of London Drugs and are well aware of the important role our local businesses play in our community.”

Runners brave snow to take part in ninth annual Half Marathon

raceMore than 400 runners took part in the ninth annual Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race on Sunday, March 27 in Kelowna. Although mother nature did not cooperate with race organizers, feedback from runners was overwhelmingly positive about the event’s success.

Much of that success is due to the hard work of volunteers (many of them Okanagan College staff) who make the event possible. Thanks to the following groups who organized aid stations:

Campus Health
Okanagan College Alumni Association
The Women’s Place

Many runners posted fast finishes in the event, earning age-group medals. Among those winners were several familiar faces from Okanagan College. Congratulations to Board of Governors' Chair Lance Kayfish, Michelle Sinclair, Jane Muskens and Jill Watson for dominating their age categories. Congratulations is also in order for Okanagan College student Board of Governors member Jacek Gabanowicz who competed in the Relay portion of the race. CHBC TV covered the event, watch a clip from the day or follow this link to a slideshow of College runners and many others who participated.

Connections 2011 travels to Penticton to celebrate the new Centre of Excellence

Okanagan College’s annual employee learning conference will be held at the new Centre of Excellence on the Penticton campus on Tuesday, August 23 and Wednesday, August 24.

Have you been wondering what all the fuss and excitement over this new facility is about? Kaya Forest is someone who has watched it grow from a (noisy, pile-driven) hole in the ground to a beautiful structure in the last 16 months. Kaya is encouraging everyone to see the building for themselves at Connections and take advantage of the opportunity to tour, interact with, and enjoy the new landmark building, with its leading-edge features and technology.

Bus transportation will be provided, so mark your calendar and look for details in Inside Okanagan College in the coming weeks.
Do you have ideas or suggestions for learning sessions you would like to see? Have a skill or knowledge you can share by leading a session?

The Connections committee is looking for ideas for sessions that will appeal to all areas of the College - from support staff, Facilities, and IT Services, to instructional staff and faculty. Whether you are part- or full-time, continuing or on contract employment with the College, the committee wants feedback. Please send your ideas to Jasmine McGee at ext. 4664 or Kaya Forest at ext. 3222.

Sustainability course survey open until Friday   

sustainSo far 133 teaching faculty and vocational instructors have completed the STARS Sustainability Course Survey. For those who haven’t completed the survey, please take the five minutes to ensure that your sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses are counted. We know there are still many great academic and vocational courses out there that we should be profiling in our sustainability curriculum portfolio.

Please don’t miss the opportunity and have your course left out.
Not sure if the course you teach is sustainability-related or -focused? In our OC Strategic Plan, we define sustainability in a very holistic sense: “Sustainability incorporates economic and social change to protect the natural systems of the planet, so that current and future generations may maintain or improve their quality of life.” Need more definitions of sustainability to broaden your understanding?

See more definitions here

You can also see a STARS gold-rated example of sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses from Middlebury College here.


Help celebrate John Lent’s retirement

lentAfter 32 years with Okanagan College, Regional Dean John Lent is retiring. Staff are invited to join John for a celebration of his retirement on Thursday, April 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Vernon Campus. Appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available. Please RSVP to Janice Ulrich  by April 1 if you are able to attend.

Pages for John’s memory book will be available for signing at each of the campuses. Please see Janice Ulrich in Vernon, Lara Jennings in Kelowna, Shelby Crosby in Salmon Arm and Marilyn Ordze in Penticton to sign the book.
If you wish to make a donation towards the gift and party for John you may do so with the individuals above.

Weather Stations at Okanagan College

weatherThe Geography & Earth and Environmental Science Department at Okanagan College is in the process of setting up weather stations at the four main campuses of Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.

The stations at Salmon Arm and Penticton have been installed since 2006 and the stations for Vernon and Kelowna have just arrived and will be set up this week.  Currently only the Salmon Arm station is linked to the OC website. Or simply click on Salmon Arm at the bottom of the OC homepage and then click on the thermometer.  

The goal of the project is to have all four weather stations linked to OC’s website in the next few months. In addition to providing climatology students with real-time weather data to analyze, these stations also provide a public service. 

Recently when the Salmon Arm Environment Canada weather station was inoperable, CBC Radio was using the information from the OC Salmon Arm weather station in their weather updates.

On now at Kalamalka Vertigo

vertigoA new exhibition by Sindri Hans Guðmundsson will be on display at the Kalamalka Vertigo at Okanagan College until May 6. These colourful paintings reflect the artist’s exuberant graffiti and mural work.

Originally from Iceland, the artist currently has a studio outside Vernon. He is also a popular instructor at Gallery Vertigo’s SMARTIES, a family art-making program that runs from 2 - 4 p.m. every Sunday at the gallery. Sindri’s work can also be viewed at “Kush Organics” where a large wall mural is in progress.

Civil students deem 2011 retaining wall project a success

civilAs part of their CiEn 236 class, the Civil Engineering Technology students have the opportunity to construct a retaining wall. Retaining wall day this year was on March 11. 

After learning some retaining wall theory and completing a test, the students went outside and constructed a retaining wall/planter. Working together with Graham Kershaw of Facilities Management, the students built a planter at the Kelowna campus. 

The 33 students who attended the event constructed approximately 18 meters of planter by the A Building in about three hours. Two students who were not in the CiEn 236 class joined in to help, as they had heard it was a fun event. The response from the students was very positive, one saying it was her best day ever at Okanagan College.

On the recycling note, the concrete blocks the class used for the project were recycled from other planters that were disassembled when the Centre for Learning was constructed.
Mar. 29, 2011 Vol. 4 Issue 25


Online Services shut-down notice

Finance, along with the Registrar’s Office, will be implementing an online services shut down for fiscal year-end reconciliation. All online services that may involve any type of payment will be unavailable to students from March 31 beginning at 2 p.m. to April 1 at 9 a.m.

The following online services will not be available during that time:

Transcript requests

Course registration

CS course registration




You may process any in-person requests that afternoon but Finance requires that all cashiering sessions be closed and balanced by 4 p.m. on March 31.

New Signing Authority Policy now available

Okanagan College has a new Signing Authority Policy, which is effective April 1, 2011 and can be found online. Please ensure that documents forwarded to Financial Services, Human Resources and Purchasing have the appropriate approvals as per the Expenditure or Revenue Matrices or a Sub-delegation form.

Beginning in May 2011, any documents that do not have the appropriate approvals will be sent back to the originator. If you have any questions about the Expenditure matrix or Sub-delegation form, please contact Vicki Pannell.

Also, if you have not already done so, please complete and submit the Signature Library to Finance as soon as possible, to prevent delays in processing.

Meet your Education Council

Education Council recently held elections, resulting in new members from each of the four campuses. The new members will take office in September and new student members will be elected in October. Follow this link to view the official member list for 2010-11.

Coyotes host street hockey tournament

The Okanagan College Coyotes Hockey team is hosting a street hockey tournament on April 2 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. The event will take place in the staff parking lot in front of Continuing Studies.

There are 10 players per team and entry to the tournament costs $150 per team. For more information contact Elizabeth Huntley or Dekker Mende

Research Skills Survey – now live

The Library Research Skills Survey is now live and was distributed via email on Wednesday, March 23 to all faculty teaching first-year university transfer and business courses.

What research skills do college professors expect first-year students to have? 

Finding answers to this question is the primary goal of the Library Research Skills Survey, a collaboration within the Okanagan College Library Department between Jennifer Sigalet, Vernon Campus librarian (2249), and Sherri Savage, a MLIS distance education student at San Jose State University, who is also an auxiliary in the Kelowna Library Circulation Area.    

The survey aims to identify the expectations faculty have of first-year college students’ research skills. The results of the survey will assist the Library in continuing to develop and enhance its information literacy (research skills) programs through best practices as we support students in attaining their learning outcomes and educational goals.

A survey report will be available by June 1 and will be shared with the Okanagan College community, with delegates at an annual national conference Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU 2011), and as well, with local teachers and teacher-librarians as the Okanagan College Library continues to explore collaborative bridging opportunities within school districts.

CS launches Camp OC webpage

Continuing Studies welcomes the eighth year of Camp OC with the addition of a brand new webpage on the Okanagan College site.

Camp OC is an extraordinary eight-week-long day camp for kids and teens, where they are encouraged to explore, interact, learn and grow.

There are 52 camps this summer, covering a wide variety of topics, including:  Chemistry Ka-Boom, Lego Robotics, Time Machine, Chef Academy, Flight Academy and Mad Scientist. Camp OC staff work hard to develop camps that will get kids and teens thinking, discussing and problem solving.

*Okanagan College permanent employees will receive a 10 per cent discount on camp registrations. Be sure to check out the new webpage at and discover the exciting summer we have planned for your kids and teens.

Alumni Association wine now available

Are you planning an event and serving wine?  Looking for thank-you gifts for your guest speakers?  Well look no further – the Alumni Association private label wine is the promotional item that pays it forward. 

The private label St. Hubertus wine offered by the Alumni office is a fundraiser that raises money to support student and alumni programming, including the annual alumni awards and two student bursaries. 

There are currently two red and two white varietals available:  Northern Summer, $18/bottle, Oak Bay Marechal Foch, $24/bottle, Pinot Blanc, $19/bottle and Chasselas, $21/bottle.

For more information or to place your order, please contact Katerina Hay at local 4771.

Classics at the Classic wraps up with Kubrick

Students enrolled in Film 100 at the Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College have made their selection for the final film of their series, Classics at the Classic. After pitching their ideas for the best film to end the year with, the class took a vote and decided on a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

The class also decided that all of the money collected at the door ($5 for adults and $3 for students) will go to the Red Cross to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The screening will take place on Monday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic Cinema in downtown Salmon Arm.

Smoking belongs in a Gazebo

Here is a quick quiz about smoking on the College campuses. Can you smoke while walking to and from class? Can you smoke in a parked car on campus? Can you smoke in the parking lot? If you answered no to all of those questions you would be correct.

College policy states that all smokers must be in a gazebo or designated smoking area to smoke on campus. With the warm weather there have been more reports of smoking violations on campuses so there will be increased monitoring and enforcement of the smoking policy on all campuses over the next few months.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Greg Wagner from the Welding Department in Kelowna, who won the Mar. 25 payday draw for $577.50.

All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. If you wish to sign up, registration forms are available from Dawn Douglas (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus), from Human Resources.


Apr. 4 - (Mon) Kalamalka Speakers Lunch and Learn Series. "The War on Drugs and the Need for Reform” with David M. Kennedy. The failed drug war is costing us $320 billion worldwide per year. The effects are increased violence, cheaper and more available drugs, and warring cartels with thousands dying. Kennedy’s presentation will affirm the need for reform. Kennedy is a retired medical doctor, and also an accredited marriage and family therapist, who worked in India for six years, and practiced in Vernon from 1971 until 1999.  He did workshops at the Round Lake Native Alcohol and Drug centre for 12 years. Vernon Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m. Okanagan College.

Apr. 7 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna)         

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)

May 15 - The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) will present a historic fashion show called Waisted Efforts. The event will be hosted by Ivan Sayer, a noted Vancouver fashion historian. His work can be viewed on

In recent years, CFUW Kelowna has awarded $12,000 a year to young women entering first-year at Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan, single parent mothers studying at either institution and women undertaking post-graduate studies at UBCO. For more information about the event or the CFUW, please go online


Japanese international students were joined by domestic students and students from across the valley to raise funds for those affected by the earthquake in Japan on March 11. Read about their activities in: Japan’s plight touches city, Students rally for Japan relief, Students raise funds for victims, and Hundreds of T-shirts sold in UBCO Japan fundraiser (please note this headline was printed in error – should have read College Japan fundraiser.)

Geography professor Dr. Terence Day recently had an article about laptops in the classroom reprinted in the 2nd Canadian edition of "Understanding human communication" by Adler, Rodman and Sevigny (Oxford University Press). The article previously garnered a significant amount of attention when it was first published in University Affairs, with several radio interviews, newspaper articles in the National Post, student newspapers across the country, and in a magazine published in China. The piece was also used in a CBC training exercise. Check out Dr. Day’s article by following this link.

The Penticton campus’ current Residential Construction students are excited to build a cabin for the Agur Lake Camp Society as part of their program. Read details in: Dream becoming a reality.

The downtown campus plan for Salmon Arm will be taking its next step as the new project Coordinator, Margaret Hardy, was recently hired on a one-year contract. Read more in: Downtown college concept moves ahead.

The College’s Penticton campus hosted and co-presented the eat.drink.tweet. social media bootcamp for the wine and culinary industries, which featured keynote speaker Rick Bakas. Read more in the Winetrails Feature.

A Letter to the Editor of the Penticton Herald on March 23 by Meyers Bennett, Jane Drapeau, Tom Kampman, Gerry Karrr, Ian S. Kennedy and Eric Ruby provided several reasons why the community should show support for the new Centre of Excellence. Read more in: College good news story.

Chef Perry Bentley and Okanagan College’s participation in the Gold Metal Plates competition was highlighted in the March Okanagan Life Magazine pulse article.

For a summary of how the Federal Government’s recent budget would impact students if it takes effect, read: Seniors, students take note.

The provincial NDP advanced education critic Michelle Mungall was in Kelowna to answer questions from Okanagan College and UBCO student union members shortly after the new Liberal Premier was sworn in. Read the details in: Colleges need core funding to save student tuition, NDP critic told.

Capital News columnist Kathy Michaels commented on the provincial government’s reaction to students protesting upcoming tuition increases. Read more in: Belittling tuition hike impact no way to start ‘family first’ gov’t.

Heather Schneider, Regional Dean of the Central Okanagan, appeared in a collage of images from the International Children’s Winter Games in the March edition of Okanagan Life Magazine.

The Okanagan College Half Marathon took place on March 27 -  a photo montage of the event was included in Monday’s Courier: Half Marathon. Find details of the race from pre-event coverage: Still time to register for OC’s half marathon or watch a clip from CHBC.

The Okanagan Business Students’ Association held their annual banquet last week. The event featured Chris Emery and Larry Finnson, Clodhoppers’ founders, who spoke to the attendees for part of the networking event. Read more in: Clodhoppers’ creators bring humour to event and Granny’s recipe hops into major business.

SIFE Okanagan returned from the regional championship with two first place wins. Read more about the team’s success in: Victory Cheer, Super SIFE, and College team shines in competition.

SIFE Okanagan is co-hosting Kelowna’s Green Business Awards on April 28. Read more in: Nominees cited for the Green Business Award categories.

A new entrance award for an incoming Business Administration student has been endowed by HSBC Bank Canada. Read more in: HSBC comes up big for OK College business award.

Jim Patenaude, alumnus of the General Studies program, has taken on the role of Safe Communities Unit manager for the City of Vernon RCMP. Read more in: Patenaude embraces duties.

The Coyotes Baseball team season began last weekend. Several new players have been added to the roster including locals Brandon Klym, Kyle Monster and Todd Leavitt. Kelowna’s Cory Wood has returned to the team once again. Read more in: Local ballplayers make OC roster.

Jane Muskens, Registrar, theorizes the predetermined factor affecting students’ post-secondary path, that of cultural capital, in her weekly School’s In column: Family culture’s influence on post-secondary choices.

Allan Coyle, Director of Public Affairs, contributed to Jane’s weekly School’s In column discussing opportunities in the fields of science, math and technologies and how interest in the subjects needs to be maintained and nurtured in teens to support their continued pursuits in the areas. Read the column: Closing the gap on shortfall of science and math aspirants.


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 Tuesday, April 12, 2011.