Renowned chef joins Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department

Chef B CasavantChef Bernard Casavant has joined Okanagan College as the institution’s Culinary Manager.

Casavant is one of the country’s best-known chefs. He is a member of the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. In 1986, he was one of the first chefs in Canada to earn Chef de Cuisine Certification (CCC). In 1991, he became the first West Coast-born and trained chef to represent Canada in the prestigious Bocuse D'Or Competition, France, and currently serves as president of the Okanagan Chefs Association.

Beyond the kitchen, Casavant has also been a major force for improvement in the hospitality industry during his career and in promoting the farm-to-table movement throughout B.C.

“The addition of Chef Bernard to help lead our team of talented professionals signals the importance of the culinary arts to our educational mix,” explains Jonathan Rouse, the Director of Wine, Food and Tourism at Okanagan College. “He brings tremendous expertise, energy and enthusiasm to the role that will help inspire many more chefs who will serve the industry well.”

“I see this as an opportunity to have an influence on how we train tomorrow’s great chefs,” says Casavant. “Okanagan College is developing a solid reputation for chef training and is also importantly taking the lessons of the locavore movement to heart, which we will endeavour to support through our culinary department.”

For more about Casavant, read the press release or the article in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Convocation season comes to a close

John Lent June 2014 SpeechLast week, Okanagan College celebrated the achievements of students in its last two convocation ceremonies of the year.

On June 25, the College recognized students earning certificates, diplomas and degrees from Continuing Studies, Business Administration, Writing and Publishing, Health Care, and Arts and Science at a well-attended ceremony in Vernon.

This ceremony also honoured the 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipient, acclaimed author and retired Okanagan College Regional Dean John Lent.

On June 26, 430 graduands received credentials in programs such as Therapist Assistant, Certified Dental Assistant, Human Service Worker and Office Administration as well as Continuing Studies certificate programs during the College’s Summer Convocation in Kelowna.

The Kelowna festivities also recognized its fourth Honorary Fellow award recipient, lawyer Garry Benson QC, who was honoured for his work advocating for environmental and Aboriginal interests within industry.

The first Convocation of the year was held in January and honoured 299 students. On June 6 and 7, the College conferred nearly 1,400 credentials on students earning credentials in academic, vocational and trades programs.

In 2014, more than 2,100 students graduated from Okanagan College. The next Convocation will be in January 2015.

New course for wine servers

Wine Server Display resizeA new online course is available to wine servers across the province – and around the country – thanks to a collaboration between Okanagan College and the British Columbia Wine Institute.

This two-hour course was the brainchild of the British Columbia Wine Institute CEO Miles Prodan and Okanagan College’s Director of Wine, Food and Tourism, Jonathan Rouse and offers wine and food servers an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of BC vintages, varieties, and appellations for free.

“We saw this as a tremendous way to help the industry,” says Rouse. “It means everyone who is involved in serving wine in this province, whether they are in Fort St. John, Ucluelet, Vancouver or Naramata can gain a better understanding of the industry and the product that our residents and tourists are interested in.”

The online course features a generous serving of videos and draws in a broad range of experts and personalities from the industry. It is free and doesn’t require registration. Find it at

For more on the course, read the press release.

Golf tournament pulls an ace for Okanagan College Foundation

Foundation golf tournamentGolfers from throughout the Okanagan Valley and the Lower Mainland have boosted the coffers of the Okanagan College Foundation contributing more than $47,000 in support of students.

A total of 152 golfers registered for the Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group 23rd Annual Golf Tournament, held at the Okanagan Golf Club on May 22. The final tally includes a matching donation from Scotiabank of $3,060 generated from golf contest packages.

“This is a great community event, and a chance for those of us both at the College and members of the general community to get together in support of our favourite cause – helping students,” said Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler.

The winning team this year went to Inga Wheeler, Barb LeClair, Tobias Blaskovits and James Coble.

Alongside Western Financial as title sponsor, the Kelowna Capital News was media sponsor and PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. was the banquet sponsor.

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

As June came to a close, inboxes across the country were flooded with emails from organizations asking for permission to keep sending emails. This was because the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. The purpose of CASL is to control spam or unwanted commercial electronic messages (CEMs).

For the past few months, Okanagan College has been examining how this new legislation will affect its electronic messaging interactions with students, alumni, donors, communities, and the general public (employee communications are exempt). In many cases CASL will not apply to its communications; e.g. email communication to existing students regarding registration, admission or educational programming.

In those areas where CASL may apply, the College is working directly with affected employees to ensure compliance with the legislation.

A webpage is currently under development to provide materials to help employees understand the legislation, which will be available early July.

For more details, visit this link or contact Inga Wheeler in the Registrar’s Office.

CanFlip14 Touches Down at Okanagan College

Canflip 2014The idea of “flipping” the classroom – using classroom time for peer interaction, discussion, and interaction; while instruction is done at home often via online video – is gaining traction in higher education. The CanFlip14 conference exploring this topic recently took place at Okanagan College.

Speakers addressed a range of topics and issues, including the importance of fostering human connections, and the possibilities of enhancing student autonomy through improved teaching techniques and practices.  

The 145 participants came from all over the world to hear 25 presenters share their experiences in the flipped classroom. Keynotes by Aaron Sams (Pittsburgh, PA) and Chris Wejr (Langley, B.C.) inspired educators to incorporate learner-centred principles of autonomy, connectedness, and discovery into their teaching practice. The conference was co-sponsored by Okanagan College's Institute for Learning and Teaching.

Celebrating the Alumni achievement

On June 12, the College’s Alumni Association (OCAA) bestowed its highest honours on alumni Lane Shupe and Donnie Ungaro at the Centre for Excellence at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

Lane Shupe, a Certified Dental Assistant who graduated from the College in 1981, received the OCAA’s Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her commitment to her profession, the College’s CDA program, and her exemplary record of volunteerism. To understand Lane’s contribution, watch the video.

Donnie Ungaro, Young Professionals/Culture Development Officer with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, was honoured with the Association’s Young Alumni Award, which recognizes the achievements of Okanagan College or Okanagan University College graduates under the age of 35. Watch the video about Donnie to learn more.


Jan O’Brien at Economic Development Summit 

JO'Brien 2Jan O’Brien, Okanagan College's Institutional Research Manager, recently presented at the BC Economic Development Summit in Richmond as part of a panel discussion, called Shaping BC’s Labour Force Strategy. Jan is Co-Chair of the BC Student Outcomes Forum (a $1.2 million dollar project that surveys graduates from all 25 BC public post-secondary institutions).  

Jan was joined by fellow panelists Ian Darling from BC Stats and Kerry Young from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, Skills Training.
The next day, she chaired an event she organized, the two-day BC Student Outcomes Research Forum, which was attended by representatives from all public post-secondary institutions.

Rick Gee nominated for B.C. Nature Club award

Rick GeeThe Central Okanagan Naturalists Club (CONC) has nominated Rick Gee, Okanagan College’s Chair of the Computer Science department and Chair of Education Council, for B.C. Nature’s Club Service Award.

For 25 years, Rick has been an active club participant showing leadership to club members and organizing trips and outings, including multi-day hiking excursions and day-long snow shoeing adventures. Visit B.C. Nature’s website for more details.

On June 26, Rick also celebrated his last convocation as Education Council Chair having participated in multiple convocation ceremonies each year since January 2008.

Welcome Ben Harrison

Ben HarrisonOkanagan College’s Library welcome’s new librarian Ben Harrison to the Kelowna team.  Ben comes to Okanagan College from Cranbrook, B.C., where he was working as a librarian at College of the Rockies. Prior to that, Ben lived in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia. He attended the University of Western Ontario where he completed a B.A. in History and a Master of Library and Information Science.

“What I love most about libraries is the human interaction that takes place along with the discovery and sharing of ideas and resources,” says Ben.

“A major aspect of my work at College of the Rockies was supporting international students, so I'm looking forward to working with the international students at OC through my reference and instructional work.” 

Ben also loves the water and playing sports and is looking forward to all the recreational opportunities available in the Okanagan.

Remembering Mark Baranow

A Celebration of Life is being held for Mark Baranow, who passed away on April 30. Mark worked in the Trades and Apprenticeship department for eight years, most recently as shop assistant.
Mark was a key member of the team that launched the Rotating Trades program, which brought Welding, Electrical and Plumbing programs to Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon.
His colleague Bob Lingor remembers Mark as a family man who loved the outdoors.

“You could always count on Mark,” said Lingor. “He was great to work with and was well known for his expertise in repairing equipment and for organizing the movement of the rotating trades program.”
The Celebration of Life is a drop-in event taking place on Saturday, July 5 at Okanagan Centre Hall, 11099 Maddock Ave., Lake Country, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jul. 2, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 7

Library hours

All campus libraries have moved to summer hours until Sept. 3 and will be closed for statutory holidays.

See the following link for a schedule of all campus library hours.

Help promote the College

As a part of Okanagan College’s recruitment initiative, the recruiting team at the Penticton campus is participating in some community events in the South Okanagan over the summer.

The first event is the Oliver Sunshine Festival Parade taking place on Saturday, July 12 at 10 a.m. 

Volunteers are needed to don their Golden Day of Service red T-Shirts, walk the parade route, give out goodies, and drive the OC Van. It’s a great chance for the College to get out in the community and on people’s minds – and it's great exercise too.

Contact Jill Smith if you are available to participate.


Make Connections even better

Connections, Okanagan College’s annual employee learning conference, takes place Aug. 19 and 20 at the Kelowna campus, from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

This is a valuable opportunity to network with colleagues, learn about what’s going on strategically from President Jim Hamilton, and attend a variety of personal interest and professional development workshops. Employees can choose to attend either Aug. 19 or 20.

Find out more about this year's event here.

The Connections organizing committee has started planning the 2015 event, and is asking for feedback. If you've attended Connections in the past, please fill out the linked survey.

Don’t miss this opportunity to have your suggestions and input incorporated into future Connections conferences.

Maximize your Moodle

On July 7, learn how to motivate your students, maximize interaction, build a community of inquiry, and facilitate learner reflection through Moodle. All sessions are online using a web conference tool called BlueJeans.

Contact Education Technology department for more information.


The B.C Wine Institute and Okanagan College want to help educate people about B.C. wine, see Improve your wine knowledge with online course in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Connie Denesiuk, Okanagan College’s Board of Governors’ Vice-chair is another step closer to representing the Liberals in the next federal election. See Denesiuk to vie for Liberal banner in the Penticton Herald.

A study reveals the majority of OC’s Aboriginal students have a positive experience at the College, see College could do a better job promoting aboriginal services in the Okanagan Saturday.

Okanagan College alumnus Ryan Huska is moving on as coach of the Kelowna Rockets, see Rockets don’t look far to find a new head coach in the Kelowna Capital News.

Central Okanagan businesses are getting behind the College’s newest building project, see Key industry leaders supporting new Okanagan College Trades Training Complex in the Business Examiner, and Industry leaders back OC Trades complex in the Kelowna Capital News.

A construction update on the Greater Vernon sports facility appeared in the Vernon Morning Star, see No further expenditures for sports facility.

Okanagan College’s summer Convocation made headlines, see Student retools career after injury in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Diploma puts man closer to dream job in the Okanagan Sunday.

Former Regional Dean at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus and long-time English instructor John Lent received the Distinguished Service Award at the Vernon Convocation ceremony, see College to honour Vernon writer in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thompson wrote about the ground breaking for the trades training complex in the Kelowna Capital News, see Post-secondary options available for British Columbians.

Alumnus Jeremy Luypen is the new executive chef at the Range Lounge & Grill at Predator Ridge. See the interview Beyond 19th green cuisine in the June issue of Okanagan Life magazine.
Okanagan College hosted and supported the Young Entrepreneur Competition for secondary school students. See Students exhibit business idea creativity in the Kelowna Capital News.

Registrar Jane Muskens writes about the shift in students program choices over the last 10 years. See Education choice driven by desire to earn a good living in the Kelowna Capital News.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 July 15, 2014.