After six years, Okanagan College staff more Connected than ever

connFor the first time in its six-year history, Connections – the College’s annual employee learning conference – was hosted at the Penticton campus. More than 400 employees had the opportunity to visit the South Okanagan campus and tour the new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

The event began with a welcome from Regional Dean Donna Lomas, who introduced President Jim Hamilton and the annual Connections video, which stars many Okanagan College employees and is produced by Public Affairs.

After the video, President Hamilton led a plenary session that served as a state of the union address, highlighting accomplishments over the past year, sharing success stories and contributions from students, employees and institutional developments.

Over the course of the two days of Connections a series of educational and fun workshops were held as well as social activities. If you were unable to attend Connections you can watch the video online.

Do you have suggestions for next year’s conference? Email Michelle Lowry with feedback. 

Protocol and Event Planning resource now available

protocolAs a part of Connections 2011, Joanna Campbell and Christine Ulmer held workshops to introduce a new online resource to support staff in event planning and provide guidelines for Okanagan College protocol. The resource is meant to assist employees with event planning every step of the way from planning to execution.

Everything from links to resources to help "green" your event are available as well as examples of professional invitations, how to secure media involvement and what to do about catering and seating plans. Go online to navigate the resource: Joanna and Christine welcome feedback and suggestions via email.

International web pages get a new fresh look

intlInternational Education went live this week with an enhanced look and feel for its pages on the Okanagan College website. The pages are now easier to navigate with streamlined information for students, agents and all users.

The project was a joint initiative between International, IT Services and Public Affairs. Check it out at:

First mandatory orientations held; another planned for Sept. 29

An addition to the list of Okanagan College employee events is the mandatory orientation sessions for new staff. The first sessions were held Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 and drew 40 people. The two sessions covered everything from an introduction to the culture and strategic plan for Okanagan College to how to navigate myOkanagan.

“While we’ve held orientation sessions in the past, this was the first time they were mandatory,” explains Randy Maradyn, Director of Human Resources. “That was an outcome of discussions with our bargaining unit leaders and our leadership team. We all felt it important to give new employees an introduction to the College that would serve them as they become a part of the institution."

The sessions aren’t meant to replace campus- and department-level orientation sessions, but to supplement them with a bigger-picture look at Okanagan College, he explains.

“Based on initial feedback, the sessions were well-received,” says Maradyn. “A very important component was the participation by and support of so many people from so many areas, including our employee groups and bargaining units.”

To accommodate those who weren’t able to attend in August, HR has set another session for Sept. 29, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. 
“We’re also looking at another session early in the new year, to accommodate those employees who may be starting with us later this fall.”

OC Mobile App now live

app4IT Services has developed a new mobile app to provide services for students who use handheld devices to access information about the College. The app functions for iPhone and Android users – stay tuned to Inside Okanagan College for a notice of the app for Blackberry users.

The app is free to download for iPhone at AppStore or visit Android market. Currently, app users can access their student schedule, grades, news, and find classes to register in. Enhanced features will be added to the mobile options. Watch Inside Okanagan College for more information.

College celebrates 20th anniversary with Japanese college

toyotaLast Friday, Toyota Technical College President Kazunori Ikeyama helped Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton plant a Japanese Cherry tree at the Kelowna campus in honour of the 20th class of Toyota Technical College students who have attended a summer program at the College.

The first class of students from Toyota Technical College came to Okanagan College in 1991 to participate in an intensive training program in Automotive Collision Repair. In the two decades that have followed, 700 Japanese students have taken part in the program. 

“This partnership has turned into a strong and enduring friendship between our institutions, our employees and our communities,” noted President Hamilton. “To honour that relationship, its history and bright future, we are dedicating a tree to commemorate this occasion. 

“We chose to plant a Japanese Cherry tree, also known as a Sakura. This tree, which is native to Japan, will serve as a year-round reminder of our friends at Toyota Technical College. Its beauty and strength is often associated with the spirit of the Japanese people.”

The new tree was planted at the Kelowna campus on the east side of the Centre for Learning outside the kitchen in the International Education office. Follow this link to read more about the partnership and one of the program’s key supporters, Chris Burns. 

KIdsWWwrite publishes 100th issue

KIdsWWwrite, the online anthology of children’s writing sponsored by the Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers and Okanagan College, published its 100th issue in June.

KIdsWWwrite showcases short stories, poems, and book reviews by authors aged 5-16. Since it was launched in May 2001, KIdsWWwrite has published thousands of submissions from over 30 countries. Since its inception 10 year ago, the KIdsWWwrite anthology has been edited by BC children’s author Margriet Ruurs. Okanagan College’s Director of Library Services, Ross Tyner, also played a large role in the anthology's sucess. Ross has been responsible for maintaining the KIdsWWwrite website and uploading submissions. The College's Jeremy Beaulne took over for Ross in this role last year.

KIdsWWwrite reflects Okanagan College’s dedication to promoting creativity and artistic expression in young people.  To browse through the most recent issue of KIdsWWwrite—and all 99 back issues—visit


Women in Trades: new additions

auroraCongratulations are in order for Jennifer Hamilton and her husband Andrew, who welcomed daughter Aurora on Aug. 5.

Karma Lacoff, previously in Public Affairs, has taken on Jen’s role while she is on maternity leave. Amongst her many duties Karma is enjoying the significant contact with prospective female program participants and current and past students. She has been busy working with the 17 women who have been sponsored so far this year for their Foundation Level programs.

Erin Kavanagh, who had been working with the team on a part-time basis, has taken on a new role as the program’s Job Placement Liaison. In this role, Erin is connecting with employers throughout the College region and working with them to develop job opportunities for Women in Trades graduates. If you know of any trades related businesses that are hiring, let Erin know.

The next Gateway to the Building Trades for Women starts Oct. 24 at the Vernon Trades Training Centre. Applications are still being accepted to fill the eight remaining seats in the program. Contact Karma for more information.

Chong to publish first novel

corinnaCorinna Chong, professor in the English Department, is preparing to publish her first novel with NeWest Press, an award-winning publishing company based in Edmonton.

Corinna, who began teaching at the College in January of 2011, studied creative writing at the University of Calgary and the University of New Brunswick with revered Canadian writers like Aritha van Herk and Mark Anthony Jarman. Her novel, entitled Belinda’s Rings, chronicles the journeys of a 16-year-old girl and her mother as they search for their individual identities in the midst of a family crisis.

The book will be published and distributed to bookstores across Canada in the fall of 2012.

Tanya Tarlit welcomes new family addition

alexaStudent Services’ Tanya Tarlit - Student, Graduate and Co-op Coordinator and Education Advisor - her husband Steve and oldest daughter Halen are thrilled to announce the arrival of baby girl Alexa Hope. 

Alexa was born Aug. 3, 2011 at 12:01 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 10 ounces.

Strange fruit to be screened at Armstrong Fair

Communications professor Marc Arellano will showcase his documentary Strange Fruit on Sept. 2-4 (Friday through Sunday) at 4 p.m. at the Armstrong Fair. The film screening will take place at the Centennial Hall, just inside the main gates and to the left. Look for the "Nature's Presence Film Festival" banner on the building.

Marc will also host a Q and A session at the Sunday screening. In addition to promoting Strange Fruit, Marc is also hard at work on a new documentary project: Spinning Green. Check out the new project on Marc’s website. 

August 30, 2011 Vol. 5 Issue 11


Parking Update

Parking Services reminds staff of the upcoming expiration date on the old style parking sticker permits. Employees are required to display the new hangtag parking passes by Sept. 30.

To get a new staff permit please go online to myOkanagan and look under the employee tab to find the Facilities Management section and then look in online forms to find the application form for the staff permit. After Oct. 15 parking enforcement will ticket any vehicle without the new staff permit.

Return to regular hours at Okanagan College

Human Resources reminds staff that summer hours (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) at Okanagan College will end on Friday, Sept. 2 and the College will return to normal hours (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) for participating departments.

Coming soon: call for EDCO and Student Board member nominations

Sept. 7 – 21 is the call for nomination period for a variety of positions on Okanagan College’s Education Council and the Board of Governors. 
On Sept. 7, posters will be distributed and displayed at all campuses calling for nominations. You may also check your myOkanagan account starting Sept. 7 for a direct link to the electronic versions of the posters, which will give you all the details on what is involved in the nomination process. 

- Notice Of Student Election & Call For Nominations for Student positions to be elected to the Board of Governors and Education Council

- Notice of Support Staff By-Election to Education Council and Call for Nominations

- Notice of Faculty By-Election to Education Council and Call for Nominations (South Okanagan-Similkameen only)

Apply now for the Okanagan College Family Award

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award. Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan – follow the link to OC Express - Forms and then click through to Foundation.

All applications must be date-stamped at the Welcome Centre in Kelowna or the Campus Administration office at your campus by Sept. 23, 2011. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. 

Please direct any questions about the Okanagan College Family Award to the Kelowna Campus Financial Aid & Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

What’s up with water in the Okanagan?

annaDr. Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, will be discussing this important topic at a public lecture at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

This talk is presented by the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and the Okanagan College). Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre or call (250) 545-3644 for advanced purchase of tickets or for more information.

The Fall Classic is back

Calling all putters! The Kelowna campus is hosting the 5th annual Fall Classic putting tournament on Tuesday, September 20. This tournament is open to everyone...just find a partner, create an innovative name for your team and sign up with Angie March (local 4501). Tee times begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Each team should plan on spending 45 minutes to navigate the course.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Arlene DeBruin from Human Resources in Kelowna, winner of the Aug. 26 payday draw for $547.50. 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 Tessa Derksen (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus) or from Human Resources.


Three media outlets picked up on the news of Mel Kotler’s appointment as the 2011-12 Entrepreneur in Residence. Read more from the Westside Weekly, Okanagan Sunday and Castanet.

English Department Professor Melanie Murray received a starred review in the July-August edition of Quill and Quire for her book For Your Tomorrow: The Way of an Unlikely Soldier: Starred reviews indicate books of exceptional merit – read the review here.  

Okanagan College’s hockey team, the Coyotes, were profiled in the Okanagan Saturday. Read more about their new roster, coaching staff and prospects for the fall season in: Coyotes heading in desired direction.

Bev McNamara, former chair of Practical Nursing has retired, marking a significant contribution to the local health care community. Bev’s career was profiled by Allan Coyle in the Kelowna Capital News. Read more about Bev’s remarkable career in: Longtime college nursing instructor recognized for her work.

North Okanagan Regional Dean Jane Lister was photographed in the Vernon Morning Star receiving the Kalamalka Rotary Vocational Service Award. Jane was selected for the award based on her contributions to the needs of society, community and for promoting high ethical standards in the workplace.

Connections 2011 was held at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College from Aug. 25-26. The event was featured in the Penticton Herald along with a photo of SIFE faculty advisors Shei Seaton and Dean Warner with three SIFE students.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused her School’s In columns on the power of education and its ability to create meaningful social change and inspire people to reach for their goals. Read more in: Education is the best way to bring an end to minority slavery and How do you inspire young people to be all that they can be?

The Centre of Excellence was one of the topics at the Penticton City Council meeting on Aug. 12.  Council discussed the net metering program, which will allow a grid tie-in system between the solar panels on the Centre of Excellence and the Penticton power grid. Read more in: Good vibrations.


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, Sept. 13, on what would be Milton Snaveley Hershey’s 154th birthday. Hershey is credited with building the world’s largest chocolate factory in 1903, from which he produced his Hershey Bars.