International student making progress after near-drowning incident in Vernon

The 23-year-old Korean study tour student involved in a near drowning 11 days ago continues to show signs of improvement.

The student, part of a study tour from Yeungnam University, was rescued unconscious from the waters of Kalamalka Lake on July 23. Resuscitation efforts were started immediately and he was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital and then transferred to Vancouver General Hospital on Sunday. His parents arrived from Korea on Sunday.

“He’s showing significant improvement,” says International Education Director Steve Robinson. “Today the student is conscious, alert, and concerned about his friends.”

Okanagan College staff members were at the student’s side throughout his treatment at VJH and have spent much of the past week with his parents in Vancouver to assist them and to monitor and marvel at his progress.

“There’s a huge sense of relief with his progress,” says Robinson.

The incident, while it has gained significant media exposure, also served as a clear reminder why Okanagan College has a positive reputation with schools that send study tours.

“Everyone involved in the study tour – from our staff to the homestay parents, to the community itself – rallied and immediately focused not just on the needs of the student himself, but also on the rest of the 20 students on the tour,” notes Steve Koehle, Vice President Students.

Staff quickly abandoned their weekend plans and other commitments to attend to student needs and even to accompany the student on the air ambulance journey to Vancouver.

“One of our summer cultural assistants was supposed to be at his own stag party (he’s getting married Aug. 7) but he cancelled those plans so he could help the students,” noted Koehle. “Communications were constant and we kept officials at the Korean university apprised.”

Greater Vernon Victim’s Assistance personnel were brought in to help immediately with the counseling and advice for students and staff. By Sunday morning, host families were asking church congregations to include the Korean student in their prayers.

“I was awestruck by staff and community response to the trauma and tragedy of the situation,” says Robinson, who started with Okanagan College in June, 2009. “As a relative newcomer, it gave me immense pride in my colleagues and the College. I know the response impressed the officials from Yeungnam University.”

While the incident occurred at an event not organized or run by Okanagan College, it has already spurred change. Water safety material is being incorporated in international study tour orientations, says Robinson, who was working with the Lifesaving Society of BC last week on the appropriate information.

The near-drowning comes in the wake of a death earlier this summer at Alice Lake Provincial Park, near Squamish. A 17-year-old Chinese student who was attending high school in the Lower Mainland drowned at the park.

Is social media the end of society? Kaya Forest asks - Dr. Chris Schneider answers

kayaWith Connections 2010 just around the corner, organizer Kaya Forest sat down with guest speaker Dr. Chris Schneider to delve into the topic of his upcoming lecture - Social Media: The end of Society?

Students are using new forms of communication both in and beyond the classroom: do forms of social media threaten to overthrow long held traditions of what is media, communication, and learning? And does this make us as educators uncomfortable?

With cameras rolling, the conversation meandered across the influence of social media on contemporary society to its potential to redefine cultural and social norms, from its use in citizen journalism to combat traditional or oppressive media control to its presence in our daily lives - at our kitchen tables, in our classrooms, in our hip pockets.

That wikileaks is able to disseminate secret military documents at the click of a button to millions of people around the world is a far cry from the studied and investigated release of the Pentagon papers in the 1970s. This generation feels able to multitask - texting at the dinner table while watching television while holding down a conversation with mom. And how does this ultimately influence how this group communicates, interacts, and learns in an educational setting?
Though several of these issues were thought provoking, Kaya was struck by a particularly cogent and insightful notion that Chris enunciated several times in a few different contexts - that these new and pervasive forms of social media threaten to overthrow long held traditions of what is media, communication, and learning; that they are in fact a way for individuals to garner some of the control that has traditionally been held by people in positions of authority - governments, professionals, instructors, adults.

A description of what this may look like in the classroom can be found on the Connections registration page.

Please join colleagues for one of the days of Connections 2010 - Wednesday, August 25 or Thursday, August 26 - to explore this and many other ideas.

Salmon Arm campus celebrates the BC Elders

eldersThe Adams Lake Indian Band hosted the 34th annual BC Elders Gathering at Okanagan College from July 13-15 in Salmon Arm. More than 1,800 Elders and their families attended the event.

Okanagan College contributed to the success of the three-day event by donating the use of the campus’s classrooms, cafeteria, student lounge, courtyard, and Aboriginal Gathering Place for workshops, information booths, wellness and self care treatments, storytelling and traditional First Nations games.

More than 200 event volunteers, many of them members of the local First Nation Bands and some Okanagan College staff, assisted in making this event a warm experience for the Elders.

Registrar's Office Reaches Out with e-newsletter

The Registrar’s Office (Kelowna) will be publishing the first edition of its monthly e-newsletter later this week. Reach Out will provide readers with reminders of important dates, notification of Education Council approvals and general information about what’s new in the Registrar’s Office. Please visit on Thursday to view the newsletter or email to be added to the email distribution list.


A Verse to Summer in numbers and senses

kevin7Okanagan College’s Kevin McPherson and Alix Hawley are the latest writers to contribute to CBC Radio's A Verse to Summer. Kevin was joined in the CBC studio by listener Julie and daybreak host Marion Barschel as he unveiled his Verse to Summer live on Friday morning. Kevin’s assignment was to answer Julie’s summertime question, What’s the temperature today?

Poetry tsar Jake Kennedy added a twist to Kevin’s assignment, requesting that he only use words that are numbers, homophones of numbers, or words that contain numbers (such as weight). Follow this link to hear Kevin’s numeric response in five stanzas.

alixhKevin's poem followed on the heels of Alix Hawley’s Verse to Summer, which answered listener David's question, what is the smell of a thunderstorm as it approaches?

Shortly after David suggested Alix's theme Jake Kennedy stepped in to up the ante just a bit. Jake asked Alix to include all five senses in the poem. Be prepared for poetic sensory overload in: There is hope for rebirth in thunder and lightning.

Manning and Nahal join College Board

There will be two new faces at the Okanagan College Board of Governors table when it convenes again this fall. The B.C. Government has appointed Doug Manning and Dr. Sunddip Nahal to the Board for one-year terms, commencing July 31. 

manning7Manning is an educational consultant and is the former CEO, president and director of, North America’s leading provider of career and educational planning solutions. He’s also the current Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Okanagan College. 

Nahal is a teacher with School District 83 in Salmon Arm and an educational consultant. She’s also the co-founder of ilearn BC School Society and has a Doctor of Education degree in leadership and administration from the University of Phoenix.

nahal7Manning and Nahal’s appointments come as Board members Paul Johnson and Jane Lister complete their terms on the Board. Both were appointed in November, 2005.

“Both Doug and Sunddip have significant experience in education and serving students. We’re looking forward to the contributions and perspectives that Doug and Sunddip can bring to our Board,” said Lance Kayfish, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “The Board will have an important role to play as we continue our pattern of success and continue to move the College forward with projects such as the Centre of Excellence in Penticton.”

Kayfish and William Cooke were both reappointed by the government for three-year terms. Other Okanagan College Board members are Phillippe Bourbeau, Michael Conlin, Rick Gee, Brian Hughes, Andrew Nelson, Yvonne Pinder, Lianne Rozniak, Tom Styffe, Jim Hamilton and Loretta Swite.

Karen Bright retires

karenOn July 30, Library staff members gathered at the Kalamalka campus to wish Karen Bright a happy retirement. Karen began working for Okanagan College in 1994 at the KLO Campus as Library Assistant for Periodicals. She transferred to Vernon in 1999, where she was most recently employed as the Campus Library Assistant.

Her colleagues will miss Karen’s sense of humour, her advocacy for the campus library, and her organizational skills. Karen plans to spend time in her garden and working on her natural skin care products business.
Aug. 3, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 9


IT Services Update

A year ago, the decision was made to migrate Okanagan College File and Print Services from the Novell Netware platform to Microsoft Windows by August 2010.

This involves creating a new infrastructure, migrating all existing files on the F drives and K drives to the new infrastructure, and updating all Okanagan College desktop and laptop computers. 

The project is well underway, the infrastructure is operational and many administrative and support departments have been migrated. 

However, there will be some staff with laptops who will not return to campus until August and those laptops may not have been updated. 

Please note the following:

1.      To learn more about the new infrastructure including logging in and finding your files, click here.
2.      If any of your course notes or student handouts refer to either the F drive or the K drive you will need to update them because, in the new infrastructure, disk drives are not referenced using single letters.

3.      If you received a new R400 laptop or X200 tablet PC this spring, then your computer is likely ready for the new infrastructure.

4.      If your laptop was not replaced this year but has been worked on by IT Services in the past couple of months then it probably is ready for the new infrastructure. 

5.     If either #3 or #4 above do not apply to you or you are not sure, please call the IT Helpdesk at 4444 or submit an IT Service Request at your convenience. That way, IT Services can check it, and, if necessary, update it. 

Depending on the availability of a technician this process may take half an hour or you may need to leave your laptop with IT Services. 

Hint: if you are able to login with your nine-digit Employee ID then your laptop has already been converted. 
For additional information, click on the AskUS link at the bottom of the IT Services home page, AskUS.
 For assistance please call the IT Help Desk at local 4444.

CS brochures hot off the press


Continuing Studies in Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton have published their fall 2010 brochure, complete with new and returning favorite courses, programs and training opportunities. The brochure can be viewed online at: CS now also offers online registration for courses and programs – visit the web for information and to register – or call 250-862-5480.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Heather Schneider from Science, Technology and Health in Kelowna who won last week’s payday draw for $505. 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 or online.


The Okanagan College Board of Governors welcomes two new members, Doug Manning and Dr. Sunddip Nahal. Both have extensive experience in advanced education and join the Board as Paul Johnson and Jane Lister depart from their appointments. Read more in College enlists dynamic duo.

A new Advanced Certificate in Communication will be offered at Okanagan College this fall. The program, which includes professional writing, public relations and writing for marketing, held an information night on July 27 and received coverage from the Kelowna Daily Courier in Advanced learning.

Allan Coyle, Director of Public Affairs, filled in for Jane Muskens in her School’s In column. Allan discusses the plethora of communication methods available these days and the importance of being able to communicate ideas clearly. Read more in Communicating your message growing more complex.

The Mayor of Coldstream responded to a column in the Vernon Morning Star related to a bus route from Vernon to the UBCO campus. Mayor Garlick questions the necessity of the expenditure when Okanagan College provides access to university courses for the first two years of most programs in their own community.

Marc Arellano, Communications instructor, continues to receive press for his documentary Strange Fruit, which was recently screened as part of the Okanagan International Film Festival. Read more in Okanagan films highlight local fest and Glover to honor his commitment.

In her School’s In column, Registrar Jane Muskens discusses the link between economic growth and job creation. She notes the use of education to fill the needs of the economy. Read more in Educated skill workers can find jobs, make more money.

Keith Germaine, Adult Academic and Career Preparation instructor, helped Bicycles for Humanity in Kelowna send more than 400 bikes to Ghana. Read about it in: Over 400 unwanted used bicycles on way to new owners in Africa.

In a recent letter to the editor John Zeger commented on the Living Building Challenge targets and encouraged the City of Kelowna to adopt these standards across the board. The letter was written in response to a story about the Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Read the letter: More to sustainability than LEED.

Stan Chung, Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs, commented on life’s changes in his Global Citizen column. Read the column Merton Crescent: a widow’s song.


Aug. 7 – Okanagan College will be represented at the Downtown Kelowna Association’s Mardi Gras event from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bernard Avenue will be closed for the day while street vendors, merchants and children’s activities bring the streets alive. Come down for the day and say hello to fellow colleagues as they highlight what the college has to offer through demonstrations, displays and information.

Aug. 10 - Friends of Woon-Hing Manning, an Okanagan College alumna, will host an art show benefit to help raise money for her family. Woon-Hing just completed her degree at UBCO, winning the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Visual Arts Prize in the process, only to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. Admission to this event is free and donations are welcome. The art show will take place in Kelowna in the Centre for Learning Atrium, at 5 p.m. There will also be a silent auction and door prizes. The art sale will continue all day on August 11.

Aug 25-26 - Don't miss Connections 2010
The two-day employee learning conference is shaping up to be bigger and better than last year and all College staff are invited to attend one of the two days to receive professional development, network with colleagues and provide feedback on issues affecting Okanagan College, its staff and students. For more information about Connections or to register, go online.


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, Aug. 17, 2010.