Robo-brothers earn stripes at World RoboCup

Nelson & Hudson
After winning Okanagan College’s RoboCup dance competition in November, brothers Hudson and Nelson qualified to represent Canada at the World Robocup 2009 in Graz, Austria. Electronic Engineering instructor Nadir Ould-Khessal received word from Hudson and Nelson that they were awarded with Best Presentation for their performance at the international event.

Hudson and Nelson’s presentation included a green screen iMovie starring themselves and their robot, a poster and their introduction to their dance. Despite Nelson breaking his arm on the day of the judge’s interview, the duo performed extremely well and had a great learning experience.

Software developer recognizes Okanagan College

ESRI, the makers of industry leading ArcInfo GIS software, has announced that Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus is one of a select group of schools in Canada being recognized for a strong, multidisciplinary focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

In addition to recognizing Okanagan College, ESRI will be providing a scholarship to a Salmon Arm GIS graduate that includes a one-time payment of $500, a complimentary student license for the ArcGIS software, a complimentary registration for one of ESRI Canada’s regional user conferences and two complimentary instructor-led training courses.
“For one of the world’s leading GIS software makers to recognize Okanagan College and its graduates is a great honour,” said Patty Bruce, program coordinator. “We are truly proud of this very unique program, our outstanding instructional staff and the extremely well qualified graduates that this program produces.”

Connections 2009

Sustainability – students, employees, campuses, communities

connRegistration is still available for our annual learning conference – join your colleagues on Wednesday, Aug. 19 or Thursday, Aug. 20 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The morning will include a plenary welcome and update by Jim Hamilton, followed by a presentation from guest speaker Peter Gregg on Sustaining the Human Spirit – The Culture of Tenacious Optimism in a World under Threat. Staff will also have the chance to meet Okanagan College’s Fellows of the Institute for Leadership in Learning and Teaching.

Want a chance to tour the new Center for Learning? There will be a sign-up sheet available during morning registration to grab a spot for a short lunch time tour.

Enjoy a delicious lunch, then chose from over a dozen afternoon learning symposia – from Excellerating your Excel and Green Campus and Green Classrooms, to Working with International and Aboriginal students, Combating Racism, Alternative Grading Practices to Being Happier at Work. Come early to enjoy coffee with friends and colleagues and stay a little while in the afternoon for a social with food, entertainment, and prizes.

All employees are encouraged to attend. This event is a great way to kick off the year!

KALAMALKA VERTIGO's new exhibit: Beach Series

vertigoKalamalka Vertigo, a joint venture between Gallery Vertigo and Okanagan College, is currently exhibiting artist Sara Wiens’ Beach Series. This series will run until Sept. 15.

“The Beach series is an accentuation of the carnival-like colours and atmosphere created as people gather to bask in the heat of summer,” said Wiens. “The unspecific figures, complete with juicy hues and rippling flesh rarely seen throughout the rest of the year, represent the many who strip away the layers of clothing from the long Canadian winter to enjoy the intense warmth of the Okanagan sun.”   
Gallery Vertigo’s hours of business are from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For information, call Gallery Vertigo: (250) 503-2297, email: or check out the website:

Okanagan College WORKS at Community Futures

cfStaff from Okanagan College had an opportunity to connect with the 23 College alumni who are working at Community Futures in Vernon when the Okanagan College Works campaign hosted a coffee visit to their offices. Among the College alumni are Board of Governors member Jane Lister and Okanagan College Alumni Association Director Kara Kazimer.

Other alumni at Community Futures include graduates from the Okanagan School of Business, Continuing Studies, Arts, Science, and AACP, among others. The coffee visit offered alumni an opportunity to find out more about the news and events of Okanagan College. College alumni make up more than 65 per cent of all staff at Community Futures.


Ruf steps down as registrar, Muskens appointed in interim

Okanagan College’s Registrar, Robert Ruf, will leave his position at the
College after accepting a new role as Registrar of Bow Valley College in
Calgary. Robert has been an important contributor to the development of
Okanagan College, and his work has been valued and appreciated.

Jane Muskens, currently Manager of Student Recruitment, has been appointed interim Registrar of Okanagan College for a six-month period. Jane has nearly two decades of experience at Okanagan College, including 13 years in the Registrar's Office. In 2008, she completed a Master’s of Science in Education, specializing in enrollment management. Jane will begin her role as Registrar in mid-August.

Changing faces of Okanagan College

During the summer months a number of valued staff have retired, acquired new roles and some new faces have joined Okanagan College. Phil Beckmann, Dean of Science, Technologies and Health, and Lynda Wilson, Regional Dean Shuswap Revelstoke, both served their last official days on Okanagan College’s leadership team on Friday, July 31. Dr. Dianne Crisp has taken over the reins of Science, Technologies and Health and Jim Barmby is now leading the Shuswap Revelstoke region as Dean.

robinsonwebAlso worth noting is this summer’s arrival of Steve Robinson to the position of Director of International Education. Steve replaces Marlene Issac, who will be retiring. The International department and its new director can be found in their new digs on the ground floor of the Centre for Learning in Kelowna.

Michelle Lowry will return to Public Affairs in the role of executive assistant after spending the past year working as assistant to the dean of Science, Technologies and Health. With the return of Michelle, Public Affairs will lose Jennifer Heppner, who filled Michelle’s role for the past six months. Patti Boyd is already in her new role as executive assistant in Science, Technologies and Health.

MacDonald and Witzky named regional Aboriginal student recruiters

recruitersLoleen MacDonald and Shelley Witzky have been successful in earning full-time continuing regional positions as Aboriginal recruiting and events coordinators. Loleen and Shelley have been working in their respective roles for nearly a year.

Loleen will be based out of the Salmon Arm campus but will serve both the North Okanagan and Shuswap-Revelstoke regions. Shelley’s home campus will be Penticton and she will cover the South Okanagan-Similkameen and Central Okanagan regions.

College grad takes time to say thanks to those who supported him

jeshJesh Thiessen is preparing to undertake his most challenging academic endeavour this fall when he begins his first year of medical school at the University of Calgary. For Jesh, looking ahead to the exciting challenges of med school gave him an opportunity to reflect on those at Okanagan College who helped prepare him for his graduate studies.

Jesh sent a letter to Okanagan College staff to express his appreciation. His words give all of us at Okanagan College another reason to be proud of our efforts to provide students with the best education and training available.

Dear Okanagan College,

I am writing to express my appreciation to Okanagan College and specifically the Vernon Campus. I was a student in the Biology program from 2006 to 2008 and transferred to UBC Okanagan for my 3rd year. The transition to UBCO was extremely uncomplicated and academically I was fully prepared for my studies finishing my third year on the Dean's list. I would argue that the small classes and dedicated professors at Okanagan College offer an educational experience that in many ways surpasses that of a university. From my experience at OC, the instructors take a special interest in their students' education and are passionate about what they teach.

In May 2009 after completing a year at UBCO, I was accepted into the MD programs of UBC and the University of Calgary. I will be starting medical school in Calgary in August 2009 and look forward to the challenges and excitement in the world of medicine.

I wish to thank Okanagan College for their large part in preparing me for my medical education. This preparation was not only academic but also financial as I received support from many donors in the community including the college. I am proud to have been a student at Okanagan College and want to thank everyone who assisted me along my educational journey.


Jesh Thiessen
August 4, 2009 Vol. 3 Issue 8


Finance update: changes to Travel Request Form

Finance has made some changes to the process for traveling and requesting an advance. The Travel Request Form, currently used for advance requests is no longer in use. In its place is the “Travel Approval Form” which must be completed for all non-professional development out-of-region travel prior to taking the travel. 

An advance request section has been added to the bottom of the form. The PD applications have also been updated to include an advance request section. All forms can be found in My Okanagan. If you have any questions, please contact Vicki Pannell at 4312.

Special edition summer pit stop notice

Staff at the Kelowna campus are invited to drop by the breezeway for coffee and cookies on Friday between 9:30 - 11 a.m. 

Ed Tech offers Blackboard CE 8 Workshops

WebCT CE 4 has been retired and all courses for September will be running in Blackboard CE 8. Although this version of Blackboard is just the upgrade to WebCT, the interface is quite different. Ed Tech Coordinator Mike Minions will be running a series of workshops for new, experienced and expert users. Follow this link for more details and registration.

Need a summer tune-up?

The Automotive Service Technician program has now completed all areas of instruction. If you have any work requests in the following areas, contact Corey Bransfield and he can schedule appointments between now and Aug. 21.
Wheels and Tires
Brakes and Antilock Brakes
Steering and Suspension
Complete Engine and Transmission Fluid Services
Drivetrain Fluid Services
As per all work requests, Corey will evaluate requests and reply if the AST program can perform the service. When contacted please make the date and time of the appointment, also make payment arrangements with Wyatt Auto Parts @250.763.5111. For more information, contact Corey at: 250.762.5445 ext. 4578.

HR to offer recruitment software (POST) training

Human Resources invites all employees involved in the recruitment process to one of the following information/training sessions on our Post On-line System & Tracking (POST) system:

•    Aug. 18:  9 – 11 a.m., 1 – 3 p.m. or 4 – 6 p.m.
•    Aug. 27:  9 – 11 a.m., 1 – 3 p.m. or 4 – 6 p.m.

Learn how to create/change position descriptions, create/submit postings to fill, manage applicants and communicate with others involved in the recruitment process. Please email Liz Currie or call (250) 762-5445 ext.4547 to register.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Jennifer Klotz from International Education in Kelowna who has won last week's payday draw for $ 467.50. 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 (Landmark V, Kelowna) or online.

College to be represented at Penticton's Peach Festival

A group of staff from Okanagan College's Penticton campus will represent the institution at the 62nd annual Peach Festival this week. The annual summer event is a mainstay of the South Okanagan and will give staff the opportunity to connect with the community. New this year will be Okanagan College's involvment with the Aboriginal cultural village. To find out more, contact Jake Mason or Shelley Witzky.


Aug. 13 – Staff and students are invited to a summer barbeque at the Kelowna campus from 12 – 1:30 p.m. The theme of the BBQ is My Big Fat Greek Summer BBQ. August 13th Kelowna campus: My Big Fat Greek Summer BBQ.

Aug 19 – 20Connections 2009: Join colleagues on Wednesday, Aug. 19 or Thursday, Aug. 20 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Registration is now available online for this year's conference, Sustainability - students, employees, campuses, communities.

On Friday, Okanagan College’s Alix Hawley joined Marion Barschel of CBC Daybreak for the summer poetry series, A Verse to Summer. Each week listeners call into CBC Daybreak to suggest themes to poets. Last week Valerie Bedard of Revelstoke charged Alix with creating an original poem about going back to your hometown in the summer. Listen to what Alix came up with in: Echo location.

Tune into CBC Daybreak on Friday morning to hear an original poem by Jake Kennedy, as he takes his turn on A Verse to Summer. Jake was on air this morning to receive his assignment from a listener. While on air Jake also took the opportunity to plug a project he and Kevin McPherson Eckhoff are working on, which is a collaborative community western novel. You can find out more about it and contribute to the effort at

The Penticton Western News wrote about Okanagan College’s involvement in the Habitat for Humanity Home for Learning in Penticton. Read more in: Habitat seeks help with finishing touches.

The Vernon Morning Star published a photo of Residential Construction student Luke Odney as he worked on the roof of the Home for Learning Under One Roof project in Vernon. The project is being supported by four local organizations to build a six-plex of affordable housing in Vernon.

Okanagan College received ink in the Kelowna Daily Courier and Kelowna Capital News after issuing a press release in which it offered up space in its Kelowna residences to those affected by the West Kelowna fires. Read more in: College rolls out welcome mat and Kelowna campus offers help to residents affected by fires.

Continuing Studies’ Camp OC was profiled in the Kelowna Capital News. Read about the cool camps coming up in August in: Play in a band with your buddies.

Okanagan College alumna Joanne Sale appeared in the Vernon Morning Star after she led a blockprinting pattern summer class for children at Gallery Vertigo. Read more in: Creative printing is on tap at Vertigo.

Okanagan College’s Kevin McPherson Eckhoff was also featured in the Vernon Morning Star after he led a summer class called The Art of Word. Read about Kevin’s workshop in: Workshop encourages the creation of visual poetry.

Okanagan College Board of Governors member Jane Lister was profiled in the Business Examiner in her role as General Manager of Community Futures, North Okanagan. Read more about Jane in: Community Leader.

Allison Markin, Penticton’s former Arts & Cultural Officer was featured in the Okanagan Business Examiner. Markin will teach a course on social marketing at Okanagan College this fall. Read more about her in: Making tourism social.

Allan Coyle filled in for Jane Muskens as author of her School’s In column. Allan focused his column on social responsibility and the good work students are doing to benefit members of the community, not-for-profits and how some students are even saving lives. Read more in: New generation of students eager to make contributions.

Okanagan College business alumna Ashley Schipholt was profiled in the Osoyoos Times after she launched her new business, Angel Assistants. Read more about Ashley’s business, which offers personal assistance services to those who need it in: Offering a helping hand.

The Vernon Morning Star dedicated a feature article and an editorial to the success of Okanagan College and how it is working for graduates. Read about the College’s growth and development and check out a photo of Janice Ulrich from admissions in Vernon in: Go to OC and you’ll find work and College creates bright future.

The Vernon Morning Star profiled the good work of Boston Pizza employee Bob Martin after he received the April 2009 Go Getter Award for his outstanding customer service. Read more about Bob, including his plans to attend Okanagan College’s Home Support Residential Care Attendant program this November in: Serving up smiles appreciated.

Okanagan College’s Richard Christie was photographed and quoted in an article about astronomy in Okanagan Life magazine. Read more about Richard’s hobby in: Universal Joy.


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. 18, 2009.