Outgoing ACCC president says college marks path to great careers

 ACCC 2013 Knight
 ACCC outgoing president James Knight.

Hundreds of delegates from across Canada and around the world arrived in Penticton this past weekend to celebrate the success of colleges and explore further what colleges can do to support young people on a career path.

The delegates were here for the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) conference, hosted by Okanagan College, and opened by Penticton Indian Band councillor Joseph Pierre.

Outgoing ACCC president James Knight said the public is now keenly aware that college is the path to great careers.

 ACCC 2013 Pierre 2
Penticton Indian Band councillor Joseph Pierre.

“Canadians now get that our institutions are inseparably tied to Canada’s economic growth and social development,” he said, noting that the federal government emphasized that understanding in its recent budget.

“Budget 2013 invests in virtually every idea ACCC suggested for tackling Canada’s ongoing skills shortage,” he said.

In addition, he noted the rapid growth in applied research partnerships between colleges and local businesses in all sectors of the economy – from natural resources and energy to construction, health care, and aerospace.

“The collaborative spirit and passion to succeed demonstrated by Okanagan College and ACCC’s other members institutions are remarkable.”

 ACCC 2013 Davis
 Anthropologist Wade Davis.

The conference was held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, the Penticton Lakeside Resort, and at the College’s Penticton campus.

Outstanding presentations

Among the keynote speakers presenting at the conference were noted anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

 ACCC 2013 Evan 2
CBC Politics & Power host Evan Solomon.
Wade Davis, author and essayist John Ralston Saul, and CBC journalist Evan Solomon.

The conference closed with internationally acclaimed slam poet and Okanagan College’s 2011 Young Alumni Award recipient Shane Koyczan, who threw the crowd of more than 500 into fits of laughter with his pithy and punny exploration of the questionable merits of spell check.

ACCC 2013 Shane 2 
 Slam poet Shane Koyczan.

The conference was supported by numerous volunteers from all four campuses who provided assistance ranging from finding Tylenol for speakers, to restaurant and winery advice.

“We answered a zillion questions, all with a smile,” said the College's volunteer coordinator Laurie Minuk.

To read media coverage of the event, click here. More media coverage is also viewable in the Media section (below right) of this issue of Inside OC.

Canada’s national hockey team makes most of Penticton campus fitness centre

hockey 3Twenty-seven of Canada’s top female hockey players have taken up part-time residence at Okanagan College’s fitness centre in Penticton.

Along with athletic trainers and coaches, the three goalies, nine defencemen and 15 forwards are spending the next few weeks of off-ice training at Okanagan College as part of their centralized preparation for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi Russia.

The facility remains open to staff and students, offering the chance for users of the College gym to train alongside some of the nation’s most elite female athletes.

The Canadian women’s hockey team will be in Penticton until June 19.

Okanagan College prepares for Convocation 2013

Convocation promo 2013Okanagan College will be recognizing the achievements of more than 1,380 students who will be earning credentials from a variety of academic, vocational and trades programs when three separate ceremonies take place at the Kelowna campus this weekend.

Celebrations start at 6 p.m. Friday, June 7 when the College recognizes the achievements of its Trades students with a Commencement ceremony. More than 1,000 trades students will be recognized for their achievements in fields ranging from Welding to Carpentry and Culinary Arts, and another 600-plus students have completed their Trades Foundation training.

On Saturday, there will be ceremonies at 10:30 a.m., and at 1:30 p.m. Degrees and diplomas will be conferred on 464 students from various fields. Among them will be students receiving their Bachelor of Business Administration degrees, Associate of Arts or Science degrees, Engineering Technology diplomas, Commercial Aviation diplomas, and many others.

Also on Saturday, Little Shuswap Indian Band elder Ernie Phillip and Alan Gatzke, proprietor of Gatzke Orchards, will be recognized as Honorary Fellows of the College. This year’s third Honorary Fellow, Kelowna Flightcraft CEO and past President Barry Lapointe, will be honoured at the College’s final ceremony of the season when the Summer Convocation takes place on June 27.

Golf tourney raises record funds

Foundation golf 2013 winnersThey may not realize it, but Okanagan College students will be benefiting from golf for years to come, following the record-setting result of the 22nd annual Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group Annual Charity Golf Tournament held May 23 in Kelowna.

More than $53,000 has been brought in through both sponsorships, and funds raised for the popular event.

“This was a record-setting tournament for us,” said Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “And it was also one we’ll never forget because for the first time ever we had a winner of the hole-in-one prize.”

Foundation golf 2013 hole in onePlayer Steve Robinson Sr., who recently retired from the College in his role as Director of Campus Planning and Facilities Management, won a $10,000 prize for his personal achievement. The hole-in-one prize is sponsored by RBC Financial Group.

A total of 156 golfers took part, with Team 12B taking first place with players Steve Easton, Okanagan College Board of Governors member Lance Kayfish, Trevor Forder and Tony Read.

Top notch students head to National Skills competition

Two 21-year-old Okanagan College students deemed the best in B.C. are packing their bags for Vancouver to take part in the Skills Canada competition, which gets underway Wednesday.

Collision Repair student Brandon Scott and Electronic Engineering Technology student Nathanael Bergmann, who is already working in the field and will be attending the Commencement ceremony this weekend, both took gold in the provincial competition back in April in order to compete at the national level.

The two join more than 500 people who will be presenting their skills before judges in this Olympic-style event which showcases students from more than 40 trades and technology fields.

The Skills Canada competition was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.

Read the media release about Scott and Bergmann’s efforts at the provincial level here.

College pilots new chairs orientation initiative

Incoming Okanagan College department chairs got a chance to learn from peers and predecessors at a two-day pilot workshop that was held May 21 and 22 at the Kelowna campus.

More than 50 people attended The ‘Easy’ Chair Workshop, including more than 20 Okanagan College Faculty Association Chairs, Deans, and Associate Deans.

The workshop offered eight 90-minute modules on various topics including education planning, work assignments and timetabling, budgeting, effective meetings, and managing conflict.

“A participative, interactive, collaborative, consultative, collegial process was the objective and I was pleased to see the high level of enthusiastic support the Easy Chair orientation received,” said Human Resources Director Randy Maradyn.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by the Okanagan College Faculty Association and the College. For more details on the workshop, including comments from participants, click here.


Psychology professor authors new book on Bethune

Lethbridge bookOkanagan College Psychology professor Dr. David Lethbridge has authored a new book on historic physician Norman Bethune, featuring a psychological analysis of Bethune's childhood and the effect it had on his later activities in Spain.

Norman Bethune in Spain: Commitment, Crisis and Conspiracy is published by Sussex Academic Press, and is what Lethbridge calls a “psychobiography.”

“I have tried as a psychologist to understand and analyze how certain issues in Bethune’s childhood impacted for good and ill on his later activities in Spain,” he said, based on original research material.

This marks the second book Lethbridge has written about the famous Canadian physician who was known for his work in developing mobile medical units, surgical instruments, and a method for transporting blood for transfusion.

ASTTBC honours two Okanagan College employees

ASTTBC 2013 award

Allan Coyle is presented with a citation from ASTTBC President Bill MacPherson.

The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC) has recognized two Okanagan College employees for their work in promoting and enhancing careers in applied science.

Public Affairs Director Allan Coyle was recognized for his contribution in promoting both careers and educational opportunities for technicians and technologists through his work at the College.

“Allan’s been a steadfast supporter and partner with ASTTBC, particularly as it relates to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program we’ve worked on over the years. It’s been a real pleasure. His devotion is emblematic of our great working relationship with Okanagan College generally.”

Also receiving recognition was instructor Barry Brooks for developing the Property Inspection program.

Brooks was provided with a certificate of service. He has also been elected as a director with the ASTTBC board.

Former admissions officer celebrated

Marjorie WardFriends and former colleagues of Marjorie Ward came out to celebrate her birthday at Infusions Restaurant, on campus in Kelowna.

Ward, who was celebrating her 93rd birthday, worked at the College from 1980-85.

“Marj hired me in 1981, and I went on to become the second Admissions Officer,” recalled Deborah Matheson, who is now Manager of Software and Support Services for the IT Services department at Okanagan College.

College team claims Vernon spelling bee

Vernon spellers 2013The OC Eggheads from the Vernon campus have successfully defended their title in the Junction Literacy Centre Spelling Bee fundraiser held on Wednesday, May 8 at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.

The annual Bee raises funds for the Centre to help develop literacy and social programs for at-risk youth. Okanagan College has supported this event by sponsoring a team for the past five years.
Team members Carol Abernathy, Jeanne Boekelheide, Daniel DeGroot, Mag Evans, Tanya Golanowski, Chandra McCann, Ingrid Neumann, and Sharon Robbie spelled all 15 of 15 words correctly to claim the victory over 17 other competing teams.

June 4, 2013 Vol. 8, Issue 5


Training available on conflict and security issues

The College's Manager of Security and Crisis Management, Arch Doody, is available to provide one-on-one, group, or classroom training regarding conflict and safety as it relates to either environmental security or behavioural/conflict issues. Presentations will cover understanding, controlling and reporting situations. To request a presentation, contact Arch Doody.

Trash the lecture

Harvard University professor Eric Mazur is presenting his take on what needs to change when it comes to delivering knowledge in a meaningful way. His presentation The Tyranny of the Lecture takes place in Vancouver, Friday, June 7 from 2 – 4 p.m. but is being made available through livestreaming at To read more about Mazur, click here.

Focus on mental health

The latest issue of the PPC newsletter, The Balance Sheet, is now available, with a variety of articles on finding meaning at work, and avoiding burnout – all designed to assist employees with establishing a healthy mental plan.

Moodle best practices launches with new award

Okanagan College has now established a list of best practices when it comes to creating courses for use in Moodle.

The OC Online Course Standards have been determined as a result of a series of workshops conducted by the Education Technology department’s Moodle Specialist Ross McKerlich and held at three campuses, followed by consultation with both faculty and staff.

As part of the launch, Education Technology has created the Moodle Quality Award, with the first awards to be presented at Connections 2013, held in August. Each course submission will be reviewed by a three-person committee, comprised of peers.

Deadline to enter is July 12. For more information and to enter, visit the Moodle Quality Awards online.


June 7 – Okanagan College hosts its 2013 Trades Commencement ceremony at the Kelowna campus. The ceremony, which recognizes students from all four campuses, runs from 6 – 8 p.m.

June 8 – Okanagan College’s Spring Convocation takes place with two separate ceremonies – one at 10:30 a.m, and a second at 1:30 p.m. at the Kelowna campus.

June 10 – TrainingBC hosts a two-day session with Dr. Kyleen Myrah on public speaking designed for the tech sector. The session takes place at the Penticton campus. To register, click here.

June 10 – TrainingBC hosts two sessions designed for the tech sector. At 10 a.m., Dr. Lynn Sparling focuses on Business Research, and at 12:30 p.m. Dr. Youry Khmelevsky hosts a session on Software Engineering. To register, click here.

June 11 – Find out more about Sustainable Construction Management Technology – the newest Okanagan College program. This information session takes place at the Penticton campus, Room PC204 from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

June 14 – Okanagan College hosts the Links to Learning Golf Tournament at Talking Rock Golf Course in Chase. Registration is at 12:30 p.m., with a shot gun start at 1:30 p.m. For more information visit or email Patty.

June 15 – Join the Athletics and Recreation department with a Hike to Paul’s Tomb in Kelowna. The hike starts at 10 a.m. To register, visit the Campus Rec Office A105 by June 12.


The recently held Association of Canadian Community Colleges annual conference Ideas Uncorked, which was hosted by Okanagan College and held in Penticton, attracted considerable media attention. Outgoing president and CEO James Knight had a letter published in the Courier (Colleges on leading edge of economic growth), while two reporters wrote articles on keynote speakers CBC journalist Evan Solomon (Education the best way to achieve political change), and ACCC outgoing president and CEO James Knight (Want a job? Go to college).

A lucky stroke won retired Okanagan College employee Steve Robinson $10,000 in the Okanagan College Western Financial Group’s annual charity golf tournament. Read: Lucky stroke nets golfer $10,000.

Two Okanagan College students are in Columbia launching their new smartphone application – MiTaxi. Read: OK College students launch smartphone app, from the Courier.

Kathleen Lausman will help guide Okanagan College into the future. Read: College names new planning director, in the Courier, and Okanagan College names its new campus planner, in the Capital News.

Okanagan College has a new director of international education. Read: New director at Okanagan College, from the Courier.

Registrar Jane Muskens wrote about Chris Hadfield in her School’s In column in the Capital News. Read: Will Canada’s own Rocket Man inspire next generation?

The combined efforts of students from many Okanagan College departments has helped provide the local astronomical society with new telescopes and infrastructure. Read: OC students join stargazers in new telescope project, from the Capital News.

Capital News columnist Maxine DeHart featured Culinary Arts graduate and Okanagan College's 2012 Young Alumnus Jon Garratt in her column. Read: Kelowna’s very own Cake Boss.

The Capital News turned an Okanagan College press release into a front page story about the newly installed automotive spray booth at Okanagan College. Read: Dual benefits to new high-tech trades course.

Students from South Okanagan high schools had a chance to try out various trades when Okanagan College brought its trades trailer to the school in Keremeos. Read: Trying a trade, from the Osoyoos Times.

A variety of Okanagan College programs were featured in the Courier in a special supplement on training opportunities for secondary school students. Read articles.

A series of business seminars designed for the tech sector are being offered at the Penticton campus. Read: Okanagan College professors to deliver top tech training.

The Capital News wrote about the 2013 Dragons’ Den Edition of the Young Entrepreneurs Competition. Read: Young entrepreneurs face Dragon’s Den style competition.

The Salmon Arm Observer wrote about Enactus Okanagan College’s latest achievement – first place in the Help Hunger Disappear campaign, fourth year running. Read: Enactus keeps their title.

Liberal MLA Norm Letnick, on leave from his post in the Okanagan School of Business, celebrated the party’s three-part victory in the Central Okanagan. Read: Liberal wave swept over Central Okanagan ridings.

Okanagan College will bestow its highest honour on three locally respected and innovative community leaders at its Convocation ceremonies this month. Read: Trio bestowed with OC’s highest honour, from the Capital News. The story also appeared in the Courier and the Vernon Morning Star.

The Courier’s regular 25 Years Ago brief focused on tuition fees at Okanagan College. Read: College tuition rises.

The Okanagan College Foundation wants to hand over the keys of a classic car. Read: Okanagan College revs up funding for trades with car raffle, from the Capital News.

The Regional District’s Waste Reduction office held its annual garage sale at Okanagan College. Read: Big trunk/garage sale slated for OC Saturday.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer.

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The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on June 18, 2013.