First $100 million budget passed

The Board of Governors passed the institution’s first $100 million budget during its regular March 29 meeting. The budget will create additional capacity for international and domestic students and provides additional financial aid support for students at each of the four campuses. 

The 2016-17 budget features the opening of the new Trades building on the Kelowna campus, the allocation of additional FTE staff members in the financial aid and the finance departments to assist ABE and ESL students as they apply for bursaries and grants, FTE instructional positions to create increased capacity for both domestic and international students, including additional FTE staff members for international recruitment, and the addition of a digital content and social media specialist to Public Affairs. The budget also includes an enhanced commitment for facilities upkeep and maintenance.

“Through collaboration between departments, through dedication, through looking at opportunities Okanagan College has found ways to continue to grow access and support our goal of diversifying the institution,” explained President Jim Hamilton.

For more information, read the press release.

Kelowna runners dominate College’s 14th Half Marathon

Half Marathon, Brad Bickley, IOCIt was a race to the finish line under sunny Okanagan skies at the annual Half Marathon, 10 KM and Relay Race on Sunday, April 3. Kelowna runners led the way: Brad Bickley finished first in the men’s half marathon at 1:12:24 and Gina Tranquada finished first at 1:29:55 in the women’s division.

Local lawyer, and last year’s women’s 10K record breaker, Christy Lovig uniquely tied her record time once again finishing the race at exactly 36:48 in both 2015 and 2016. UBC Okanagan’s cross-country team swept the men’s 10 K, with Sam Goodrich finishing first at 35:49.

The half marathon relay was won by five-runner team “Your Pace or Mine?” in 1:47:58.

Pastry Arts MarathonThe post-race food is always a highlight. Runners were treated this year to a delectable buffet of freshly baked berry scones, peanut butter and jelly muffins, vegan and gluten-free brownies, hazelnut truffles and trail mix created by the College’s Pastry Arts students.

Without the countless volunteers, the race could not go one. “We had the largest number of volunteers ever for the race this year so it was very well run and things went off without a hitch,” said race director Christine Ulmer.

Complete race results are available online. View a gallery of photos on Facebook and read the press release for more details.

Residential Construction students at work
on Living Lab homes in Wilden

Wilden Ground Breaking 2016An energy-efficiency research project involving students from Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan officially broke ground on March 31. Known as the Wilden Living Lab, the project will see two very unique homes constructed on neighbouring lots in the Wilden subdivision.

The “Home of Today” will be built to current building code standards, while the “Home of Tomorrow” will incorporate sustainable features such as a geothermal heat pump, water-saving toilets and faucets, triple pane windows, and photovoltaic solar panels, to name a few.

A class of 17 students from the Residential Construction program will participate in the build over the next three months, working side-by-side with tradespeople from AuthenTech Homes. Once the homes are completed and sold, researchers from UBC’s School of Engineering will use sensors built into the homes to monitor the energy use of both dwellings for a period of three years.

Read the UBCO press release to learn more about this exciting initiative.

Camp OC: registration open and Employee tuition waiver

CampOC Logo 2016 IOCCamp OC is offering more than 100 camps this summer over an eight-week period at the Kelowna campus and is anticipating over 1,500 registrations. The Vernon and Penticton campuses joined in the Camp OC adventure last year, and will once again offer educational, fun camps for their communities. The Continuing Studies programming has seen incredible growth since it launched in the summer of 2004, then with only 70 kids enrolled in about 10 camps.

As usual, College employees are able to register their children and grandchildren at a 10 per cent discount. New this year, on the Friday before a particular camp begins, employees can take advantage of a 50 per cent tuition waiver with certain criteria being met, including if a camp has reached minimum registration, but not yet met the maximum. Review the criteria to learn more (also found in myOkanagan under OC Express Forms).

Visit for more information and the full lineup of camps. The website will be updated as scheduling for Vernon and Penticton are finalized. If you have any questions please contact

This year, courses for Grade 10-12 students will also be offered at the Kelowna campus. Check out the website for more info.

New Salmon Arm diploma option maps ties between information and geography

SA GIS photoStudents in Salmon Arm keen to understand computer-based mapping and information integration will be able to take the new Geographic Information Science option in the Earth and Environmental Studies Diploma program starting this fall.

“Paper maps are outdated as soon as they are printed. Digital maps overlain with interactive information are like living objects, leading you to decisions on where things happen, how frequently they happen, when they will or might happen, and who or what is making them happen,” explains Salmon Arm professor Dr. Andrew Perkins.

Students will learn with hands-on opportunities to work with tools of the trade like GPS (global positioning system) and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles). The program blends theory and technology to provide graduates with a credential that will open career doors in a number of fields, including urban planning, local government, mining, forestry, resource management, or surveying.

An information session focused on the program is being held May 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Salmon Arm campus. For more information read the press release.

Provincial funding spurs program for Health Care Assistants in Princeton

With funding from the Province’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Okanagan College will offer a new Health Care Assistant program in Princeton this year, providing education for eight students in the six-month certificate program.

Okanagan College will receive $90,000 to support delivery of the program, which is anticipated to start in September.

“There is significant demand within our region for Health Care Assistants,” notes Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health. “And there was tremendous support for this project from the Princeton and District Community Skills Centre and the community. Interior Health has been very co-operative and supportive as we put the plans together for this program.”

Read the press release for more information.

It's been a hard day's night:
overnight study session a success

Penticton Overnight eventThe Penticton campus hosted the first Long Night Against Procrastination event overnight on Thursday, March 31. The aim of the event was to provide a venue for students struggling with end-of-term scheduling and time management challenges to access learning support and complete their assignments in a fun, supportive environment.

In total 47 students attended, 20 of which made it to the end of the night and celebrated with a “survivors' breakfast.” Students were supported with research, writing and citing help by faculty and staff from the English, Psychology, Criminal & Social Justice, the Library, and the Student Success Centre departments.

Hot drinks, snacks, and midnight pizza fueled the students’ essay writing and project work. Organizers also provided study breaks for students, including stargazing, yoga, prize draws and a movie showing. Faculty and staff were impressed by the diligence of the students, who worked through the night, and were still asking for help with papers at 6 a.m.

Multiculturalism celebrated in Salmon Arm

SA Multicultural Day 2016Nearly 200 community members, including representatives from three of the regional Bands, Inuit, and the Métis, gathered at the Salmon Arm campus to celebrate multiculturalism on March 23. Diversity and cultural heritage that enriches the Shuswap communities was honoured through traditional music, dance, and song performances.

A potluck luncheon saw flavourful dishes being served from around the world.

Aboriginal Services hosted the free event in partnership with the Shuswap Settlement Services Society, and the Thompson Okanagan Respect Network funded by Embrace BC.


Student ambassadors honoured at President’s Dinner

President's Dinner 2016 IOCAt the annual President’s Dinner held on March 31 in Kelowna, President Jim Hamilton recognized 145 students for being ambassadors of Okanagan College, noting that the students’ participation in events revealed admirable levels of commitment by these individuals and their instructors to the College’s community.

Student ambassadors participated and represented the College at 17 competitions and events across Canada this past year including, but not limited to, business case competitions, Skills Canada, computer programming events, and culinary battles. In many instances they earned podium finishes, and showcased the high-level of skills, training, and education they have received while studying at the College.

The evening of celebrating success included a sumptuous buffet feast prepared by the Culinary Arts students and Culinary Manager Chef Bernard Casavant.

Nominate outstanding alumni

Alumni logo IOC 2016Do you know an alumnus or alumna who has contributed in meaningful ways to the community? The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College for their demonstration of excellence in the areas of leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/or support for Okanagan College.

The Young Alumni Award celebrates the outstanding contributions of an alumna or alumnus who is under the age of 35.

Nominations may be made by completing an online form by April 29. For more information, read the press release.

Joanne Gibbons-Smyth recognized
with provincial award

Joanne Gibbons Smyth awardJoanne Gibbons-Smyth, the new chair of the Certified Dental Assistant department, was honoured with a Recognition Award by the Certified Dental Assistants of BC at the recent Pacific Dental Conference held in Vancouver. The award recognizes recipients for their exceptional service, demonstrated pride in what they do, and embodying the spirit of CDA professionals.

Joanne, along with colleagues Carrie Tepper and Catherine Baranow attended the award ceremony.

The Knockout Sharpshooters take first place

Trivia Night Alumni 2016Laughter could be heard throughout the Mission Tap House in Kelowna on March 10 as teams of alumni, staff and students competed for intellectual dominance in support of Enactus Okanagan College at the inaugural “Are You Smarter Than—OC Edition” event. 

Having built a strong lead right from the start, the Knockout Sharpshooters cruised to victory in the trivia competition. The team included Kathy Butler, Graham Moir, Tanisha Suzuki, Richard McAdam and Samantha Blandon. Kudos to the Copy Kats, who faced some serious opposition to secure the second place prize. In addition to being a lot of fun, the Alumni Association hosted event raised funds to support the Enactus Okanagan College national competition team’s travel expenses to Toronto in early May.

Biology student gets boost from Seed Library

Seed Library, Carley awardSecond-year Vernon biology student Carley Dolman received a $400 award from the Kalamalka Seed Library. She is recognized for excelling in her field of study, and for her keen interest in environmental sciences including a passion for botany, ecology, and biology.

Her instructor Laurie Donovan presented Carley with the award that was made possible by the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security (a USC Canada and Seeds of Diversity Canada project). Carley aspires to a career in research and conservation.

Apr. 5, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 1

Convocation 2016

Faculty and instructors are encouraged to support this year’s grads and participate in the Convocation ceremonies by leading in the classes. If you are planning to attend a ceremony please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary).

  • Trades Commencement Fri, June 3 – 6 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation Sat, June 4 – 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation Mon, June 27 – 4:30 p.m. 
  • Summer Convocation Wed, June 29 – 6 p.m.

For more information visit the website.

Connections Expo 

As part of the annual employee conference, a Connections Expo will be held at the end of both days. Employees can share their area of expertise and their passions outside of work with their peers: whether it is being a painter, a board member of a non-profit society, or a para-sailing instructor, the informal expo will help you connect with your colleagues. If you would like to be involved or for more information, contact Lynda Dreaper.

Save the date: the annual employee conference will be held in Kelowna on Aug. 23 and 24. This year's theme is Building on Our Strengths.

Spring 2016 ILT newsletter 

The spring 2016 Institute for Learning and Teaching’s newsletter, Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching has been published online and includes great articles by faculty and staff sharing their expertise.


Tax clinics on campus 

Now to April 29 – The Accounting Club is continuing to host free tax clinics this month for those with a personal income of less than $30,000 (or a family income of less than $40,000).

Clinics are on a first-come, first-served basis and are held in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. Clinics are scheduled:

  • Mon: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Tue: 3 - 5 p.m.
  • Wed: 6 - 8 p.m.
  • Thu: 3 - 5 p.m.
  • Fri: 9 - 11 a.m.

Read the press release for more information.

Vaccines focus of last
Science in Society Speakers Series

April 7 - Concluding this year’s Science in Society Speakers Series, Dr. Edgar Marcuse from the University of Washington will present  “Let’s talk vaccines: was there ever an age of reason?”  at 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus lecture theatre.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance via the Okanagan Science Centre (250-545-3644) or $10 at the door. Read the press release for more information.

Charity Golf Tournament 

Early bird deadline: April 8

May 26 – Early bird registration is open for the 25th Annual Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group Charity Golf Tournament at the Okanagan Golf Club. Online registration is available at (early bird available until April 8).
Last year’s tournament and silent auction raised more than $48,000 to assist Okanagan College students through scholarships, bursaries, and program support.
If you would like to volunteer for a fun day on the course, or host your own program booth on the greens, contact Samantha Blandon via e-mail, or at local 4774.

Roundabout Workshops registration 

Roundabout is a learning series co-sponsored by Learning & Teaching and IT Services. Workshops on various topics are offered throughout the year. Register today to attend the upcoming sessions.

April 12 – Learn about the BC Campus Open Textbook Project, with Senior Manager Amanda Coolidge. The session will be held from 1 - 2 p.m. in room H102 at the Kelowna campus.

The Roundabout Rally (a series of up to three workshops per day on topics that are meaningful to the Okanagan College Community) will return from May 9 to 19. Your input is needed to provide topic suggestions. Visit the virtual whiteboard to share your ideas. Alternatively, you can email your suggestions.

Penticton Speakers Series

The Penticton Speakers Series concludes its spring season this month:

April 11 – Wendy Weisner, South Okanagan Volunteer Centre Society Executive Director will present “Volunteering – it’s good for you, your community, and for those you help.”

April 18 – Jim Beattie, principal at First Things First Okanagan will present “Why local environmental activism is important.”

The speaking events are hosted at the Penticton campus from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is by donation. To learn more, visit the website.

Clean the Creek

April 13 — Volunteers are needed to help clean up the creek area around the Kelowna campus. During the clean-up, you will also learn about some of the invasive plants and noxious weeds that surround our creek. The group will meet at the bridge over Fascieux Creek at the far end of parking lot 17 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Contact Angie March to confirm that you can help.  


The Okanagan College Half Marathon drew participants, cheer squads and also media interest. On race day, Global Okanagan spoke to runners as they crossed the finish line. Castanet and KelownaNow reported on the race results.

In advance of the race, the promise of fresh treats being prepared by the Pastry Arts students for runners caught editors’ attention. Read more in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Fill up on pastries after running half-marathon and the Kelowna Capital News article Tasty reason to run. Shaw’s Go!Okanagan featured Chef Danny Capadouca’s pastry arts class prepping for the race. View the segment here.

In other sports news: read about the Okanagan College Coyotes in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s article Coyotes close out pre-season with 4-1 weekend and about their kick-off to the season in the Kelowna Capital News articles: Coyotes open CCBC season in Kamloops, Coyotes host home opener this Friday, and Sports events coming up this weekend.

Media across the region reported on the College passing its first $100 million budget. Read more in the Kelowna Daily Courier, Kelowna Capital News, Castanet, KelownaNow, Global Okanagan online, and the Vernon Morning Star

KelownaNow helped spread the word about the call for nominations for the OCAA Alumni Awards.  

Shaw’s Go!Okanagan reported on the recent Solar Fair held at the Penticton campus. View the segment here.

The Vernon Morning Star Progress Supplement included an article about the Toward 2020 Strategic Plan and the growth at the College with commentary from Vernon’s Regional Dean Jane Lister. Read more in OC education expands.

The Kelowna campus is hosting an Arts Open House on April 5. International Development Management student Aaron Gregory shares his experience as an Arts student in a Kelowna Daily Courier article.

Arthur Manuel, Indigenous leader, activist, and author, will speak at the Kelowna campus on April 6. His presentation will focus on decolonization, reconciliation and new directions. For more details read the Castanet article.

In College adds mapping option to program, the Okanagan Sunday shares with readers details of the new Geographic Information Science option offered in Salmon Arm as part of the Environmental Studies diploma.

The Vernon Morning Star promoted the upcoming April 7 Science in Society Speakers Series talk with guest speaker Dr. Edgar Marcuse. Read more in Vaccinations focus of talk.

The Corporate Knights magazine reported on Canada’s greenest buildings, including the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus as the leader for colleges and universities. Read more in Green Buildings Review.

The Kelowna Capital News shared details of the joint Okanagan College and UBCO Home of Tomorrow project at the Wilden site. Read more in the article Wilden site for living lab. The Kelowna Daily Courier also shared information and photos of the ground breaking online.

Voyager RV’s $30,000 campaign donation continued to generate media interest. Articles were published in the Vernon Morning Star and the Okanagan Saturday newspapers.

Criminology alumna T.J. Buck is profiled in the Oliver Chronicle about her aspiration to a career as a correctional officer. Read more in Firefighting mom eyes career at correctional centre.

The success story of four OC students and alumni who launched the TBS Bike Parts company earned some more ink in the Kelowna Daily Courier with the article headlined Business education in high gear.

Castanet reported that Vernon’s Samantha Sewell, a Grade 12 student who is also attending Okanagan College at night where she is earning an Education Assistant certificate, has been named Miss Teen Galaxy Canada.

Icon Okanagan magazine's spring 2016 issue included photos of the Canadian Culinary Championships, including one with VP of Students Charlotte Kushner.

Okanagan Summer Festival Society Director Diane Bond published a letter to the editor in the Okanagan Saturday about how they are working to address neighbours’ concerns. In a news segment, Global News reported on the opponents concerns with the proposal expressed at a public meeting. Castanet also reported on the meeting and in a follow-up article noted that residents are opposed to proposed sound testing to be conducted this summer.


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

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 Apr. 19, 2016.