Okanangan College Link BC Case WinnersOkanagan College wins double gold at provincial business competition

Okanagan College’s national reputation for business excellence continues to grow as eight students from the Okanagan College School of Business won two gold medals at the Link B.C. 2013 Student Case Competition, the premier tourism case competition in the province. This is the first time that junior and senior teams from the same school have earned top honours.

Students in the junior (first and second year) and senior (third and fourth year) categories went head to head with teams from the province’s tourism and hospitality schools including Royal Roads University, Thompson Rivers University, and Capilano University on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Teams had the option of presenting case solutions in one of two critical areas of hospitality and tourism: human resources or customer loyalty. Both Okanagan College teams presented customer loyalty solutions for Helijet, a $12 million helicopter company from Vancouver and came first in their respective categories. The senior team earned the additional honour of being the highest scoring team overall.

“It shows that our students could create a substantial customer loyalty strategy that made sense to the client. This was not an artificial game; this is a real company under major competitive threat,” says team mentor and Okanagan College School of Business professor Blair Baldwin. Business Professor Laura Thurnheer also worked closely with the winning teams.

Pictured from left to right: David Spigelman, Maik Uhlmann, Danielle Lister, Adrian Lemiski, Amanda Cormier, Stephen Jung, Jordan Lacroix, Nathan Milligan.

Success for 32nd annual Career Fair

Career Fair 2013From carpentry to health care, engineering technology to writing and publishing, Okanagan College’s Career Fair offered insights and opportunities about careers and educational paths to throngs of attendees on Sunday, Nov. 3.

“This year’s event saw more than 30 exhibitors, representatives from all Okanagan College faculties, and tons of students and job seekers sharing information about programs, credentials, transfer opportunities and careers. It was a great event,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry.

Okanagan College's 2013 edition of Career Fair featured some perennially popular events, such as the car crush by the Motor Vehicle Trades department, the excavator test drive by Heavy Duty Mechanics and cooking demonstrations by the Culinary Arts program.

New this year, Trades and Apprenticeship hosted Ask a Tradesperson, where a representative from each trade gave a demonstration of how to fix a common problem—for example why you get condensation on your toilet and how to prevent it—and gave a tour of the facilities where the Trades courses are taught. This offered tremendous insight into what kinds of training are involved in learning a skilled trade and why Okanagan College is the ideal choice for that training.

What’s stopping you from filling out the Employee Survey?

The Employee Feedback Survey is among the best and most effective ways to deliver feedback about your workplace. Previous surveys, for example, led to co-operative development of the mandatory orientation for new staff and creation of College Matters (our employee communications portal housed within myOkanagan).

If you've already filled out the survey, thanks. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. It only takes five minutes and it’s confidential. Survey closes at midnight on Nov. 25. Fill it out here or go to myOkanagan.

To request a paper copy, see your Dean or Director or Institutional Research.

Continuing Studies professional development day

CS PD dayThe Continuing Studies instructor retreat in Vernon brought together CS instructors from all regions on Nov. 2. This was a rare opportunity for CS instructors, who usually work evenings and weekends, to connect with each other and engage with the College. 

The welcome address by President Jim Hamilton pointed out that approximately 50 per cent of Okanagan College students are enrolled in CS courses. CS provides this professional development opportunity to its instructors to demonstrate what an integral partner they are to the College’s success.
The event’s keynote speaker was Conrad Wiker who shared different instructional strategies to increase student engagement. The keynote presentation was followed by workshops on a range of topics, including Brain Based Differentiated Instruction, What Can Moodle Do For You?, and Addressing Multiple Barriers to Learning.

Pictured from left: Stacey Larsen, CS Program Coordinator, Salmon Arm campus, Candice Timm, Esthetics & Nail Technology Instructor, Vernon campus, Cindy Meissner, CS Program Coordinator, Vernon campus.

Breaking new ground in Vernon

Vernon Ground BreakingOkanagan College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean Jane Lister was front and centre among several dignitaries, including Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky and Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, onsite for the groundbreaking of the new $7.5 million sports complex on Oct. 24. 

Located adjacent to Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, the complex will feature an Olympic-sized track and artificial field. The construction portion of the project goes to tender in the spring and completion is expected November 2014.

Get ready for RoboCup Jr.

RoboCup JR 2Hundreds of students are expected to converge on Okanagan College on Nov. 29 to test their robots at the 8th annual Western Canada Robocup Jr. competition.

Designed to encourage younger students to take an interest in science and technology, elementary and secondary student teams enter in one of three categories each year to build robots that can play soccer, dance in a synchronized routine, or perform rescue operations.

“The creations are exceptional,” says Nadir Ould-Khessal, Chair of the Electronic Engineering department, “but what always stands out for me are the teams.” 

Details can be found on the website.

Okanagan College mobile app upgrade

Apple has just released an upgrade to Okanagan College’s Mobile App. “Version 3.1 is a major release, boasting some exciting new features," says Manager, Software and Support Services Deb Matheson.

After gathering user feedback from the App Store and conducting a comprehensive student survey, IT Services developed a road map of features they wanted to include for this release and for future releases (3.2 in December and 3.3 in February).

So, what’s new in this version? You’ll find a calendar of College events, a redesigned ClassFinder, Campus Stores, the Inside OC Newsletter, Emergency Contacts and an issue that prevented some users from being able to login (mainly international students) was fixed.
Don't hesitate to download it now. Find it in the Apple App Store.

Three-Hour Short Story contest

Three-hour short story contestRegistration is open for one of the English department’s most exciting annual events, the Three-Hour Short Story contest. Taking place on Nov. 16 from noon to 3 p.m., the event features Okanagan College students and Grade 11 and 12 high school students writing short stories simultaneously at each Okanagan College campus.

Five prizes are up for grabs. Each campus declares a regional winner who receives a $250 Okanagan College tuition credit. A grand prize winner is then selected from among the four regional winners and awarded an additional $250 tuition credit plus a chapbook publication of their story created by Okanagan College Writing and Publishing diploma program students and Kalamalka Press.

“The contest gets students excited about writing,” said contest organizer and Okanagan College professor Sean Johnston. Previous winners’ stories can be found on Okanagan College’s website, click here.

What Happened? An IT outage explained

Network and IT issues on Monday, Oct. 21 left students, instructors, and staff without many regularly used services for a period of several hours.

Email service, Moodle, myOkanagan, and some phones were out of commission. By early afternoon things were back to nearly normal, but the question is “what happened?”

“First, we want to thank our colleagues for their patience and their willingness to find alternative ways of communicating and doing things during that interruption,” says Director of Information Technology Laura Eagen. “Our initial focus was on resolution of service and stability. Obviously our concern then and since has been on what happened and what can we do about it?”

What Happened?

The main service processor failed and rebooted and the overlying infrastructure did not switch over to the backup processor as designed.


Working with the vendor (of the main service processor) a number of software bugs were identified, which may have contributed to this situation. Firmware upgrades are available and configuration changes have been recommended.

What's Next?

• Work with stakeholders to schedule fixes to the SAN (Storage Area Network) and VMware in test and infrastructure
• Review incident management processes including escalation, communication, vendor interaction, and best practice.
• Investigate workarounds and the process to invoke
• Institute scheduled maintenance windows


Bob Eby retiring

Bob EbyOkanagan College’s Vice President of Finance and Administration has given notice that his last day will be Dec. 31, 2014, after serving more than seven years in the role.

Bob Eby joined the College’s Executive Team in April 2007 after a 17-year career with the Vernon School District as Assistant Secretary Treasurer. An experienced administrator and Chartered Accountant, Bob has done much to advance the College’s goals and provide leadership within the institution.

“Working at Okanagan College has been an incredible experience to end my career,” said Eby. “At every level of the organization I have worked and continue to work with committed creative people that have made coming to work a joy.”

Bob has played a pivotal role in many areas and will continue to do so for the next year. His impact has been most significant in the areas of risk management, sustainability, capital construction and collaborative budget setting in difficult times.

“He possesses an unusual combination of abilities: unquestioned professionalism managing the ‘business’ of the College that is rooted in deep understanding of, and commitment to, our educational mission,” said President Jim Hamilton. “I am personally going to miss working with Bob; I know many of his colleagues will as well."

Okanagan College professor published in national magazine

Alix HawleyThe Walrus magazine has published an excerpt from Alix Hawley’s debut novel, All True Not a Lie In It. The book, to be published early 2015, is a fictional first-person account of Daniel Boone’s captivity by the Shawnee. Known today as a fierce Indian-fighter, Boone was in fact a small man who abhorred violence, respected Native people, and was adopted by them.

Alix Hawley fleshes out the many facets of this folk hero’s persona: the charismatic politician, businessman, soldier who was also a slave-owner, husband who struggled to mollify his wife, and the loving father whose actions led directly to the torture and murder of his son.

While All True Not a Lie In It is Hawley’s first novel, this is her second book, having published a short story collection, The Old Familiar, in 2008.

The excerpt is entitled "Daniel Boone, By Himself” and is available at The Walrus.

Human Resources staff shuffles

Bianka Blandon has temporarily assumed the Executive Assistant role in Diane Adair’s absence, which is anticipated to be until the end of November. Jasmine McGee has been temporarily seconded as HR Assistant, Faculty & Vocational, to fill in for Bianka Blandon, HR Assistant. Jasmine will be working closely with Dawn Southern, HR Advisor, in addition to performing duties in her role as Assistant to the Director, Library Services. Bianka can be reached at ext. 4717 and Jasmine can be reached at ext. 4650.

Okanagan College professor masters the waves of life

Okanagan College's Brett Wade and Ekahi MethodOkanagan College professor Dr. Brett Wade has developed a method for understanding why some situations or people drain us and others energize us. During his career as a physical therapist and researcher, Wade became fascinated with the therapeutic effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields in treating disease. He wondered whether humans produce these waves and if they affected our relationships and health.  

The culmination of his research is The Ekahi Method (a book and corresponding website) to help people improve their health and relationships by identifying their unique base frequencies.

 “As you honour your own waves, and energy, you will learn what works best for you.” says Wade. “To be successful in life, we must each find a path that resonates with our own base frequency.”

The Ekahi Method is available for sale at the Kelowna campus bookstore and online. Visit to order, get more information and do the quiz to determine your base frequency.

Okanagan College professor wins award

Dr. Shelly Ikebuchi, Chair of Sociology, recently won the Edgar Wickberg Prize in Chinese Canadian History 2013 from the Chinese Canadian Historical Society for her work "At the Hearth of the Nation" on Victoria's Chinese Rescue Home.  This award will be presented to Ikebuchi at the society’s AGM in Vancouver in February.



Nov. 5 Vol. 8, issue 16


Holiday observance

Okanagan College will be closed on Nov. 11 in observance of Remembrance Day.

Fitness Centre closure

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility will be closing for the Remembrance Day weekend from Friday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12.


Vernon Campus Open House

Students, parents, adult learners and anyone who is interested in learning more about Okanagan College’s programs and services in Vernon are invited to attend the open house on Nov. 5 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Application fees will be waived for students who apply to programs during the event. Attendees can also enter to win a $500 tuition voucher. No RSVP required.

Film Screening: Bully

Screening of this powerful documentary about bullying takes place in the Kelowna campus Lecture Theatre, room S104, on Nov. 6 from 7-9 p.m. It will be followed by short panel discussion. This film is part of the Reel Change Sustainability Film Festival.

Vernon Awards Night

Donors and recipients will be attending the Vernon campus awards night on Nov. 7 from 7-9 p.m. in the cafeteria. Refreshments and appetizers will be served.

Venture Okanagan Dragons’ Den-style investor forum

Venture Okanagan Fall Investor Forum takes place in Kelowna on Nov. 13. The Dragons’ Den-style forum showcases entrepreneurs pitching their business to potential investors, business leaders and members of the Okanagan community. The entrepreneur with the best presentation will walk away with a $5,000 cash prize. Presentations, which take place in H115, will be followed by a catered networking reception in the Atrium at Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning, where you can mix and mingle with angel investors and entrepreneurs. Register now to save your seat.

Penticton Awards Night

Donors and recipients will be attending the Penticton awards night Nov. 14 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence, room PC113. Refreshments and appetizers will be served.

Retirement Planning Seminar

The College Pension Plan has a free retirement seminar for employees that are within five years of retirement. This seminar will help you understand the many important decisions you need to make when preparing for retirement. Space is available in the Kelowna seminar on Nov. 14. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs. Click here for more information and to register. If you have questions, email here.

Science in Society Speaker Series Talks Parasites

Nov. 19: We're Not Alone: The Formidable Secret Lives of Parasites. The Science in Society speaker series, a joint project between the Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College, presents science writer and clinical parasitology specialist, Rosemary Drisdelle to discuss how parasites impact human cultures, events and history and what they might have in store for our future. Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit . Event takes place at 7:30 p.m., Okanagan College, Vernon campus in the main lecture theatre.

Diabetes Danger Signs Webinar

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance provider, PPC Canada, is holding a webinar on Nov. 27, at noon. The warning signs for diabetes often seem harmless, but knowing what they are can help you catch the disease early and dramatically lower the chance of developing complications. To register for the webinar, click here.

Okanagan College Toastmasters Club

The Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday from Noon – 1 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Anyone who is interested in further developing skills in public speaking and leadership are invited to attend. For more information, visit the OC Toastmasters Club website.


Okanagan College’s Career Fair offers students and employers the opportunity to get some rare face time reports the Kelowna Daily Courier in Students have their choice of jobs. See also Skilled trades opportunities a focus for college career fair, College hosts Career Fair.

The Kelowna Daily Courier covered the gold medal wins for eight students from Okanagan College's School of Business at the Link B.C. 2013 Student Case Competition, in Students win tourism challenge. The Kelowna Capital News also reported the story, Business teams win gold at competition.

Enactus students collected food for their inaugural Trick or Eat Fundraiser, reports the Kelowna Capital News.

The fourth annual Three-Hour Short Story Contest was promoted in the Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 29, Ready, set, write for the short story contest.

The Kelowna Daily Courier covered the most valuable skills required for entrants in Young writers need clarity for challenge on Oct. 30. See also Students to write stories in three hours and Contest to challenge students.

The Vernon Morning Star covered the groundbreaking of the new sports facility at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, see Ground broken on complex, and Sports complex fosters optimism.

Okanagan Life captured a photo of the Okanagan College Foundation's announcement of the campaign team for new trades training complex in the Oct./Nov. issue.

Registrar Jane Muskens wrote Seeking a post-secondary education should start with a plan, in the Kelowna Capital News.

The Kelowna Capital News covered the province’s $367,000 investment in trades training at Okanagan College, see Trades training capacity increased at OC. See also Trades student get funding boost.

Kelowna Capital News covered the release of instructor Brett Wade’s first book, The Ekahi Method.

Jayne Brooks, Okanagan College’s director of learning and teaching retired on Oct. 31 and the Kelowna Capital News briefly covered her accomplishments.

eVent magazine, wrote a feature, Getting creative with new talent, on Okanagan College grad and Young Alumni Award recipient Ryan Donn.

Alumnus Shane Koyczan’s autobiographical story of bullying will be the subject of his latest project, an Opera, as reported in a Globe and Mail feature on Oct. 28, From bullied boy to opera librettist.

Kelowna Capital News did an in-depth feature on the Okanagan Wetlands Strategy that featured alumnus Nelson Jatel, a 1997 bachelor or freshwater science grad and one of Okanagan College's 50 people who made a difference, in Why value wetlands.

Okanagan Life Magazine, featured profiles of 25 important people in the region and many are supporters of the College including Honorary Fellow and Capital Campaign Ambassador Mike Roberts, Honorary Fellow Ross Gorman, Honorary Doctorate Gerry Zimmermann, Honorary Fellow Rev. Albert Baldeo and Honorary Doctorate Daphne Odjig.

The Kelowna Daily Courier covered the movie shoot that took place at the College’s Kelowna campus and around the Valley during October, in Here’s your chance to be in a movie.

Global Okanagan covered the skilled trades shortage and the role that Okanagan College is playing to stem the tide in correlation with the 32nd annual Career Fair.

President Jim Hamilton’s contract extension made Academica on Oct. 24.

The Kelowna Capital News covered the Coyotes baseball team, in 100 inning game to close OC baseball fall season.