College brings home report cards for 2009

The report cards are in for Okanagan College. Two documents received by the Board of Governors at the end of June spell out how the institution has done in the past year.

kpiThe first is the 2010 report of results and outcomes for the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that were adopted by Okanagan College in late 2008. Developed at the behest of the Board, these KPIs are intended to provide an overview of the College’s progress and performance as measured against a number of benchmarks and, over time, against our own baseline levels. The report represents important feedback regarding the experiences of our students and employees and regarding our organizational effectiveness.

The other document, the 2009-10 to 2012-13 Accountability Report, is a provincial government reporting requirement. All public post-secondary institutions are required to submit such reports annually.

The message to be discerned from the two documents is that, on the whole, Okanagan College is doing well, although there are areas where we could do better.

The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Report
The executive summary perhaps says it best: “A comprehensive review of the multiple data sources that inform our key performance indicator results this year reflects the continued pattern of overall institutional success.”

2010 outcomes:
-    high student satisfaction indicators: 89 per cent of students would recommend Okanagan College to others, and 93 per cent are expressing satisfaction with the quality of their education. Percentage of students satisfied with facilities increased to 90 per cent from 86 per cent the previous year.
-    proportionately fewer students felt they achieved their educational goal in 2009 than in 2008: 86 per cent compared to 91 per cent.
-    A smaller proportion – 71 per cent - of former Okanagan College diploma, certificate and associate degree students reported finding work in fields related to their training in 2009 than in 2008 (74 per cent). A similar decrease was noticed in the baccalaureate graduates as well – the percentages there fell to 86 per cent from 89 per cent.
-    A greater percentage of employees surveyed in 2009 (82 per cent) would recommend Okanagan College as an employer than said they would when surveyed previously in 2007 (77 per cent). The same percentage of employees in both surveys – 96 per cent – reported that feel they know how to do their job.
-    An appendix to the KPI that documents 2008 Interprovincial Standards Examination Results for Trades Journeymen shows that Okanagan College ranks above provincial and national averages when it comes to the pass rate for apprentices writing their Red Seal exams.

The complete KPI documents can be reviewed online.

The Accountability Report: (view complete report online)
The government’s 2009-10 Accountability Framework Performance Measure Results, for instance (Pages 17-18 of the Accountability Plan) note that Okanagan College has achieved, exceeded, or substantially achieved all targets for student spaces, Aboriginal student headcount, student satisfaction, as well as former student assessment of skill development and quality of instruction. In terms of total student spaces, for example, the College provided 5,019 student spaces – five per cent more than the 4,801 spaces targeted by the provincial government. Aboriginal student headcount grew by nearly 18 per cent from 2008-09.

One area where Okanagan College fell short of targets and received a “substantially achieved” notation was in the assessment of skill development by former diploma, certificate and associate degree students. The target was 85 per cent of students who would agree or strongly agree – the 2009 survey of former OC students pegged the response rate at 79 per cent, but noted there was a 1.7 per cent margin of error.
Interestingly, the same survey of baccalaureate graduates from OC, registered 87.1 per cent. In terms of student assessment of the quality of instruction, the provincial target was 90 per cent or greater. OC’s former diploma, certificate and associate degree students gave the College 93.5 per cent, while the baccalaureate grads registered at 97.6 per cent.

FortisBC steps up to support Centre of Excellence

fortiJohn Walker, CEO and President of FortisBC and Terasen Gas Inc., visited students at Okanagan College’s Penno Road electrical training facility to announce a $50,000 contribution to support the Centre of Excellence campaign. The FortisBC donation will create dedicated classroom space for students entering the technologically challenging electrical apprenticeship program.

“We are proud to support Okanagan College in creating a sustainable building technologies and renewable energy conservation campus,” said Walker. “Our community investment strategy supports projects that promote electrical trades, literacy, leadership and safety.”

Follow this link to read the complete press release.

Summer Convocation confers final credentials of 2010

gradOkanagan College hosted two Convocation ceremonies in late June; a ceremony in Vernon on June 28 was the first of its kind in the community - the following day a ceremony in Kelowna bestowed the title of Honorary Fellow on Penticton resident Dorothy Tinning.

These ceremonies, along with many others that took place throughout the year, marked the achievements of thousands of Okanagan College students. In Vernon a variety of academic, vocational and continuing studies graduates walked the stage in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre to receive their credential. The Kelowna ceremony, though temporarily rained out, also honoured a diverse group of grads. Follow this link to view a slide show of images from the two ceremonies.

Centre of Excellence progress marked by tour

coeOkanagan College’s Penticton campus made headlines in the news after staff and building architects invited members of the media and local politicians to tour the site of the new $28-million Centre of Excellence.

Tim McLennan of CEI Architecture Planning Interiors walked MP Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) and MLA Bill Barisoff (Penticton-Okanagan Valley) through the site explaining and demonstrating the use of innovative materials and building practices, all of which are contributing to the building’s high environmental standards. President Hamilton, Dr. Andrew Hay, Donna Lomas and Allan Coyle also took part in the tour. Follow this link to a slideshow of photos from the day.

Salmon Arm staff connect with youth at Children’s Festival

saStaff and students from Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus attended the Children’s Festival where they connected with students and their parents and shared information about Okanagan College and its programs.

The Okanagan College booth offered take-home booklets for children with information about how to say hello in many languages. More than 200 children visited the booth, which was staffed by Nadia Galvan, Tracy Riley, Feliza Marcelino and Gundi Rimkus.

OC cyclists recognized by City of Kelowna

btwwThe 2010 Okanagan College Bike to Work Team has been recognized by the City of Kelowna and for its use of non-polluting forms of transportation. Okanagan College won first place in its division with an 83% participation rate, while cycling 1,455 km, which saved the equivalent of 338 kg of CO2.

In addition, the Bike to Work Week team was presented with a new $500 outdoor bike rack (as seen in the photo) which is now installed on campus. The majority of Okanagan College’s team members are recreational cyclists and they want to encourage other staff members to consider participating in next year’s team. For more information contact Paul Stephenson.

Robo Bros honoured at World RoboCup

robocupThe winners of Okanagan College’s RoboCup, Hudson and Nelson Schier, earned a trophy for best costume while representing Canada at the 2010 Singapore World RoboCup.

The Robo Bros placed in the top four in the world, narrowly missing the Junior championship by only one point. The judges were especially impressed with a home-made laser light show robot, which introduced a new technology to RoboCup.  

Last year, Hudson and Nelson introduced pneumatic technology to the World RoboCup in Graz, Austria. The crowds loved the performance, giving the Vernon boys huge applause and enthusiastic cheers. One of the week's highlights included a private party at the Singapore Science Center for the Junior RoboCup participants, where they had a banquet, and a chance to play at all the exhibits with their new buddies. Another fun and challenging experience was the Super Team dance competition, where they were matched up with a team from China and one from Singapore to create an entirely new dance in less than 24 hours.

Hudson and Nelson are looking forward to deepening their learning this year in robotics and design, and are setting their sights on continued success hopefully at the World RoboCup next year in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Radio campaign kicks off across the region

dhoferPublic Affairs, with help from an incoming student, has launched a new radio ad across the Okanagan College region. Mount Boucherie Secondary graduate Danielle Hofer will be heard in a radio ad explaining why Okanagan College works for her and was her first choice for post-secondary education.

Hofer is also this year's recipient of the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends entrance scholarship for achievement and service. If you haven't heard the ad on the radio yet, follow this link.


Chung to lead Arts and Science at Camosun

stanOkanagan College’s Acting Dean of Arts and Foundational programs, Stan Chung, has accepted a position at Camosun College in Victoria as Dean of Arts and Science.

Stan has been a valued colleague and a vital contributor to the growth of the Arts and Foundational Portfolio as well as Okanagan College’s development as a learning organization. His vision and passion guided the development of the Institute for Leadership in Learning and Teaching.

“We’ll certainly miss Stan here, but we all wish him well as he takes on new challenges,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, VP Education. “The colleges in B.C. continue to be at the forefront of change in educational delivery, and I know Stan will be highly involved in Victoria.”

The VP Education office will be working with Associate Deans Craig McLuckie and Kathy Hamilton to determine the best possible interim arrangements for the fall semester.

Murray to publish novel

murrayMelanie Murray, a professor in the English Department in Kelowna, has been on extended study leave for the past year writing a book about her nephew who was killed in Afghanistan. The book, FOR YOUR TOMORROW: THE WAY OF CAPTAIN JEFFERSON CLIFFORD FRANCIS, has recently been accepted for publication by Random House Canada.

Her memoir traces the arc of her nephew’s life—from his birth on Remembrance Day, 1970 to his death on Independence Day, 2007. It explores the forces that compelled him, at age 30, to abandon his PhD studies to enlist in the Canadian military, then to risk his life for the Afghanistan mission.

The book also tells the story of his family, existing on the edge of hope and despair while he’s in Afghanistan, and their struggle to cope with his loss when he is killed there. The book will be published in May 2011.

Recent grad recruited to Public Affairs

bertaccoMichael Bertacco, a recent graduate in the Okanagan School of Business diploma program, has joined Okanagan College as the Aboriginal Recruiting and Events Assistant for the North Okanagan and Shuswap Revelstoke regions.

 Michael completed his Business Administration diploma in Human Resources Management at the Penticton campus.

At the recent Aboriginal graduation ceremony, Michael gave the address for graduates. He is seen in the photo with David Northcott, Chair of Business Administration.

Before deciding to return to school, he worked with Babine Lake Forest Products in Burns Lake and Weyerhauser in Okanagan Falls.  

Michael is also a dedicated minor hockey and lacrosse referee, spending many hours making a difference for youth. He will be based in the Aboriginal Gathering Place at the Salmon Arm campus.

In memory of Lawrence Brecht 1927-2010

lawrenceLawrence (Larry) Brecht passed away on June 25 in Kelowna at the age of 82. Larry moved to Kelowna in 1962 and began working for Okanagan College as a Facilities Coordinator. He retired from the College in 1987.

Larry was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who loved working with his hands, building furniture and wooden toys for his kids and grandkids that he was able to also proudly sell at the various craft fairs that he and Lillian loved to attend after his retirement. Camping and travelling were high on the list of things he liked to do, especially with his family. A funeral was held on July 3 – in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Village At Mill Creek, 1450 Sutherland Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 5Y5 on Larry’s behalf.

Thomson presents at Alberta Academy Conference

At the invitation of the Information and Communications Technology Council, Diana Thomson, Regional Student Transitions Coordinator, presented at the Alberta Academy Conference hosted by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology on June 21.  

Diana presented on the work she undertakes with Okanagan College’s school district partners, specifically on dual credit initiatives. Other presenters were from SAIT, Burnaby School District, ICTC and Cisco. Representatives from both the K-12 and post-secondary system in Alberta were in attendance. The recognition of the work being undertaken within the Okanagan Mainline Transitions Partnership and other partnerships around the Province of BC grew out of the Transitions for the 21st Century provincial forum hosted by the Okanagan partnership in April.

Kayaking on Kal Lake

kayakOn Wednesday, June 23 a group of Okanagan College staff and students were led by Student Athletics’ Mike Craig and Lynn Johnson on a three-hour kayak adventure on Kalamalka Lake guided by Kelowna Kayak and Outdoor Adventure.

Twelve staff and students learned the how to paddle, roll and move a kayak on and off the beach. Inside Okanagan College recently learned that Jamie Morrow gave the group free - and unplanned - lessons in rolling. Watch Inside Okanagan College for information about upcoming Kayak Adventures or check out the Student Athletics Fall Program Guide.  

Mendoza and Whibley nuptials

rick xavier 
Congratulations to IT Services’ Xavier Mendoza and Shara who were married in Vernon on June 5 and, to Rick Whibley and Christina who wed on the same day in East Kelowna. 

Naramata Centre hosts first Admin Association retreat

adminA group of 27 administrators from Okanagan College met in Naramata on June 24-25 for the Administrators Association retreat. Organizers were pleased with the turnout (nearly half of the employee group made the trip) especially considering it was the first retreat in five years.

Attendees went to a workshop on Interactive Communication for Success, learning communication skills and how to focus on alignment of issues. The workshop and other retreat activities were well received and members of the Admin Association are looking forward to future learning opportunities. 
July 6, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 7


IT Times

IT Services has replaced the “New Computer” service request with one called “Computer Equipment Request” which is intended to make it easier for staff to submit requests. To access the new service request, go to myOkanagan, Employee Tab, Requests and Notices. 

Several IT Services staff recently attended the IT4BC conference, hosted by Kwantlen College. Tom Esson co-presented with the Service Request/ASK US vendor and IT’s Kurtis Lawson won the grand prize draw – a voucher from Marlin travel.  

itOn June 18, the IT division was transformed into four World Cup soccer teams. FIFA or, Fix it Fast Ay, was the theme for the department’s annual in-house professional development day. Each team was given an IT related issue to resolve. The lively presentations were pitched to the group after lunch and then the voting took place.

Congratulations to team Spain, led by Perry Jones, who came out on top.  

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.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to John Schmidt from Physics & Astronomy in Vernon who won last week’s payday draw for $520. 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.


Alumnus Shane Koyczan performed to a sold out crowd for the Project Literacy fundraiser on June 23. Read the article: Poet wows Kelowna audience.

Progress in construction at the Centre of Excellence was showcased to the media with help from MP Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) and MLA Bill Barisoff (Penticton-Okanagan Valley) at an event last week in Penticton. Read more in a Penticton Herald article: College expansion on target.

FortisBC's donation of $50,000 to the Centre of Excellence was covered by CHBC TV news. Watch a clip.

Okanagan College was highlighted as a leader in green buildings in a recent article from the Okanagan Saturday, What is a living building? Find out the answer from Douglas MacLeod, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health.
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association made a $10,000 donation to the Centre of Excellence campaign. Read more in Centre of Excellence gets funding boost.

Stan Chung, Dean of Arts and Foundational programs, reminisces about his time growing up in Saskatchewan in his Global Citizen column The Prairies: Discovering Canada.

Penticton resident Dorothy Tinning was recognized for her contribution to the community as she was named Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College at its Summer Convocation. Read more in College honours former mayor and Tinning lauded by OK College.

The College held its first Convocation and Commencement ceremony in Vernon on June 28. The Morning Star covered the event in OC hosts ceremony and Grad Grins.
Darbi Fawcett, Writing and Publishing Diploma graduate, was featured in an article about the Vernon Convocation. Read more in Writing, publishing students first to graduate.

Colton Hauer, a Culinary Arts student in the School District 53 apprenticeship program was one of four students who presented to the district’s trustees on the success of the program. Read more about Colton and his plan to further his education at Okanagan College in Trustees applaud apprenticeship program and Apprenticeship program offers students chance to jumpstart careers.

Chantel Boychuk, an Electronic Engineering Technology student, is the first to take advantage of the Canadian Navy’s recruitment program that will pay for her tuition, books needed for the program, and pay her a salary while she studies. Read full details in Setting sail.

The importance of youth transitioning into work and meaningful societal participation is the subject of Jane Muskens’ School’s in Column this week. Read the column High youth unemployment numbers should raise concerns.

The Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC) with Honorary Fellow Peter Haubrich at the helm, was awarded a yearly grant from the federal government to create a mentorship program as part of the growing incubator. Read more in Help for growing tech companies.

Joel Young, the founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society, discusses the need and success of entrepreneurs in the valley and the support from institutions such as Okanagan College in his column: New hub for entrepreneurs.

Publisher-in-Residence Robert MacDonald was profiled by the Vernon Morning Star for his work as director and founder of the Okanagan Institute. Read more about Robert’s background and his passion for publishing in: Institute makes market for ideas.


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, July 20, 2010.