ABE and ESL will be tuition-free for domestic students at OC this fall

Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) will be tuition free for domestic students at Okanagan College and other B.C. post-secondary institutions this fall. Premier John Horgan and Minister of Advanced Education Skills and Training Melanie Mark announced today that tuition for both programs will be eliminated commencing Sept. 1, 2017.
Okanagan College will reimburse domestic students who have already paid tuition for these programs for the fall. College officials are working on communications materials and strategies for those students who have already enrolled, those who are in the application process, and for the general public.
In 2016-17, Okanagan College had approximately 1,695 domestic students enrolled in ABE programs and approximately 95 individuals enrolled in domestic ESL. International students will continue to pay international student tuition fees. 
Read more in the media release issued by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. 

Connections coming up soon

Connections Michelle DeanThere’s still time for employees to participate in Connections, Okanagan College’s annual employee learning conference which will be held at the Kelowna campus on Tue., Aug. 22 and Wed., Aug. 23. Online registration will be open until end-of-day, Sun., Aug. 13.

Connections is about connecting in-person with colleagues from different departments and campuses, and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work at the College through interactive social activities and fun informative workshops. 

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton will speak about what’s happening at the College in his welcome address each day at 9:15 a.m. and employees will watch the annual video, which always proves to be a highlight. Following the morning learning sessions, employees will enjoy a buffet lunch from Deli City. The afternoon schedules include learning sessions, followed by a presentation from international speaker and professional coach Rhonda Victoor about meaningful collaboration. Capping off the day will be the Connections Expo and social where the flavours of the Okanagan will be on display for tasting.

For more information, visit the webpage or contact Michelle Lowry.

Trades Complex gets full marks for sustainability

Trades IOC

Okanagan College’s Trades Complex in Kelowna has racked up two more awards for its innovative design and green technology.

The facility, which opened in September 2016, took home first place overall at the Regional American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in Seattle, Washington. It also topped the list in the category for Existing Educational buildings.

“When we set out to renew and expand the Trades Complex at the Kelowna campus, we did so with the goal of building one of the most sustainable facilities of its kind anywhere in the world,” explains Roy Daykin, Vice President Employee and Corporate Services. “These [international] awards underscore the quality of the learning environment and the level of sustainability we have been able to achieve with the project.”

The Trades Complex also received an Award of Merit (Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse category) at the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Excellence Awards. Earlier this year it took home Best Environmental Initiative in Construction at the Tommie Gold Awards presented by the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) Okanagan. In 2016, the building earned Best Overall Entry and Best Community Institutional project at the 8th Annual Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA) Commercial Building Awards.

Learn more about the Trades Complex here.

New training for Electricians

Electrical labOkanagan College is one of two B.C. post-secondary institutions to enter into agreement with EJTC Enterprises (E2 Inc.) to provide electrical trades students access to North America’s leading training program in advanced lighting controls. The training will also be offered at BCIT.

The program trains qualified electricians in the planning, installation and operation of advanced lighting controls systems, such as occupancy sensors. These devices have shown to reduce lighting energy costs by 25 per cent or more for commercial, industrial and institutional users. However, a shortage of qualified installers has created uncertainty in the construction market and slowed the spread of this technology.

Under the agreement, E2 Inc. will provide “train the trainer” services and certify instructors from the College. The College will then provide training to qualified electricians (those who hold a provincial or territorial certificate of qualification) under license to E2 Inc.

“This partnership will provide a valuable opportunity for our local electricians and for the many sectors who rely on these skilled workers,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades & Apprenticeship. “We have a long history of providing innovative trades training in our region and are committed to supporting a stronger and more adaptable skilled trades sector.” 

Read more about the agreement here.

Fall Continuing Studies brochure available

CS Fall

The Fall 2017 Continuing Studies brochure is now available. Explore certificate programs, corporate training services and general interest courses available throughout the Okanagan. Keep an eye out in your mailbox for the latest print edition or view them online: Okanagan region (Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon) and the Shuswap-Revelstoke region.


Vandergaag named a Paul Harris Fellow

Karen VandergaagOkanagan College School of Business alumna Karen Vandergaag recently received a Paul Harris Fellow Award for her ongoing Humanitarian work in East Africa. Given out by Rotary International, the award honours individuals undertaking significant work to advance health, literacy and peace around the world.

Vandergaag graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Honours degree with a specialization in Finance in 2016. Throughout her time as an OC student, she completed extensive field work studying strategies for growing entrepreneurship in Ethiopia and Malawi. Locally, Vandergaag has taught financial literacy workshops to the underprivileged and has played a leadership role with numerous fundraisers for food banks in the region. She was also an active member of Enactus OC and competed at regional and national competitions.

This award is not the first major recognition for Vandergaag. In spring of 2016, she was one of only 12 Canadians to receive a prestigious Aga Khan Foundation Fellowship. That project took her to Tanzania where she spent eight months working with an international NGO dedicated to disaster relief and fighting global poverty.

Read more here.

Foster joins the International Education team

Leanne Foster IOCLeanne Foster has joined the International Education team this August in the role of Executive Assistant. She replaces Brenda Foster who recently retired following 11 years of service with Okanagan College within the Student Services and International Education departments.

Leanne joined Okanagan College in 2014 after a number of years working in provincial and municipal government administrations. Prior to her new role in International Education she worked in both the Finance and the Financial Aid & Awards office. She holds an Accounting diploma from Camosun College and a BC Government Financial Management certificate. She is an avid ball player and golfer, and is an advocate for female hockey, including managing her daughter’s hockey team.

Leanne’s new local is ext. 4502.

St. Onge and Kortzman receive professional development scholarship

IOC Jan Rob AlexCongratulations are in order for Rob St. Onge, Buildings and Sustainability Services Manager, and Alex Kortzman, Health and Safety Coordinator: both were named the recipients of the annual Okanagan College Administrators’ Association scholarship. Jan O’Brien, on behalf of the association’s executive, presented each with $1,000 to support them in the pursuit of further studies and professional development.

The scholarship will help St. Onge as he embarks on a Masters of Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University. The three-year part-time program will enable St. Onge to continue to explore how environmental issues are addressed under different jurisdictions and the dynamics of both the public and private sectors.

Kortzman is pursuing an Occupational Health and Safety certificate from BCIT. This additional training will help him continue to strive in providing safe and healthy campuses across the Okanagan Valley.

The Administrators’ Association supports their own with the annual scholarship open to its members (or their dependents if no members apply). To be eligible, the recipients must be an association member registered and in good academic standing in a certificate, diploma, degree or designation at Okanagan College or another post-secondary institution.

August 8, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 35


Scheduled Banner services outage on Sat., Aug. 12

Scheduled maintenance will cause a disruption in Banner and related services from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 12. The work is to apply final upgrades as OC transitions from Production Banner to the new Ellucian Portal. There will be no change to any Banner module.

The following services will be disrupted:

  • Banner
  • Services from myOkanagan Student, Applicant, Faculty and Employee Tabs
  • BRM
  • Financial Aid
  • Continuing Studies Online Registration
  • Apply Online
  • Online Payments
  • Classfinder
  • FAST (including, WebReq)
  • Workflow (including EPAF, Test Accommodation & Event Booking)
  • Transcript request
  • Housing Application
  • Student Affairs/Disability

The following services will continue to run normally:

  • OC Website
  • Outlook email
  • Network folders
  • Library catalogue and online services
  • Moodle course management system
  • On-campus wireless
  • Lab and Info Commons workstations
  • HR POST (employment opportunities)

myOkanagan changes ahead

A new login interface for myOkanagan will launch on Sat. Aug. 12 as IT Services transitions to the new Ellucian Portal. Staff will now need to click on the “login to myOkanagan” link once they are on the landing page. Your username will have a new format: 300xxxxxx@emp.oc. Also, your password will now be the same for your workstation and email (only one username and one password).

IT Services Help Desk (local 4444) will be available both Sat. Aug., 12 and Sun. Aug., 13 should any staff or student have login issues with the new myOkanagan portal.

Contact Jill Stamp with any questions, or if the above disruptions will be an issue for your work on these days.

Volunteers for Orientation, Kelowna, Sept. 5

Help welcome more than 1,500 new students to Okanagan College in Kelowna this fall. Employees are invited to volunteer at the Kelowna campus orientation event on Tue., Sept. 5. There are numerous spots/duties available and organizers will work around volunteers' schedules. Volunteers will also receive a free lunch. For more information or to sign-up online, click here.

OC Library closure

All OC Libraries will be closed on Wed., Aug. 30 for Library Services' annual staff in-service meeting.

Employee summer hours ending

Employee summer hours will conclude Fri., Sept. 1. Regular operation hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will resume on Tue., Sept. 5.

Remembrance Day observance

As Remembrance Day is on Sat., Nov. 11 this year, employees should use Mon., Nov. 13 as the stat day.

B.C. wildfire support from Life Works

LifeWorks, the College’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider is offering support and information for anyone impacted by the ongoing wildfires in B.C.’s interior. Emergencies and natural disasters, whether they hit close to home or far away, may increase feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety. If you or someone you love is experiencing difficult or painful emotions, remember that the LifeWorks program can help. You can call 1-888-307-0590 anytime to speak to a caring, confidential consultant. Help is available 24/7, whenever you need it. You can also visit the Life section of the LifeWorks app or website for helpful resources, including articles such as “Coping with Fears After a Traumatic Event,” “Steps to take After a Flood, Fire or Other Disaster,” and “How the EAP Can Help in a Crisis.” 


Solar eclipse on Aug. 21

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Okanagan Center (RASCOC) invites the public to observe the Aug. 21 solar eclipse at the Kelowna Curling Club (551 Recreation Avenue). In Kelowna, the eclipse will be partial, with 83 per cent of the sun’s disk covered by the moon. The event will take place between 9 a.m. and noon. The RASCOC will provide approved solar eclipse glasses and a number of special solar telescopes to allow safe observing of the sun, and to see sunspots on the sun’s surface and bright red prominences around the edge. The solar eclipse will also be live-streamed just before 10:30 a.m. Visit the website for more details, or contact Terry Bridges at 250-826-5301.

Planting the Seeds two day workshop

Planting the Seeds: Cultivating Teaching and Learning at Okanagan College. A two day workshop presented by Learning and Teaching, with Information Technology Services, Aug. 29 and 30, 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. room E103. To register please email Learning and Teaching

Kelowna Blood Donor Clinic – open weekly

Mon./Tues./Thurs. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Every second Sat. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Aug. 19, Sept. 2, 16 and 30)

Please take the online quiz to check your eligibility before you donate or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) for more information. Here are some quick tips before you donate:

1.  Be well hydrated (approx. 2L the day before and 1L the day-of)

2.  Eat before you donate

3.  Don’t donate unless you are generally feeling well

4.  Bring photo ID


The Markin twins’ donation matching challenge to OC alumni to help raise $20,000 towards the new child care centre at the Penticton campus was profiled in the Penticton Herald and Penticton Western News print editions.

Continuing Studies instructor Howard Soon celebrated his retirement from Sandhill Wines with a wine-centred reception at Oak+Cru. The celebration was recapped by Kelowna Daily Courier’s Steve MacNaull.

The numbers are in: Kelowna’s population is growing, particularly with young people. OC Alumnus Drew Vincent commented on the draw for young professionals to the city in a Kelowna Daily Courier article about the latest Census numbers.

KelownaNow's In Focus column recently profiled three OC Alumni: Laura Elliott graduated from the Human Service Worker program and is the Artistic Director at the Creator's Arts Centre, Jonathan De Bruyne and Chad Haller, both Business alumnus, launched Kelowna Concierge.

From Arts to Business, current student Kayla Gabelhouse, shows her entrepreneurial spirit in a KelownaNow feature about launching her Lavender & Grace jewelry business.


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 August 22, 2017.