Convocation, Commencement honour more than 1,150 students

gradIn a series of three ceremonies that began with Trades Commencement on Friday night and ended with Convocation for Business students on Saturday afternoon, Okanagan College honoured more than 1,150 students receiving credentials.

The weekend’s ceremonies were just three of Okanagan College’s 12 Convocations throughout the 2009-10 year.

Graduates from the Vernon campus will be recognized in a ceremony in Vernon on June 28. The Kelowna campus will host Summer Convocation for vocational and continuing studies graduates on June 29.

Throughout the year the College also held a Winter Convocation and graduated six intakes of Practical Nurses at individual Convocations.
Highlights from the weekend events included the first graduating classes of Human Kinetics, Media and Cultural Studies and Writing and Publishing diplomas.
In total, Okanagan College conferred 365 credentials on Saturday (100 degrees), 196 Diplomas, 60 Associate Degrees, and 9 certificates. The achievements of more than 800 Trades students were marked during the Trades Commencement on Friday.

Honorary Fellows Peter Haubrich, President and Founder of the Okanagan Research and Innovation Council, and Gray Monk Estate Winery owners Trudy and George Heiss were recognized as well as the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award, former Regional Dean of the Shuswap Revelstoke region, Lynda Wilson.
Dorothy Tinning will be named Honorary Fellow during the College’s Summer Convocation on June 29.

Help make Okanagan College an even better place to work

Earlier this spring, President Jim Hamilton invited representatives of all employee groups at the College to join together as part of a Task Force with a mandate to follow up on the results of the 2009 employee survey. (link to survey can be found in myOkanagan)

taskforceThe members of this group are:  

Sharon Josephson – OCFA

Dianne Crommer – BCGEU, Support Staff

Pat Dandeneau – Administrators Association

Cam McRobb – BCGEU Vocational Instructors

John Lent – Regional Dean, North Okanagan

Joanne Thomsen – Management group

Jan O’Brien (Institutional Research) and Randy Maradyn (Human Resources) have provided support and input, and the Task Force has been co-chaired by Laura Thurnheer (Faculty member in the Okanagan School of Business) and Steve Koehle (VP-Students).

Over a period of several weeks, this group has engaged in a very intensive process to review the outcomes of the employee survey, to identify the key issues contributing to the survey results, and to delve deeply into the factors behind these results. This work supports the implementation of the 2010-11 College-Wide Goals in identifying “the top two actionable issues arising from the 2009 employee survey” and recommending “specific actions to address these issues.”

The group has also identified “additional goals and specific actions for improving the College’s support of employees…with the intent of encouraging employee engagement and satisfaction.”

The group now needs help and ideas as it moves from analysis to action. The Task Force would like to share initial findings and thoughts with employees in each of the College’s four regions. More importantly, the group is seeking feedback on the range of possible actions that are under consideration. Which of these would work best in our college? Which should we pursue as priorities, and which should we put aside? What do you think would create the greatest – and desired – positive impact? Which action steps would be most meaningful for you?

Focus group sessions will be held on each of our four major campuses during the middle part of June. You are invited to attend the session in your region. Members of the Task Force group will be leading the sessions and will be gathering responses to the information and proposals that have been developed so far. 

Mark your calendar:

Penticton Campus:  June 9  1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Room C 16

Kelowna Campus (KLO): June 10 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Room: Centre for Dialogue

Salmon Arm Campus: June 17  2 – 4 p.m. Room 136

Kalamalka Campus (Vernon): June 17 10 a.m. – 12 noon  Room D-333

2010-11 Calendar Now Online & a New Look for the ClassFinder

calendarThe 2010-11 calendar is now online and is the first truly dynamic calendar at Okanagan College. The project, a collaboration between the Registrar’s Office and IT Services, has succeeded in creating an online Calendar that draws its information from a single source. Previously, Calendar information was stored in multiple locations leading to more opportunities for errors to occur.

Students can now click on each course in a program outline and view the course description including prerequisites etc. on the program page, eliminating the jumping back and forth between program information and course descriptions.

Similar ease of use was also implemented into ClassFinder. This timetabling portal now has a fresh new look and great new features where course descriptions and prerequisites are linked to the schedule, allowing students to read the course description and see the course prerequisites before they register in the course.

What lies ahead? Additional features will be added over the summer including a Program Search feature by campus, credential, subject etc. as well as the ability to display program information from the Calendar directly on department websites. This program information will be linked directly to the Calendar from a department’s website. When the Calendar gets updated, it will automatically update the information on the department’s site. More to come on this great new feature in the next few months.

The new Calendar and ClassFinder are a big step forward in creating an improved online calendar and registration service to students and staff. If you have any feedback, please contact

For a demonstration on the new online Calendar and Classfinder join staff from the Registrar’s Office in one of the following sessions:

Vernon: June 11, 8:30 am in E105
Salmon Arm: June 11, 11 am Room 141

Kelowna Campus: June 16, 10 am in E202
Penticton: June 25, 9 a.m. in PL107 

Important update from IT Services

A year ago, the decision was made to migrate Okanagan College File and Print Services from the Novell Netware platform to Microsoft Windows by August 2010. This involves creating a new infrastructure, migrating all existing files on the F drives and K drives to the new infrastructure, and updating all Okanagan College desktop and laptop computers.

The project is well underway, the infrastructure is operational and many administrative and support departments have been migrated. Over the next three months, IT Services will be completing as much of the remaining work as possible, including converting all of the computers in labs, classrooms and the Information Commons.

However, there will be some staff with laptops who will not return to campus until August and those laptops may not have been updated. 

Please note the following:

1.      To learn more about the new infrastructure including logging in and finding your files, click here  

2.      If any of your course notes or student handouts refer to either the F drive or the K drive you will need to update them because, in the new infrastructure, disk drives are not referenced using single letters.

3.      If you received a new R400 laptop or X200 tablet PC this spring, then your computer is likely ready for the new infrastructure.

4.      If your laptop was not replaced this year but has been worked on by IT Services in the past couple of months then it probably is ready for the new infrastructure. 

5.     If either #3 or #4 above do not apply to you or you are not sure, please call the IT Helpdesk at 4444 or submit an IT Service Request at your convenience.  That way we can check it, and, if necessary, update it.

Depending on the availability of a technician this process may take half an hour or you may need to leave your laptop with us for a while. 

Hint: if you are able to login with your nine-digit Employee ID then your laptop has already been converted. 
For additional information, click on the AskUS link at the bottom of the IT Services home page, AskUS. 

For assistance please call the IT Help Desk at local 4444.

Collective Agreement update

Local negotiations with two of the College’s three unions are slated to commence in June. Talks will commence with the BCGEU Support Staff on June 14 and 15 and will commence with the Okanagan College Faculty Association on June 16 and 17. Initial meetings with both unions will be used to finalise Protocol Agreements for the conduct of negotiations. The parties will have the opportunity to make opening remarks and to table and complete an initial review of their bargaining proposals.   

Dates for an initial meeting with the BCGEU Vocational Instructors are to be determined. Continue to watch Inside Okanagan College for updates on the process and outcomes of negotiations.

New trades programming brings Studio Woodworking to Okanagan College

wworkingThis fall Okanagan College will offer Studio Woodworking, a new 35-week program – the first of its kind in the province. Studio Woodworking encompasses a wide range of woodworking disciplines. While the program is not an apprenticeship, students completing the program will get credit for Cabinetmaking Level 1 from the province’s Industry Training Authority. That can be applied toward a Cabinetmaking Apprenticeship.

“This is a program for people who have a passion for woodwork,” explained instructor Tim Diebert. “It will appeal to serious hobbyists who just want to gain some new skills or turn their passion into a business. It will also appeal to people who want to find a career in the woodworking business and for those already in the business who want to further their skills.”

Anyone interested can go online or attend an information session, being held June 12 at 10 a.m. in the shop that will host the program at the College’s Kelowna Campus.

KSS students Experience OC

On May 27, Okanagan College hosted a mini-Experience OC event for Kelowna Secondary School students. Grade 10, 11 and 12 teachers selected sample College classes based on their schedule, and brought over students in blocks to attend classes and experience a College lecture.

A variety of options were presented and students and teachers enjoyed sessions ranging from “It's Not Easy Being Santa Claus” to “This Poetry Will Crush your Facebook” to “Using Computer Science to Make an XBox 360 Game.”

Eighteen faculty members gave their time for lectures, and 19 teachers and approximately 400 students made the trek from KSS. Positive feedback was received from participants.  

The event was coordinated by Public Affairs' Karma Lacoff and Stacy Galigan, KSS Counselor.

Also thanks to: Franziska Birker, Pam Wetterstrand, Lucy Kwasniewski, Richard Christie, Deb Warren, Howard Hisdal, Ayla Kilic, Stephanie Bunclark, Jake Kennedy, Rick Appleby, Michelle Nicholson, David Northcott, Lisa Burnett, Bill Adams, Al Cohoe, Gary Schwartz, Nadir Ould-Khessal, and David Williams for spending part or all of the day providing introductory college lectures to secondary students.

SIFE Okanagan awarded Spirit of Kelowna

sifeSIFE Okanagan was pleasantly surprised last week when they received a letter from Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd who honoured the team with the Spirit of Kelowna award. In her letter to presidents Travis Fleming and Deepak Garcha, Mayor Shepherd wrote:

“It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge the Students in Free Enterprise – Okanagan for your recent first place win as the Okanagan College’s Green team in the SIFE National Challenge in Calgary.

I understand that the efforts of Sattu Dhaliwal, Kevin Slater, Braydon Ouellet, Graham Moir and Megan Annand clearly demonstrated the team’s superior social entrepreneurship education, easily winning out among the 53 other teams in attendance. Congratulations to you and your entire team.

I would also like to congratulate your group for winning the City of Kelowna Environmental Achievement Award for the Most Dedicated Group for 2010 – well deserved."


Jonathan Rouse joins Okanagan School of Business

jonathanJonathan Rouse, Dean of the Vancouver Community College’s School of Hospitality and Business, is joining Okanagan College’s School of Business as a faculty member.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Okanagan College,” says Rouse, who has been Dean at VCC since 2006. He’s also worked at Capilano College (1993 to 2006) as part of the Faculty of Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Management.

“We’re excited Jonathan will be bringing his significant expertise and knowledge to our portfolio,” says Dr. Jayne Brooks, Dean of the School of Business. “We know our students will benefit from his breadth of experience and his involvement in the hospitality and tourism sector.”

Rouse – among other things – is a member of the Tourism Vancouver Board of Directors, the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council Board of Directors, a member of the BC Hospitality Foundation, a co-chair of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges Tourism Affinity Group, and spent two years as vice-chair of the Go2 BC Board of Directors, which is an industry-led consortium that focuses on the human resources and training needs of the province’s tourism industry.

Gee re-elected Ed Council Chair

rickOkanagan College’s Chair of Computer Science, Rick Gee, has been re-elected as Chair of Education Council. Rick replaced Anne Cossentine as Chair of Education Council in January 2008.

Michelle Nicholson has been elected as Vice Chair; both Michelle and Rick will serve two-year terms. Michelle replaces Derek Cook, who served as the former Vice Chair. The new positions are effective Aug. 1, 2010 – July 31, 2012.

Carolyn Hopkins takes on recruitment role for Central Okanagan

carolynCarolyn Hopkins has joined the Public Affairs team as the Recruitment and Events Coordinator for the Central Okanagan. Carolyn recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business Management from UBC Okanagan. She has worked with BC Hydro as part of the Community Outreach team and spent time working in the Career Services department at UBCO. 

Carolyn has extensive experience planning and coordinating events and working with the public. In her new role, Carolyn will be responsible for coordinating on-campus events, conventions, trade shows and tours as well as building relationships with local high school faculty and students. She will be based in Kelowna and can be reached at ext. 4469 or by email at

Rob St. Onge joins Okanagan College

robRob St. Onge has joined the team of staff in Facilities Management in a new role as Energy Manager for Okanagan College. Rob is responsible for coordinating the effective identification, promotion, implementation, and evaluation of energy conservation programs, including the development of a long-term sustainable energy management plan. 

Prior to joining the College, Rob worked in the HVAC Equipment and Building Controls Business for 15 years. He is looking forward to applying his experience to help reduce the College’s carbon footprint and energy usage.

Busson to receive Honorary Doctor of Laws

bussonSimon Fraser University will confer a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa on Dr. Bev Busson at its June 17 Convocation ceremony. Busson, who already is also an Honorary Doctor of the University College of Fraser Valley, is a member of the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Board, she had a long and esteemed career with the RCMP. Busson enjoyed a 33-year career with the police and was the first woman to hold the rank of RCMP Commissioner. She is now retired and lives near Salmon Arm. 

Revelstoke staff hit the farmer’s market to promote Okanagan College

rev2At a recent Revelstoke farmer’s market, Okanagan College’s Carol Fitchett (Continuing Studies) and Claudette Kendel (AACP) spent time promoting Okanagan College, answering questions from the general public and giving out information about upcoming courses and programs.

The duo gave out some freebies, had a couple of draws, and attracted a lot of attention - especially when the balloons came out.
June 8, 2010 Vol. 4 Issue 5


Students looking for forms?

The Registrar’s Office has created a new Forms Library  - - where students can find pdfs of a variety of forms such as change of address and request for transfer credit, among others. Faculty and staff are encouraged to check it out and direct students to this page if they ask you for a form. If you would like to see a particular form added, please email Inga Wheeler. 

Vernon summer truck hours

The regular Friday truck run to Vernon will be discontinued for the summer. The last run will be on Friday, June 11, 2010. The regular Friday run will resume on Friday, Aug. 13.

Education Advising now available online

A new web service from the Education Advising team is proving to be a bonus for students looking for additional information about Okanagan College. Two weeks ago the Ask An Advisor webpage was set up to provide quick service for current and prospective students looking for answers outside of regular operating hours.

The Ask An Advisor service has proven to be surprisingly popular, and Advisors from most campuses are now fielding questions from the web page. “It’s great,” says advisor Jill Watson, “because for regular students attending school during the day, or mature students who are working but looking to return to learning, they can send us a quick email 24/7 and we’ll respond the next business day.”

Camp OC back with Lego camps for kids

The Electronic Engineering Department and Continuing Studies are running for the third year OC Lego Camps this summer. The purpose of these camps is to instil science and engineering interest and enthusiasm among K-12 students. This year 130 out of 443 students age 7 to 15 will take part in the Lego sessions this summer. Each session is one week long. 

Shaun James, a second year Electronic Engineering student, will be conducting the courses this summer. Shaun is an outstanding student in the electronic program with a strong engineering background. He can be reached at: 

The camps will start July 5 and end August 27. For more details about the Lego camp sessions please contact Jennifer Daghestani ext 4533.

Moved offices? Have a new local? Update it now

Staff are reminded to update contact information in myOkanagan whenever contact information changes. After logging in to myOkanagan and updating information, the staff directory and outlook address book are automatically updated as well. To update your information, follow these simple steps:

- Go to myOkanagan, OC Express - Administrative Functions channel

- click on 'My entry in the OC People Directory' 

- update your information
- click on 'Update Details'

College hosts Who Do You Think You Are?

The Centre for Learning in Kelowna will host the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society’s sixth biennial seminar Harvest Your Family Tree on Sept. 24-26. The Society is also beginning its new Who Do You Think You Are segment. Two years ago, KDGS asked Ron Seymour, staff writer at The Daily Courier, Who Do You Think You Are?  

This year the research team of Mary Read, Claire Smith-Burns, Robert M. (Bob) Hayes from KDGS are seeking answers for Don Burnett, local writer, radio-personality, musician and man-about-the garden.

For more information visit the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society website or contact Mary Read in Financial Services.

Volunteers needed for Creek Cleanup

Staff and students at the Kelowna campus will spend a few hours on Thursday, June 10 cleaning up the creek that runs through the campus. More volunteers are still needed to help and are asked to meet behind the student residence at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Gloves, bags and tongs will be provided, as well as refreshments. Contact Angie March for more information at ext. 4501.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Sharon Josephson from Communications in Kelowna who won last week’s payday draw for $ 527.50. 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.


Okanagan College's Kevin McPherson Eckhoff was the subject of a Q & A piece in the Calgary Herald. Kevin's new book Rhapsodomancy provided fodder for questions, which ranged from uncovering his influences to the challenge of performing visual poetry. Find out more about Kevin and his new work in: 6 questions with...poet Kevin McPherson Eckhoff.

Saturday, June 6 was spring Convocation. Take a look at a photo of College students graduating.

Trades student Herb Wong’s story of returning to college at age 46 was highlighted in the College’s convocation press release and was picked up by the Daily Courier in Wong’s career change an example to others.

Andrew Sheret Limited, a B.C. based plumbing and heating company has contributed $50,000 to the fundraising efforts for the Centre of Excellence. Read more about this story in: Generosity benefits Excellence.

The Canadian Home Builders' Association of the Central Okanagan has partnered with the College on a Home for Learning project along with Melcor Developments and Distinctive Developments. This project will provide Residential Construction students with practical learning opportunities.

The recently rebranded Coyotes Hockey team (formerly the Crusaders) are already gearing up for next season with their spring training camp. Many additions have already been made to the team’s roster.

Students in Free Enterprise Okanagan took home seven national awards after competing in the National SIFE challenge in Calgary. Read more about their successes in: Students win big in Calgary and OK College SIFE students simply the best.

In her School’s In column, Registrar Jane Muskens writes about the importance of celebrating academic achievements in Reasons to go to your graduation. The previous week Jane discussed the need for institutions to move with trends and embrace new communication methods in her article: Internet changes how students can access school services.  

Shane Koyczan, Okanagan College alumnus, was featured in articles in both the Penticton Herald and Kelowna’s eVent. Read the interviews for yourself, his humour shines through as usual in: Life’s the same for Shane Koyczan and Shane Koyczan up close.

In his Global Citizen column Dean of Arts and Foundational Stan Chung recounts his experiences of attending his high school 30th reunion: Some things never change.  

Communications instructor Marc Arellano and his documentary were profiled by his alma mater at Carleton University. Check it out in: Okanagan plucks strange fruit


June 9 - Campus Recreation is hosting a BBQ in Kelowna to raise funds for the Okanagan College 24 Hour Relay Team. All proceeds will go to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and Easter Seals Camp in Winfield. The BBQ will take place in the courtyard at the KLO campus and will begin at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $10 for a healthy lunch.

June 10 – The Okanagan College Foundation will host a concert fundraiser featuring award-winning bluegrass artists A Day Late and A Dollar Short. The concert will take place at the Vernon campus at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the concert will go toward scholarships and bursaries for Okanagan College students. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $16 for seniors and students, and can be purchased at the Bean Scene in Vernon (2923 30th Avenue) or email for more information.

June 12 – The Darren Cabral Memorial Golf Tournament will take place at the Vernon Golf and Country Club – registration starts at 11:30 a.m. followed by a shot-gun start at 1 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to support a scholarship for a student in Okanagan College's Human Service Work program. Darren Cabral was an alumnus of the Human Service Work program. His friends and family have organized the charity golf tournament to help support students who follow in his path in the field of Human Service Work. Contact Andrew or Jeff for more information: 250-545-6272.

June 25 – The 14th annual All Canadian Investment Corporation Links to Learning Golf Tournament will take place at the Salmon Arm Golf Club. A shot gun start will take place at 1:30 p.m. Go online to register or for more information contact Patty Bruce. 

June 28 – Vernon Commencement and Convocation, 4:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Centre in Vernon. Contact Michelle Lowry for more information. 

June 29 – Summer Convocation, 6 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Contact Michelle Lowry for more information.


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, June 22, 2010.