Are you a College employee with Aboriginal ancestry?

Aboriginal self identifyWith the signing of the Indigenous Education Protocol Agreement and launch of the Indigenization Plan, Okanagan College has committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and culturally relevant environment for Aboriginal students, faculty and staff.

Okanagan College is encouraging all employees who self-identify as Aboriginal to step forward. Helping to grow the College’s Aboriginal community will increase support for cultural awareness programs on campus.

This self-identification initiative will be used to produce a bi-annual report of headcount, by employee group and by appointment type of employees with Aboriginal ancestry. The information on employees will be part of Human Resources' normal reporting requirements to the Executive and the Board and will be available to the Institutional Research and Aboriginal Services departments.

The primary purpose in gathering and reporting on this information is to provide baseline and trend data on the number of employees with Aboriginal ancestry within our staff complement. The information supports the College’s indigenization agenda and may assist in identifying the need for improved strategies related to succession planning, employee development and the recruitment and retention of a diverse employee base consistent with the Toward 2020 Strategic Plan’s key direction of focusing on organizational sustainability.

Aboriginal is defined as the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: Indians (Status and Non-status First Nation), Métis and Inuit. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Employees are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Help create a welcoming and inclusive space for all Aboriginal students, faculty and employees at Okanagan College.

To share your Aboriginal heritage, click this link or follow these steps:

  1. Login to myOkanagan
  2. Under the Employee tab, go to the Administrative Functions channel
  3. Expand Employees
  4. Click Aboriginal Self-Identify

If you wish to receive bi-annual newsletters to inform you of Aboriginal events at the College, send an email with newsletter in the subject line.

Employee Excellence Awards nominations now open 

Employee Excellence logo 200x186Nominations are now being accepted for the fifth annual Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards. Throughout the year, colleagues contribute to the College in meaningful and significant ways, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to help ensure these individuals are recognized for their achievements.
You can nominate employees in any one of eight categories including career achievement, leadership, service excellence, strong start, and teaching excellence. The President’s Award will be given at the discretion of the President (it is not necessarily awarded every year).
This year five awards have been updated to include new criteria: Continuous Improvement Award, Key Directions Award, Scholarly and Creative Activity Award, Service Excellence Award and the Teaching Excellence Award.
Additionally, if you have completed a credential, been published or received an external award within the past year, please be sure to share the good news for the Milestones recognition.
Nominations are open until midnight on Monday, March 14. For more information, and to submit a nomination visit the website. A celebration event announcing the award recipients will be hosted at the Kelowna campus on Wednesday, May 4.

Okanagan College's Social Media Policy   

Social Media at OC IOC Feb 9A new policy related to the use of Social Media at Okanagan College has been created and is available online. A set of guidelines for social media use has also been developed to help employees strengthen their accounts or profiles they administer on behalf of Okanagan College.

A new social media working group is being developed and will be led by Christine Ulmer, the College’s Manager of Public Affairs. The intent of the group is to meet monthly and share best practices. The first social media working group meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. in room C130.

Anyone who is currently creating content for Okanagan College social media channels or accounts is invited to attend, as is anyone with an interest in social media. During the first meeting, Christine will share information about the development of the policy and guidelines and can help answer questions users may be having.

College students help Canada's best chefs battle it out

More than 50 Okanagan College Culinary and Pastry Arts students spent the Feb. 5 and 6 weekend being mentored by 11 of Canada’s best chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates events hosted in Kelowna. The students were partnered with chefs as they competed for the ultimate national culinary podium finish and were tasked with the peeling, slicing, dicing, searing and plating during the three-part events.

Black box at OCOn Saturday morning, the College was home once again to the Black Box Challenge. The College’s Culinary Manager and Okanagan Chefs Association President Chef Bernard Casavant selected the mystery ingredients: ground elk, squid, peanuts, capers, salify, seaweed and lentils; a combination that is no easy feat for even the most creative of chefs.

While the chefs cooked for the 12 judges, College students prepared breakfast and lunch for the hungry spectators – including a delectable seared scallop and white wine garlic prawn duo with sweet potato gnocchi.

At the finale event held Saturday night at the Delta Grand, creativity and flavours collided as 570 guests waited with baited breath to find out the ultimate winner: Marc Lepine from Ottawa’s Atelier took home gold (a historic win, as this is the second time he competed and was named the victor). Chef Mathew Batey from Calgary took silver, and B.C.’s Chef Alex Chen won bronze.

Last year’s winner, Chef Ryan O’Flynn also returned to prepare a VIP feast during the weekend for which he requested the helping hands of the two OC students, including Chantelle Eustache, who were instrumental to his 2015 victory. Read more in the press release.

The Gold Medal Plates will be hosted in Kelowna until 2020.

First Soup’s On event a hit in Salmon Arm

Soup On photoSteaming bowls of soup made by local restaurants warmed things up on a cold winter’s day at the inaugural Enactus Okanagan College Soup’s On event in Salmon Arm. On Jan. 21, 109 guests tasted samples of delicious soups to raise awareness and funds for the Second Harvest food bank. The event raised $1,000 that will help those most in need, especially at a time when food bank shelves need replenishing.

The event also raised an additional $1,000 to support ongoing Enactus Okanagan College community projects. This was the first event coordinated by Okanagan College School of Business student Alexandra Jacques, who aspires to be an event planner. Her peer and fellow organizer Laureen Shannon (who is the President of the Salmon Arm Enactus OC chapter) credits Alexandra’s dedication for ensuring the event was a success. They hope the event can build momentum and become an annual feel-good event.

Ironwood Restaurant’s Chef Scott Cavill took home the People’s Choice Award for his wild mushroom soup. Read more about the event in the Salmon Arm Observer article. (Photo credit: Salmon Arm Observer)

Back to school for RV pros at Okanagan College

Carl RVAs yet another example of working with industry, and the College’s commitment to continuous education, an industry-led training session by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of B.C. (RVDABC) held at Okanagan College in early February, saw 24 RV technicians gather to familiarize themselves with the most recent equipment and techniques.

Most of those attending, including Carl Hollmann (who runs his own business in Nanaimo, and who has on occasion been an instructor at the College) are Red Seal tradespeople and graduates of the College’s RV Service Technician program, the only of its kind in B.C.

Various suppliers were on-hand to show the techs the new products, many of which are new designs for which service manuals are not yet in circulation. This allowed the techs to get up to speed on how they can support their clients and perform repairs.

In a College press release, Hollmann shares details of how a career as an RV technician has allowed him to travel the world, and how the specialized and excellent training received at the College helped put him ahead of the curve.

Government statistics show that 95 per cent of Okanagan College’s RV Service Technician apprentices are employed. Okanagan College will be offering a new intake of its 28-week foundation program in RV Service Technician in September 2016. For more information, you can call (250) 762-5445, ext. 4558 or send an email.


Jan O’Brien instrumental in creation of
province-wide student data tool

Jan O'Brien, IOC Feb 9 2016In a news release the Ministry of Advanced Education touted the newly released BC Student Outcomes Dashboard as an invaluable tool for students making the all-too important decision about which post-secondary education to attend. As co-chair of the $1.2 million project for three years, Okanagan College’s Manager of Institutional Research Jan O’Brien played a key role in the development of this resource.

The project compiles data from 20 B.C. public post-secondary institutions to provide informative employment data and program feedback from alumni gathered with survey responses. Beyond the value to students and their parents, the new dashboard is used extensively by institutions and the government for program review, accountability, and input into labour market models. In addition to these ways, Okanagan College also uses the outcomes data as part of its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Inspired by initial dashboard design by BCIT and pivot tables by Douglas College (both part of the provincial project), O’Brien helped implement the vision and keep the program on track for it to be realized into an easy-to-use public facing tool. She managed and facilitated the collaboration of 25 organizations and governing bodies and implemented strategies to keep the reporting sustainable for at least another 30 years.

Feb. 9, 2016, Vol. 10, Issue 22


Governance opportunities

Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the governance of Okanagan College. The Education Council is looking for nominations, with a total of eight positions available for members from any of the four College regions. Positions are for a two-year term.

The Education Council considers curriculum and education policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The Council is seeking:

  • Six members from the faculty and vocational groups
  • Two members from the support staff group

Meetings are held once a month at the Kelowna campus, except in July and August (mileage can be claimed if this is not your home campus).

Nominations are open until Feb. 18 and elections will take place from Feb. 29 to Mar. 13 online. For more information, to submit a nomination, and to vote, visit the Elections tab in myOkanagan.

Early-bird registration: Half Marathon

Time to hit the ground running with the 14th annual Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, taking place at the Kelowna campus on Sunday, April 3, 2016.

Register online today to take advantage of the early bird pricing until Feb. 14.

Prefer to be involved on race day but not a runner? The race would not be possible without the countless volunteers that make it a reality. Email Michelle Lowry to get involved.

ILT Newsletter Submissions

Submissions for the winter issue of the ILT newsletter Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching, are now being accepted. The theme of the next edition is “professional development.”

Please visit the ILT website for guidelines. Deadline for submissions is Monday, Feb. 29 and the intended publication date is mid-March. Submissions or questions can be sent directly to Ross McKerlich.

Fitness facility hours this week

The fitness facility at the Kelowna campus has adjusted its hours during reading week. Hours are as follows:

  • Tue, Feb. 9 to Fri, Feb 12: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Sat, Feb. 13: 12 to 4 p.m.


30 Days to a happier and healthy you 

Feb.  15 to Mar. 15 – Employees and students are encouraged to sign up for the free self-driven 30-day health challenge that promotes health and well being. Each day will offer one new way to commit to focusing on your health in a holistic way. There will be weekly incentives to help keep participants motivated.

To sign up visit the College’s Athletics, Recreation & Student Life webpage. Login with your email, click "forgot password" and follow the prompt. If you have any questions please contact Jenn Naiman or local 4754.

Social Media working group

Feb. 16 - Join Public Affairs Manager Christine Ulmer to hear about the College's social media policy, and ask questions you may have about using social media at the College. The group will meet monthly. The first meeting will be held in room C130 at the Kelowna campus at 2 p.m. See the news section for more details.

Penticton Speakers Series

Feb. 15 – Brian Rippy, Sustainable Construction Management Technology program faculty member presents “Cohousing: How to Build a More Sustainable Neighbourhood in Penticton.”

Feb. 22 – English Professor Francie Greenslade will present “A Writing Life in Two Metaphors.”
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 and read the press release.

Venture Okanagan

Feb. 18 – The 10th annual Venture Okanagan, led by a group of Enactus Okanagan College student volunteers, will see five local entrepreneurs compete for the attention of local investors and provide an opportune chance for networking for those in attendance. Up for grabs is a $5,000 prize from title sponsor, Grant Thornton LLP, to help launch the business idea.

Tickets are $40.88 and include a networking reception after the presentations with appetizers and beverages. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and presentations start at 6 p.m. For more information, read the press release.

Book launch celebrates College authors

Feb. 26 – Celebrate Arts & Foundational faculty members who have published works in 2015 at an evening book launch reception.

Three books will be featured: one by Dr. Rosalind Warner, another by Dr. Shelly Ikebuchi, and a third collaboratively authored by Jarkko Jalava, Dr. Stephanie Griffiths, and Michael Maraun (SFU).

The event will be held in The Pit (S112) in Kelowna from 4 – 6 p.m. While it is free to attend, advanced tickets are required: contact Rosalind Warner for more information and tickets.

A trivia night

Mar. 10 – Enactus Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Alumni Association will host a fun Family Feud style trivia evening titled “Are you smarter than an Okanagan College graduate?” at the Mission Tap House (3110 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna) from 5 to 9 p.m.

Tickets are $25 each or $100 for a team of five, and price includes appetizers. More information and tickets are available online.

Connections 2016: Save the date

Aug. 23 and 24 – Mark your calendars for the Connections 2016, Okanagan College’s annual conference for employees by employees. This year’s theme is Building on Our Strengths.

If you are interested in leading an informative session for your colleagues, you can register your idea online. Sessions are to be 50 to 55 minutes in length and should be both interactive and engaging. For more information please contact Kerry Rempel.


As the kitchens heated up for the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates events, so did the media spotlight on the annual event. In the article Okanagan College students to assist competing chefs the Kelowna Capital News quotes Culinary Manager Chef Bernard Casavant. Showing the networking value of the event for students, the Kelowna Daily Courier profiled OC alumna Chantelle Eustache who helped last year’s winning Chef Ryan O’Flynn and how he asked her and a peer to return to help him once again this year. The Penticton Herald also published a brief noting the students’ participation, and Steve MacNaull promoted limited event tickets availability in his Okanagan Saturday Valley Views column on Jan. 30. Global News Okanagan, Okanagan Life, KelownaNow and Castanet each provided online coverage.

Media coverage continued throughout the weekend’s festivities. The Kelowna Daily Courier published a sneak peek photo of the College’s Ben Pena and James Maguire setting up the AV for the Black Box Challenge. Read more about the exciting event in the following articles: the Kelowna Capital News’ Talented chefs showcased at culinary championship, Okanagan Saturday’s Heat in the kitchen as top chefs face off, the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Ottawa chef named big cheese, the Penticton Herald’s Top chef a repeat winner, and InfoTel News’ Behind the Gold: Canadian Culinary Championships more than chef competition. View the Global Okanagan segment about the Black Box Challenge here.

Okanagan College Culinary students will also be on hand on Feb. 24 when they prepare the breakfast for the second annual TELUS Pink Shirt Day breakfast at the Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna. The event will kick-off the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs’ anti-bullying campaign. KelownaNow and Castanet shared the event details including information about how to get tickets. 

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton shared the stage with UBC Interim-President Martha Piper at a Jan. 28 Kelowna Chamber of Commerce lunch to discuss the impact of post-secondary institutions on the Okanagan, as reported in the Kelowna Capital News.

Media took notice that registration for the annual Okanagan College Half Marathon is now open. The Kelowna Capital News and KelownaNow shared registration details with their online readers.

In advance of the ninth annual Business Expo & Employment Fair the Kelowna Daily Courier and the Kelowna Capital News shared tips about the value of attending the fair and how to come interview ready from OC alumnus and regular exhibitor David Knapp from CIBC. The Kelowna Daily Courier also ran a picture taken at the fair on Feb. 4. Castanet shared details about the fair online.

A niche career as an RV technician has enabled alumnus and occasional College instructor Carl Hollmann to travel the world and he credits training received at OC for putting him ahead of the curve. He recently returned to campus for ongoing professional development training alongside 24 peers. Read more in Okanagan Sunday’s article Back to school for RV pros and both the Kelowna Capital News and Infotel News' online articles.

Trades training leading to jobs was also the focus of the Vernon Morning Star’s article about alumnus Shael Riendeau working at KF Aerospace as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Daily Courier shared a brief about the College and the Westbank First Nation receiving provincial funding from the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships to support 14 Aboriginal students to train in the Construction Craft Worker program.

The Boyd Autobody & Glass donation to the Bright Horizon, Building For Skills campaign continued to generate coverage, with the Kelowna Daily Courier publishing an article on Jan. 27.

Okanagan College’s English department was geared up to host celebrated B.C. author Madeleine Thien for a lecture, as reported in the Kelowna Daily Courier. Unfortunately, the lecture was cancelled due to illness.

Okanagan College is once again playing a key role in the Shuswap Association of Writers Askew’s Food Word on the Lake Writing Contest. Read more in the Salmon Arm Observer’s article Contest opens for 2016 writers’ festival, and the Vernon Morning Star’s brief Writing contest open.

The February edition of the Business Examiner included a brief about JOEY Restaurant Group partnering with the College for career opportunities for students upon completion of their programs, and another brief about the pilot project to have Okanagan College students compete the first year of the BCIT Mineral Exploration and Mining Technology Diploma at OC.

Alumna Kelsey Serwa won gold in ski-cross at the X Games held in Aspen, Colorado, as noted by the Okanagan Sunday's Jan. 31 print edition.

Serwa  was also mentioned in a Penticton Herald article about the upcoming BC Winter Games in Penticton, which are a month away.

The Kelowna Capital News shared news that College alumna Kelly Scott came in second at the 2016 B.C. Women’s Curling Championship.

Okanagan College employees who contributed to the annual United Way fundraising campaign received a shout-out in the Kelowna Daily Courier; the College is one of four large organizations who contributed significantly to the campaign.

Honorary Fellow Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council, spoke to the Vernon City Council about the rise of homelessness and panhandling in the community. Read more in the Vernon Morning Star’s article Homeless issue remains on the radar.

The Ososyoos Times reported that Member of Parliament Richard Cannings, an Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, has hired staff for his constituency offices in Penticton and Castlegar.


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 Feb. 23, 2016.