College alumnus speaks out about Penticton shootings

Shane KoyczanOC alumnus and Penticton resident Shane Koyczan is an internationally-recognized spoken word artist who has performed all over the world and for major events including the 2010 Olympic Ceremonies. On Monday, he weighed in on the fatal shootings that took place in Penticton.

Koyczan prefaced his poem with:

“The town I live in is small. Maybe 34,000 people? It’s not tiny, but because it sits between two big lakes there’s no room for it to grow any bigger. I’m okay with that. I like to live in a small place. I can ride my bike from one end of town to the other in 20 minutes. I can walk the street at night without my mind racing to collide with fear. Small places often feel removed from the rest of the issues that plague the world. We busy ourselves with yard work and watch the news thinking that the worst of it ‘could never happen here.’

He went on to share the poem, entitled Everywhere. To read the poem, visit Koyczan’s Facebook page or in the Summerland Review or Castanet.

A powerful speaker, Koyczan often tackles topics that include bullying, eating disorders and death. His most popular poem which has been considered an anti-bullying anthem, To This Day, has been viewed more than 23.4 million times on YouTube.

Former youth in care take advantage of free tuition program

tuition waiverForty-three former youth in care have accessed post-secondary education and skills training at Okanagan College, thanks to the B.C. Government’s Provincial Tuition Waiver Program. 

Okanagan College is one of 25 public post-secondary institutions in the province with students that have benefitted from the program, which waives tuition and mandatory fees for former youth in care.

The Provincial Tuition Waiver Program has increased by 326 per cent since it launched in 2017. Since then, 806 former youth in care are now studying all over the province in social work, academic arts, nursing, pre-medical studies, trades, business administration and graphics design. 

To read the full story, click here. View 

For eligibility requirements, click here.

Finalists announced for 2019 Employee Excellence Awards

Employee Excellence logoThe finalists of the eighth annual Employee Excellence Awards have been announced. 

Recipients from each of the eight categories have been chosen by two judging committees and will be announced at the special recognition event on Wednesday, May 15 at 2:45 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, Centre for Learning Atrium. All employees are encouraged to attend.

Strong Start Award – Simone Blais, Blake Edwards and Frithjof Petscheleit
Scholarly and Creative Activity Award – Darrell Skinner
Service Excellence Award – Samantha Blandon, Shannon Kiehlbauch, John Mott, Joan Smeyers, Janice Ulrich, John Wecels and Kristen Wiebe
Continuous Improvement Award Gail Brown and Jordan Perrey
Leadership Award – Eric Corneau, Corey Bransfield and Charlotte Kushner
Key Directions – Marilyn Alexis, Elke Pritchard and Taryn Schmid
Teaching Excellence – David Cram and Jillian Garrett
Career Achievement – Dorie Burnham, Yvonne Caldwell and John Ensing
President's Award – to be announced

Employees who have celebrated milestone achievements over the past year will also be recognized at the event. There is still time to submit achievements for recognition. Fill out the Milestone Recognition Form and submit it before midnight on Tuesday, April 30.

Applied research conference at OC

RIPE logoFrom craft brewing to hydroponics, greenhouses to grant writing and case studies, the Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research projects – and employees are invited to take part in the event, for free.

The College is hosting RIPE (Research and Innovation Partnerships Expo) on May 14 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. The event is an opportunity for community members, industry, educators, researchers and students to network and learn how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching student education experiences in the Okanagan. 

“Applied research by Okanagan College employees is making a big impact regionally and globally,” explains Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at OC. “The world is ever-changing and applied research can help us anticipate, react and even lead that change.”

The event features workshops and keynote speakers. Attendees will be treated to a morning mixer, a panel discussion and can hear applied research pitch questions and connect and expand their own applied research opportunities.

OC employees are asked to RSVP by registering in advance. To register, click here.

Funds raised for new Aboriginal Student Award

Sticks Up for Aboriginal Student AwardThe OC Social Committee was joined by more than 30 College employees and friends on April 10 to celebrate the Kickoff to the Playoffs and raise funds for the new OC “Sticks Up” Aboriginal Student Award.

With everyone’s participation, the Social Committee was able to raise more than $500 for the new award, which will support Aboriginal students enrolled in full-time studies at any of the College’s campuses. 

Participants watched the opening games of the NHL playoffs, and had the opportunity to participate in a series of fun activities. Competition was in peak form as everybody played Jets Bingo with special game-related events, engaged in a game of Pack Wars with new Upper Deck hockey cards, and had the opportunity to win a number of other prizes throughout the night.

As a special surprise, Aboriginal Services also had a wine pull featuring mystery bottles of wine donated from a number of local wineries and the OC Alumni Association. Players Choice Sports also provided a number of items for a silent auction, including an autographed photograph of Fred Sasakamoose, the first ever Indigenous hockey player to play in the NHL.

Learning and Teaching Week is back

Learning and Teaching weekLearning and Applied Research is bringing back the popular week-long workshop series at the Kelowna campus titled Learning and Teaching Unboxed. 

The workshop series is happening May 13 – 17 and will feature three guest speakers and a variety of workshops focused on the use of different technologies to enhance the classroom learning experience.

Participants will have the opportunity to check out the new gadgets in the Collaboration Hub (L100), find Hidden Gems in Moodle, discover how to incentivize learners using RoosterMoney, look at curriculum through a new perspective with Program Mapping, and attend presentations on Synchronous Classroom Delivery, the Flipside of Disruption, and mastering your Moodle Grade Book.

The three guest speakers will reprise their presentations from the CICan 2019 Conference themed “Inclusion – A Recipe for Success.”

  • Rashed Al-Haque, Policy Specialist from Camosun College will present on the development of Camosun College’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and how it supports student learning and employee work experiences.
  • Tabea Berg, Academic Chair of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at NAIT will on "Using Design Thinking in the Classroom for Social Innovation" and its application at Okanagan College.
  • Kevin Walters, Director IT, Infrastructure and Educational Technology at North Island College will present on Synchronous Classroom Delivery at NIC.

You can view the week-long workshop schedule on our website. To register, email Learning and Applied Research.


Coyle appointed as Interim Vice President Students

Allan Coyle - VP, StudentsAllan Coyle, Director of Public Affairs, has been appointed as the Interim Vice President Students by OC President Jim Hamilton. 

Coyle stepped into the role on April 15 and will work with Charlotte Kushner over the next two weeks to ensure a smooth transition while she remains on vacation. 

“I feel his experiences as a member of the Executive, his close working relationship with the VP, Students over the past 14 years and his previous acting roles as Director of Student Services and Regional Dean South Okanagan-Similkameen, make him suitable for this temporary role,” says Hamilton.

Coyle will continue to act as Director of Public Affairs, supported by his staff and with the addition of temporary resources as required.

OC English Professor’s collection of poems gets recognized

Kevin McPherson headshotAn OC English Professor based at the Vernon campus had his most recent published collection of conceptual poems, Their Biography: an organism of relationships, examined by renowned literary critic, Carl Watts, in his work, Oblique Identity: Form and Whiteness in Recent Canadian Poetry.

Kevin McPherson has been teaching at OC for nearly 12 years. He began writing in 2005 and had his first book published in 2010. Their Biography is his fourth published work and offers a new spin on poetry and what a traditional biography might look like.

“Biographies are typically written by the few, not the many,” says McPherson. “I asked approximately 60 friends, family and complete strangers to contribute to my biography and the book is the subsequent collage of results.”

McPherson is currently working on his next collection which is anticipated to be published later this year by Insert/Blanc Press in LA.

The next collection is called The Pain Itself and the artwork has been designed by fellow OC English Professor and award-winning designer Jason Dewinetz. Dewinetz also teaches at the Vernon campus for the Writing & Publishing diploma program, leading typography classes in the fully functioning letterpress print shop known as The Bunker, which also supports Kalamalka Press. 

Mature student benefits from confidence and credentials

Maria OttingWhen OC student Maria Otting relocated to Salmon Arm, she found herself in need of a new work environment – but quickly realized she had plenty of experience working in offices, but not the credentials listed in ads. 

“I noticed a lot of the jobs I was interested in wanted the Administrative Assistant Certificate,” she recalls. “I had years of experience, but didn’t have formal training. I just trained on the job.” 

After deciding to enrol in the 10-month Administrative Assistant program, Otting soon realized she wasn’t the only mature student in the program following a similar path as she was. 

“There’s a lot of mature students in our program. There are stay-at-home moms who have come back after being out of the workforce for a number of years, and people just simply upgrading their skills. We fit right in with the students right out of high school, and everybody gets along,” she says. “It’s great being a mature student. You feel a little bit more confident because you have those life skills and you’re just ready to dive in, get to it and learn.”

The Shuswap has proven very attractive to mature students, with demographic reports indicating the average age of students at the Salmon Arm campus is 27 years old – compared with 25 in Vernon and Penticton.

OC’s Salmon Arm campus is holding a seminar called Returning to Education on Wednesday, April 24 to help mature students investigate their options. Instructors will work with attendees to help people make decisions about what program is the right fit for them.

Read the full story here. For more information about the Returning to Education seminar, call Kristine Wickner at 250-832-2126, ext 8259. 

Registration open for Connections

Connections logoRegistration is now open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference being held at the Kelowna campus this year. 

Connections is organized by employees for employees. It is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses, and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive, social activities and fun informative workshops. You will hear from OC’s President, Jim Hamilton, about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and you will have a great opportunity to interact with your fellow colleagues.

You can choose to attend on either Tuesday, Aug. 20 or Wednesday, Aug. 21. Register early as sessions fill up fast.

Click here to register and review the list of workshop descriptions.

OC Enactus CANsave program inspires students to donate

CANsave image - 2019A North Glenmore Elementary class was inspired to donate $450 to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation after learning about financial literacy through Okanagan College's Enactus program, CANsave. 

CANsave launched in January 2016 and has since caught the eye of teachers nationwide. The program has reached more than 33,000 students in more than 100 communities across Canada and has already helped more than 13,000 students this year alone. Since 2016, the CANsave program has helped funnel nearly $38,000 donated to local charities.

The program guides elementary-level students through a five-week period of financial literacy. Students are led through various financial simulations which require them to budget, plan ahead, learn the value of needs vs. wants and the importance of giving back.

Valley First Credit Union, which has been involved since the program's inception, committed to providing $25 for each student who successfully completed the program. With each student successfully completing the program, Valley First gave $450 to the class to donate to a local charity of their choice. The students chose to donate the funds to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation with the goal of helping sick children.

For more information on CANsave, click here. Read more about this donation in KelownaNow.

Carpentry Foundation builds skills and community in South Okanagan

Carpentry Foundation program April 2019The residential construction industry is thriving in the South Okanagan, and a carpentry program with extra supports for Indigenous students is underway in Penticton to help ensure a needed supply of skilled tradespeople. 

The class – that started this month – will be working with Greyback Construction to build a home at Skaha Hills, among the many K’ul Group projects underway to support economic development of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB).

“The Carpenter Foundation program has been a popular program in Penticton in recent years. The 2019 intake was set up to include a pathway to support Penticton Indian Band (PIB) students to participate through the Key to Employment bridging program with Indigenous Community for Leadership and Development,” explains Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. 

Four of the 11 students enrolled in the current intake are PIB members, and they received culturally informed supports including mentorship, Elder support, visits from Aboriginal industry speakers, assistance with math and English requirements, and nutrition breaks. Those supports were funded by the Industry Training Authority.

The next intakes for Carpenter Foundation are August (Kelowna) and February 2020 (Salmon Arm and Revelstoke).

Read the full story here.

April 16, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 2


Access your 2018 T4s electronically

Access your 2018 T4 slip electronically through myOkanagan - Employee Online Services. Click here to view detailed instructions on how to download your T4 slip.

EdCo election on now

Faculty and vocational instructors can cast their vote for the Education Council Central Okanagan candidate before April 21. Visit the Elections page in myOkanagan for short bios of the candidate and to vote.

Education Council Faculty - Central Okanagan
Term of Office: Aug-01-2019 to Jul-31-2021
Sylvia Lehmann
Jolaine Longeway
Vlado Neykov 

Congratulations to Glen Coulthard who was acclaimed for the North Okanagan seat.

A by-election will be held shortly for the Shuswap/Revelstoke and South Okanagan Similkameen seats.

Introducing the Collaboration Hub room

Learning and Applied Research and IT Services are pleased to introduce the Collaboration Hub - Evolving Teaching, Technology and Learning space located in L100 at the Kelowna campus. This space is available for employee collaborative teaching and learning events. For more information and to book, email Colette Martin

Bake Shop and Butcher Shop holiday hours

In lieu of the upcoming holiday weekend, Butcher Shop will be held on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Kelowna campus cafeteria and Bake Shop will remain at its regular time, Thursday at noon.

Kelowna Fitness Facility holiday hours

The Kelowna Fitness Facility will close for Easter Weekend beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 and reopen at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Beginning on April 29, the centre will go into summer hours, operating from Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and closing on weekends and statutory holidays.

Look to your future

Being prepared for the future can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Learn how to have the difficult conversations that come with planning for your future and find out what steps you need to take when it comes to estate planning. For guidance and support, visit LifeWorks online and login with the username: okanagan and password: healthy. Alternatively, you can call LifeWorks toll-free any time, day or night at 1-888-307-0590. 

Health and safety concerns?

If you have a health and safety concern, please ensure you report to your supervisor. 

Additionally, if an urgent issue or emergency arises, please call ext. 6699 for immediate assistance.

If it's a non-urgent concern or complaint:

  • Visit to contact a member of the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee at your campus and to fill out an online form
  • Submit an online work request through the myOkanagan portal and check messages for follow-up (e.g. room temperature adjustment, washroom needing attention, etc.)

To report an incident, injury, or near-miss (no incident, but a potential for an injury to occur):

  • Complete the Health & Safety Incident Report form:
  • Using the OC Safe App, report a concern to Security


Hugh Culver: Moving to Mastery - free talk

April 24 (register by April 17) – RSVP for free to an engaging talk led by renowned speaker, entrepreneur and author Hugh Culver, at Okanagan College's Kelowna campus theatre on April 24 from 9:15 - 10:45 a.m. Hugh will challenge the audience to rethink how they use their mind and spend their minutes. Learn how to overcome self-limiting beliefs with a single question, end procrastination and build powerful habits for health, work and life. Part motivational, part instructional and part surprising, this content-rich keynote presentation is an exciting experience for any audience.

You will discover three powerful lessons: how curiosity is the key to unlocking old beliefs and introducing new opportunities, the trick to moving from procrastination to productive without doing the hard work and why habits can change your life and the science behind building better habits quickly. 

View the Eventbrite page for detailed information and to RSVP for your free ticket.

Day of Mourning Awareness

April 25 – All OC employees and students are invited to attend Okanagan College’s Day of Mourning Awareness event on Thursday, April 25 in both the Kelowna campus Trades Atrium (from 9:30 – 11 a.m.) and Centre for Learning Atrium (from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.).

The event, which is officially recognized on April 28, is the labour movement’s most solemn day where thousands of workers, friends and families of fallen workers gather to recognize workers killed or injured on the job. For more information, visit Day of Mourning website.

Kerry Gilbert’s Book Launch

April 26 – You are invited! OC English Professor and author Kerry Gilbert is celebrating the publication of her collection of poems, Little Red, on April 26 from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Caetani Cultural Centre in Vernon (3401 Pleasant Valley Road). Special guest and poet John Lent will be there, refreshments are provided and copies of Gilbert’s book will be available for purchase for $19.95.

Gilbert’s book tells a powerful contemporary verse of the original didactic stories about missing and murdered girls and women as part of the long history of this kind of violence against women. Read more about Gilbert and her book launch here.

Nancy Noble Hearle retirement party

April 26 – It’s been a great ride for Nancy but after 32 years of teaching at Okanagan College, she is ready to hit the road. Drop by the Aboriginal Student Centre (Sunoka building) at the Penticton campus on Friday, April 26 from 12:30 – 3 p.m. to share some food and memories.

Sensory Symposium – Wine education series

April 28 – An inaugural sensory symposium, supported by Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is taking place April 28. At this unprecedented one-day event, you'll participate in blind tastings, seminars, interact with winemakers from all over B.C. and discuss trending topics in the wine industry. After a day of tasting and debating, wine by the glass and light fare will be available to wrap up the day's events. Partial proceeds will be going to our charitable partner, Eco Eats.

Purchase tickets before April 8 for pre-sale pricing. Event takes place at the Penticton campus from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.

President's Celebration of OC Coyotes Basketball Hoopla event

May 2 – Join us on this special evening at the annual fundraiser for the OC Coyotes basketball teams. This night is an opportunity to bring together supporters, sponsors, volunteers and players and coaches to thank everyone in a fun atmosphere. Amazing food will be provided by the OC Culinary Arts chefs and students and a cash bar with local VQA wines and beer and cider from Big Surf brewery will be available.

Tickets are $40 and the festivities begin on Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium at the Kelowna campus. For full details and to purchase tickets, please visit the Eventbrite page.

OC Speakers Series - Sex, Salmonella and Beetles

May 13 – Attend Okanagan College's next Speakers Series event on Monday, May 13 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. in the theatre at The Innovation Centre (460 Doyle Ave. in Kelowna). Award-winning author, veterinary epidemiologist and speaker David Waltner-Toews will share his insights on a cutting-edge topic entitled "What do food, sex and salmonella have in common?" Waltner-Toews will be reading from his 2008 book, Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food is Making Us Sick and will answer questions about his work, Eat the Beetles!, The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us about Evolution, Ecology, and Sustainable Society and his other books.

Visit the Eventbrite page for more information and register your seat for free.


Bringing students to Revelstoke for OC’s new Tourism Management diploma has revealed a housing need. The Revelstoke Mountaineer helped with a call for homestays to help accommodate the expected influx of students.

The OC Speakers Series upcoming event on May 13 with award-winning author and veterinary epidemiologist David Waltner-Toews was featured by the Lake Country Calendar and Salmon Arm Observer, who each provided event details.

OC Pastry Arts instructor Danny Capadouca has been selected to be on the judging panel for the Seventh Annual Chocolate Challenge in Vancouver on May 2. shared information about the event.

KelownaNow reported on the Coyotes’ winning weekend games against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades. The ‘Yotes won the weekend, taking three of four games from UFV. KelownaNow also reported on the team’s games against TRU WolfPack who lost their first game but won their second. 

The Salmon Arm Observer shared OC Administrative Assistant student’s, Maria Otting, story about returning to Okanagan College as a mature student.

The Summerland Review and Castanet shared information about the College’s Carpentry Foundation program that is currently underway in Penticton and provides extra supports for Indigenous students.

OC political science student, 18, Justin Kulik, was featured in InfoNews and the Daily Courier as one of two young men running for NDP nomination for Kelowna-Lake Country.

Longtime OC industry partner KF Aerospace recently announced an expansion in capacity and jobs. KF spoke highly of their partnership with OC and how they hire almost all of the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer graduates both from the Mechanical and Structures streams. A lot of news outlets reported on this including the Summerland Review, Daily Courier, Global News and Castanet.

The Daily Courier and Okanagan Weekend provided information on the Central Okanagan Regional Science Fair which took place at OC's Penticton campus on April 13. OC supported the event alongside Science World, the local school district and the Science Fair Foundation of B.C.

The Penticton Herald shared news about local artist and former Okanagan College Foundation Board member Alex Fong, who had his painting One Moon selected as the face of this year's Meadowlark Festival.

OC Cook Apprentice Levels 1-3 alumnus (1998) Travis Hackl was profiled in the Capital News as the co-owner of a new grill, OKF Grill, in Oyama. The grill opened on March 1 and will be in operation until Oct. 31.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Holly Stevens.

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 April 30, 2019.