2018 Honorary Fellows named

2018 Honorary Fellows - headshotsA trio of community builders - all champions of different causes - are being recognized by Okanagan College with the institution's highest commendation.

Mollie QuilQuil Sneena Bono, an advocate for Aboriginal peoples, Rick Thorpe, a dedicated public servant and Patrick Waunch, a recognized construction leader, are to be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College in June.

"Each of these remarkable individuals has contributed significantly to our region, province and country," notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. "They have done it in diverse ways and richly deserve the honour our College is bestowing on them."

Since 2006, Okanagan College has been presenting Honorary Fellow Awards to deserving individuals (40, including Bono, Thorpe and Waunch) as part of its annual Convocation Ceremonies. The awards recognize distinguished achievement or service and the recipients represent a broad spectrum of regional, provincial, national and international contributions. The awards acknowledge a diverse array of people, from those who have advanced literacy among youth to individuals whose work has helped create awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.

Read the full story and full biographies of each Fellow here.

Employee Excellence finalists announced

Employee Excellence logoThirty-five finalists for the 7th annual Employee Excellence Awards have been announced. College employees were nominated in eight categories; Strong Start Award, Scholarly and Creative Activity Award, Service Excellence Award, Continuous Improvement Award, Leadership Award, Key Directions, Teaching Excellence and Career Achievement. Two judging committees, comprised of representatives from all employee groups, evaluated the nomination packages. 

Recipients from each of the categories have been chosen by the judging committees and will be announced at a special recognition event on Wednesday, May 9 at 2:45 p.m. at the Kelowna campus in the Centre for Learning Atrium. All employees are encouraged to attend.

Employees who have celebrated milestone achievements over the past year will also be recognized at the May 9 event. There is still time to submit achievements for recognition. Fill out the milestone recognition form and submit it before midnight on Monday, April 30.

View all of the finalists here.

Human mental illness and evolutionary biology are focus of talk at OC

Dr. Bernard Crespi - SFUHow does the human brain work? Why do humans get mental illnesses and what causes these illnesses when the brain does not work as expected?

Dr. Bernard Crespi, SFU Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Canada Research Chair in Evolution and Psychology, will address these questions and more in a public talk entitled Where Darwin Meets Freud: the evolutionary biology and psychology of human mental illness at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.

Crespi’s research centres on integrating theory, methods and data from evolutionary biology, social behaviour, genetics, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and hormones to understand why and how the human brain has evolved, how human cognition has evolved under Darwinian natural selection and how risks and forms of human mental illnesses have evolved.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, Crespi’s talk will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the Lecture Theatre on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for event details and to purchase tickets – $7 in advance or $10 at the door.


Student ambassadors honoured at President's Dinner

2018 President's Dinner

On April 12, 208 students were recognized for being ambassadors of the College and were honoured with a special President's Dinner. This year marked the largest number of students ever recognized in the annual event.

OC President Jim Hamilton thanked all of the student ambassadors and faculty for their hard work, numerous achievements and for the way they represent the College at competitions and events across Canada and internationally. From business and human resource case competitions to Skills Canada and computer programming events to culinary battles, students proudly showcase the high level of skills, training and education they've received while studying at the College.

The evening included a delicious buffet feast and dessert bar prepared by OC Culinary Arts students and Chef Reinhard Foerderer.

Engaging Multicultural Classrooms comes to a close

Jillian Garrett, Michael Saad and Ed HenczelA new pilot project aimed to provide additional support to help both international and domestic students succeed in the classroom has come to a successful end. 

The project, Engaging Multicultural Classrooms, launched in the Fall and received support from the OC Innovation Fund. It was brought on board by a trio of Communications Professors, Jillian Garrett, Michael Saad and Ed Henczel. The project helped struggling students, referred by their professors, on a one-on-one basis with common concerns including assignment completion, group work, policies, citations, online resources, research, classroom expectations and more.

Since January, four sessions were held and offered a combination of learning about the International English language Testing System structure, hearing from an international student panel focus group on challenges they faced, hearing from OC faculty about perspectives of working with multicultural classrooms and lastly exam preparation – studying, writing, test taking and general exam practices.

“These sessions were an opportunity to learn about the international student dynamic in the College’s very own hallways,” explains Saad. “Combined with scholarly research conducted in the Fall 2017 semester, the information gathered over the past few months will be a valuable foundation in building a framework for the modern, ever-changing classroom landscape.” 

Positive Spaces workshop at the College

Positive Spaces workshop - Blake EdwardsOn April 11, OC employee Blake Edwards led a Positive Spaces workshop for the Office of the Registrar. The workshop explored the topic of gender expression and identity as well as why having a positive space is so important and how to create a space, inclusive and safe for students and employees. 

Edwards took the group through sexual and gender diversity, the intersectionality of gender and sexuality of discrimination when individual identities overlap with race, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, age, ethnicity and disability.

The workshop continued the discussion into terminology, the different between identity, attraction, expression and sex and how sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation all sit on a spectrum with each individual identifying a certain way – not conforming to the box known as gender binaries (male/female). Lastly, the workshop focused on gender pronouns.

Edwards is offering the LGBTTQIA+, Gender Expressions and Gender Identity workshop at the upcoming Connections – be sure to register for his session before it fills up. 

Sawing wood for the community

TTTE sawing woodOn April 13, 27 students from School District 23 visited the OC Trades department to participate in an exciting project. Supervised by Marvin Rode, Department Chair for Construction Trades at OC, the students helped cut planks from raw logs with a portable saw mill. The planks, donated by Gord Wilson and Chuck Cullen from Team Construction, will be used to build planters for the City of West Kelowna and the new Trades Centre at the Vernon campus.

James Ross, a Trades and Technology Teacher Education alumnus brought his Grade 8 and 9 Tech Ed students from Glenrosa Middle School. Claus Gerlach, a SD 23 teacher and College trades instructor, brought his Trades Sampler students from the SD 23 Trades and Tech Centre to work together on this project. Gerlach and the students participated in hand-sawing contests while the students took turns on the saw mill.

Late night helps procrastinators

2018 Penticton Long Night Against ProcrastinationOn Thursday, March 22nd, the College’s Penticton campus library hosted the fourth Long Night Against Procrastination, a special late night event designed to help students make progress on their end-of-the-semester projects and papers. 

Between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., students worked on their assignments, assisted by instructors and were bolstered by pizza, snacks and large quantities of caffeine. Students had several study break options available to them, including yoga (instructed by HKIN student Randi Andrus), video games, creating quilt squares and door-prize draws throughout the night.

Forty-five students and 15 faculty and staff participated in the Long Night Against Procrastination. In addition to motivating students, this event helps them to release stress and bond as a campus community.

April 17, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 7


Registration open for Connections

Registration is now open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference being held at the Vernon 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. 21 or Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Click here to register. 

Family Award Summer applications open

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between April 1 and Aug. 31. 

Click here for full award details and application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm by May 31. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office via email or at 250-862-5419.

NOTE: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Call for volunteers

The College's Kelowna campus is hosting the 24th Annual Aboriginal Career Fair on Thursday, May 3. The event runs from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium. 

The Aboriginal Services team is looking for employee volunteers to help make this event a success. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Jewell Gillies.

Congratulations to new Education Council members

Faculty – Science/Technology
Kevin Douglas
Term: Aug. 1, 2018 – July 31, 2020

Faculty – Business
Roberta Sawatzky
Term: Aug. 1, 2018 – July 31, 2020

Faculty – North Okanagan (by-election)
Rocio Alejandre
Term: May 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019

Previously declared elected by acclamation were:
Board of Governors
Devin Rubadeau, Faculty
Blake Edwards, Support Staff

Education Council
Amanda Pope, Support Staff
Chris Newitt, Faculty Portfolio, Arts
Amanda Krebs, Faculty Portfolio, Foundational
Danny Marques, Faculty Portfolio, Trades

A second support staff seat on Education Council remains vacant and a by-election will be held to coincide with the fall elections in September.

Budget Town Hall meetings in Salmon Arm and Vernon

All Okanagan College employees are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting regarding the 2018-19 budget. Sessions were held earlier today, April 17, at the Kelowna and Penticton campuses. On April 18, sessions will be held at the Vernon campus at 10 a.m. (A204) and at the Salmon Arm campus at 1:30 p.m. (SA141). 

Sessions will be led by Bob Eby, Interim Vice President Employee and Corporate Services. OC President Jim Hamilton will also be in attendance at each Town Hall meeting. Eby will provide information on the College’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year and staff will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the budget information presented. Coffee and cookies will be provided.

Convocation 2018

Faculty and instructors are invited to participate in the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies by leading graduands in the processional. If you are planning to attend a ceremony, please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary). 

  • Trades Commencement – Thursday, May 17 at 3 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation – Saturday, June 2 at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation – Tuesday, June 26 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer Commencement (CS grads only) – Wednesday, June 27 at 6 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation – Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the website or view the invite.

Stress Awareness month

April is Stress Awareness month with the College's Employee and Family Assistance Program. 

Are you going through a stressful time? You're not alone. Three-quarters of adults experience stress in their daily lives. LifeWorks can help identify your sources of stress and find effective ways to manage them. Visit LifeWorks online or call anytime, toll-free at 1-888-307-0590.

2018 summer hours just around the corner

As in the past, departments at Okanagan College have the option to change normal operational hours to summer hours. For those departments participating this year, summer hours (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) will be in effect from Monday, April 30 to Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Please inquire with your supervisor if your department is participating.   

Fitness Facility hours

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility spring hours begin on Monday, April 30 through Friday, June 29. The facilities will be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon-Fri and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sat and closed on all Sundays and statutory holiday weekends. 

Infusions hours

Infusions will be open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Mon-Fri until May 4. Infusions will be closed for lunch on April 30. The restaurant will be open for dinner service from 6 – 9 p.m., Tue-Fri. It is closed for dinner on April 12, 26, 27 and 30 and again for May 2, 3, 8 – 11 and 15.


Dianne Crommer retirement celebration

April 25  Dianne Crommer, Education Council Assistant, is retiring after 30 years of service. Join us in celebrating her retirement on April 25 in the Kelowna campus boardroom (S103B) anytime between 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Day of Mourning

April 26  Last year in B.C., 158 workers died from workplace injury or disease. The Kelowna campus Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee is participating in a Day of Mourning event on Thursday, April 26, two days in advance of the National Day of Mourning in the Trades Atrium from 10 a.m. – noon. Day of Mourning is a day to remember and honour those lost lives but also a day to renew the commitment to preventing further tragedies.

Human Flow: Q & A session with Ai WeiWei

April 29  The OC Library and Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan (GECCO), a Chapter of the BC Council Coalition for International Cooperation, have partnered to bring a free film screening and livestream Q&A session with Chinese contemporary artist Ai WeiWei. Directed by WeiWei, "Human Flow" is a film that explores the heartbreaking global refugee crisis over the course of a year in 23 countries.

Click here for more information and to view the film's trailer. Registration is free.

FutureNow Student Learning Showcase

May 1  The future is looking bright. Join us on Tuesday, May 1 from 6-9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus for an interactive showcase of student work. Students from Arts, Science and Business will share their projects in a variety of formats. This event is free and open to all. Be prepared to be inspired, enjoy the opportunity to chat with students and faculty about their current projects, and help us celebrate and showcase the talents of OC students. 

For more information, please contact Sharon Josephson, local 4504 or Ross Tyner, local 4665.

Soup’s On

May 3 – Enactus Okanagan College is hosting its second annual Soup’s On event in Kelowna. The event is a fundraiser for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank and takes place from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Trades Building. Tickets for this delicious tasting event are $25 and can be purchased here.

Chefs from Xchange Kelowna, Central Kitchen and Bar, The Train Station Pub, Curious Artistry & Alchemy Café, La Cucina Ristorante & Catering, Whiski-Jack’s Pub, OAK + CRU and more will be on hand. 

Animation Open House

May 4 – Join us on Friday, May 4 from 5-8 p.m. at the Okanagan Innovation Centre to learn more about Okanagan College’s new Animation diploma program. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of animation. This is a free event (RSVP not required) and open to everyone. Join us for networking, music, tours and students’ end-of-year showcase. View the event poster here.

RIPE Conference

May 8 – The Research and Innovation Partnerships Expo (RIPE) returns to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Tuesday, May 8. Join this all-day event showcasing applied research projects, resources and opportunities at Okanagan College featuring OC researchers, community/industry partners and guest speakers.

For more information about participating, visit the website.

Finding the Good: Sharing International Development ideas and Practice in the Current Era

June 8 and 9 – Finding the Good is about bringing academics and practitioners together to share ethical international development ideas and practices.

The event will make a constructive contribution to problems of how to advance social justice, inclusion and human rights in international development efforts. With escalating challenges to fundamental human dignity and social inclusion, this project will expand the space for communities to find the ‘good’ in the current era. 

Sessions will help to ignite and sustain an ecosystem in which dialogue between scholarly insights and practical development work will, ultimately, improve the participation of people experiencing poverty, social marginalization, discrimination and oppression.


  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Women, Gender and Feminism
  • Universal Values and Inclusion
  • Global Citizenship & Education
  • Private-Public Partnerships
  • Knowledge, Technology and Innovation
  • International Security

Click here to for more information and to register your seat. Visit the Facebook event page.

Register now for Bike to Work Week

Register now and join the Okanagan College team for Bike to Work Week starting May 28 - June 3. There is a new, secure bike compound (outside the south side of the Centre for Learning, beside the portable) open for use. All staff members have been given access through their swipe card. Click here to register and learn more about Bike to Work & School Week 

Join the OC team at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on May 9 for a screening of the Dutch documentary film Why We Cycle. Following the screening will be a panel discussion featuring local business leaders, politicians, bike advocates and Mayor Colin Basran. To buy tickets to the screening, click here. You can view a trailer of the documentary by following this link.   


OC business alumna and founder and CEO of Sad Panda - a video game development company - Morgan Long has been honoured as one of the Daily Courier’s Top Forty Under 40 in Kelowna.

KelownaNow and the Daily Courier recapped the Okanagan College Coyotes' games over the Easter long weekend in Nanaimo. The team lost three of four games and now sit in fifth position with a 3-5 record. The following weekend the Coyotes took on the TRU Wolfpack team and won all three games; Kamloops CFJC Today, Daily Courier and Kamloops Matters covered the highlights. Shortly after, KelownaNow offered another commentary on the team going into the weekend of April 14-15.

OC audio engineering and music production graduate and award-winning country musician Ben Klick has been honoured as one of the Daily Courier's Top Forty under 40 in Kelowna.

The Capital News and Daily Courier shared news that SFU Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Dr. Bernard Crespi, is coming to Okanagan College to give a public talk, Where Darwin Meets Freud: the evolutionary biology and psychology of human mental illness.

Castanet shared information about the new 2018 provincial budget which includes funding for new health buildings at Okanagan College and other institutions.

OC alumnus and award-winning slam poet Shane Koyczan penned a poem for Humboldt entitled Hockey Family. Many news outlets shared his poem including the Penticton Western News, Creston Valley Advance, Alberni Valley NewsKelownaNow and the Langley Times.

Royal Roads University hosted its first Design Thinking Challenge with eight colleges and universities from across Canada, including Okanagan College. Victoria News, Capital News and the Salmon Arm Observer shared event details on the teams; the College impressively placed second overall.

OC student and writer ReAnne Kennedy made the Daily Courier for her online novels which are gaining popularity with more than 4,500 views on her recent story.

Three community builders were recently named as the College's 2018 Honorary Fellows. A number of media outlets shared the news including Castanet, Salmon Arm Observer, Daily Courier, KelownaNow, NationTalk, Okanagan Weekend and the Okanagan Edge.

The College and B.C. Wine Institute signed an agreement that will guide their cooperation over the next two years. The Summerland Review gave information about the memorandum of understanding that will help shape their relationship.

The Vernon Morning Star commented on the College's new $112-million operating budget for 2018-19, giving it a passing grade.

The Daily Courier and Penticton Herald shared event details of the Medical Device Reprocessing Technician open house on April 10.

The Vernon Morning Star helped announce OC alumnus and award-winning poet Shane Koyczan's B.C. tour which includes a performance at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre on Sept. 24.

OC alumna and gold medalist olympic athlete Kelsey Serwa is still making waves in the news. The Capital News covered a recent interview Serwa had with Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. Serwa also made the Okanagan Weekend's headlines who recognized her gold medal achievements as part of the greatest Okanagan sports moments. 


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 May 1, 2018.