Budget provides growth in programs, services for College

Kelowna campus trades signageOkanagan College’s $112-million operating budget for 2018-19 will help provide new programs, new student support, and help address pressures that have come with recent years’ growth.

The budget, passed by the College’s Board of Governors on March 27, will add 13 new instructional positions in a variety of programs, including arts, science, technology, business administration and trades. There will also be a new counsellor and additional staff for co-op education, for the learning centres in Kelowna and Penticton and in education advising.

“This budget maps out our plans to address some of the pressures that have come with growth, to invest in student services, and to move forward on continued growth in programs and with some of our strategic initiatives,” explains Okanagan College Board of Governors Chair Chris Derickson. 

Further support will go toward establishing a mental health first aid network and funding for health care services. A half-time faculty position will support development and delivery of indigenous programming and another half-time position will work on programming and applied research in Revelstoke.

There will also an additional health and safety coordinator hired and new information security officer for the College’s IT department. Two more custodial positions will be added to keep pace with the growth of the College’s physical plant (including the new trades building in Vernon, which is expected to open toward the end of the summer).

Read the full story here.

Strengthening ties with the wine industry

Wine agreementOkanagan College has signed an agreement with the B.C. Wine Institute that will guide their partnership over the next two years.

The agreement, which is in effect until July 2020, was signed to provide a range of collaborative opportunities between the College and the Institute for future partnerships, projects and applied research in the wine industry and is intended to influence the region’s economic development, improvements and new discoveries.

“Okanagan College is a devoted and integral part of the wine industry here in the Okanagan Valley,” says Okanagan School of Business Dean Bill Gillett.  

“This Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the value of our relationship with Okanagan College and provides a framework to further our common interests in research and projects to enhance the wine and related industries,” says Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the B.C. Wine Institute in a recent media release from the Institute.

Read the full story from the B.C. Wine Institute here.

Scotiabank’s support for College initiative translates into help for local non-profits

Scotiabank announcementA renewed commitment from Scotiabank will help Okanagan College students and faculty continue their efforts to assist non-profit organizations.

Scotiabank announced a $100,000 gift to the Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at the Okanagan College School of Business. Led by College Professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah and Kerry Rempel, the Centre employs students to research and develop initiatives that benefit and provide support to non-profit organizations in the region.

“We believe the students at Okanagan College are our leaders of tomorrow, and an investment in them is the pathway to community prosperity,” says Zak Khokhar, District Vice President for Scotiabank.

Scotiabank helped launch the Centre in 2014 with an initial gift of $100,000. The current donation will ensure the Centre can reach its next-phase goals. 

Read the full story here.

Tour of the Dominion Radio Astronomical Observatory and CHIME Lecture

CHIME and DRAO tourMore than 75 high school and College students with a passion for astronomy and physics came together on March 24 to tour the world-class facilities at The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. The tour was facilitated by the OC Astronomy faculty and featured a detailed look at Canada’s newest and largest radio telescope: CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment).

After the tour, students and community members were treated to a free lecture at the Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna – more than 150 guests were in attendance. The lecture speaker was Dr. Mark Halpern, a UBCO professor, astrophysicist and one of the principal investigators of the new CHIME telescope. The lecture, entitled CHIME: Listening to Tunes from a Toddler Universe and Characterizing Dark Energy in the Okanagan, ended with an opportunity to view the night sky from the Innovation Centre’s roof, using telescopes provided by members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.


College and Valley First celebrate $100,000 of support

Valley First and Enactus OC celebrate $100,000 of supportOn March 26, OC Enactus students from the College’s School of Business recognized Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, for the organization’s numerous contributions and support which this year will reach $100,000 in total since the partnership began three years ago.

“Giving back to our communities and supporting social enterprises like Enactus OC is in Valley First’s DNA,” says Tracy Clark, Marketing & Communications Business Partner for Valley First. 

Valley First provided its initial donation in 2016 for $10,000 to support one of Enactus’ projects, CANsave – a financial literacy education program. Bolstered by Valley First’s support, that program has grown into a nationally-recognized and award-winning financial literacy program impacting teachers and students in more than 6,000 elementary schools across Canada.

“Partnerships like this are truly invaluable for Okanagan College students because they allow our students to tap into opportunities to build their skills and apply their knowledge outside of the classroom,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We are grateful to Valley First for supporting our students in making a positive impact in their surrounding communities.”

Public Affairs has a new Manager of Marketing and Communications

Tyler Finley - Manager of Communications and MarketingThe Public Affairs department has found its new Manager of Marketing and Communications from within. Tyler Finley stepped into the role after serving as Interim Manager since February. 

Finley joined the Public Affairs team as a Marketing and Communications Specialist in April 2016 and since August of that year he has helped to steward the College’s digital marketing and social media presence. He began at the College in December 2015 in Advancement and Alumni, coordinating marketing and communications for the capital campaign for the new Trades Complex in Kelowna.

“I’m looking forward to working with the great team in Public Affairs and all our colleagues around the institution to share the stories of the college – its outstanding students, staff, programs and successes,” says Finley. “Coming from a background in comms and digital marketing, I’m particularly excited to see us continue to take advantage of technology, to use established and emerging platforms, to market and communicate out those messages locally to internationally.”

Prior to joining the College, Finley worked as a national program manager for a non-profit youth outdoor education initiative and has held a variety of other roles in education and marketing. He has a passion for storytelling in all forms, from writing to photography and video, and in his spare time provides communications support to a number of youth, outdoor and mental health initiatives.

April 3, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 6


Budget Town Hall Meetings coming in April

All Okanagan College employees are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting regarding the 2018-19 budget. There will be a session held at each campus. 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.

  • Kelowna campus - Tuesday, April 17 at noon (S104-theatre)
  • Penticton campus - Tuesday, April 17 at 3 p.m. (PC122)
  • Vernon campus - Wednesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. (A204)
  • Salmon Arm campus - Wednesday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. (SA141)

Coffee and cookies will be provided at each Town Hall meeting.

Bocce is back in Kelowna

Get a partner, a team name and get in the game! A fun season of bocce is about to begin. This year your score card will look different and your match will take less time to play. Your time commitment will be approximately 30 – 45 minutes. The season begins in mid-April with playoffs starting in June. Contact Angelika March now to get your team registered.

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.


Tomorrow’s Homes Efficient by Design lecture

April 7 – The College is hosting a public lecture entitled Tomorrow’s Homes Efficient by Design this Saturday at 1:30 at the Vernon campus Lecture Theatre. Lecture topics include taking the guess work out of building energy efficient homes, the evolution of a Tiny House and the Ethel Lane house. Sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women, the event features three speakers: Nick Watson, Natural Resources Canada Certified Energy Advisor; Peter Matheson, Designer of Alternative Human-scale Sustainable Architecture and Denise Kenney, Associate Professor at UBCO in the Department of Creative Studies. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, please email the event coordinator.

Medical Device Reprocessing Technician information session

April 10 – The College is inviting the community to take part in a free information session about a little known yet in-demand career in healthcare – Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MDRT).  

Healthcare facilities throughout the province rely on the comprehensive knowledge and attention to detail of MDRTs. They are the people who directly contribute to a hygienic environment for patients. Lives depend on the work they do to make sure that the medical instruments used in hospitals are clean, safe and sterile.

For more information, click here. To register for this free event, please call 250-862-5480.

Human Flow: A Livestream Q&A 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 exploration of the global refugee crisis.

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. 

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, please contact Learning and Applied Research.

Bike to Work Week

May 28 to June 3 – Join the Okanagan College team for Bike to Work Week. 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. Registration opens in April.

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. Sign up for updates. Visit the Facebook event page.


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


OC alumnus Shane Koyczan, is an internationally renowned award-winning spoken-word artist, poet, author, musician and filmmaker. He recently performed at the Eccles Theatre in Park City, Utah, USA and the ParkRecord profiled him in anticipation of the performance.

The Salmon Arm Observer took note of two upcoming programs at the College’s Kelowna and Penticton campuses that are intended to help participants prepare for a successful transition to retirement.

Castanet shared a video interview with Okanagan College Coyotes' coach Geoff White who talked about the team, the upcoming season and a bit of strategy for the year.

Maxine Dehart took note of Okanagan School of Business Associate Dean Dr. Barry McGillivray’s recent appointment to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce 2018/19 board in her column in the Capital News.

Thanks to a partnership between the College’s Astronomy department and UBCO, high school and College students in the Okanagan had the rare chance to tour the world-class facilities at The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. Castanet caught up with OC Astronomy professor Ryan Ransom to learn more about the event.

The College’s Penticton campus caught the attention of the Penticton Western News for its use of solar panels and other sustainable features that were built into the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence building.

Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan and OC Honorary Fellow (2014) has been named one of 10 exceptional Okanagan business leaders. The Daily Courier and the Okanagan Weekend shared information about him and the other leaders.

The Capital News shared the news about the College’s new agreement with the B.C. Wine Institute which will provide a range of opportunities for partnerships, projects and applied research in wine and related industries.

OC culinary alumna Rachel Broe, a chef at Summerhill Winery, was profiled in KelownaNow’s In Focus segment.

The Kelowna Right to Life group came to the College’s campus to set up displays at the same time a group of pro-choice students also set up displays in response. The Capital News, Global News and Eagle Valley News commented on the opposing demonstrations and caught up with key speakers to hear what they had to say.

The Daily Courier shared the news about three new buildings that are in the works for the College – a health education building at the Kelowna campus, a trades building at the Vernon campus and a welding building at the Penticton campus.

The Okanagan College Coyotes opened its 10th season in the Canadian College Baseball Conference and KelownaNow, the Daily Courier and the Capital News shared details of all their games.

The College’s newly announced $112-million operating budget for 2018-19 caught the attention of the Capital News, Daily Courier and Castanet.

OC alumna Martina Mosny and her husband Michal were recognized by the South Okanagan Similkameen Local Immigration Partnership Council as multicultural champions. The couple worked in the wine industry in their homeland of Slovakia and immigrated to Canada to continue working in the vineyards. The Penticton Western News shared the full story.

OC alumnus Matthew Senn made headlines in the Revelstoke Review for his graphic novel, Quiet: A Graphic Novel of Introversion.

Enactus OC in collaboration with the Vernon Upper Room Mission served up the inaugural Soup's On in Vernon on March 15 and the Morning Star shared event details.

OC Professor Norah Bowman contributed a letter to the editor in the Daily Courier about the housing crisis and the new BC Speculation Tax.

OC alumna and olympic gold medallist Kelsey Serwa was welcomed home to Big White Resort during a Sunday celebration. The Daily Courier, Capital News and the Penticton Herald shared details. The Daily Courier shared a second article about Serwa's winning performance at the recent Sport Chek National Championships.


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 17, 2018.