High schoolers discover the trades at OC 

trades discoveryHundreds of students from School District 23 visited Okanagan College to try their hand at the trades today. 

Students had a chance to experience a day in the life of an OC trades student, stepping into shops, labs, and classrooms for hands-on demonstrations in a wide array of programs, from automotive to welding.

Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores welcomed students and offered up some advice on choosing a path and being successful in post-secondary.

“This is a great opportunity for you to find a program and a career for the rest of your life,” said Moores. “The one thing you will hear from our instructors and chairs is that you need to work hard. Be on time. Be committed to what you want to be. If you do that, you'll have a career for the rest of your life."

View a video of Moores’ welcome address here.

College hosts 11th annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior

robocup 2016The Western Canada RoboCup Junior Games took place on Dec. 7 at Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning in Kelowna.

Teams from throughout B.C. and as far as Ontario participated in the one-day competition.

RoboCup Junior is an internationally accredited educational competition which includes teams of students ranging from Grade five to Grade 12 working together to develop solutions to one of three challenges – soccer, rescue or dance – using robots.

In soccer, two autonomous mobile robots track a special light-emitting ball in an enclosed field and attempt to score goals. In rescue, robots follow a course, negotiate uneven terrain and identify victims within re-created disaster scenarios. In dance, robots are pre-programmed to perform choreography alongside students.

The top three winners from each category qualified to compete in the World RoboCup held in Nagoya, Japan in the summer of 2017.

Watch the robots in action in this segment from Kelowna Now.

Innovation pilot enhances apprenticeship experience at OC

Innovation Pilot ProgramOkanagan College will be the recipient of more than $218,000 from the Province for an innovation pilot program designed to reduce apprentices’ time away from work from 10 weeks to five weeks.

Students in the level 1 electrician program will be the first to experience the pilot. Their curriculum will be delivered under a hybrid model and will include face-to-face instruction, as well as e-learning.

The innovation pilot will be developed to test and evaluate innovative ways to educate on trades training that will result in better outcomes for apprentices and employers. 

“We are extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to develop this innovative pilot," says Steve Moores, the College's Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. "We believe this hybrid model, with collaboration of and evaluation by industry partners, will provide flexibility of delivery without compromising learning outcomes and industry standards.”

Read the full story here.

College going for gold in multiple Tommie Award categories

trades front signageFinalists were announced at the Tommie Awards Silver Finalists Gala on Dec. 1 and Okanagan College has been named a finalist in two categories – and as a partner in two other nominated projects.

The College was named a finalist for Best Environmental Initiative in Construction (Residential or Commercial) and Excellence in Innovative Architecture/Design and Construction for the LEED-Platinum targeted renovation and expansion of the Trades Complex in Kelowna.

In the Best Environmental Initiative in Construction category, the Trades Complex will go up against another innovative project in which Okanagan College students and instructors have played a major role. Okanagan College is a partner in the Wilden Living Lab project, which was named as a finalist in the category. The project was also listed as a finalist in three other categories: Excellence in Public or Private Partnership, the FortisBC Award for Building Energy Efficiency, and Excellence in Show Home $500,000 & Under.

More information about the Wilden Living Lab project is available here.

The College’s Construction Craft Worker Aboriginal Bridging program also supported another nominated project, the Habitat for Humanity – Peachland Habitat Duplexes. Twelve students from the program worked on painting, trim, landscaping, and insulation for one of the homes in September.

The 2017 Tommie Awards are presented by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) Okanagan chapter. The overall winners will be announced at the Tommie Awards Gold Gala on Jan. 28.

myOkanagan Portal replacement Update

Over the last several months the project team has been working diligently on the new myOkanagan Portal. We have successfully completed several milestones which include:

  • Demonstration of the test portal to the Steering Committee
  • Ethos Identity System Verification by Ellucian
  • Multiple servers have been installed and configured
  • All Banner Integration Components have been installed in the test environment and we are making good progress with account generation to ensure students, faculty, staff, applicants and alumni all have the correct roles defined

As initially disclosed the new platform provides enhanced services and meets all current requirements with the exclusion of groups and student email. With assistance from the steering committee, the project team has implemented a temporary solution for student email of maintaining the status quo. There will be no change to student email at this time. The goal is to implement MS Office 365 and utilize the email feature for students.

The groups functionality will no longer be available under the new platform. As such notifications were issued to all leaders of groups and we have started the process to create alternate groups either in Moodle or within the network for those that requested. If you are a member of a group your group leader will have the details.
At the end of December we will be conducting a soft roll out to the Steering Committee and allowing some time for feedback. In January we will begin to reach out to departments across the college at all campuses to arrange time to demonstrate the new portal and answer any questions you may have. We will also provide a fact sheet that will detail the small amount of changes. 

Please keep in mind that in no way is Moodle affected by this change nor Banner, FAST or any other programs. All of the Banner self-service apps will function the same as they do today, i.e. any student searching for a T2202A tax form or an instructor entering grades will do so in the same fashion as they do today.  Once the majority of areas have been shown the new portal we will make an announcement as to when the new myOkanagan will go live.
If you have any questions please email

College business students to battle the best at Queen’s University

queens icbc studentEight students from Okanagan College’s School of Business will be spending their winter break preparing to compete in the final round of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious case competition, Queen’s University’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.).

For 21-year-old Adrianna Knuth, being selected to compete on the Human Resources team along with Madison Blancher was a huge honour and after being named one of the top six teams in the preliminary round, the duo aren’t planning on just showing up at Queen’s for the competition: they are heading to Kingston to win.

After a challenging preliminary round, Okanagan College teams made the finals in four categories. Knuth and Blancher will compete in Human Resources and will be coached by professor Roger Wheeler. The College will send an Accounting team made up of Kyla Wiseman and Kirstin Pitzoff, coached by Adrian Fontenla, as well as a team in the category of Management Information Systems made up of Anthony Peterson and Jared Hubner, coached by professor Glen Coulthard.

The fourth team to compete will be named shortly and will present in the debate category. I.C.B.C. does not offer a preliminary competition in debate but ranks the top performing schools in the other seven categories and selects finalists based on the cumulative placing of all the competing teams.

In order to advance to the final round, Okanagan College teams competed against 32 post-secondary institutions from around the world.

The finals will take place in Kingston from Jan. 19-21 and will include competitors from the University of Toronto, University of Vermont, Queen’s, McGill, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, to name a few.

Read the full story here.


Nursing students’ caring contributions yield warmth for the winter

Comba and nursing studentsFirst- and second-year students from the College's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN) filled the halls with boxes of donated warm clothing that made their way to local non-profits as part of the College's Alumni Association Pay it Forward campaign.

The annual giving drive, started by a former College student and run by the College’s Alumni Association, is a three-week campaign held on the Kelowna campus for donations of blankets, clothing or unused toiletries to go to three local non-profits – Inn from the Cold, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Over the month of November, the group of 10 student representatives on the BSN's Global Health committee spread the Pay it Forward message to their peers and encouraged them to participate.

“We knew there would be a positive response from our classmates because we had run successful projects before, including a food drive,” says Christie Kneller, a BSN student and a representative on the volunteer committee. “But we didn’t expect this much!”

This year, volunteers were able to pack and deliver six truckloads full of donations to the non-profit organizations. The contributions from the BSN students accounted for 15 per cent of this year’s overall donations, which collectively come from the generosity of the College’s students, employees, alumni, and external community members who have heard about the drive.

Read the full story here.

Salmon Arm students cruise into calm at Stress-Less Fair

stress less sa 2016On Nov. 24, students at the Salmon Arm campus were invited to spend some time unwinding before exams at the OCSU’s Stress-Less Fair.

Over 80 students took part in activities that ranged from an adult colouring book table, a poetry contest, therapy dogs, massages and prizes. The fair will return to campus in Spring 2017.

Holiday spirit hits Penticton campus

penticton holiday lunchMore than 250 students experienced the holiday spirit as the Penticton campus hosted its annual student lunch on Nov. 29.

Attendees enjoyed a free holiday lunch with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce served by College employees and Regional Advisory Committee members. Santa joined the campus for the afternoon for photos with students and to spread holiday cheer.

Okanagan College student overcomes creative block to win Three-hour Short Story Contest

Pip DrydenSecond-year Associate of Arts student Pip Dryden was chosen as the overall winner of the College’s Three-hour Short Story Contest for her story “This Time,” a fitting title for the 180 minute competition.

For Dryden, entering the contest was a way to overcome her creative block and be motivated in a fun environment.

The seventh annual contest took place on Nov. 5 and with 22 participants across all four College campuses. Student writers were up against the clock with only three hours to create and edit an original short story while incorporating a secret phrase revealed at the competition’s start.

Four regional authors (one per campus) were named the winners of the 2016 contest:

  • “This Time” by Pip Dryden (OC – Kelowna)
  • “Splat” by Daniel Greene (OC – Penticton)
  • “About Otters” by Adam Lauze (OC – Salmon Arm)
  • “Diner Dive” by Mirka Yargeau (OC – Vernon)

The regional winners were awarded a $250 tuition credit and the overall winner, Dryden, received an additional $250 tuition credit and will have her story published in limited fine-press edition by Kalamalka Press.

The free contest takes place every fall and is open to Okanagan College students and high school students in Grades 11 and 12.

This year's winning stories can be read online here. Find out this year’s secret phrase here.

College and high school come together to promote mental wellness

kss welnessOn Dec. 1, second-year students from the College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program partnered with Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) students to organize a mental wellness fair at KSS.

Each group of BSN students was paired with 1-2 KSS students to promote self-esteem, practice mindfulness and to motivate students to seek support when needed – all core concepts of the BSN Mental Wellness Practice course. The nursing students used activities such as yoga and a modified game of twister to demonstrate to Grade 10-12 students how mindfulness builds resiliency to help cope with life’s stresses. The high-school students also enjoyed a visit from St. John’s Ambulance’s therapy dogs, a blindfolded trust exercise through a balloon maze and an oversized colouring mural known as the mandala of self-esteem.

Kristine Gick joins Salmon Arm campus for permanent role

Kristine GickThe Registrar’s Office welcomed Kristine Gick to the team in the position of Recruitment and Events Assistant in Salmon Arm.

Kristine moved to the Okanagan from New Brunswick and holds a degree in communications from the University of Calgary. She has an extensive background in sales and marketing and already has experience in the recruiting and events role on the Salmon Arm campus. Kristine has been working in the position on a temporary basis since Sept. 2016 and will be building upon her previous success in her permanent role. 

“I love the values that Okanagan College espouses – the emphasis on the student experience as well as the collegiality amongst staff and faculty,” says Gick. “I believe that when I tell a student that this is the best place to achieve their educational goals that that is absolutely true.”

Team OC participates in Kelowna’s Santa Shuffle

santa shuffleOC employees jogged their way into the holiday spirit at the Salvation Army's annual Santa Shuffle 5K run on Saturday, Dec. 3 which involved over 400 participants.

Team OC members Val Tuhkala, Heather Brown, Catherine Brown, Mark Scorah, Michelle Lowry, Drew Petrie and his daughter Julia, Allan Hickey, Markus Heinrichs, Oliver Mendoza, and Sandra Mendoza enjoyed the sunny lakeside run, which started at Kelowna's Waterfront Park. Val Tuhkala's elf-spotting paid off - she caught some of Santa’s elves along the route to receive draw tickets and went home with a couple of prizes.

Dec. 13, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 19


Continuing Studies gives the gift of learning

Snuggle up by the fire with a warm cup of cocoa and the latest and greatest offerings from Continuing Studies – the Winter/Spring 2017 brochures are now available and feature fantastic new courses and popular classics back by demand.

Maybe you want to learn how to be a better communicator? Check out the Effective Communications course being offered in Vernon. Do you have the latest iPhone but you aren’t sure how to properly edit the pictures you take? Why not sign up for the Advanced iPhone Photography and Editing course? Or maybe one of your friends or family is looking for a new career? There are numerous new Certificate courses being offered both online and on campus this year.

View the Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon brochure and the Revelstoke and Salmon Arm brochure or visit the Continuing Studies website at

2016 Employee Expense Claim Reminder

OC employees are reminded to please submit their Mileage logs and Meal expense claims to the Finance Department as soon as possible. Financial Services is currently preparing for the 2016 T4’s - Statement of Remuneration Paid and needs to account for any Taxable Benefits that may result from these claims.

All Expense Claims, for travel to Dec. 31, 2016, must be received in the Finance Department no later than Dec. 15, 2016 for processing of the Taxable Benefits in the 2016 calendar year.

2017-18 Holiday Season Closure and Summer Hours

The dates for the 2017-18 holiday season closure and summer hours have been announced. Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season beginning Dec. 22, 2017 at 3 p.m. and will re-open on Jan. 2, 2018.

For departments opting to participate, summer hours (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.) will be in effect from April 24 - Sept. 1, 2017.

The notice can be found here.

Carleton University PhD in Management coming to OC

Carleton University SPROTT School of Business is currently working with Okanagan College to offer their Ph.D. in Management program at the Kelowna campus beginning in May 2017. For further information click here or contact Beverlie Dietze. The application deadline is Jan. 25, 2017.

Salmon Arm Town Hall discussion rescheduled

The Town Hall discussion of Internationalization at Okanagan College initially planned for Dec. 8 has been rescheduled. The Town Hall discussion will now take place Jan. 11, 2017 from 1-2:30 p.m. in room SA 143 at the Salmon Arm campus.

The College’s 2016-20 Strategic Plan lists implementation of “an internationalization plan so that students better understand the world around them” as a means of achieving the Key Direction of “Supporting Learner Readiness and Success.”

As an outcome of the Strategic Plan, a Project Team has been established to develop an Internationalization Strategy for Okanagan College. Your participation in this Town Hall will help to inform the activities of the Project Team and to provide information and direction in the creation of an Internationalization strategy.


Ring in the New Year with the best strategies for simplifying your financial life

Dec. 14 – The topic for the December issue of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) newsletter is budgeting for the New Year. Read tips on money management here.

Along with all the joys of the season, this time of year can bring budget-related anxiety. Bill Cooke will lead a webinar to offer strategies to help strengthen our finances into the New Year on Dec. 14 at 12 p.m. To register, click here.

One writer: two nights – Harold Johnson

Jan. 9 – Author Harold Johnson will discuss his new Governor General award-nominated book Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours), and his role as crown prosecutor in Northern Saskatchewan.

Jan. 10 – Johnson will read from his new book, as well as his fiction, and will discuss his writing life. This event is co-sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and Okanagan College.

Talks take place in the Penticton campus lecture theatre (PL107) at 7 p.m. both evenings.

Johnson's new book, Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours), was recently nominated for a Governor General award. A Crown Prosecutor in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Johnson worked as a miner and logger across northern and western Canada, before quitting the mines to pursue a Bachelor's degree in law from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Law degree from Harvard University. He lives with his wife Joan at the northern end of Montreal Lake, where they continue the traditions of trapping and commercial fishing common to Johnson's Cree background. He is also the author of Corvus, a novel, and other fiction.

The Vernon Morning Star shone the light on gift-giving options provided through programs at the College, with articles on hand-made dolls from a partnership between Enactus and social enterprise Cuddle and Kind and the Continuing Studies Winter and Spring course offerings.

The Daily Courier shared enrolment projections from the College’s Capital Master Plan which are expected to reach 10,000 by 2026.

News of the four OC business students moving on to the B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition in February was shared by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

Associate of Arts degree student Pip Dryden’s story of prevailing against writer’s block to win the College’s Three-Hour Short Story Contest was picked up by, Castanet, and the Capital News.

The eight Okanagan College students who are heading off to Queen’s University to compete in the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition made headlines on, the Capital News and Kelowna Now.

The involvement of OC's nursing students in the annual Pay It Forward campaign was shared by Kelowna Now,, the Daily Courier, the Capital News and Okanagan Life.

The Silver Surfers program developed by Enactus students continues to make waves, as reported by Global News.

The Province’s recent announcement launching the innovation pilot program for the College’s level 1 electrician program was picked up by several media outlets including Kelowna Now,, Castanet, Daily Courier, World News (WN) Network, and Electrical Business Magazine.

Candlelit vigils held at the Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses in remembrance of the 14 women killed at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989 and the missing and murdered women along B.C.’s Highway of Tears were featured in Kiss FM News and in a video by the Salmon Arm Observer.

Jared Rowan, a second-year apprentice in the College’s plumbing program, and his coworkers walked the Times Colonist through a typical morning at their construction site.

The Daily Courier captured Former Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs, Stan Chung signing copies of his latest publication at the Daily Courier office. Chung also returned to Okanagan College on Dec. 4 to read passages from his new book I Held My Breath for a Year and Other Essays.

Okanagan College's Vernon campus will soon be home to a new trades training facility thanks to a combined $6.21 million investment by the federal and provincial governments and OC, an announcement covered by the Business Examiner

News of KPMG accountant David Bond’s presentation of a $1,000 bursary to Okanagan College second-year accounting student Sarah Nieberle was celebrated in the Daily Courier Top 40 Over 40 column. 

Okanagan College's new Trades Complex in Kelowna is a Silver Finalist in two categories of the 2017 Tommie Awards organized by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) Central Okanagan, and a partner of the Wilden Living Labratory project which is a finalist in four categories. Finalists were acknowledged recently in Okanagan Sunday

New provincial recognition for Okanagan College's Health Care Assistant program was shared with readers by Okanagan Saturday.

The Okanagan Wine Festival Society announced its 2017 board of directors, which includes the College’s Jonathan Rouse, Director of Food, Wine and Tourism, as reported by

Retired OC English professor Les Ellenor explained the history behind the tradition of hanging stockings at Christmas to the Revelstoke Review.

Photos of the 8th annual Youth Exhibition Powwow held at Okanagan College on Sept. 15 were shared in an article about supporting Indigenous learners in the Fall 2016 issue of College Administrator

Okanagan College's contribution to Salmon Arm's economy was touched on in a feature run by the Business Examiner about the region's economic outlook.

In the December issue of Okanagan Life magazine OC culinary arts alumna Jenna Pillon, chef at Hester Creek Winery's Terrafina restaurant in Oliver, shared how her training at the College prepared her for the national culinary stage. 

News of Valley First's $50,000 donation toward the CANsave program led by Enactus Okanagan College students was also carried in the December issue of Okanagan Life, as were profiles of OC science student and President's Entrance Scholarship recipient Hanna Mehain and Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Yasmin John-Thorpe who recently released a new book about Vimy Ridge for youth.

The Salmon Arm campus Women in Trades Training program was featured in the Salmon Arm Observer for its mentorship program, which introduces female students from Salmon Arm Secondary to trades training.

Okanagan College and UBCO were referenced in an article by the Capital News about the Okanagan's shifting entreprenurial landscape and the growing opportunities for graduates to build connections through career fairs and networking events.

The 11th annual RoboCup made headlines across the Okanagan. Read more about the popular robotic challenge in the Daily Courier, Capital News and Castanet.


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

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 Jan.10, 2017.