Okanagan College strikes platinum, again

OC trades buildingOkanagan College can now boast having two of the 14 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified buildings in all of Canada’s post-secondary sector. 

OC received news last week that its Trades Training Complex building in Kelowna has been certified by the Canada Green Building Council. This is not the first time the College has received LEED Platinum – the first was the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus.

“Our institution has a reputation as a leader in sustainable building. We are proud of being able to raise the bar in sustainability and wouldn’t have been able to create spaces such as this without the help of forward-thinking builders like PCL (PCL Constructors Westcoast Ltd.), our industry partners, and the incredible community support and donations that made the project possible,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. 

Read the full story here

OC to launch Indigenous-knowledge infused professional cook training

Indigenous cooking classOkanagan College is turning to Indigenous knowledge keepers, chefs and foragers to help incorporate traditional knowledge and practices into an intake of its professional cook training program this spring. 

Interested future chefs can step into OC’s kitchen during an info session on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. in Infusions Restaurant. Advance registration is not necessary. Attendees will hear from OC’s Culinary Manager Chef Vincent Stufano and staff from OC’s Aboriginal Services department about what they can expect in the 50-week program which fires up in Kelowna in on March 25. 

“The addition of Indigenous content into this program is part of an even bigger, ongoing conversation and effort as the College continues to make strides to toward Indigenization. It’s about looking at how Indigenous knowledge can be interwoven into every aspect of what we do and how we serve students,” explains Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Manager for OC.

Look for the full story on the College’s news blog, this week.

OC education has gone to the dogs, for a good cause

SPCA doghousesOC students from the Residential Insulator program at the Vernon campus have put their training to good use, helping out furry friends along the way. 

Students built five large dog houses that are fully insulated and ready for the cold weather. The homes will go with the next five large breed dogs who are adopted from the Vernon SPCA. The doghouses were built as part of the hands-on training students receive in the program.

An SPCA employee dropped by the campus to visit the insulated dogs houses and brought Hawkin, a doghouse connoisseur – who was recently adopted – to check out the craftsmanship.

“We were looking for an alternate project for our program and loved the idea of building and insulating doghouses that would be comfortable for dogs as they are adopted into their new homes,” says instructor Luke Egely. “The students had a chance to bring their creativity to their projects and contribute to the community.”

Read the full story here and check out Castanet’s media coverage here.

College opens up to a new technology highway

OC’s Continuing Studies department is launching a new certificate program centered on blockchain, a new wave of the technology frontier.

The certificate program explains blockchain technology and prepares learners to think about the variety of ways this technology could impact their businesses and their lives. Applications are possible within banking and payments, insurance, charity, voting and other government systems, health care and real estate, to name a few. The opportunity to use this technology to establish trackable supply chain management is also being explored by many industries – something that should be of interest to businesses and consumers alike.

The article was featured in Academica Group’s Top Ten stories from post-secondary institutions across Canada. Read the full story here.

Business students take bronze

Scotiabank Canada ChallengeOC third-year Business Administration students Nico Dirksen, Nathan Ziebart and Cooper Simson competed against 30 student teams at the recent Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge at Vanier College in Montreal and earned a well-deserved bronze place.

The Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge is considered to be one of the most challenging collegiate competitions in the country and sees students analyze a case problem over just three-and-a-half hours. Students were required to combine business strategy, marketing and management knowledge and present their recommendations to a panel of industry experts. 

The team was coached by OC Business professors Mark Ziebarth and Blair Baldwin.

“Our team put on a very creative presentation to the judges. So many students, presenters, coaches came up and shook their hands saying, ‘Okanagan School of Business keeps raising the bar,’” said Baldwin in a media interview.

Read the full story here or in an article by the Salmon Arm Observer

Financial curriculum gets international recognition

Bill Gillett CFAOkanagan College’s Dean of the Okanagan School of Business (OSB), Bill Gillett, recently met with the CEO of The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute to sign a University Affiliate Agreement to certify and recognize OSB’s finance specialty programming. 

“Okanagan College’s Business program has a long history of producing investment management leaders in the region, many of whom have gone on to achieve their CFA designation. University affiliate status is a strong signal to students and employers of the quality of the curriculum,” says CFA CEO Paul Smith. “We welcome Okanagan College as the newest university affiliate, which is our third in British Columbia.” 

The CFA credential is recognized internationally as the standard of certification for investment professionals, and the institute has more than 158,000 members worldwide who promote the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession. 

Read the full story here.

The opening pitch

OC baseballThe OC Coyotes baseball team is looking to defend its 2018 National Championship in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC).

The team sent its first pitch flying in a season opener game in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the first stop on the CCBC tour. The team played three games over the weekend against some of the toughest teams and are now travelling to Phoenix, Arizona, USA, for their next set of games. 

The entire trip will span 12 days and feature 14 games and is the first time the Coyotes have played outdoors since last season. It will provide an opportunity for the team to prepare for its run at the 2019 championship held in Kamloops, B.C. in the middle of May. 

The Coyotes open at home at Elks Stadium on March 15. For more information about the team and 2019 season, click here. To view the entire game schedule, visit

OC Basketball attracts a big audience

Minister Mark and OC basketballThe Okanagan Coyotes had some high-profile people in the stands for their final games of the season.

The Coyotes were taking on the Capilano Blues on their turf, and the men’s team won their two games, while the women left four points on the table.

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark was in attendance this weekend, and she tweeted how they were spending the time watching hoop action on Vancouver Island: “Kicking off #FamilyDay2019 with family and friends, watching an action packed game between the @CapilanoBlues and @OkanaganCollege #Coyotes.”

Renowned author and journalist to present at OC

Tanya TalagaAward-winning author and journalist Tanya Talaga will delve into hard truths revealed in her critically acclaimed book, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, during two presentations co-sponsored by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, Talaga penned Seven Fallen Feathers to bring light to the history of this small northern city that has come to embody Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities. 

“A critical element of reconciliation is uncovering and understanding what has happened. Tanya Talaga’s work sheds light on the past and her presentation creates the opportunity to initiate an important dialogue in the Okanagan. We encourage the community to take part,” says Jane Lister, Okanagan College Regional Dean North Okanagan. 

Read the full story here.

OC and AO power up new Lunch and Learn Series

Okanagan College and Accelerate Okanagan are joining forces to launch a series of free lunch and learn workshops. The workshops take place at noon on the last Thursday of the month at Accelerate Okanagan’s office in downtown Kelowna. Bring a lunch; coffee and tea will be provided.

Feb 28: Stress Less at Work
Slow down: let go. Feel renewed and empowered with this stress management workshop, where you will learn techniques to help you let go of tension and focus better. Click here to register. 

March 28: Cannabis in the Workplace
Explore the impact of this cultural shift in the workplace. What are some of your rights as an employee? Find out during this informative workshop. Click here to register.

April 25: Communication in Tech
There are some challenges in the Tech workplace. You can only control you. What can you do to react better to those challenges? Click here to register.

Are you using an open textbook?

Okanagan College is an active participant in BC Campus’ well-respected open textbook initiative. Open textbooks are a type of Open Educational Resources (OER), which can be defined as “materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone" (Downes, 2007).

In order to obtain accurate information on the use of open textbooks at Okanagan College, the OC Open Education Working Group has created a short survey.  Please consider completing this survey – It should take two to three minutes. For further information about open education at Okanagan College please see


Vanderaegen speaks on Parliament Hill in support of aviation students

Marc VanderaeganMarc Vanderaegen, Director of the Southern Interior Flight School, recently spoke before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in view of the Committee’s study of challenges facing flight schools and aviation students in Canada. 

Vanderaegen provided insights, from a B.C. perspective, into the financial hurdles facing students, issues preventing the use of advanced technologies to enhance levels of training, and processes preventing utilizing experienced, retiring aviation workforce for training purposes.

The Carson Group of Companies, a partner and long-time supporter of Okanagan College’s Commercial Aviation program, helped initiate Vanderaegan’s visit and assisted local MP Stephen Fuhr in submitting his motion to study Challenges Facing Flight Schools in Canada.

OC Professor receives accolades for financial literacy

Leigh SindlingerOkanagan School of Business professor, Leigh Sindlinger, was recognized by The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and presented with a Distinguished Service Award. 

Sindlinger is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified General Accountant and teaches part-time at OC. Over the past several years she has volunteered as a financial literacy educator and has delivered more than 100 financial literacy workshops in the Okanagan to students from Grades 3 all the way to 12. She instructs and raises awareness on budgeting, how to build and maintain credit, the importance of saving and more. 

“I was surprised and equally honoured to receive this award,” says Sindlinger. “Having received my most important lesson about finances at a young age and seeing the challenges people have today with money, I feel it is important to help out where I can. Taking part in CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy program is my way of giving back.”

Read more about Sindlinger in the Vernon Morning Star and the Similkameen Spotlight.

OC alumni making waves in community

Brea and ElvinA number of Okanagan College alumni have been featured in the news this past week. 

OC alumna and 2018 OC Alumni Association Young Alumni Award recipient Brea Lake (née Retzlaff) completed her Business Administration degree (BBA) in 2013 and got her start in the tech-industry immediately after graduation. Since then, she has contributed a strong voice and direction to the industry. She was just named the new acting CEO of Accelerate Okanagan (AO) – a tech accelerator organization that helps coach and mentor local entrepreneurs. She is coming to this position from her role as Director of Operations at AO.

Lake has been mentored by Raghwa Gopal, former CEO of AO and a 2014 OC Honorary Fellow and is stepping into the role with confidence. Gopal recently moved to Vancouver as the new CEO of Innovate BC.

Elvin Law, CPA, CGA, received his BBA in 2006 from OC and was recently announced as Crowe MacKay’s newest firm Partner. Law began his career with Crowe MacKay in 2005 and is lauded as an exceptional leader within the firm. As a recognized industry leader, Law will present at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s post-provincial budget briefing tomorrow, Feb. 20.

Read more about Lake’s advancements in the Daily Courier and Castanet and about Law's announcement here.

OC Business minds help grade Kelowna’s economy

Banham and SparlingKelowna is doing well overall but still has work to do on some areas of its economy and social indicators was the gist of a recent economic scorecard produced by officials from Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, City of Kelowna, Okanagan School of Business (OSB) and the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Faculty of Management.

Dr. Heather Banham, former Dean of OSB and Dr. Lynn Sparling, Chair of the Business Administration program and professor with OSB and two student researchers, Rachel Cross and Kyle Sterling, contributed their expertise to the project.

“It was exciting to be part of this study and great exposure for Okanagan College and some of our students to be able to work on this initiative,” says Sparling. “Our team facilitated the data analysis portion and were able to help out significantly on this important project that will help guide the city on some of their future focus.”

Kelowna finished 6th out of 17 global cities in economic performance. When blending in social indicators, Kelowna scored 10th out of the 17 cities examined in the study. The full scorecard is available here.

Read more in the media release here and click for more details from the Daily CourierCapital News and Castanet.

Gateway program helps students succeed

Gateway programLast year, 19-year-old Desiree Tachit found herself struggling with anxiety, depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The idea of applying to or attending college was not something she could fathom at the time. A hands-on experience with tools and training by Okanagan College and Central School changed all that.

Now, a graduate of Gateway – a unique collaborative program designed to connect high school students with the skilled trades – Tachit has applied to not one but two programs at the College, Sheet Metal Worker and Heavy Mechanical Trades. 

“Gateway is about placing students in new experiences, highly supported, and allowing them to struggle, learn and grow,” explains Rob Law, Central Programs Gateway Coordinator.

Students have an opportunity to try carpentry, electrical work, sheet metal and culinary arts. But the program is much broader than just an introduction to trades. Gateway focuses on the students' holistic growth and development by supporting youth in attending a wide array of social activities and community events.

Regardless of which trade Tachit ends up pursuing, she’ll have some help along the way. She was recently awarded four scholarships to help pay for her future education.

Read the full story here.

Get involved in Connections this year

Do you have a fun hobby you’d like to share or a skill you’d like to teach? Share your knowledge with colleagues at Okanagan College’s annual employee conference, Connections. 

The Connections committee is seeking workshop facilitators. Workshops are approximately 45 minutes, include an element of interactivity and should have a specific audience in mind – general interest, instructional, professional development, etc. Workshops are intended to be delivered twice, once on each of the two days that Connections takes place.

Connections is organized by employees for employees and is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses. It is meant to celebrate the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive social activities and fun informative workshops. This year, Connections is being held on Aug. 20 and 21 at the Kelowna campus.

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Hetherington

Show your support for Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt DayWhat began with two Nova Scotia high school students addressing bullying in their school has now become a nation-wide movement and pledge to take a stand against bullying in schools and workplaces, including at Okanagan College.  

Wednesday, Feb. 27 is Pink Shirt Day and each year hundreds of people at OC choose to wear pink and the College supports the movement by taking a group photo of anyone wearing pink and uses that photo to join the movement online in conjunction with the event’s hashtags #PinkShirtDay and #PinkitForward which raise funds to support programs that foster children's healthy self-esteem.

This year, photos will be taken on each campus at the following locations:

  • Kelowna campus – in front of the Theatre (S building) at 10:30 a.m. with refreshments to follow
  • Penticton campus – in PC 113 at 12:20 p.m. with cookies, games and refreshments to follow
  • Vernon campus – in the Library at 10:30 a.m.
  • Salmon Arm campus – outside the main office at 11:30 a.m. Participants can also enter to win a prize.

If you would like to be included in the group photo on your campus, simply show up to the meeting location at the designated time wearing your pink shirt – no registration is required.

Take five and build a better Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA)

Take Five - OCAAOver the next several weeks, the OCAA will be conducting a substantive consultation process – gathering feedback about how it can improve services for its members. 

OC employees are invited to take five minutes and complete an online survey to be entered for a $100 gift card prize draw. There will be three prizes, as there are three different surveys: alumni, upcoming graduates and OC employees, faculty, administrators and others who are interested in providing feedback to the alumni association.

If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please contact Sarah Cherrey, OCAA Coordinator, and she’ll let you know the dates and details of these one-hour sessions. You can also sign up at the end of the online survey. Focus groups are expected to take place at the Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses.

The OCAA Board of Directors and the Alumni Engagement Team will be reviewing all feedback, from which they will develop a plan to enhance OCAA’s ability to meet alumni needs. 

Click here to complete the online survey.

Volunteer for the OC Literacy Tutor program

The Literacy Tutor Program at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus is looking for volunteers to help teach literacy to adult learners through OC’s Adult Academic and Career Preparation department.

“Through this program, adult learners can access free one-on-one support for their upgrading courses,” says Laura Hill, Volunteer Literacy Tutor Support. “We are in need of more dedicated volunteers and invite all interested people to sign up and attend the Spring Tutor Training Workshop for new tutors on March 20 and 21.” 

Volunteerism has been thriving in OC’s adult literacy program for over 25 years. Volunteer tutors are matched with adult learners and are scheduled to meet for one to 1.5 hours a week. All supporting resources are provided.

Read more about the Volunteer Literacy Tutor program here. For more information, please contact Laura Hill at ext. 4555.

Feb. 19, 2019, Vol. 12, Issue 28


Reminder - OC Emerging Opportunities Initiative deadline Feb. 25

The call for proposals is now open for the College’s Emerging Opportunities Initiative (formerly the Innovation Fund), which supports innovative activities throughout the institution.

Until Monday, Feb. 25, any employee may apply to this Initiative to support a project or activity that promotes innovation and applied research at Okanagan College.

Through this Initiative, the College has facilitated a wide variety of innovation, professional creativity and applied research projects undertaken by employees, either individually or as part of a team.

Employees should submit completed applications to their Dean or Director for review only (not approval). Once reviewed, the Dean or Director will then submit the completed application directly to the VP Education Office.

Follow this link for more information about the Emerging Opportunities Initiative and for more details about what to include in an application.

Healthy Heart and Mind – Employee and Family Assistance Program

February is Heart and Stroke Month. One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy is take care of your heart. If you could use help starting a new exercise routine or need assistance maintaining healthy habits, read this month's online feature which includes online links and a Health and Well-being Toolkit.

Learning and Applied Research professional development workshops

Be sure to check out the professional development workshops being offered by Learning and Applied Research throughout each campus. Here are the last of the upcoming workshops: 

  • Feb. 20 - Funding Possibilities NSERC and SSHRC (Salmon Arm and Blackboard Collaborate session)
  • Feb. 20 - Approaches to Data Analysis and Research Design (Salmon Arm and Blackboard Collaborate session)
  • Feb. 22 - Funding Possibilities - Beyond NSERC and SSHRC (Kelowna campus)
  • Feb. 25 - Everything you Need to Know About the Research Ethics Board (Kelowna)

Workshops run until Feb. 25. Click here to view the workshop schedule and email Learning and Applied Research to register for workshops in advance.

Your health and safety rights and responsibilities

Did you know all workers in British Columbia have four basic health and safety rights? 

Right #3 – You have the right to refuse work you believe to be dangerous to your health and safety or to another worker. This includes when the work itself is unsafe and also when training and supervision is inadequate to work safely. Section 3.12 of the Workers Compensation Act includes the process for refusing work and employer responsibilities for responding to refusals.

Right #4 – You have the right to no discrimination. You cannot be fired or disciplined for participating in Health and Safety activities.

Visit the Health and Safety BC website for detailed information. See the previous issue of Inside OC for Rights #1 and #2.

Employee expense and mileage claims

Employees are reminded to submit their expense and mileage claims to Financial Services in advance of the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Kelowna fitness facility hours

The fitness facilities at the Kelowna campus will be open from Tue-Fri from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during Reading Week (Feb. 19-22).

New Kelowna cafeteria hours

The Kelowna cafeteria has new hours in effect. The cafeteria will be open Mon-Thu from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Friday from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Film Series: Welcome to the Anthropocene: Now What?

Feb. 27 – Take part in a new film series about the Anthropocene era from 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 27 in Okanagan College’s Theatre. The film series will look into evidence and data around the Anthropocene, including climate change, environmental degradation, unsustainable water usage, deforestation and hothouse conditions and pollution. 

The film series is made possible through the generous support of OC’s Arts and Foundational programs, UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and VegFund.

For more information, view the event posting on Facebook.

Mindful Meditation

Every Friday – Join Mindful Meditation every Friday of the winter semester from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. in room H116 A at the Kelowna campus. Mindful Meditation is about dedicating time for yourself to focus on what you are experiencing at the moment.

Classes are free to attend and no prior experience is necessary. Classes are led by Therapist Assistant Program Chair Dr. Brett Wade. For more information, visit the Okanagan College Meditation Group Facebook page.


Vernon student and ringette player Alyssa Racine will be competing in the Canada Games in Red Deer. She was featured alongside her teammates in the Kelowna Capital News and Vernon Morning Star.

The College’s second LEED Platinum award was showcased in the Vernon Morning Star and Kelowna Capital News.

Several stories profiled Derek Flowers-Johnson, a welding student from the Kelowna campus who died in a vehicle accident Feb. 8: Castanet, Kelowna Now, Global News, Kelowna Capital News and Vernon Morning Star.

Academica Group showcased Okanagan College’s new blockchain certificate program in its Top 10 list last week. The program was also featured in the Capital News and Daily Courier.

The Capital News, Salmon Arm Observer and Ameq en ligne highlighted Business students’ third-place finish at the Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge.

The Signature Speaker Series at the Vernon campus received significant coverage in the Capital News, Daily Courier and Vernon Morning Star in advance of the Feb. 20 talk by Tanya Talaga, Toronto Star investigative reporter and best-selling author of Seven Fallen Feathers.

The Capital News covered the Canadian Culinary Championships, showcasing the work of culinary student and championship volunteer Sevynn Bigattini.

OC Business Administration professor Leigh Sindlinger was recognized by CPABC with a Distinguished Service Award, as reported in the Vernon Morning Star and Similkameen Spotlight.

The College’s finance curriculum received international recognition from the CFA Institute, the international body governing the investment management profession. The university affiliate agreement signing was profiled in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team opened it's season in Las Vegas over the weekend, and a season preview ran in the Capital News

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce released its Economic Scorecard 2019, which included Okanagan College among the working group partners to produce the report. The scorecard was covered by the Daily Courier, Capital News and Castanet.

Continuing Studies’ Residential Insulator program went to the dogs, building cozy housing for canines at the SPCA. The project was featured on Castanet

Therapy dogs at the Kelowna campus became furry fodder for the Capital News.

Okanagan School of Business Dean Bill Gillett was interviewed on Global News about the workers shortage in the Okanagan.

Alumnus Luc Blinkhorn was featured by the Daily Courier on returning to the College during the Business Expo and Employment Fair, noting he was returning to the job fair to recruit students. The annual Business Expo & Employment Fair received promotional coverage from the Capital News provided coverage before and after the event. The Daily Courier also profiled the event in advance.

Castanet reported on alumna Brea Lake’s appointment as interim CEO for Accelerate Okanagan, following the departure of Raghwa Gopal to Innovate BC. She was also featured in the Valley Views column in the Daily Courier.

Physics student Brandon Katerberg was profiled in the Penticton Herald, and his story illustrated how a broken leg transformed his life for the better when he returned to classes in Penticton. 

Kelowna Now and the Capital News showcased the Coyotes final season home games against Capilano Blues, and the Daily Courier covered the men’s team. The Daily Courier and Capital News covered their home stand against Langara. The North Shore News posted a photo gallery of the Coyotes versus Blues series.

Alumnus Elvin Law, CPA, CGA has been named partner at Crowe MacKay LLP, effective Jan. 1. Law completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2006. 

Global News reported on Okanagan College’s transportation survey, in light of how the landslide between Peachland and Summerland was causing challenges for students and staff. The plight of commuters was profiled by the Capital News, Black Press, and the Vernon Morning Star interviewed relieved students once the highway opened to traffic flow.

Potential smoking bans on campus were discussed at the Board meeting and reported on in the Daily Courier.

Cycling paths between the Rail Trail and Mission Creek Greenway were discussed at Kelowna city council, which brought up an option of extending an additional cycling lane on Ethel Street to the Kelowna campus, as reported by the Daily Courier.


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 March 5, 2019.