Okanagan College third in the province for open textbooks

Ryan McAllisterOkanagan College ranked third in open textbook adoptions out of 31 participating post-secondary institutions in BCcampus’s 2015-16 Annual Review of their Open Textbook Project. (Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Camosun College ranked first and second, respectively.)

Ryan McAllister, a second-year environmental studies student at OC, has already felt the positive impacts from using open textbooks in four of his courses. Read more about McAllister's experience in Textbook lesson in savings.

To keep the momentum going at the College, a new, informal group has formed called “Open OC.” The purpose of this group is to expand the adoption of open textbooks and other open educational resources at Okanagan College by providing education, research and promotion. Open education resources align perfectly with the college’s mission statement to transform lives and communities and is also one of the goals of the Ministry of Advanced Education.

Interested employees and students are invited to learn more by contacting Open OC members Gill Green (Geography), Nicole Davis (Office Administration) or Ross McKerlich (Education Technology).

Learn more about open education at the College here.

New year to bring new basketball teams to Okanagan College

oc basketball signing smOkanagan College is bouncing into 2017 with the announcement of a community partnership that will see the College offer women’s and men’s collegiate teams later this year.

An agreement between Okanagan College and the Kelowna College Basketball Society will create capacity for two new teams who will compete under the Okanagan College Coyotes athletic brand. The teams will begin their first season with a strong exhibition schedule and will be working toward inclusion in the PAC-WEST.

Longtime Okanagan basketball coach Dino Gini will be the head coach of the men’s team as well as an assistant on the women’s team. The women’s head coach will be announced shortly. Doug Sperling will be an assistant with the men’s program and Chris Oddy will be responsible for recruiting and development, along with Jamie Boreham and Gene Wolverton. Altogether, the coaching staff has more than 85 years of coaching experience and are looking forward to filling a void that has been evident in the region.

“We are grateful for the support of Okanagan College to help us see this vision through to reality,” says Gini. “We’re excited to bring the varsity spirit to the hallways of the College and to build upon the OC Coyotes athletic profile.”

Read the full story here or watch the video produced by Global News.

Canada-B.C. partnership puts OC students on the Fast Track to success

winter wonderlandThe Province has announced approximately $416,000 of funding for Okanagan College’s Fast Track to Office training program, thanks to the federal-provincial partnership under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement.

The program prepares up to 60 participants for jobs in office administration or entry-level bookkeeping, with certifications in Introduction to Office Administration and Basic Accounting upon successful completion. The training will be delivered in Vernon, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Chase and Penticton. The College has partnered with local employers and the Neskonlith Indian Band in Chase and Salmon Arm, who have provided space and support for participants.

“The support we have received through this federal-provincial partnership has allowed greater access for students in our region to acquire the skills they need to help meet the labour market demands,” explains Jane Lister, the College’s Regional Dean of the North Okanagan. “The result is a more highly skilled workforce that is well prepared to contribute to our local community.”

With four program intakes already underway, the fifth and final intake will begin in January. All training will be completed by June 2017.

Read the news release from the Government of B.C. here.

Pull up a chair at the chef’s table

culinaryOkanagan College culinary arts students are constantly pushing their creative boundaries by serving up delicious regionally-inspired dishes, and students and employees can now be the first to know about their latest culinary creations. They will also have a chance to gain a seat at an exclusive chef’s table dinner.

College Matters will now feature a section letting readers know about daily and seasonal specials at Infusions restaurant at the Kelowna campus. Look for the “What’s cooking at Infusions” heading in the right-hand “Take Note” column for frequent updates. Register for Matters Most for a chance to attend a special Chef’s Table dinner that will offer up a behind-the-scenes look at Infusions’ fast-paced kitchen later this spring. (Already subscribed? You will automatically be entered into the draw.)

Infusions is open for lunch on Tuesdays – Fridays from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and for dinner on Wednesdays – Fridays from 5 - 8 p.m. A lunch buffet is served on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and a dinner buffet on the last Friday of every month from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Visit the website for more information or call 250-862-5455 to make a reservation.

Home of Tomorrow demonstrates energy efficiency

wilden living labA sustainable homebuilding project that Okanagan College students participated in is already proving that construction technologies can make a significant impact on energy efficiency.

Recent EnerGuide testing has shown the Home of Tomorrow, one of two homes that make up the Wilden Living Lab project, to be 52 per cent more energy efficient than a standard home constructed to today’s building code. 

The Home of Today and the Home of Tomorrow – two houses constructed side-by-side in the popular Wilden neighbourhood – are part of a real-world study that compares the energy usage patterns of identical structures built with different energy-efficient technologies. 

The pioneering initiative is a collaborative three-year learning and research project by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corp., AuthenTech Homes, UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College and FortisBC. 

Students from Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology and Residential Construction programs worked with local builder AuthenTech Homes on the construction of the homes and implemented the latest sustainable technologies. 

The two Wilden Living Lab homes mark the College’s 49th and 50th community projects as part of its Home for Learning program.

The project has been named a finalist in four categories of the annual Tommie Awards, organized by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) Okanagan chapter. The winners will be announced at the Tommie Awards Gold Gala on Jan. 28.

Set a new goal for 2017 with Okanagan College Campus Run

rjJust in time for New Year’s resolutions, early bird registration is open to the public for the College’s 2017 Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, taking place on Sun. April 9 in Kelowna.

Each year a mixture of runners – from amateur to elite – lace up at the KLO Road campus of the College to challenge themselves on the popular flat and fast course.

“I’m really happy that we’ve been able to grow this race over the years and to improve the experience for runners,” says Christine Ulmer, Race Director. “We have a 10 K distance for those who prefer a shorter distance and of course our relay gives groups of people the opportunity to participate together. The fact that all of our proceeds go to support OC students is really the icing on the cake.”

Following their finish, runners can join the festivities in the College’s Centre for Learning for delicious food, door prizes and the awards ceremony. Prize money is awarded to the top three finishers in the male and female division of the half marathon.

Visit the Half Marathon website to register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines.

To volunteer, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or by email.

Race quick facts:
Start time: 8 a.m. (10 K) and 8:15 a.m. (half marathon and relay)
Early Bird fees, until Feb. 12 at midnight: $40 (10 K) and $55 (half marathon)
Relay team fees: $125 (until April 4)
Follow the Facebook page for updates, training tips and photos.


Banham to step down as Dean

Heather Banham cmThe Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business will be stepping down from her role in June this year. 

Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the portfolio since 2010, told department members just before Christmas that she has decided to relinquish her post later this year in order to focus on her leadership role with the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), as well as to assist with the succession plan for the School.

“The School of Business is currently undergoing what is probably the most significant structural and compositional change since the transition from Okanagan University College,” notes Banham. “The environmental context of the requirements to meet the needs of the British Columbia labour market, the demographics of the current leadership and teaching teams, and the change leadership requirements over the next 10 years are indicators that now is a good time to transition the leadership of the School.”  

Banham will have additional significant professional obligations beginning in July, when she takes the reins as Chair of the Board of Directors of CPABC.

“That is a role which many believe contributes to and enhances the profile of the Okanagan School of Business in the area of accounting and business education and employment opportunities for graduates,” she says.

“Heather has provided significant leadership for the School as Dean for many years,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education. “As a professor, department chair, Associate Dean, and Dean, she has been a key leader moving the Okanagan School of Business to national and international prominence. Her activities have been a reflection of just how significantly our employees and students are able to contribute to the development of their professions and our communities.”  

A search for Banham’s replacement will be initiated in early January.

Alumnus comes home to OC for student-produced concerts

Ben Klick iocWest Kelowna native and rising country music star Ben Klick returns to his alma mater for an evening of high-energy, guitar-slinging entertainment.

Nominated at both the Okanagan Arts Awards, and British Columbia Country Music Association Awards, the West Kelowna native will be headlining the “North of Nashville” concert evening on Jan. 13 at Okanagan College. Country music enthusiasts will recognize his music from radio play, as well as from various festivals and events in the region.

Klick’s performance is part of a two-concert package that is being produced by students from the College’s Audio Engineering and Music Production certificate program: a program that Klick graduated from in 2015.

On Jan. 14 the Bjorn Kriel Trio (featuring Tim Hirtz) will take the stage for “Here Comes Treble,” presenting a modern twist on classical jazz sounds.

These evenings form part of the live sound module of the AEMP program at Okanagan College, which trains students to work in various technical positions such as recording arts, music, theatre, concerts, broadcasting, video and film. Both concerts will help to raise funds for bursaries for future students to attend the AEMP program.

Shows start at 7 p.m. and are in the lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus on KLO Road. Tickets for the two-hour shows are available at the door for only $15 (students $10 with valid student ID). 

Scholarship brings nursing goal closer to realization

teresa oyerSince she was a child, Teresa Oyer knew she wanted to be a nurse and a recent grant from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society is helping her realize that dream.

Oyer, a mother of four grown children and grandmother to five, is in her third year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that began at Okanagan College and now has her attending UBC Okanagan.

Making the transfer between the two institutions meant Oyer, now in her early 50s, was eligible for one of the $5,000 transfer scholarships that the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society gives out annually. In 2016, the Society gave out 109 awards, totaling $545,000.

Oyer strongly believes that stumbling blocks can be used as stepping stones to success. In Sept. 2015, she was diagnosed and treated for lymphoma, which only made her more determined to complete her program.

“My whole goal when I’m finished my studies is to pay it forward,” she says. “I hope to have my Master’s degree before I’m 60 and I am thinking about becoming a nursing teacher someday.”

Five Okanagan College students, including Oyer, received the scholarships and proceeded to UBC.

Learn more about Teresa’s educational journey here. Students can set themselves up for success by visiting the Financial Aid website for information on available awards, scholarships and bursaries.

Unstumpable students code their way to second in Canada at 24-hour global hackathon

ieee studentsThree Okanagan College students put their skills to the test at the IEEEXtreme 10th annual student programming competition in October and came out on top. Computer science students Kevin Hall, Brody Travis and Martin Wallace, known as Team Unstumpable, placed second out of 74 teams nationally and an impressive 125th of 2,200 teams globally.

Unstumpable, along with four other teams of the College’s computer science students, battled sleep deprivation and students around the world in the 24-hour virtual coding competition put on by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is the world’s largest association of technical professionals.

The contest - which transpires simultaneously worldwide - challenges teams of students to work collaboratively to solve a series of programming problems that are released over the duration of a day.

The four other Okanagan College teams placed 22, 25, 46 and 52 in Canada.

“We had a strategy going in as to how we would approach each question and we communicated well as a team,” explains Hall.

The Subsection recently won Outstanding Small Technical Chapter and their Chair, OC professor Youry Khmelevsky, was awarded Outstanding Volunteer at the 2016 AGM.

Read the full story of Unstumpable’s success here. A complete listing of the competition results can be found on the IEEEXtreme website.

Trades takes on the Mannequin Challenge

trade mannequinTrades students and employees from the Kelowna Campus celebrated the end of the semester by showcasing the award-winning Trades Training Complex in Public Affairs' version of the Mannequin Challenge. 

Watch the video here


Young Entrepreneur Competition recognizes Okanagan College School of Business

sd23 awardVianne Kintzinger, Assistant Superintendent and Chris Ovelson, Career Life Programs Consultant from School District 23 (SD 23) visited the Kelowna campus in December to present an award of recognition to the Okanagan College School of Business. 

The trophy was given in appreciation of the College’s partnership and support of the SD 23 Young Entrepreneur Dragon’s Den Competition from 2000-16.

The competition allows students in Grades 7-12 to create an innovative product or service and pitch their business plan to a group of potential investors.

Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Business and professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah and Devin Rubadeau (pictured with Kintzinger and Ovelson) accepted the trophy on behalf of the College.

Holiday hampers help in Penticton

holiday hamperThe Penticton campus pulled together to offer holiday hampers to students in need. This year marked the highest-demand the project has seen, with 27 students requesting hampers for themselves and their families. Hampers included non-perishable food items, a gift for each person in the household and a grocery gift card.

The hamper project, now in its 22nd year, demonstrates the generosity and engagement of the campus community. Hamper donations came from a variety of sources including individual students, staff and faculty and the OCSU. Enactus students gathered non-perishable food items for the hampers at the Halloween Trick or Eat event and assisted in the promotion of gift requests for hampers. Two other campus events – Taste of India and Indian Taco Sale – raised funds to support the project.

This year’s project was organized by two newer employees – counsellor Sarah Lefebure and librarian Eva Gavaris. Sarah and Eva wish to thank everyone who contributed to the hamper project in order to brighten the holidays for students in need.

Murray publishes second book

melanie murOkanagan College English professor Melanie Murray will be launching her book Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns on Jan.25 – Robert Burns Day.

Jean Armour, wife of the famous Scottish poet, comes to life in this lyrical and intimate depiction and asserts herself as more than a footnote in literary history. Murray traces the footsteps of Armour through the village of Mauchline to the Burns’s failed farm in Ellisland and finally to Dumfries.

In this complex and intricate history woven from the poems, songs and letters of Robert Burns, Armour emerges as a passionate and resilient woman who must overcome the abandonment of her family, the loss of her children, and the instability of her philandering husband.

Author Camilla Gibb writes, “In this evocative and beautifully imagined story, Melanie Murray brings a deeply empathic lens to a life lived in the shadows of history. This is a work of wisdom, tenderness and humanity.”

The book launch takes place on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Infusions Restaurant, Kelowna campus. 

Get a glimpse of the cover for Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns here
January 10, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 20


Family Award winter application deadline Jan. 31, 2017

Applications are being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Jan. 1 – March 31, 2017. 

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under OC Express – Forms, and then click on Foundation, or download the application form here.

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 Jan. 31, 2017. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office by email or 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.

Employee Excellence Awards nomination deadline approaching

The deadline of Feb. 3, 2017 (midnight), is fast approaching for the Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards Program that recognizes the contributions made by employees. The program has been developed in concert with the College’s employee groups and complements the existing Distinguished Service Award and the Employee Long Service Recognition program.

The 2017 Employee Excellence Awards mark the sixth year that the College has held awards to honour employees.

Take the time to recognize those you work with who have made a difference to you, to students and the institution.

You can nominate employees in any one of nine categories

  • Strong Start
  • Scholarly and Creative Activity
  • Service Excellence
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Leadership
  • Key Directions
  • Teaching Excellence
  • Career Achievement
  • President’s Award

All nomination forms are available on the Employee Excellence Awards website.

We also look forward to receiving Milestones for all those employees who have completed a credential, been published or received an award from an external organization in the past year.


Be sure to mark your calendars with these important dates.
Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 (midnight) – Nominations close
Monday, May 1, 2017 (midnight) – Deadline for Milestone submissions
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – Celebration event commences at 2:45 p.m.


One writer: two nights

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 returns for a second night to 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.

Salmon Arm Town Hall discussion

Jan. 11 – The Town Hall discussion of Internationalization at Okanagan College initially planned for Dec. 8 has been rescheduled to Jan. 11. 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. The Town Hall meeting will help to inform the activities of the Project Team and to provide information and direction in the creation of an Internationalization strategy. The Town Hall discussion will now take place from 1-2:30 p.m. in room SA 143 at the Salmon Arm campus.

Tune in to Winter Convocation

Jan. 14 – More than 140 students will be recognized for their hard work and dedication at the Winter Convocation ceremony on Saturday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.  

To watch the Winter Convocation ceremony via live streaming, follow this link to visit Okanagan College’s Facebook page. The ceremony will be broadcast using Facebook Live streaming service. Be sure to “Like” or “Follow” Okanagan College in advance, to receive an alert when the broadcast commences.  

Find full details about OC 2017 Convocation and Commencement here

Mysteries of the mind

Jan. 18 – Join guest speaker Dr. Tomas Veloz of the Free University of Brussels for the Learning and Teaching event "Quantum Perspectives in Cognitive Science for Learning Environments."

Veloz is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science. He is the director of the Systemics department at the Insituto de Filoso a y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago, Chile, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Free University of Brussels. His research focuses on the application of the mathematical formalism of quantum theory to generalize probabilistic theories of rationality and cognition.

The talk takes place in the Kelowna campus lecture theatre from 12-1 p.m. The poster for the event can be viewed here

Speaker Series: Building sustainable food systems

Jan. 18 – What do climate change, local food and economic development all have in common? Agriculture! Join Kent Mullinix and Angelique Wood to learn how Kwantlen University Institute of Sustainable Food Systems is working to address the carbon footprint of our food, while creating a food system in Southwestern B.C. that will keep more of our food dollars in our communities.

The talk takes place in the Penticton campus lecture theatre (PL107) at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation. More information on the 2017 Penticton Speaker Series can be found on their website.

Speaker Series: Raise your pulse IQ!

Jan. 23 – Dr. Joyce Boye, Director of Research, Development and Technology for British Columbia, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, visits the Penticton campus to shine a light on small seeds known as pulses. Pulses are a category of crops that include dried beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas and Canada is a leader in their production.

Dr. Boye will discuss the benefits of pulses for nutrition, health, food security, and the environment. She will also offer tips on how to add more pulses to your diet and highlight some of her experiences as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Special Ambassador for North America for the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

Dr. Boye’s talk takes place in the Penticton campus lecture theatre (PL107) at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation. More information on the 2017 Penticton Speaker Series can be found on their website.


The Daily Courier put OC alumnus and country musician Ben Klick in the spotlight for his upcoming concert at the Kelowna campus in articles on Jan. 7 and Jan. 10.

Siobhan Detkavich, the SD53 high school student who took a year off school to enrol in the Professional Cook 2 course at OC admits it may have been the best decision of her life, as reported by the Oliver Chronicle and Osoyoos Times.

On Dec. 14, the Capital News reported that Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Chef Rod Butters will be publishing his first cookbook in 2017.

News of the return of the Residential Construction program at the Salmon Arm campus was shared by the Salmon Arm Observer.

Test results from the Tommie-award-nominated Home of Tomorrow, part of the Wilden Living Lab project made headlines in the Capital News, Daily CourierCastanet and

Author Harold Johnson’s visit to the Penticton campus for a two-night speaker series about his new book Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours) was mentioned by Castanet and Penticton Western News.

News of student Teresa Oyer receiving an Irving K. Barber transfer scholarship while in pursuit of her nursing education reached the Capital News, Daily Courier, the Lake Country Calendar and

The 31 per cent increase in international student enrolment at Okanagan College was noted in an article by the Daily Courier on Jan. 5.

The Capital News sports section featured the upcoming 15th annual OC Campus Run. The story was also picked up by the Vernon Morning Star, Penticton Western News, Kelowna Now and

IT Services' Moya Webb, also president of Okanagan College Toastmasters, discussed stepping outside one’s comfort zone in the Castanet article The Art of Speaking.

The savings that OC student Ryan McAllister has been experiencing from open textbooks were reported in Okanagan Saturday’s Online texts saving students money. Castanet, , Kelowna Now, the Vernon Morning Star, Revelstoke Review, Penticton Western News and the Capital News also ran the story.

The Capital News has been keeping up with OC alumna Kelsey Serwa’s skiing success across the globe. Her recent performance at the World Cup finals was reported on in Narrow Podium miss in France for Serwa and her gold medal finish at the 2016 X Games was celebrated in the Jan. 10 feature The Year in Sports.

Former Okanagan College employee Ella Rodenkirchen made a lifelong dream come true when she finished and published an uncompleted manuscript her father, Herbert Rees, had written about his travels with the British Merchant Marines. Their book, Ship Ahoy was featured in the Daily Courier, Capital News and Penticton Herald, and is available at Mosaic Books.

Kristine Gick, recruitment and events assistant at the Salmon Arm campus was featured alongside her husband in the Salmon Arm Observer for their innovative approach to changing their last names to represent their partnership.

The announcement of OC’s varsity basketball teams scored big with the local media. The story was carried in the Daily Courier, Capital News and online by Kelowna Now, AM1150, and in a Castanet video.

Alongside members of the Okanagan Chefs Association, culinary arts students from the College spread the holiday spirit and prepared a community Christmas dinner at Parkinson Recreation Centre, as reported by the Daily Courier and Castanet.

The Daily Courier’s roundup of the best images from 2016 featured a photo of traditional dancer Peter Anthony dancing at the eight annual Youth Exhibition Powwow that took place on the College’s Kelowna campus.

OC students Kevin Hall, Brody Travis and Martin Wallace were featured in the Okanagan Sunday for their success at the IEEEXtreme 24-hour coding competition. Their second-place finish nationally was picked up by the Lake Country Calendar, Castanet and Kelowna Now.

Tenants of the new six-story Okanagan Centre for Innovation were announced in the Daily Courier and include a satellite space for Okanagan College programs.

The Province’s announcement of funding for Okanagan College’s Fast Track to Office training program was picked up by and Castanet.

Best wishes for the Okanagan College students heading off to compete in the I.C.B.C. case competition finals at Queen's University were included in a column by Maxine DeHart in the Capital News


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. 24, 2017.