New Indigenous carving course offered

Darren McKenzie - Indigenous CarvingInternationally renowned master carver and Indigenous artist Darren McKenzie recently set up shop at the College to develop a new course - Indigenous Wood Sculpting - that will run front Feb. 2-18 and again from March 2-18 at the Kelowna campus.

"There will be something for everyone," says McKenzie. "It will be a blend of traditional carving and Indigenous wood carving, but it's going to be very open-ended. We'll delve into any techniques and styles the students want to learn."

McKenzie is a Cree and Métis artist from Vancouver. His work has been displayed extensively at museums and galleries across North America over the past three decades, from the Museum of Arts and Design in New York to a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Regina to the Douglas Reynolds Gallery in Vancouver.

Read the full story here.

College celebrates first graduates of 2018

2018 Winter Convocation studentsOkanagan College conferred credentials on 427 graduates in two ceremonies in Kelowna on Saturday, Jan. 13 and viewers from around the globe tuned into the livestreams to watch their loved ones cross the stage. 

Both the morning and afternoon ceremonies were streamed live on the College's Facebook page and collectively reached more than 12,500 people and drew viewers from across Canada, the United States, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. 

Winter Convocation was the first of eight ceremonies that will take place this year and celebrated students from 38 different certificate, diploma, associate degree and bachelor degree programs including: Associate of Arts, Business Administration, Computer Science, Engineering Technologies and Practical Nursing, to name a few.

View the morning ceremony's recorded livestream here. Follow this link to view video of the afternoon ceremony. 


Jan O’Brien to join TRU

Jan O'Brien 2018 farewellFor the last 17 years Jan O’Brien has called the College home and will soon be making the move to Thompson Rivers University as the Associate Director, Integrated Planning and Effectiveness. Her last day is Feb. 2.

O’Brien began her time at OC and spent five years as a faculty member in the business department teaching computer skills and marketing and then in co-op education. She has worked the last 12 years as Manager of Institutional Research (IR).

During her time in IR, she played an active role in developing the student satisfaction survey, key performance indicators, business intelligence, enrolment models and worked to reimagine the B.C. Student Outcomes program alongside 25 other post-secondary institutions, B.C. Stats, the Ministry and more.

In O'Brien's absence, Nathan Bartlett (ext. 4653) in IR is now the contact for any B.C. Stats inquiries.

Christine Ulmer to join BCIT

Christine Ulmer headshotAfter more than 11 years in the Public Affairs department, Christine Ulmer will be leaving to take on a new role at BCIT as Director of Marketing and Communications for the Institute.

"I am extremely proud of the work the team in Public Affairs has done over the last decade," she says. "From creating the very first edition of Inside Okanagan College, to leading the OC Half Marathon committee, to teaching in the Faculty of Arts, the College has provided incredible opportunities for growth and success but the best part of the institution is the people."

In her new role, Ulmer will be the primary lead for Institute marketing and advertising, including brand management, marketing strategy, social media and digital strategy, student recruitment strategic initiatives, creative services, media planning and procurement, production and publications.

Her last day at Okanagan College will be Friday, Feb. 9.

Devin Rubadeau nationally recognized as top sailing instructor

Devin Rubadeau - sailing coach of the yearDevin Rubadeau, Okanagan School of Business professor and Central Okanagan Sailing Association (COSA) Head Coach, has been named Sail Canada's 2017 Sailing Instructor of the Year.

Rubadeau began coaching sailing in 1993 and shortly after created COSA’s first race team. Over a 25-year period, he helped lead the COSA sailing program to become one of Canada’s most successful programs with over 3,500 students learning to sail and windsurf at COSA every year.

In addition to running COSA’s sailing programs, Rubadeau has also spent two decades coaching the Canadian Forces Sailing Team and Canadian Paralympic Team at major events around the world. He is a Level 5 Sailing Coach and a Learning Facilitator for all sports and has worked hard to develop coaching capabilities across British Columbia.

Rubadeau will travel to Toronto in March to receive the award. 

OC alumnus and Special Olympic athlete honoured by House of Commons

Tony Wilkinson with PM Justin TrudeauCollege alumnus and gold medalist Tony Wilkinson was part of Canada's first event to honour the 2017 Special Olympics team in recognition of their great performances and results from the World Games in Austria.

Wilkinson and the rest of team Canada were invited to the House of Commons floor to be honoured by Parliament, where they received a personal congratulations from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Wilkinson is part of the snowshoe team and won a gold medal in the 4x100 relay and silver in the 100 metre race. Wilkinson is seen on the left side of the photo wearing his medals.

January 23, Vol. 12, Issue 2

Nominations open for 2018 Employee Excellence Awards

It's that time of the year again – nominations for the 2018 Employee Excellence Awards are now open. Please take the time to recognize those you work with who have made a difference to you, to students or the institution.

You can nominate employees in any one of nine categories:

  • Career achievement
  • Continuous improvement
  • Key directions
  • Leadership
  • Scholarly and creative activity
  • Service excellence
  • Strong start
  • Teaching excellence
  • President's award

Nominations close at midnight on Friday, March 2. Award category details and nomination forms are available here.

Education Council election notice – nominations open

A By-Election for Education Council is happening this month and the call for nominations for the positions listed below will be open Jan. 22 – Feb. 1. Forms will be available in myOkanagan (elections). See below for key dates and information:

Campaign period: Jan. 22 – Feb. 13
List of candidates posted: Feb. 2 – 13
Elections: Feb. 14 – 20 (in myOkanagan)
Results announced: Feb. 21
Deadline for appeals: Feb. 28
Deadline to request a recount: Feb. 28


  • Faculty – North Okanagan (Term: March 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019) 
  • Faculty – Central Okanagan (Term: March 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019)
  • Student – South Okanagan (Term: March 1 – Oct. 31, 2018)

Education Council meetings usually run the first Thursday of the month. There are no meetings in July or August. 

Family Award application deadline is Jan. 31

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

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms,” and then click on “Foundation,” or click here to download the application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm by Jan. 31.

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at or 250-862-5419.

College and Municipal Pension Plan workshops

There are still spots available in the member education workshops for OC employees enrolled in the College Pension Plan (CPP) and Municipal Pension Plan (MPP). New members can choose to enrol in an eLearning course. Employees with questions about being a plan member, returning from parental leave, getting divorced, transferring service or choosing a pension option can find answers in upcoming workshops. 

  • Making the Most of Your Pension is a two-hour workshop that can help you maximize your pension by understanding how the decisions you make throughout your career affect your pension when you retire.
  • Approaching Retirement is a two-hour workshop designed to help you understand the important decisions you need to make about your pension and make the transition easier.

Space in each workshop is limited to 35 seats. Register early to access the date(s) of your choice. CPP members can register for the workshops online at > click Your pension > Pension basics or Planning for retirement. MPP members can register at > click Your pension > Pension  basics or Planning for retirement.​ 

New and potential members

  • Getting to Know Your Pension is a 15-minute eLearning course that will introduce the value and benefits of plan membership.

To register, CPP members can visit > click Your pension > Pension basics. MPP members can register at > click Your pension > Pension basics.

Emergency procedures in the classroom

Emergency procedure posters have been posted in every classroom at the Kelowna campus, in high visibility areas (often near the door or light switch).

Posters include emergency contact numbers (250-862-5401 from any cell phone or 6699 from any campus phone) the steps to take if you need First Aid, what to do if you experience a fire, lethal threat, power outage, hazardous material exposure or gas leak, building flood, or if you need to evacuate the building.

Please review the poster with your classes during the first few days of each semester so everyone is familiar with the proper procedures. It is also recommended that students and employees program the emergency number into their cell phones for quick access. 

Academic skills workshops for students

A series of academic workshops for OC students are up and running in Kelowna. The workshops give academic support and help students grow their skills in writing, research and citations and are being facilitated by Arts and Foundational in conjunction with the Library.

The workshops run throughout the week from Jan. 22 - April 12. Click here to view the workshop schedule. For more information on the program or how to connect your students with the workshops, please contact Chantale Hutchinson.

Infusions participating in Dine Around event

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan is back for another year. For just $25, guests at Infusions at the Kelowna campus can enjoy a special locally-inspired three-course dinner menu designed by OC Culinary Arts students and instructors. Dine Around is on from Jan. 17 - Feb. 4. Infusions is open for dinner Tuesday-Friday. See full menu details here.

Save the date for Connections 2018

Join your colleagues at this year's annual employee learning conference on Aug. 21 or 22 at the Vernon campus. Hear from OC President Jim Hamilton about what's happening at the College, interact with your colleagues and choose from a wide variety of new workshops.

Looking for presenters
The organizing committee is looking for employees to lead interesting and informative sessions that are five to 55 minutes long and are both interactive and engaging. If you would like to present a workshop this year, submit a workshop session submission and a member of the Connections committee will follow up with you. 

Communications professor Amy Modahl performed in the Living Things International Arts Festival at UBCO on Jan. 18 – 20. KelownaNow shared more about her collaborative performance, Liar! Liar! with Lethbridge artist Corinne Thiessen. 

Dine Around has returned to the Thompson Okanagan and is encouraging people to “sip, savour and save” at a number of participating restaurants, including OC’s Infusions. The event was shared by many, including the Penticton Western News, Lake Country Calendar, Salmon Arm Observer, Okanagan Weekend, the Daily Courier, Capital News and Castanet.

The beginning-of-term parking demands at the Penticton campus caught the attention of Castanet who went to the campus to talk with students.

Xiaoping Li is the chair of the OC sociology department and a member of the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Society. She recently helped the Lake Country Calendar learn about Chinese history in the Central Okanagan.

Brett Melanson will be making a big move from Sudbury, Ontario to the Okanagan this fall to study at the College and play for the Coyotes baseball team. The Sudbury Star shared the news that Melanson recently signed a letter of intent to play for the College.

Local Chef Rod Butters, an OC Honorary Fellow (2015), has been named the 10th chef in residence at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and will share his expertise with culinary students from March 12-16 according to the Lake Country Calendar.

Okanagan College is receiving new funding for tech-related programs as announced by Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark. The news was shared by Osoyoos Today, Capital News, Lake Country Calendar, Daily Courier and briefly by Alaska Highway News.

Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan and OC Honorary Fellow (2014) made headlines in the Daily Courier and the Capital News after he spoke at a press conference in Kelowna where Stephen Fuhr, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, announced $473,000 in funding to support the company.

OC alumnus and award-winning country musician Ben Klick was profiled in OkanaganLife.

The Capital News shared event details about the upcoming 11th Annual Business Expo and Employment Fair at the Kelowna campus on Feb. 7.

InfoTel News and Castanet shared the news about a proposed large-scale medical cannabis growing facility in Penticton that could provide a huge economic injection to the region. The company’s CEO is reportedly in discussion with Okanagan College about setting up a training curriculum for its future employees.

The Daily Courier attended the College's first convocation ceremonies of 2018 and chatted with a few Bachelor of Business Administration graduates to ask them about their future plans.

Recent Water Engineering Technology graduate Brian Bjorkland was featured by the Daily Courier.

Kelowna nurse and OC alumna Crystal Grymaloski recently travelled to Bangladesh to work as a volunteer nurse helping Rohingya refugees in December. The Daily Courier and Capital News featured Grymaloski's unique story that saw her leave Canada with less than 72 hours' notice. 

OC alumna and world-renowned ski cross Olympian Kelsey Serwa will once again represent Canada in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. A variety of media outlets spread the news of Serwa's nomination including The Canadian Press, Castanet and KelownaNow

The Salmon Arm Observer congratulated local Darby McEachern-Corley who won the Salmon Arm regional prize in the College's 3-Hour Short Story Contest.

A new Indigenous carving course at the College caught the attention of the Daily CourierKelownaNow and Castanet, who made a video of the news.

The Daily Courier featured OC employee and Girls Club director Bree Cawley who recently received a $9,000 grant from the TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board in support of the club – which is a social group for girls who have any type of neurological or developmental differences. 

OC alumni Jemma Allan (née Cowin) and Andrew Allan met and fell in love at the College while completing their business degrees.The pair are now married and making headlines for their work in the mining industry, especially Jemma who was recently nominated for Kelowna's Top Forty Under 40. The Daily Courier shared her story.


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 February 6, 2018.