Graduates heading out into the world this month

Convo 2016 group IOCOkanagan College recognized the achievements of nearly 1,500 students spanning arts, business, science, engineering technologies, health, and trades at its spring convocation ceremonies on June 3-4. The stage is now set for hundreds more to receive their credentials before the end of the month.

A ceremony in Vernon will be held on Monday, June 27, while approximately 380 more students will receive their diplomas and certificates that same week at the final summer convocation ceremony in Kelowna on Wednesday, June 29.

Kelowna business student Jessica Lenz was among the students recognized at the ceremonies earlier this month. After receiving the Silver Governor General’s Academic Medal and Bachelor of Business Administration Medal, Lenz addressed her fellow students about the opportunities that lay ahead and the importance of parlaying education into community impact and sustainability.

“Today is our beginning. Let’s go change the world,” said Lenz, capping off a moving speech about her experience in the Bachelor of Business Administration Honours Degree program.

Also recognized at the ceremonies were the College’s newest honorary fellows, Mission Hill proprietor Anthony von Mandl, entrepreneur Bill Redmond, and forest hydrologist Dr. Rita Winkler.

Read the full story in the press release. Click here to watch videos of the June 3 Trades Commencement and June 4 Convocation ceremonies. More information about convocation is available on the website.

OSB faculty pick up accolade for applied research project

ASAC Award 2016A team of Okanagan School of Business faculty were recently recognized at a national conference for their research efforts.

Kerry Rempel, Dean Warner and Dr. Kyleen Myrah received an honourable mention at the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada National conference in Edmonton from June 4-6 for their case, “Howard Industries: A social enterprise worth continuing?”.

The case investigates and analyses the role of using social enterprise with a highly vulnerable population (clients of the John Howard Society) in an attempt to build employability and citizenship skills, and develop additional revenue streams for the organization. Rempel also presented on an additional case, “Friends of the South Slope,” while Myrah participated in a series of sessions as part of her role on the National Case Track board.

Access support for applied research projects on the College’s website

Applied Research YouryOne of the Key Directions of Okanagan College's new strategic plan is Excelling in Teaching, Programming, and Applied Research. Okanagan College continues to advance its applied research agenda, thanks to the inspired work of employees and students across its campuses and learning centres.
Applied research builds and stewards the College's strong relationships with industry and the community, and there exists a growing number of applied research collaborations involving community partners, organizations, and other institutions. These projects also provide extensive opportunity for students to transfer the theory from their studies into real-life skills and knowledge in their chosen fields.
"Applied research provides students with enhanced real-world, hands-on learning experiences and it deepens the learning and teaching experiences that employees extend to students," says Okanagan College Vice President Education Dr. Andrew Hay.

A recent example came in March with the announcement of $750,000 in funding for a project led by Okanagan College Computer Science department Chair Dr. Youry Khmelevsky; that project aims to improve action-to-reaction communication for gamers across the world. Five Okanagan College students from the Computer Information Systems (bachelor and diploma) and the Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology diploma programs will gain hands-on experience through the project.
Learn more about the services and support that Okanagan College provides to potential industry partners and researchers on applied research projects on the website.

Galt brings holistic approach to teaching kids about nutrition

Kelsey Galt croppedExperience in the equally fast-paced worlds of competitive snowboarding, entrepreneurship, and teaching is fuelling an Okanagan College instructor’s drive to educate local youth about healthy eating.

Kelsey Galt, holistic nutritionist and owner of Basket Case Picnics will be instructing two sessions at the upcoming Camp OC this summer. The Independent Chef runs July 18 to 22, while Travelling Taste Buds runs August 8 to 12; both sessions will be located at the Vernon campus and geared toward students entering Grades 4-7.  

“We’re going to start in the garden and see where food comes from,” says Galt. “The kids are going to pick it, chop it, prepare it and ultimately enjoy it more. I think it’s crucial that kids develop that sense of pride and feel like they’re in control.”

After her snowboarding career ended, Galt decided to pursue holistic nutrition. She was drawn to the principal philosophies of the field: prevention over treatment, and the idea that each person deserves an individual and holistic approach. With her mother Chris as mentor, Galt has run her own custom catering business – Basket Case Picnics – for the past four years. The company is now a culinary service partner with Okanagan College – offering daily food services and event catering at the Kal View Café.

Read the full story in the press release.

Change to College credit card provider

Okanagan College employees holding corporate credit cards will soon see a new name on the card.

Financial Services has announced that effective July 1, Okanagan College will rely on Scotiabank to provide new corporate credit cards, replacing those that have been provided by RBC. The issuance of the new cards will begin next week and will be completed by July 1.
Scotiabank Visa was chosen provincially as part of the BC Administrative Service Delivery Transformation initiative on credit cards. The initiative was focused on realizing expenditure savings (rebates) across the advanced education sector.
The change to Scotiabank Visa will provide numerous advantages to Okanagan College and employees including, a financial rebate to the College based on the annual spending of the entire sector, an online platform allowing for scanned receipts, reconciliation and approval, and reduction in the use of personal credit cards.

An initial pilot group of 20 card holders will be receiving their new VISA cards shortly with additional training for the move to the online platform. The remainder of the credit card users will also receive their new cards shortly and will continue to receive and submit paper statements for an interim period. Training will be provided to all card holders to facilitate seamless transition to the online platform.

The implementation team will be in contact with employees personally. For more information, please contact Vicki Pannell in Financial Services.


Okanagan College students grace the podium at Skills Canada

Skills National 2016 IOCTwo Okanagan College students have returned from the Skills Canada National Competition in Moncton, NB with medals after earning the right to represent British Columbia as the province’s top talents in Electronics and Automotive Service.

Zach Andrews won the national title in Electronics and Aaron Schmidt finished second in Automotive Service.

Both graduating students missed the opportunity to attend Convocation in order to compete at Skills Canada but according to Andrews, the experience was well worth it.

The 31-year-old Electronic Engineering Technology diploma grad earned his second credential from Okanagan College this spring—he is also a ticketed Red Seal electrician. Andrews enrolled in the College’s trades program in 2009. After completing his apprenticeship training with the College, he worked as journeyman electrician up north, saving up money to return to the College in 2014 to begin his ELEN diploma.

He credits hard work in both of his programs for making the difference during his Skills Canada Competition.

“It was crazy how well prepared I was for this competition,” says Andrews. “The ELEN program is really tough and I found myself drawing on things I had learned in my first year, things I didn’t even realize I had remembered. My training as an electrician also helped me because I think I have a deeper understanding of electronics. I am really proud of my finish and I think putting in the work really paid off.”

Okanagan College Professor preserving local history brick by brick

Dr. Shona Harrison knows a thing or two about documenting and celebrating the past.

As an Okanagan College Professor of English, Central Okanagan Heritage Society board member, and founder of the Old Kelowna Facebook page, Harrison is becoming increasingly well versed in the region’s history and heritage.

She recently had a chance to bring some of that history home, in the recycling of bricks from the old Metro Central building on Water Street, as documented in a video essay by Castanet.

After the building’s brick facade was torn down this spring, Harrison and a number of others in the community – including the Kelowna Museums Society – sprung into action to preserve or utilize the bricks to honour the building’s history. In Harrison’s case, she is using the bricks to re-create a 100-plus year old walkway behind her home in Kelowna; the one-of-a-kind walkway was originally constructed of bricks sourced from Knox Mountain.

Watch Harrison’s interview with Castanet here.

Hamilton honoured by CICan

Jim Hamilton 2016 - IOCEach year, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) honours champions of post-secondary education, both inside the network of colleges and institutes and among those in industry and the community who support this network.

This year again, the association handed out recognitions for distinguished service and outstanding industry partnership at its annual conference in Québec City. President Jim Hamilton was honoured with the Distinguished Service Award alongside Garth Whyte, President of Fertilizer Canada, who received CICan’s Outstanding Partner Award.

This year’s recipients of the CICan Distinguished Service Award and Outstanding Partner Award have both been involved in promoting excellence in post-secondary education for many years,” says CICan president and CEO, Denise Amyot. “Though they come from very different backgrounds, they have both played a vital role in its success through their vision and dedication.”

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. Its members work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The association operates in 29 countries via 12 offices around the world.

Read the full story here.

Robert Wright published in Website Magazine

In the realm of online business, an organization’s website performance can dictate its success or failure. Which is why an Okanagan College professor recently published an article with insights into how to successfully navigate the often confusing process of changing website hosts.

Business Administration Professor Robert Wright’s article entitled “Moving a Website to a New Host” was published in Website Magazine, a national online publication dedicated to promoting website success for small business owners and start-ups.

“There are so many potential reasons for moving to another hosting provider at some point in a site’s life cycle, that to ignore this upfront is to take undue risk,” says Wright.

In the article, Wright highlights three important rules-of-thumb to consider whenever moving a website: ensuring that site backups are available, identifying the technologies used/needed, and modifying the domain name servers to point to the new site location.

Read the full article here

Retirement celebration for Maurice Blanleil 

Maurice Blanleil smallA retirement celebration will be held for Maurice Blanleil on Friday, June 17, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Canadian Brewhouse, 3030 Pandosy St, Kelowna. Employees are welcome to drop by and join the Facilities and Business Services team in saying farewell to Maurice.
Maurice has been with Okanagan College for 14 years as head electrician and is now moving on to new endeavours.
“Maurice has been a great asset to our organization and his expertise and enthusiasm will be missed by all,” said the College's Manager of Operations and Energy Systems Peter Csandl.
Employees wishing to sign a farewell card, and if so inclined, to make a small donation toward a retirement gift for Maurice, can do so by stopping by the Facilities and Business Services office in P Building, Kelowna campus, by Friday, June 10. Please contact Bobbie Wyatt or local 4614, for more information.

June 14, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 6


IT Services: planned outages

In line with our goal to improve network and internet services IT will be transitioning the college to BCNET services over the month of July. This transition will result in service outages over the following weekends:

  • Friday, July 8 after 6 p.m. through Sunday, July 10
  • Friday, July 15 after 6 p.m. through Sunday, July 17
  • Friday, July 22 after 6 p.m. through Sunday, July 24

During these transition periods you can expect most services to be unavailable. All services will be restored prior to business hours Monday morning. For those attempting to access the website or myOkanagan, IT Services will set up a landing page to provide information on the outage and links to access any services that may still be available like Moodle. For more information, please email Jenna Alain or call local 4326.

Supply Management Services: Vernon truck schedule - summer 2016 

The regular Friday truck run to Vernon will be discontinued for the summer. The last truck is scheduled to run on Friday, June 17. It will resume as normal on Friday, August 12, 2016. Please ensure everyone in your department or division is notified about the change in schedule. If you have any questions or concerns you may contact Brad Piontek at local 5614

Campus Commuter Challenge participants: reminder to log your trips

This year’s challenge for staff and students to get to campus using anything other than SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle) was held June 6-11 and was another great success. Thank you to everyone who participated. A reminder to participants: please log your trips online here by noon on Wed, June 15 to be eligible for prizes. 

CampOC needs items

Help spark the wonder and curiosity of future OC students. There exists a need for various items and supplies for Camp OC, including: pop/water bottles, fabric, felt, yarn, clothing, containers, pencils, pens, paint, and more. Please check out the list and email if you would like to contribute items.

Reminder: if you're looking for children camp ideas for the summer, browse the great day-camps offered with Camp OC at the Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon campuses.

College employees are able to register their children and grandchildren at a 10 per cent discount. New this year, on the Friday before a particular camp begins, employees can take advantage of a 50 per cent tuition waiver with certain criteria being met, including if a camp has reached minimum registration, but not yet met the maximum. Review the criteria to learn more (also found in myOkanagan under OC Express Forms). This year, courses for Grade 10-12 students will also be offered at the Kelowna campus. Check out the website for more info.


Indigenous Concepts of Knowledge Symposium

June 15 – Moderated by Dr. Bill Cohen, Okanagan College Professor of Indigenous Studies, and Project Manager of the College’s Indigenization Task Force, several notable scholars will be at Okanagan College to discuss their perspective on topics such as connections between orality and literacy, Indigenous concepts of ownership and intellectual property, traditional ecology-based systems of knowledge, ethics of the use and curation of Indigenous knowledge, and research methods that respect Indigenous ways of knowing.

The symposium will take place on Wednesday, June 15, starting at 1 p.m., in the Centre for Learning in Kelowna. This event is free and open to everyone. Please register in advance and find more information here.

Salmon Arm campus student awards ceremony

June 15 – Students, friends, family, and supporters from the community will be on hand for the 2016 Salmon Arm campus award ceremony, which will take place in the main courtyard. Last year, 47 students received bursaries totalling $75,000 from the Okanagan College Foundation, the Shuswap Community Foundation, local community groups and individual donors. For more information, please contact Margaret Scharf, local 8238.

Salmon Arm Charity Golf Tournament and houseboat vacation prize raffle

July 7 – The ACIC 20th Annual Links-to-Learning Golf Tournament will take place at Salmon Arm Golf Club on Friday, July 7, 2016. 12 p.m. registration and 1 p.m. shotgun start.

Waterway Houseboat Vacation Raffle: Help support the Okanagan College Foundation and Okanagan College students by purchasing a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Shuswap Houseboat vacation. The prize is a three-day weekend or four-day midweek houseboat vacation this fall on a Genesis 70 with Waterways. Click here for more information. The trip is valued at $2,800 and the winner is welcome to upgrade to a different boat or season or length of stay (depending on availability of course) by paying the difference. Raffle tickets are 1/$10 or 3/$20. Cash, cheque or credit card accepted. Draw date is July 7, 2016.

To register for the golf tournament, purchase raffle tickets, or for more information, please email Margaret Scharf or call local 8238.


Former Okanagan College professor Norm Letnick’s decision to seek a third term as MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country was announced in The Daily Courier on June 14.

The role of Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan as hubs for training future tech innovators was touched on in a June 14 piece about the under construction Okanagan Centre for Innovation by Steve MacNaull in The Daily Courier.

Shaw TV - Okanagan recently visited Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to film a video about the College’s successful Women in Trades Training Program (WITT); meanwhile The Summerland Review published a story on June 2 about the WITT program and growing opportunities for women in the trades, including an interview with Program Administrator Nancy Darling.

Okanagan College instructor and holistic nutritionist Kelsey Galt’s mission to educate youth about healthy eating was brought to the attention of readers by Castanet and The Vernon Morning Star this week.

Also on the table was a story by The Kelowna Capital News about local foodie and OC Culinary Arts curriculum contributor Jennifer Schell's new book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker in the Okanagan.

The Salmon Arm Observer ran an in-depth interview with Joan Ragsdale, Okanagan College’s new Regional Dean for the Shuswap Revelstoke region, in its June 8 edition.

A group of 65 winemakers and wine cellar team members recently attended a lecture as part of the “bottling excellence” series held at The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus, as reported by The Penticton Herald on June 7.

News of Okanagan College’s Trades Commencement and Spring Convocation ceremonies held on June 3 and 4 reached readers throughout the region, thanks to coverage from Castanet, The Kelowna Capital News on June 3, the The Okanagan Saturday on June 4, The Okanagan Sunday on June 5, and the Daily Courier on June 8.

KelownaNow recently profiled the local designer behind the unique trades-inspired furniture in the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College's Kelowna campus. 

Word that Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton has accepted an offer to extend his term until October 2019 was picked up in the pages of The Vernon Morning Star and The Capital News, while The Daily Courier shared the story of Hamilton's recent honour from Colleges and Institutes Canada.

On June 3, The Penticton Herald brought readers the inspiring stories of two soon-to-be Okanagan College students who recently graduated from Penticton Secondary School.

The provincial government’s response to the Okanagan Summer Festival Society’s plan to build an amphitheatre on land adjacent to the Vernon campus was covered by The Kelowna Daily Courier online on June 2, while The Vernon Morning Star shed additional light on the issue with editorials on May  25, May 29, and June 3, along with publishing a reader’s letter against (“Just Say No”) on June 1.

In other Vernon news, The Morning Star’s June 3 issue featured a story about the efforts of Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan Executive Director Annette Sharkey (Okanagan College 2015 Honorary Fellow), who is working to further a downtown arts and culture project aimed at boosting respect among Vernon citizens.

When Okanagan College Culinary Arts students and faculty pitted their skills and creativity against the best chefs in the province at the recent Earth, Wind and Fire charity gala, The Daily Courier was on hand to trumpet news about this unique event boasting great food for a great cause.The event raises funds for environmental conservation in B.C.

The Okanagan College Foundation’s Annual Charity golf tournament reached the remarkable milestone of $500,000 raised for students during the 25th playing of the event on April 26—a milestone observed in the pages of The Daily Courier’s June 6 issue and online by Castanet.


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

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 June 28, 2016.