Jim Hamilton staying on as President until 2019

hamiltonThe longest-serving president in British Columbia’s post-secondary sector, Jim Hamilton has accepted an offer to extend his term as President of Okanagan College until October 2019.

“I am proud of Okanagan College’s record of success and achievement but I know a lot remains to be done to even better serve the students, employers and community of this region,” said Hamilton. “I am particularly excited about some of the key directions in the College’s recently-completed five-year strategic plan and I want to be part of moving them forward. Those include working with and learning from our indigenous community, increasing our support for key sectors such as wine, food and tourism and technology, and completing a plan that will expand internationalization opportunities for our students and employers.”

Hamilton’s history at Okanagan College began in Vernon in 1980 when he signed on to teach English. Over the year, he has served as a faculty member, a member of the Okanagan University College Board of Governors, and the Regional Dean of the North Okanagan. He became President of Okanagan College in 2004.

During his time as President, Okanagan College enrolments have grown by 43 per cent, exceeding government targets every year. Hamilton points to the accomplishments of Okanagan College students and employees as his greatest source of satisfaction as President.

Read more in the press release.

Foundation Charity Golf Tournament celebrates 25 years, milestone in support raised for students

Golfers and volunteers had plenty of reason to cheer in the clubhouse following the 25th Okanagan College Foundation’s Charity Golf Tournament last Thursday.

golfFactoring in funds raised this year through golf registrations, contests, and silent auction, it was announced that the tournament has now raised more than $500,000 towards awards, bursaries, and emergency funds for students.

More than 140 players enjoyed a round at Okanagan Golf Club this year to ring in the tournament’s anniversary and drive up the fundraising total. And as impressive as the $500,000 milestone may be, the Foundation’s Executive Director Kathy Butler says the ripple effect generated by the event is even greater.

“This tournament really has helped to build and grow relationships with our donors,” explains Butler. “It’s an event everyone can feel good about being a part of—especially when you consider that the funds raised have impacted literally hundreds of Okanagan College students over the years.”

Read the full story in the press release.

Experience OC Event gives high schoolers a sneak peak at College life

On Tuesday May 3, the Penticton campus welcomed over 120 Grade 11 students from Keremeos, Princeton, Osoyoos, Oliver, and Penticton to experience the life of an Okanagan College student for a day.  

experienceocThe visiting students registered for classes ahead of time prepared by faculty members from 17 different programs. Students were able to explore several different opportunities available to them at OC and for some, this was their first visit to the college.

“Thank you to all the faculty who took the time to organize a session to represent their department and provide a fun and meaningful experience for the students,” said Regional Dean South Okanagan – Similkameen Donna Lomas. “We are also very grateful to all our volunteers; your efforts helped to ensure that students had a great first experience at Okanagan College.”

Outland Gift benefits students from ECE to Trades

outlandA local landscape architecture firm has pledged $10,000 to support the new Trades Training complex at the Kelowna campus and has also stepped forward with a gift for those who nurture our youngest learners.

Outland Design Landscape Architecture has launched an annual $750 bursary to support students in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program; the bursary builds on more than a year of support for a unique applied research project spearheaded by Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching.

Last spring, the firm’s owner Fiona Barton signed on as a community partner of Dietze’s federally-funded, applied research grant exploring the benefits of outdoor play on children’s wellbeing, and how it can be tied into the training of early childhood educators.

“We’re hoping to inspire local students and would-be students to lifelong learning. The value of education for themselves and for our community is limitless,” says Barton.

Read on in the press release.

Vandergaag taking her research skills abroad through prestigious international fellowship

An Okanagan College student’s academic excellence and passion for social impact – both locally and on a global stage – has earned her one of the most coveted fellowships in Canada.

Karen Vandergaag, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Honours student at the Kelowna campus, is one of only 12 individuals from coast-to-coast to be awarded an International Youth Fellowship by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).

karen“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to put my education and research into practice on the ground and see how the hands-on experience compares to academia,” says Vandergaag. “As a business student, I approach opportunities like this from a different perspective than students in similar positions who might hail from international relations, health, or other backgrounds.”

Vandergaag will be headed to Tanzania in August, where she will spend eight months working with CARE, an international NGO dedicated to disaster relief and fighting global poverty. Her work will revolve around research and project coordination with the organization’s Microfinance and Microenterprise arms.

Read more in the press release.

Gilbert’s second book of poetry takes readers up onto the Tight Wire

Okanagan College Creative Writing and English Professor Kerry Gilbert recently published her second book of poetry called Tight Wire, through Mother Tongue Publishing. Some praise for the book includes:

gilbert small“Delivered in crisp, edgy prose verse reminiscent of Ondaatje in The Collected Works of Billy The Kid, Tight Wire unravels a circus-bestiary of “women on display,” of women struggling with “amateur heart” and “new skin.” Gilbert envisions a new kind of ‘June Cleaver’ here, a woman, a mother, a lover just as restricted as her famous, mid-50s North American prototype, but also strangely new and appalling in a different way, too, and strong and frightening as well. A visceral, wonderful read.”–John Lent 

"The ‘tight wire’ is where the feminine is performed within the callousness of the culture's expectations. Gilbert provokes the reader to imagine the violence, vulnerability, and grief that can attend the female experience of marriage, birth, and motherhood.”–Sharon Thesen

More information about the book is available on the publisher’s website.

Students’ business venture aims to make the Okanagan sound better

After speaking with Okanagan College students Alex Pfeifer and Josh Mulloy, you will never look at a room the same again—or so hope the founders of Perception Audio, a new business specializing in acoustic treatments and analysis for buildings in the region.

pfieferA common interest in recording technology led Pfeifer and Mulloy to the Audio Engineering & Music Production diploma program at Okanagan College from very different paths. But once in the studio together, they found a rhythm and a loud idea began to take shape. Boosted by support from instructor Corey Bell and a wide array of local business owners, Pfeifer and Mulloy launched their own company.

“At the end of the day, we want to bring something new and truly unique to the audio scene in BC,” says Mulloy. “We want to change the way people think about sound during all stages and aspects of putting a space together. We spend our lives in these spaces and the way they sound hugely impacts our experience of them.”

And despite a burgeoning business, the pair aren’t done building their skills—or giving back—at Okanagan College.

Read the full story in the press release.

Kisilevich named Associate Dean of Trades

teresaTeresa Kisilevich will step into the role of Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship on July 1.
"I'm really looking forward to working with such a dynamic group of employees and students in Trades and Apprenticeship," says Kisilevich, whose career with the College began 17 years ago. "Coming from a background in vocational education, I'm excited about the opportunity to serve our students and continue to build on the College's long history of excellence in trades training in the region."
Kisilevich is currently on a secondment to the Okanagan School of Business as an Associate Dean from January to June 2016 and will step into her new role immediately following this.
"Teresa's leadership abilities are widely recognized, both within the College and across the post-secondary education sector at the provincial and national levels," says Okanagan College's Vice President Education Dr. Andrew Hay. "Her strong background in teaching and administration at Okanagan College will be of tremendous benefit to our students and instructors in Trades.”

Patrick Knight joins Continuing Studies 

patrickThe Continuing Studies department welcomes Patrick Knight in his new role as a program assistant.

Patrick has his psychology degree from UBCO and has been living in Kelowna since 2009. He has been with the Continuing Studies department since December 2015. Outside of work, Patrick enjoys playing hockey on his beer league team, hiking, and boating.

Patrick can be reached at local 4475 or by email at

May 31, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 5

Copyright matters when using images on publicly accessible web pages

On course pages, using images, or other copyright material, that you find on the Internet, is often permitted by the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, or by OC’s license with Access Copyright. This is because the purpose of the use is educational and the audience for the material consists primarily of students, access to the pages is restricted to authorized users, and our laws and licenses allow certain uses of copyright material under these circumstances.
copyrightThe above exceptions to copyright do not apply to pages accessible to the general public. In order to use copyright material, including images found on the Internet, on a publicly accessible website, you must first obtain permission from the copyright holder. If you are unable, or do not wish, to obtain permission, another option is to use images that have been licensed under Creative Commons, or a similarly liberal regime, or that are in the public domain. The UBC Copyright Office has compiled a comprehensive guide to public domain and Creative Commons image sources.
For more information, see OC Library’s Copyright Guidelines, or contact Ross Tyner, OC Copyright Officer.

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. 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.

Connections 2016 – Register Soon

Registration is open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference. Connections is organized by employees for employees. It is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses, and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive, social activities and fun informative workshops.

Brand new this year is Connections Expo, showcasing the interesting hobbies and activities employees do outside of their regular work including roller derby, painting and toy-making.

Two lucky winners have been selected to receive an iPad Mini 2 for registering prior to the early-bird deadline. The winners will be announced at Connections 2016 and they must be in attendance to receive their prize.

Connections will be held at the Kelowna campus again this year and you have the choice to attend on either Tuesday, August 23 or Wednesday, August 24. To register, click here.

Camp OC registration now open with new employee tuition waiver

Looking for children’s camp ideas this summer? Browse the great day-camps offered through 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 (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.

Changes to group benefits for retired members

The Municipal Pension Board of Trustees is announcing changes to group benefits for retired members, effective January 1, 2017. Plan members near retirement should learn how these changes may affect them. More information is available here and on the Municipal Pension Plan website.

Bike to Work Week

Until June 3 – Employees on all campuses are invited to join Okanagan College’s Bike to Work Team for 2016. Riders can register online or email Dr. Paul Stephenson with the words “Please register me online” in the subject line. Returning riders can simply re-activate last year’s registration. Registrants will have a chance to win raffle prizes (bike pumps, bells, tire repair kits etc.). The Prize Raffle will occur on Wednesday, June 8 at 9 am, at the bike stands behind the Centre for Learning.

Hannah Calder Book Launch

June 2 – A book launch for Okanagan College English and Creative Writing Professor Hannah Calder's new novel Piranesi's Figures will be held at the Vernon Public Art Gallery on Thursday, June 2 starting at 7 p.m..

Campus Commuter Challenge

June 6-11 – This is a challenge for staff and students to get to campus using anything other than SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle). Walk, carpool, take transit, ride your bike – all qualify. Travelers can log their trips on the website to be eligible for prizes.

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, Kelowna Campus, Okanagan College. 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; the event will be held 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.


Janelle Dunn, owner of Okanagan Wildbrush Honey was a recent top story on Castanet. Dunn will share her extensive apiary knowledge and experience next February when she teaches a course on beekeeping at Okanagan College in Penticton.

News of the passing of 30 year+ employee Joyce Hoglund, was published in the May 31 issue of the Daily Courier. Noted was Hoglund’s love for her family, education, art, and the outdoors.

As reported by The Lethbridge Herald’s May 28 issue, members of the OC Culinary Arts team recently joined forces with culinary researchers from Lethbridge College for specialized training focused on honing their senses of sight, smell, taste, and texture in judging the quality of produce and fish.

The College’s role as a hub for training tech innovators was mentioned in a feature about the region’s growing need for technology workers published by The Okanagan Saturday on May 28.

The announcement that Jim Hamilton - the longest-serving president in BC’s post-secondary sector - has accepted an offer to extend his term as Okanagan College President until 2019 was a top story in print and online media, thanks to coverage by The Okanagan Saturday, along with Castanet and KelownaNow.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus played host to the annual spring trunk sale over the weekend and The Capital News helped put the word out to the community about this popular event organized by the regional waste and reduction office.

May 24 – The story of hard work and ingenuity by two Okanagan College Audio Engineering and Music Production (AEMP) soon-to-be graduates made the airwaves thanks to good vibrations from Castanet.

May 24 - The proposed amphitheater at the Vernon campus continued to draw the attention of local media with the Vernon Morning Star profiling Calgary architect Bill Chomik and his proposed plan for the site along with letters for and against, while Castanet also touched on the ongoing debate by those opposed and those championing the project.

Two Okanagan College alumni were profiled as part of BDO’s ongoing Top 40 Under 40 series in The Daily Courier. The paper’s May 18 edition spotlighted OC business graduate and chartered accountant Graham Moir while fellow business alum, Ryan Lancaster, was highlighted on May 25.

That week, another OC alumna, former national and international women’s curling champion Kelly Scott was quoted in The Daily Courier about her support for Penticton’s bid to host the 2018 Scotties Tournament.

May 21 – Coverage from Global News, KelownaNow, Castanet and the Capital News helped word travel about Bachelor of Business Administration student Karen Vandergaag’s acceptance of a world-class fellowship that will see her put her business skills to work abroad.

OC Culinary Arts students and faculty cooked alongside some of the province’s top culinary talent at the annual Earth Wind Fire event at the Delta Grand Okanagan, as served up to readers in the pages of Okanagan Life Magazine and the May 24 edition of The Daily Courier and May 20 issue of The Capital News. The event raises funds for environmental conservation in B.C.

More delicious news was uncorked in the pages of The Capital News on May 20, when local writer Kathy Michaels penned a piece about a recent food and wine course for industry professionals taught by Waterfront Wines Executive Chef Mark Filatow.

In her May 19 piece “Summer school for Okanagan foodies”, Penticton Western News columnist Allison Markin shared with her readers a number of upcoming classes on local food and wine offered by Okanagan College.

Support from industry continues to rev up spaces in the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus; the story of a generous donation by local Ford Dealer Dan Assam raced into the pages of The Daily Courier on May 18.

News of Okanagan College’s 2016 Honorary fellows – Anthony von Mandl, Bill Redmond, and Dr. Rita Winkler reached readers of the Capital News on May 18 along with Castanet.

The OC Coyote’s valiant efforts to capture the Canadian College Baseball Conference Championships as tournament hosts earlier this month made the May 18 edition of The Capital News.

MP Richard Cannings, 2008 Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College, was once again featured in the Osoyoos Times on May 18 in promotion of a pop-up office event hosted in the South Okanagan town.


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 14, 2016.