Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag raised in Salmon Arm

SA flag cmA Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag has found a permanent home at the Salmon Arm campus after a historic ceremony on Monday, Sept. 23.

Representatives of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Splatsin Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, Adams Lake Indian Band and Okanagan College gathered for a flag raising ceremony recognizing the traditional unceded territories of the Secwepemc.

“Reconciliation is about action, not words. The raising of the Secwepemc flag signals Okanagan College’s commitment to the TRC’s call to action,” said Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Chief of Splatsin Band and Tribal Chief Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

“Okanagan College values and respects Indigenous culture and ways of knowing,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We also deeply value the relationships we continue to strengthen with Indigenous people in the region. Flying the Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag is just one way of acknowledging the Secwepemc on whose traditional territory we live, work and learn. Our students and staff will see this symbol of respect each day, raised as a step toward and in the spirit of reconciliation.”

“Indigenization is about learning more about Indigenous knowledge, people and place,” says Juliette Cunningham, member of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “The Salmon Arm campus is and has always been enriched by the sharing of culture that happens continually thanks to the dialogue and flow of knowledge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, elders and community members.”

The ceremony was livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page. Photos from the ceremony can be found on the College’s Flickr gallery.

Nursing program at OC and UBCO recognized for innovative curriculum

BSN 2019The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has received long-term accreditation from the British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP), which regulates nurse training in the province. 

The program has been approved for the next seven years with no terms or conditions.

“Receiving long-term accreditation with no restrictions strongly acknowledges the innovative, high-quality education we are providing,” says Prof. Marie Tarrant, Director of the School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan. “The BSN curriculum is excellent, and our collaboration with Okanagan College that started in 2011 has expanded opportunities for students to pursue an education in nursing.”

Each year, 24 students are admitted to OC for the first two years of study then transfer to UBCO, joining approximately 130 nursing students at the university to complete years three and four.

“This recognition affirms the brilliant work that nursing faculty at both institutions have undertaken together to align and continually improve the program at every opportunity,” says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.

Recent labour market data lists nursing as a high-demand profession, predicting as many as 25,000 nurses will be needed to staff B.C.’s health care system over the next 10 years to fill new nurse positions and replace retiring nurses.

Read the full story here.

Judgement of the Okanagan: Wine Talks returns to Penticton for a fifth year

Wine talks 2019Two internationally-known wine experts will share their thoughts on the Okanagan wine industry and uncork a discussion when they pop into Okanagan College’s Penticton campus next month.

Steven Spurrier and Dave McIntyre will keynote the fifth iteration of Wine Talks on Oct. 28 in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. Tickets are $20 on Eventbrite and the event is open to the public.

Spurrier, who may be best known for his involvement in the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgement of Paris, brings a breadth of knowledge specific to French wine.

Prior to settling in the U.K., he opened L’Academie du Vin, the first private wine school in France. Spurrier has spent the better part of his life travelling as a wine merchant, sharing knowledge as a writer and speaker and serving as a consultant editor for the magazine Decanter. He and his wife Arabella are the proprietors of Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, England.

Dave McIntyre is a freelance wine and food writer as well as wine columnist for The Washington Post. Not only does McIntyre share his knowledge of wine, introducing novices and experts alike to the lexicon of wine terminology, but he is also a frequent blogger.

In a recent story with The Post, McIntyre highlights the Okanagan as “the most exciting wine region you’ve never heard of – but you will.”

Read the full story here.

Revelstoke residents honoured for saving man’s life after learning CPR at OC

revel cprFour Revelstoke residents were honoured last week by BC Emergency Health Services for performing CPR on a stranger and saving his life.

The awards went to Eriks Suchovs, Bob Shafto, David Scott and David Sproule. All four are ski guides at Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing. 

“This shows first aid works,” said Nitzan Tzuella, who teaches first aid courses in Revelstoke at Okanagan College. 

Tzuella taught the four guides a first aid course a few weeks before the incident. In the course, the guides went through scenarios and hypothetically decided who would do what in an emergency.

Three weeks later, the four guides got to use what they learned and worked together as a team.

Tzuella said she uses this story as an example in her first aid course, proving CPR can have a happy ending. “Stories like this drive me to teach more and more.”

Read the full story in the Revelstoke Review.

OC, UBCO and Foresight kickstart cleantech collaboration

cleantech 2019Representatives from Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan gathered on Wednesday, Sept. 25 to ink a new collaboration aimed at growing the cleantech ecosystem in the province and across the country.

Foresight is a not-for-profit Canadian company established in 2013 to help entrepreneurs form and accelerate cleantech companies in BC. Cleantech encompasses a diverse range of products, services and processes using renewable materials and energy sources, significantly reducing dependence on natural resources and substantially reduces emissions and waste.

A memorandum of understanding signed will see Foresight’s acceleration services provided to industry partners, along with testing, research and development services at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan. The three-way collaboration also seeks to open doors for students and professors to engage with the cleantech industry through hands-on learning and research in the industry, to help ensure students can more easily tap into industry mentorship in the field. 

“From an education perspective, there is great benefit to students and faculty members at both post-secondary institutions working closely with local industry partners like Foresight, researching, innovating and implementing cleantech solutions right here in the Okanagan,” said Andrew Hay, the College’s Vice President Education. “Our students are getting exposed to real-world challenges and opportunities directly applicable to where they live, work and learn, which they can then choose to apply here or anywhere in the world.”

Read the full story here. View the photo gallery here. 

Sunny skies, great turnout for 11th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow at Okanagan College

powwow2019 dancer smallThe Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow once again drew a big crowd to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Thursday, Sept. 19. Hundreds of OC students and staff, dancers, drummers, elders and Indigenous community members and guests, gathered to enjoy the Powwow and mark 11 years of celebrating Indigenous culture through the event. 

Dancers and accompanying drummers from across the B.C. interior performed in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken, jingle and traditional. This year, more than 800 students from various private, band and public schools were invited to attend the exhibition.

College and community members once again carried in flags during the Grand Entry, followed by Chiefs, Princesses, Elders, Powwow organizers and dancers. Elder Grouse Barnes of the Westbank First Nation provided the traditional welcome. Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band reprised his role as Master of Ceremony, a role he’s held for the past 11 years, as did long-time Arena Director Noel Furgeson of the Canoe Creek First Nation.

The crowd also heard from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Director of Student Services for Okanagan College James Coble, Lauren Terbasket of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society Executive Director Edna Terbasket.

View a photo gallery of the event here. 

K9 Companion Woofs around Salmon Arm Campus

woof 2019She’s 107 pounds of loveable fur. At first glance, she looks like a larger-than-average family dog but despite her soft coat and generous licks, there’s no fluff about her.

Meet Woof, Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus therapy dog. Shortly after picking her up as a puppy, owner and College librarian Taryn Schmid discovered that she was completely deaf and suffered from seizures. Daily, social interactions, allowed Woof’s true colours to shine through; she had an affinity towards humans. The nature of her diverse abilities combined with her love for people led Schmid to certify Woof through St. John’s Ambulance.

Introducing Woof to campus in the fall of 2018 came as a natural next step for Schmid. 

After no concerns arose in the fall semester, she decided to elevate Woof’s role to an on-demand approach in the spring of 2019. Students could go into the library where Schmid works and book time with Woof, simply to pet, play or hang out with her. Woof is a stress-relieving point of contact for those who come to see her. Different than a service dog, which provides controlled support to someone with a disability or ailment, Woof offers comfort simply through her gentle nature. Statistically speaking, Woof saw 45 requests and 237 interactions over the course of the spring semester this past year.

Looking ahead, Schmid anticipates an increase in visits for her furry companion, and wants students and staff to know that Woof is back for the semester and ready for pets, licks, and the odd treat (owner permitting). The best place to find her is in the library between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Read the full story here.

Fact-checking carbon taxes: do they work?

Kathryn Harrison 2019Are carbon taxes a tax grab, or effective public policy?

Dr. Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will peel back the layers of this political issue as part of the Okanagan College Vernon campus’ Signature Speaker Series.

“Fact Check on Carbon Taxes: Do they work? Are they fair? Will they destroy the Canadian federation” will take place on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre of the Vernon campus.

Harrison studies environmental, climate, and energy policy, federalism and comparative public policy. She is the author of the book Passing the Buck: Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy and co-editor of Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change. 

She has master’s degrees in chemical engineering and political science from MIT, and a PhD in political science from UBC. Before her academic career, Harrison worked as an engineer in the oil industry, a public servant for the Canada government and U.S. Congress and a journalist.

Presented by Okanagan College, the Signature Speaker Series is sponsored by the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Uprooted Kitchen and Catering Co. Admission is $10, or free for Okanagan College students. Participants can register in advance online or pay at the door.

Read the full story here.

Business alumni celebrate 20 years

dean whibley 2019Dean Whibley graduated prior to Okanagan College offering a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. It was his daughter, who is taking business at the College now, who nudged him to attend Okanagan College’s Business Reunion held Friday, Sept. 27.

Standing off to the side as the crowd of diverse alumni entered the cafeteria, Whibley wasn't sure he recognized anyone. That's when Margo McMahan, a retired professor, walked by and recognized his face. McMahan taught at the College for 25 years starting in 1989.

"It's amazing, I've taught thousands of students but I still remember their faces," she says.

Whibley shared that after graduating with a Business Administration Diploma he spent 20 years building a tech software company that he recently sold. At age 49, he is retired, but he isn't sure it will be for long. 

McMahan says Whibley's achievement is outstanding, and stories like his are common. She still keeps in touch with many students and says OC business grads are successful locally and internationally.

More than 75 alumni attended the anniversary to mark the beginning of the BBA degree, which started at the College in 1999. Offering the four-year business degree was a milestone for the College, thanks to a core group of skilled professors with strong ties to industry, resulting in the program receiving positive accolades from the community, industry and government. 

“The College has a really strong program,” says Jen Mendes, a senior manager at Crowe MacKay and 2007 BBA grad. “You come here for a reason, not just because its close, the College’s reputation speaks for itself.”

Read the full story here.

A decade of quick wit: 3 Hr Short Story Contest is back this fall

Daniel Bergg 2019Could you write a short story in only three hours? What if you had to include a random phrase such as, “frozen fish sticks,” “dead hamster,” or “jumper cables?”

That’s what students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College can expect when competing in the College’s Annual Short Story Contest on Oct. 19. 

This year marks the 10th year of the contest, where students will compete to win tuition vouchers. By the time the hour glass runs out and this year’s winners are chosen, 40 students will have received a total of $15,000. 

“I absolutely recommend the competition,” says last year’s overall winner Daniel Bergg. “I think it's an awesome format. Forcing oneself to focus on one thing for three hours is a pretty eye opening experience.”

Bergg is a second year student in OC’s Writing and Publishing program, a program he decided to enrol in after participating in the contest.

“I might not be quite where I am today, studying writing academically, if I didn't take the leap and compete.”

The 3-Hour Short Story Contest takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. 

For more information or to sign up, visit Read the full story here.

October 1, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 14

Documentary viewing

To commemorate October 10, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society (COJHS) is organizing an opportunity to view the eye-opening and highly acclaimed documentary on homelessness called “US & THEM,” by filmmaker Krista Loughton.

US & THEM shatters misconceptions about why people end up on the streets and reveals why the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" narrative is heavily flawed.

“The goal of US & THEM is to create a dialogue with as many people as possible on the realities of homelessness and to encourage proactive solutions,” says Helen Jackman, Director, Advancement and Alumni and Board member of COJHS.

“We want to encourage staff, students and friends of Okanagan College to watch, listen and begin their own conversations about what might be possible within our communities,” states Kyleen Myrah, Professor in the Okanagan School of Business and Chair of COJHS.

A FREE viewing of the documentary has been organized on October 10 at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus theatre (S104) from 5 - 6:30 p.m. To register go to  

Mindfulness meditation classes

OC Athletics & Recreation at the Kelowna campus will be starting their fall semester weekly mindfulness meditation classes again on Fridays until Dec. 6 from 12:15 - 12:45 p.m. in room H111.

Classes are led by Dr. Brett Wade. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Check out the Facebook group to stay informed. 

Advanced Leadership Series

Continuing Studies is excited to announce the launch of the Advanced Leadership Series. This new series targets the skills that a leader needs to hone in order to shift themselves, their careers and their teams to the next level. Discover advanced tools and techniques to influence, motivate and inspire your team and yourself. 

Courses include: Leading from Within, Emotional and Social Intelligence, Ethics in Leadership, Innovative and Critical Thinking, Negotiating in the Workplace, Creative Problem Solving and Positive Workplace Culture.

There is still space available in these courses, as well as in the Leadership Essentials Series. If you are interested in enrolling, contact Jill Panton with your tuition waiver.

Winter FIT series

Continuing Studies is looking for instructors who are interested in sharing their knowledge as part of the Fascinating Intellectual Topics (FIT) series.
View the courses running this Fall here

Programming for Winter is now underway, with a deadline of Oct. 7.
Contact Marni Esson if you have an idea for a course. The topics can be wide-ranging and delivered over 2 evenings (4 hours in total).

5 tips to boost your mental energy

  1. Don't overschedule, overcommit or wait until the last minute to get tasks done.
  2. Listen to your body and take breaks to give your body the rest it needs to rejuvenate.
  3. Boost creativity by alternating high- and low-intensity tasks.
  4. Take slow, deep breaths to conserve energy and settle yourself down.
  5. Take a walk outside to boost well-being and ease feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Read more about the "5 Ways to Boost Your Mental Energy" here.​

OC Family Award

A reminder to employees to encourage their family members attending OC to apply for the OC Family Award.

The application is online through myOkanagan.

Please log into myOkanagan > Student tab > Financial Aid and Awards Channel > Apply for Awards > Okanagan College Family Award 

Family Award Criteria:

  • Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Immediate family member (child, stepchild, grandchild or spouse) of a continuing (regular) Okanagan College employee
  • Enrolled full time in any year of an eligible program: university studies, degree, or diploma program; vocational, trades or health certificate program; full or part-time Continuing Studies certificate program; apprenticeship program or adult upgrading program
  • Must be enrolled in a minimum of 60% course load
  • Not on academic probation
  • No outstanding fees

For programs starting between January 1 to March 31, deadline is February 28.
For programs starting between April 1 to July 31, deadline is June 30.
For programs starting between August 1 to December 31, deadline is October 31.

If you have any questions, contact the Financial Aid & Awards office at or 250-862-5419.

2019-20 Recruitment

Check out what activities College recruitment staff are involved in. If you have any feedback on other events and opportunities, or if you are able to volunteer contact Inga Wheeler.

OC’s CARE program 

As part of its Safe Disclosure Policy, Okanagan College provides the opportunity for employees to report any misconduct concerns through the Confidential Anonymous Reporting for Employees (CARE) hotline.

The hotline enables employees to anonymously provide information on fraudulent or suspicious activities to a third party for further investigation. To make a report, call 1-855-484 CARE (2273) or email

To find out more about this service, refer to the Safe Disclosure Policy. 

Employee & Family Assistant Program - Life events and our mental health

Whether it is the death of a loved one or birth of a child, adjusting to the changes that significant life events bring can be tough. Coping with the changes takes strategy and effort, but is possible when you learn to focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot.

For guidance and support, visit LifeWorks online and login with the username: okanagan and the password: healthy. Alternatively, you can call LifeWorks toll-free any time, day or night, at 1-888-307-0590. 

View the October feature here.

Teaching, Learning, and Technology Professional Development Workshops

Staff are invited to join Learning & Applied Research and Education Technology for the Teaching, Learning, and Technology fall professional development workshop series. Workshops will be held from Sept. through to Dec. 2019. Participants can view the workshop catalogue here, and register on our website form or by email. Walk-ins are welcome, however, advance registration is recommended as hosting of workshops is dependent on sufficient registration.

Upcoming dates:

  • Accommodations for Learning (Kelowna), Oct. 1, 9 a.m.
  • Introduction to Screen Casting (Kelowna), Oct. 2, 12 p.m.
  • Maximizing the Lesson Application in Moodle (Vernon), Oct. 3, 12 p.m.
  • Learning, Teaching, and Technology Open House, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. (Salmon Arm), 2 p.m. (Vernon)

Kelowna campus fitness facility

A reminder that the Kelowna campus fitness facility will be closed on Mon, Oct. 14 for Thanksgiving.

Mon - Thu, 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fri 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed on weekends and stat holidays.

Kelowna fall food services hours

Kelowna cafeteria

  • Mon - Fri from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Kelowna food services

  • Fezziwig's: Mon - Thu from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Fri from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • DeBeans: Mon - Thu from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Fri from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Infusions: Tues - Fri 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Marmalade Cat Café: Mon - Fri 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.


The Politics of Housing and Beyond

Oct. 1 – A wide-ranging conversation about issues facing Canadians today.

Join OC’s Kyleen Myrah of the Journey Home Taskforce at UBCO Okanagan (UNC 200) from 4 -5:30 p.m. as she joins a panel discussion on Social Housing and Homelessness.

“Journey Home has some recent findings from lived experience focus groups and a community design lab that explore key criteria purpose built shelters,” says Myrah. “I will be giving an overview of these findings and implications for any types of new social housing being built in our community.”

OC’s Brian Rippy will be at the Okanagan Regional Library (1380 Ellis St.) from 7 - 9 p.m. as he joins a panel discussion on Sustainability: Indigenous and Green Housing.

“I will be talking about my experiences working in small island developing states with native Polynesian and Micronesian communities addressing sustainable building projects incorporating indigenous design and cultural influences,” says Rippy.


The Daily Courier noted that Kathryn Harrison, a UBC political science professor, will be the next speaker at the Vernon campus’ Signature Speaker Series on Oct. 7.

Collision Repair Magazine shared a story about the students from Toyota Technical College in Japan who attended OC in Kelowna for four weeks to work one-on-one with industry experts and advance their auto body and refinishing skills.

The Daily Courier, The Okanagan Weekend and Vernon Morning Star mentioned Orange Shirt Day at OC, which took place across each campus yesterday. Orange shirts are worn on Sept. 30 each year to commemorate the Indigenous survivors of residential schools.

The Daily Courier noted that former OC English and Creative Writing Professor Melanie Murray is on the long list for the 2019 CBC non-fiction prize.

The Daily Courier shared that Kelowna Pride will receive $100,000 in funding to boost organization. The Courier caught up with Kelowna Pride co-president, and OC staff and board member Blake Edwards. 

Vernon Morning Star celebrated former OC professor, John Lent with the release of his new book of poems, a Matins Flywheel, across Canada.

Vernon Morning Star shared a story about Enactus OC Vernon students taking to the orchards to pick apples for their FruitSnaps project – a project that provides healthy snacks to children in the community from fruit that was destined for the landfill.

Mirage News and Academica Group highlighted the exciting collaboration between OC, UBCO, and Foresight Cleantech to grow the cleantech ecosystem in B.C. and Canada.

Revelstoke Review shared the full story about Revelstoke residents being honoured for saving man’s life after learning CPR at OC’s Revelstoke Centre.

Salmon Arm Observer joined in celebrating the Indigenous flag raising ceremony at the Salmon Arm campus.

AM1150, Kelowna Capital News, The Okanagan Weekend and The Daily Courier celebrated Chris Derickson, OC’s Board Chair, who was announced as the new Chief of the Westbank First Nation. 

The Daily Courier shared details about OC’s new series of courses that aim to tackle some provocative subjects such as body image, homelessness, climate change and diversity and inclusion.

Castanet, The Okanagan Weekend and Kelowna Capital News celebrated with OC at the 11th annual Powwow. Castanet also shared a video, catching up with OC’s James Coble and Anthony Isaac. 

Kelowna Capital News noted that Marmalade Cat is now open at Kelowna’s campus in the Trades atrium.

Castanet shared in celebrating OC’s collaboration with Ontario’s Mohawk College on new aviation training and research initiatives.


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

To ensure the best chance for your submission to be 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 Oct. 15, 2019.