Indigenous Culinary Arts students prepare feast at Forum

Indig CA 2019Earlier this month the Okanagan Training and Development Council (OTDC) hosted a trades forum in partnership with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) where Okanagan College and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) Indigenous Culinary Arts students put on a feast.

The students worked under the direction of Andrew George, Culinary Arts Instructor and Executive Chef from NVIT and Executive Chef Kim Wallace from the Coast Capri Hotel to create five unique courses with Indigenous flare: Okanagan chowder and bannock sampler, elk tartare, gathered forest mushroom salad, broiled trout and bannock bread pudding. 

“It’s a really great feeling knowing that we are the first class to complete the very first intake of the Indigenous Culinary Arts program,” says Ruby Pahtayken, one of four students who will complete the program. “Being able to take part in events such as this is so great. We work with amazing chefs that inspire us and allow us to express ourselves, and tell stories through our dishes.”

“It’s great working with this group of students. Giving recognition to the nations and showing the students that they are able to tell their stories through their cooking gives them a confidence that can’t be taught,” says George. “The province is onto something good. There is a lot of interest in this program and the chef community is behind it completely.”

To view photos from the feast, click here.         

Former youth in care take advantage of free tuition program

Kim alaricFifty-two former youth in care have accessed post-secondary education and skills training at Okanagan College, thanks to the B.C. Government’s Provincial Tuition Waiver Program.

Okanagan College is one of 25 public post-secondary institutions in the province with students that have benefitted from the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program. The program supports the transition into post-secondary by waiving tuition and mandatory fees and provides an increased chance for a positive employment outcome for former youth in care.

The Provincial Tuition Waiver Program has increased by 443 per cent since it launched in the fall of 2017. As a result, 1,119 former youth in care are now studying all over the province in social work, academic arts, nursing, pre-medical studies, trades, business administration and graphic design.

Former OC Aviation student Kimberly Alaric’s story was shared earlier this year. She is using her experience as a former youth in care to help other kids in similar situations get on a path to success.

“I want to be a role model, a big sister. I want to encourage young adults to take pride in who you are and what you have accomplished,” says Alaric.

About 7,500 children and youth are currently in the care of the Province or on youth agreements.

The 2018 B.C. Labour Market Outlook forecasted approximately 900,000 job openings between now and 2028 that will require individuals to have post-secondary education.

Read the full story from the B.C. Government here. Read Kimberly Alaric’s story here. 

Advancing women in engineering, top first-year student FAQs on tap at OC’s Career Fair

Elizabeth Corbett 2019While the percentage of women graduating from post-secondary institutions is higher than their male counterparts, the number of women choosing programs in Engineering and Technology remains significantly lower.

Okanagan College is introducing a new presentation to this year’s Career Fair to encourage the increase of participation of women in engineering, technology and technician occupations.

This Sunday marks the 38th annual Career Fair at the Kelowna campus. 

The new presentation is part of Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology, a Sector Labor Market Partnership project funded by the Province of BC and the Government of Canada. 

The presentation will examine the current statistics of women in these occupations, explore the reasons why diversity in these professions is necessary and share insights on what individuals and employers can do to increase recruitment, retention and advancement of women. 

Popular presentations from previous years will return including 15 First Year FAQs with OC Recruitment and Marketing Specialist Blake Edwards and a resume writing workshop led by Alison Beaumont from the College’s Student, Grad and Co-op Employment office.

There will also be an information session about Health Care Assistant roles by Interior Health and a session on policing careers, training and pre-requisites by the Calgary Police.

The Career Fair will run on Sun, Nov. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd. Admission and parking are free during these hours.

Read the full story here.

How microbes can improve a child’s play, a two-day conference at OC

Brett Finlay 2019Okanagan College is hosting a two-day conference in Kelowna this week that will explore how exposing children to dirt and germs early on can actually benefit their well-being.

The conference, hosted by the College’s Learning and Applied Research department is taking place at the Kelowna campus on Nov. 1 and 2. Attendees will have a chance to collaborate, explore and participate in key discussions such as the relationship of outdoor play to children’s skills in coding, assessing outdoor play spaces for quality indicators, how outdoor play pedagogical documentation informs children’s play, designing natural outdoor play spaces for Municipal Parks Systems and the relationship between Indigenous and the Land.

Friday night’s keynote speaker is Dr. Brett Finlay, co-author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World, and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at UBC. Finlay has been studying microbes for over thirty years and has published over 450 articles.

“In the 150 years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay,” writes Finlay. “But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to our children’s well-being. It turns out that our current emphasis on hyper-cleanliness and poor diets are taking a toll on our children’s lifelong health.”

The two-day conference is sponsored in part by Okanagan College, New Monaco, Outland Design Landscape & Architecture and NSERC CRSNG. 

Tickets range from $15 - $35 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Read the full story here. 

KPWIR@C3 Writer-in-Residence inspires next generation 

Yvonne Blomer 2019Writing and Publishing Diploma students at Okanagan College got up close and personal with top Canadian writing talent, thanks to a Vernon writer-in-residence program. 

For over ten years, Kalamalka Press and Okanagan College have operated a writer-in-residency plan, previously with the Mackie Lake House Society and now, with Caetani Cultural Centre. This program brought to the region numerous talented poets, essayists and novelists. Several of the authors published notable creative and critical works that were composed or conceived of during their residencies.

The program has allowed OC students to meet with experienced writers, participate in workshops and attend public readings. 

Last week, the Writing and Publishing Diploma program and Caetani Cultural Centre, put on an Evening with Award Winning Poets and Memoirists where students were able to hear from this month’s Writer-in-Residence, Yvonne Blomer. 

Blomer is the author of travel memoir Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur and three books of poetry, and is currently working on a mystery in poems called The Death of Persephone.

Learn more about upcoming events and the Writer-in-Residence program here. 


Hamilton’s term as Okanagan College President extended

Jim Hamilton 2019Okanagan College’s Board of Governors Chair Chris Derickson announced this week that Jim Hamilton, British Columbia’s longest-serving post-secondary president, has agreed to extend his contract as the College’s President until January 29, 2021, when he plans to retire.

Hamilton, a resident of Vernon, has been President of OC since late 2004, when he was tasked with overseeing the transition of the College, as Okanagan University College evolved into OC and UBC Okanagan. His history with OC goes back to 1980, when he began his career as an English professor. He also spent eight years as a regional principal.

“We’re very pleased Jim has agreed to continue in his role until early 2021,” notes Derickson. “There are several strategic initiatives that will benefit from his considerable expertise and insight. The Board also asked him to complete work on the College’s Indigenization strategy and lead the development of a new strategic plan for the College.”

“The College has prospered under his leadership and we are grateful it will continue to do so.”

Read the full story here.         

Look out for new series of staff profiles in Inside OC

A new series of staff profiles, QandAs and spotlights is coming to Inside Okanagan College in coming editions. Some of the first of these are being crafted by Learning and Applied Research, and will spotlight staff and instructors taking innovative approaches to teaching, in advance of the upcoming DELT townhalls.

Meet Joanne Gibbons-Smyth. 

Joanne Gibbons-SmythGibbons-Smyth is an instructor and chair of the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) program where she has been teaching since 2010. She has adopted a blended approach to support learning by engaging her students through a variety of assignments and labs, including skills videos, which she provides on Moodle.

She has seen first-hand the benefits of having learners work with content online as she enjoys the expanded opportunities for student collaboration during face-to-face classes to engage more deeply with course content while allowing her to lecture less. She has found that students have also enjoyed the multi-media resources she provides as a supplement to textbooks.

Increasingly, Gibbons-Smyth has also been screen-capturing her PowerPoint presentations.

She acknowledges though that not all learners embrace technology and ensures to diversify her learning materials and methods of delivery such as when CDA students provide community outreach on oral health, visiting local elementary schools to share their expertise.

On the horizon, Gibbons-Smyth is looking forward to transitioning into the new Health building to further explore real-time demonstrations with the Smart cameras slated to be installed in the operatory. If you are interested, she is happy to speak with other educators wishing to learn more about how she is using technology to enhance learning and teaching. 

OC Instructor researching how post-secondary institutions are meeting the needs of mature students

Andrew PulvermacherWith the current workforce changing careers more often than their parents or grandparents, and many careers requiring more education than ever before, more and more adults are returning to school. What does that mean for post-secondary programming?

It’s a question Andrew Pulvermacher, an Okanagan College Adult Academic and Career Preparation (AACP) instructor, hopes to shed light on through a new line of research.

“Currently, institutions face increasing social, economic and political pressures to serve as de facto extensions of high school, where youth with aspirations of well-paying careers go for employment training,” says Pulvermacher.

“I am examining sociological and philosophical research on the role and place of adult learners in post-secondary institutions and the particular barriers they face. With these findings, I will develop a new philosophical framework for post-secondary programming that can better serve adults’ needs.”

Pulvermacher was recently awarded a competitive federal government grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in support of his upcoming research.

Read the full story here.

Love It or List It: either way nursing students benefit

Monique 2019There isn’t any groundbreaking research to support it, but the organizers of an upcoming event at Okanagan College are out to prove that merely watching TV and eating popcorn can change a student’s life for the better.

On Monday, Nov. 11, the College’s Nursing department is hosting a special screening of an episode of HGTV’s popular Love It or List It show in the lecture theatre (S104) at the Kelowna campus.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with beverages and snacks available for purchase (cash only). The screening starts at 7 p.m.

The episode has a unique OC connection. It profiles Monique Karlstrom, who has taught nursing at the College for more than 10 years, and her husband Mike, as they navigate the show’s premise of whether to renovate and keep or choose to sell their house. 

Karlstrom came up with the event as a way of generating funds to create a new bursary for nursing students at OC.

Tickets are free and can be reserved through Eventbrite (suggested donation of $20; any donation over $20 will receive a tax receipt from the Okanagan College Foundation).

All funds raised will go toward creating one or more bursaries for nursing students at the College.

Read the fully story here.

Ken Steele talks emerging trends in post-secondary

ken steele 250pxKen Steele, a well-known researcher, author, speaker and consultant on post-secondary communications, marketing and recruitment was at the Kelowna campus last week sharing his perspective on emerging trends in the sector.

Steele is a co-founder of Academica Group, a market research firm doing some of the largest post-secondary consumer surveys in the world, and creator of the Top Ten, which has become Canada’s leading higher ed news daily. In 2012, he founded a new company called Eduvation. He hosts an almost-weekly webcast, Ten with Ken, which explores emerging trends, bright ideas, and higher ed marketing. He has published dozens of articles and white papers on post-secondary students and branding, and co-authored Canada’s first book on strategic enrolment management. 

Missed it? Watch the presentation here.

October 29, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 16


Trick or Eat

The OC Students Union (OCSU) will be collecting food items on Oct. 31 at the Kelowna campus for the Student Pantry as part of the first annual Trick or Eat.

If you have any non-perishable food items, you can drop them off to H125 on Halloween from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The students will also be going house to house collecting donations on Halloween from 4 - 6 p.m. 

Educational Technology

Are you looking to further develop your instructional strategies? Are you curious about ways to engage learners while meeting learning outcomes? Would you like some one-to-one support while adopting educational technology?

Visit the Educational Technology department today.

Contact Sally Howard in Educational Technology or Chantale Hutchinson in Learning and Applied Research.

IT Services boosts Wi-Fi on all four campuses

Noticing a stronger connection these days? The IT Services team recently completed an extensive upgrade to wireless internet in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna.

The summer-long project increased coverage areas, improved the strength of coverage within each area and boosted capacity for each access point on campus (an access point being the piece of tech that 10 or 20 or more devices at a time will connect to in order to hop on the wireless network).

“We had two staff members working all summer to replace and add access points,” explains Jordan Perrey, Director of IT Services. “It means better reach across campus and capacity for more devices on the network.”

“We also fixed roaming between buildings, so staff and students moving from building to building won’t notice a drop in connection on their devices, which ups the convenience factor for people.”

IT Services also partnered with the City of Kelowna to tap into the City’s 10gb dark fibre redundant connection, augmenting our recent 10gb upgrade BCNET (Research Network) which is yielding faster speeds for wired and wireless internet on campus. 

DELT Consultation Summary and Discussion 

Over the past year, the College has explored the future of digitally enhanced learning and teaching through a College-wide consultation with students, instructors, faculty, and other stakeholders. These findings have been compiled and we would like to share the results.

Please join OC at one of the town hall sessions scheduled at each of the four campuses and help us continue to shape the future of digitally enhanced learning and teaching at Okanagan College. 

Tue, Nov. 5, 12-1 p.m.
Room E202

Wed, Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Lecture Theatre (S104) 

Salmon Arm:
Thu, Nov. 7, 1 - 2 p.m.
Room 136

Fri, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Lecture Theatre

Everyone is welcome. Coffee and refreshments will be made available.

Joint Occupational Health and Safety winter reminder

Did you know that winter tires or chains are required for most routes in British Columbia from Oct. 1 to March 31? For select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas, the date is extended until April 30 to account for early-spring snowfall. Motorists who are not compliant may be turned away from driving on specific roadways, and/or subject to a fine if they do not have appropriately rated winter tires on their vehicles, which should be marked with M+S or a snowflake/mountain symbol.

It is important to be aware that Highway 97 is a route that requires winter tires. When travelling, review winter driving hazards to identify risk factors related to driving, including poor weather and road conditions that may especially impact staff driving to other locations within the region and outside of the Okanagan Valley.

Routes are marked with regulatory signs posted on highways throughout the province, and can be viewed online.

Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service Award nominations open 

Nominations are now being accepted for Okanagan College's Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service awards.

The Honorary Fellow award is recognition by the College of distinguished achievement or outstanding service. It is the highest honour bestowed by the College. The criteria for the award are mentorship, excellence, eminence and accomplishment.

The Distinguished Service award recognizes a former Okanagan College employee who has given outstanding service to the College, who shares and supports the College’s mission, vision and values, and is active within and outside the College community. This award is not given as a matter of routine.

Full criteria, nomination forms, and a list of previous honorees can be found here. Nominations are being accepted until Nov. 11. Find out more about this year’s Honorary Fellow recipients and Distinguished Service award recipient.

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.

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 Jan. 1 - March 31, deadline is Feb. 28.
For programs starting between April 1 - July 31, deadline is June 30.
For programs starting between Aug. 1 - Dec. 31, deadline is Oct. 31.

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

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 Assistance 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:

  • Summative Assessment, Oct. 29, 1 p.m., (Kelowna)
  • Embedding Assessments into Moodle, Oct. 30, 2 p.m. (Kelowna)
  • The Green Screen, Oct. 31, 12 p.m. (Kelowna)
  • Metacognition, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. (Kelowna)
  • What’s New in Moodle 3.5? Nov. 7, 12 p.m. (Kelowna) | Nov. 21, 12 p.m. (Collaborate)
  • Podcast and Video Instructional Possibilities, Nov. 8, 12 p.m. (Vernon) | Nov. 27, 9 a.m. (Kelowna)
  • Roundtable Discussion, Nov. 12, 12:30 p.m. (Kelowna)
  • Interactive Quizzes & Polls, Nov. 14, 12 p.m. (Kelowna) | Nov. 28, 10 a.m. (Salmon Arm) and 2 p.m. (Vernon)
  • Differentiating Instruction, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. (Kelowna)
  • Using Assessment to Inform Practice, Nov. 26, 2 p.m. (Kelowna)
  • Designing and Evaluating Summative Assessments, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. (Vernon)
  • Best Practices in Online Course Design, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. (Kelowna)
  • Design Thinking, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. (Kelowna) – *registration required before Nov 14*
  • Learning Analytics, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. (Kelowna)
  • Tech Tools to Support Learning, Dec. 12, 12 p.m. (Kelowna)
  • Teaching, Learning, Technology End of Semester Social, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. (Kelowna)

Kelowna campus fitness facility

Closed Mon, Nov. 11 for Remembrance Day.
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.


Let Them Eat Dirt

Nov. 1-2 – A two-day conference at Okanagan College Kelowna campus. Collaborate, explore and participate in key discussions on outdoor play, nature and pedagogy concepts. 

Fri, Nov. 1, 1 - 8 p.m. and Sat, Nov. 2, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Friday's Keynote Speaker: Dr. Brett Finlay, author of "Let Them Eat Dirt", UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor.

Sample Workshops:

  • How Outdoor Play Pedagogy Documentation Informs Children’s Play
  • Designing Natural Outdoor Play Spaces for Municipal Parks Systems
  • Assessing Outdoor Play Spaces for Quality Indicators
  • The Relationship of Outdoor Play to Children’s Skills in Coding
  • How STEM Principles Are Inherent in Quality Outdoor Play Environments
  • Examining the Lawson Foundation Discussion Paper
  • Register on Eventbrite. For more information, email or visit

An opportunity to hear Robert Fisk

Nov. 14 – CJPME: Okanagan, in partnership with Okanagan College and Amnesty International: Kelowna group, invite you to hear renowned international journalist Robert Fisk at the Kelowna campus. Based in Beirut since 1976, Robert Fisk has been the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper "The Independent" since 1988. He is the author of five books and a highly respected veteran journalist. Fisk’s lectures will focus on how Donald Trump has brought chaos and turmoil to the Middle East, especially in its relations with Israel and the Palestinians. Fisk’s talk is entitled: “Tweets and 'Deals of the Century': How to join the Arab world's sectarian war under the guise of peace.”

The talk will take place at the Kelowna campus theatre on Thu, Nov. 14 at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Advance tickets are online; $12 for students and $15 for non-students.

Tickets at the door will be cash only; $15 for students and $20 for non-students.


Kelowna Capital News, The Daily Courier and Global News noted the extension of President Jim Hamilton’s contract.

The Daily Courier, The Okanagan Weekend and Castanet highlighted the new presentation at this year’s Career Fair: Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology.

CastanetThe Okanagan Weekend and Kelowna Now mentioned OC’s Nursing Instructor Monique Karlstrom will be featured on HGTV’s Love It or List It that will be screened in the Kelowna campus theatre Nov. 11 to raise funds for a bursary for a nursing student.

Lake Country Calendar shared that Okanagan College Foundation was one of the recipients of Okanagan Fest of Ale’s donation of $60,000 to 20 local charities.

Kelowna Capital News and Vernon Morning Star noted that the Kalamalka Press October Writer-in-residence, Yvonne Blomer performed a reading and was offering workshops to students in OC’s Writing and Publishing program in Vernon. 

Summerland Review shared that OC alumna Toshie Okada was named October’s Respect Works Here Community Champion for her diverse involvement in society by the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan.

Vernon Morning Star and Kelowna Capital News wrote stories about OC’s campus in Summerland that operated from 1906-1915 and was one of two of the first post-secondary institutions in B.C.

Vernon Morning Star and Kelowna Capital News highlighted Okanagan College practical nursing students will make history as the first diploma program in Canada to do a practicum overseas.

Betakit noted OC alumna Brea Lake’s permanent role as CEO of Accelerate Okanagan and how she plans to boost the Okanagan tech globally.

Kelowna Daily Courier shared the details of OC’s fifth annual International Development Day that took place on Oct. 25.

Castanet, Penticton Herald and Penticton Western News mentioned that Okanagan College students asked Penticton Council to consider affordable housing for students.

The Daily Courier shared the news that the Kelowna chapter of Junior Chamber of Commerce International has its first woman president: OC Alumna Danielle Hofer.


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 Nov. 12, 2019.