Community Foundation gives boost to College’s child care centre

Aaron McRann

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is adding a building block to the fundraising campaign for the new child care centre at the Penticton campus.
The Community Foundation is contributing $7,490 to help enhance the outdoor play space at the new Little Learners Academy.
“The significance of the new centre goes beyond the boundaries of our campus and will benefit the community and economy,” explains Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.
“Providing parents access to child care empowers them to enter or stay in the workforce or focus on their own education. We thank the Community Foundation for recognizing that need and showing their support to give the next generation a quality start to their education.”
Little Learners Academy opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society. Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.
Click here to read the full story. To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit

Industry partners design the right fit for College’s gas lab

Gas lab collaboration teamThree local companies are demonstrating that generosity comes in many forms through the donation of their time and expertise to give trades students a new cutting-edge natural gas lab.
John Davina of KalWest Mechanical Systems Inc., Rob Jemson and Shawn Campbell of Midvalley Sheet Metal and Mathieu Pastinelli of British Columbia Safety Authority lent a hand to set up an industry-ready training space for Plumbing and Piping Trades students at the Kelowna campus.
“It’s a huge asset to the industry to have skilled labour come out of a world-class facility right in our backyard,” says Davina. “After 30 years in the industry, it is deeply rewarding to give back to the community by helping provide training opportunities for plumbers and gasfitters in the Interior.”
Part of the College’s $35-million trades complex renovation and expansion, the design of the brand new 1,500 square-foot natural gas lab was originally assisted with a donation from FortisBC. The planning, layout and installation was led by Peter Csandl, Manager, Plant Services and Operations at the College and Davina, owner of Kal-West. 
Read the full story here.

Local businesses and non-profits get a glimpse into OC’s applied research

OC applied researchVernon-based companies, non-profit organizations and individuals had the opportunity on Oct. 27 to learn more about applied research and the benefits of connecting with Okanagan College.
Two sessions, led by Dr. Andrew Hay, the College's Vice President Education, and Dr. Beverlie Dietze, the College's Director of Learning and Applied Research, presented on current College research including designing outdoor playgrounds for children and ways to speed up and stabilize online connections for gamers.
“There are many examples of how the College’s professors and researchers have helped companies, industries and non-profit organizations advance their agendas, whether it is product development, innovation or solving business problems,” explains Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan.

Read the media release here.

Strong turnout for International Development Day 

International DayNearly 300 people, including OC students, local high school students and community members converged on the Kelowna campus for International Development Day on Oct. 25.
Hosted by the International Development diploma program, this popular annual event celebrates the role of Okanagan individuals and organizations in creating a better world through international humanitarian actions, aid and development efforts across the globe. Sixteen non-profit organizations showcased their work through displays in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning throughout the day this year. Students from OC and KSS also had a chance to join drop-in talks by OC faculty and guest speakers.
Find the full list of participants here. Visit the OC Library's Guide for resources on International Development.  


OC alumni and student honoured at the 30th Annual Business Excellence Awards

Andrew Gaucher

Two Okanagan College alumni and a current student were among the outstanding local businesses and entrepreneurs honoured by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce at the 30th Annual Business Excellence Awards which took place on Oct. 12. 

OC alumnus Andrew Gaucher took home the Young Entrepreneur Award. Gaucher graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and was recognized for his role both within the G Group and Catalyst Land Development.
Jade and Jesse Davidson
The Small Business of the Year Award went to OC alumnus Jade Davidson and current student, Jesse Davidson for their business, Hybrid Elevator Inc. Jade graduated in June 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Jesse is currently enrolled in the Business Administration diploma program.

The full list of winners is available here

College deans to educate on approaching digital revolution

Bill GillettTwo College deans are combining perspectives and stepping into the community to present on the emerging digital revolution at the upcoming Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday, Nov. 3.

Bill Gillett, the new Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, is the event keynote speaker and will be joined by Phil Ashman, the new Central Okanagan Regional Dean, to give the community a glimpse of technologies to come and how businesses can best prepare for success. 

The event is now sold out. Those interested in attending can register for the waitlist here

OC’s Dr. Terence Day publishes research

Terence DayDr. Terence Day, OC Professor of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, recently had his research published in a special issue of Sustainability, a peer-reviewed open access journal.

The article, entitled “The Contribution of Physical Geographers to Sustainability Research” provides a systematic review of peer-reviewed research by physical geographers on sustainability. The results show that physical geographers are active in sustainability research in terms of a spatial perspective, an understanding of human interactions with the environment and an ability to recognize, interpret, and project environmental change and its impacts.
"Geographers understand the ways that places are unique, and that 'one-size fits-all' types of solutions often do not work. It is important that multidisciplinary research projects include a geographic perspective," says Day. "The paper seems to have attracted quite a lot of attention and I hope that it has an impact on the way that sustainability research projects are undertaken."
Click here to access the paper.

Spooky happenings at OC today

Halloween 2017Okanagan College employees reported numerous sightings of ghosts, goblins, witches, superheroes, giant sponges attired in square-pants and a host of other frightening and out-of-this-world characters today. Fortunately, it was all in good fun as Halloween festivities abounded at OC campuses throughout the region.

Children from Little Scholars daycare in Kelowna and Little Learners in Penticton visited to trick-or-treat and show off their costumes. Athletics, Rec and Student Life and the OCSU hosted a Halloween party complete with a photobooth, games, treats and prizes in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning. 

Reconciliation and indigenization

What do reconciliation and indigenization look like in a post-secondary context? Tosh Southwick, Executive Director of First Nation Initiatives and Community Engagement at Yukon College came to the College on Oct. 24 to speak about Yukon College’s experience with Indigenization. 

For anyone who wasn’t able to attend the live presentation or view it live, you can watch the recorded presentation here.

OC treated to live quartet music

Lunchtime at The Pit on Thursday, Oct. 26 was awe inspiring for music lovers. 
Students and employees were surprised by the hour-long performance from The Rolston String Quartet, provided by Chamber Music Kelowna.

The accomplished performers, Luri Lee, violin, Jeffrey Dyrda, violin, Hezekiah Leung, violin and Jonathan Lo, cello, are first prize laureates of the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition and were named among the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2016 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30. 

“Watching students come into The Pit and simply stop was wonderful," says Dr. Steven Tuck, Director, Chamber Music Kelowna; President Emeritus, Okanagan College Foundation. "Many sat on the stools around the area and others joined the audience in chairs to have a close-up of the performers, who played music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Debussy.” 

The program was sponsored by Forever Young news magazine and Kelowna Rotary Club. For more information on the quartet, click here.

October 31, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 40


Planned power outage and Kelowna campus closure

Testing, inspection and maintenance work on the Kelowna campus’s high-voltage power system require a campus-wide shutdown on Saturday, Nov. 18. 
Classes regularly scheduled for Nov. 18 will either be moved to alternate locations, cancelled or rescheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience. Affected students have been or will be notified by instructors, by their portfolio areas and/or by the Regional Dean’s office.
Other services normally available (i.e. the library, the fitness facility) will be closed for the day. Web-based services will continue to be available on the 18th. 
Employees and students should not come to campus during the closure.
Emergency power will be operational for all life safety systems and IT server rooms. 
If you are an instructor who has classes or workshops scheduled for the 18th that have not been rescheduled or cancelled, please contact your direct supervisor.
Regular campus activities are scheduled to recommence at 7 a.m. Nov. 19.

Learner-Centered Instructor program now accepting applications

The Learner-Centred Instructor certificate program (LCI) is now accepting applications for the winter intake. The 60-hour program runs from Jan. 8 – April 22 and is offered primarily online with one in-class session at the Kelowna campus. 

The LCI program provides new instructors the opportunity to increase their teaching skills while developing a learner-centered philosophy of instruction. By the end of the program, participants will be able to create an engaging environment and develop and deliver effective learner strategies.

The program also accounts as credit for two Provincial Instructor Diploma courses and eligible OC employees can apply for a tuition waiver. For more information visit

Employee survey open

For the sixth time since 2007, Okanagan College is surveying its employees to learn more about their work experiences and environment.

The survey, conducted by the College’s Institutional Research and Human Resources departments, is anonymous, online (although physical copies are available for those who feel more comfortable with pen and paper), and will be available to employees until Nov. 27.

“While it is a volunteer survey, we encourage all employees to fill it out,” says OC’s Director of Human Resources, Linda Heska. “Our Board and leadership are keenly interested to know how employees feel about their workplaces, about how they identify with the college, about what they think could be improved, and about what they like and dislike.”

Results will be disclosed to the employee community, once they are compiled. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Linda Heska (ext. 4419).

Learn about your pension

The Municipal Pension Board of Trustees has decided to change the actuarial assumptions used to determine optional forms of pension and convert special agreement balances to additional pension.

These changes may affect monthly pension amounts for members who retire on or after January 1, 2018, and

choose an optional form of pension,
purchase a temporary annuity, or
convert a special agreement balance to additional pension.

 Please see the Plan News page at for more details.

Half marathon seeks new race director

Okanagan College is looking for an employee who is interested in taking on the volunteer role of race director of the Okanagan College Half Marathon. The half marathon has a long and proud history in Kelowna with roots that date back to 2003 when it kicked off as OUC’s campus-to-campus race. Over the next 14 years the race grew to include a 10 K and half marathon relay race and has raised thousands of dollars in support of student bursaries at OC.
The race is typically held on the first Sunday in April, though no date has been confirmed for 2018. Anyone interested in taking on the lead role should contact Christine Ulmer. Christine has been the director for the past seven years and will be available to mentor a new race director through the event.

Governance elections results

Congratulations to the new student members of the Board of Governors and Education Council:

Board of Governors
Raffaello Law
Maia Reynard

Education Council
Central Okanagan
Nancy deMelo

North Okanagan
Nathan Nesbitt

Shuswap – Revelstoke
Relan Johanson

A by-election will be called shortly for a Faculty representative from the North Okanagan and a Faculty and a Student representative from the South Okanagan-Similkameen as the recent call for nominations did not produce any candidates.

Education Council By-Election

A By-Election for Education Council is coming up in December and the call for nominations for the following positions opens on Nov. 1. 

• Faculty North Okanagan (Term: Jan. 1, 2018 – Jul. 31, 2019)
• Faculty South Okanagan (Term: Jan. 1, 2018 – Jul. 31, 2019)
• Student South Okanagan (Term: Jan. 1, 2018 – Oct. 31, 2018)

The call for nominations will be open Nov. 1 – 19, 2017 inclusive. Forms will be available in myOkanagan. Elections will be held Dec. 1 – 10 in myOkanagan.

Remembrance Day stat holiday observance 

As Remembrance Day falls on Saturday, Nov. 11 this year, employees should observe the statutory holiday on Monday, Nov. 13.


ChangeUP 3 competition

Nov. 2 – Enactus OC is a finalist in the upcoming ChangeUP 3 competition where local social entrepreneurs pitch their innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges in our community to a live voting audience.

Come and vote for your favourite social entrepreneur. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for students.

OC Speakers Series - Penticton campus

Okanagan College’s popular Speakers Series returns to the Penticton campus this fall with an exciting lineup of speakers. Talks are held Monday nights (see full schedule here) from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre, (PL 107), Ashnola Building. Admission is by donation. Funds will be used to help students in need. Visit the website for more information.

Upcoming speakers:

• Nov. 6 – Sharon Wiener: Saying goodbye – a Buddhist perspective on death and dying
• Nov. 20 – Shaun Reimer: Okanagan Lake regulation system
• Nov. 27 – Mike Noseworth: Dam Safety in B.C.

Learning and Applied Research Workshops – Fall 2017

Learning and Applied Research is offering a series of free professional development workshops for employees this fall. All workshops will be held in Room B120 at the Kelowna campus, unless otherwise specified. Please email to register in advance. View the full schedule here.

Upcoming workshops:

• Nov. 2: noon - 1 p.m. – Lynda Dreaper: Intermediate Microsoft Excel 2013/2016
• Nov. 8: 9 - 11 a.m. – Raj Matthews: How to manage your Outlook
• Nov. 8: 11 a.m. - noon – Magma Live Online Seminar: Facilitate deep learning and student engagement through Socratic questioning

2017 OC Social Committee holiday party

Tickets for this year’s holiday party are now available. The party will be held at Mission Tap House in Kelowna on Saturday, Dec.16 starting at 6 p.m. For just $35 you can enjoy a full holiday buffet, live music, dancing, use of the games room, prizes, and $4 house wine and beer after 9 p.m. 

Buy your ticket(s) by November 17 and you’ll be entered in a draw for one of four $25 gift cards to Mission Tap House that you can choose to use at the party or save for another time. Tickets are available from any OCSC member: Angie March (Regional Dean’s Office), Blake Edwards (Recruitment), Carlyn Young (Registrar’s Office), Danai Belanger (International), Dawn Douglas (Advancement and Alumni), Gerry Born (Co-op), Lynda Dreaper (HR), Margaret Johnson (Executive Office), Tanya Tarlit (Co-op).

Download the event poster here.

Sharon Thesen book launch

The launch of renowned local poet Sharon Thesen’s latest work The Receiver is happening on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Caetani Cultural Centre in Vernon, presented by the Kalamalka Press. Download the poster here.

Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Week

In November the Kelowna campus Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee will present the second annual OHS awareness week with a focus on ergonomics. Employees are invited to drop by the Atrium of the Centre for Learning on Tuesday, Nov. 7 or Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. to view “then and now” workstations, a visual presentation of best practices for better posture. Ever wonder what the five levers on your chair do? Stop by for helpful tips on adjusting it and find out how to organize your workstation to help prevent musculoskeletal injury. 

Committee members will also have displays set up on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the S Building and Friday, Nov. 10 on the second floor of the C building. Pick up useful information and free swag.

Be part of something big

For the fifth consecutive year, Giving Tuesday will be happening on Nov. 28. This movement has grown into the single largest day of charitable giving in Canada, as individuals come together to support great causes in their communities.

The Okanagan College Foundation will be participating in the #GivingTuesdayCA Okanagan Civic movement to raise funds for student awards and support at the College. Check out the Foundation’s Facebook page to learn how you can donate and be part of something big. Also, take a peek at this introductory video to the Giving Tuesday movement. 

OC Campus Store Annual Customer Appreciation Sale

The OC Campus Store is hosting its Annual Customer Appreciation Sale on Nov. 16.

Customers will enjoy up to 65% off select items, 25% off all regular priced crested clothing and giftware and bargain books start at just $0.99. Special merchandise has been brought in for the sale and all visitors will receive a coffee and goodies. 

View the event poster here.


Provincial funding was announced recently for community-based adult literacy programs delivered in the Okanagan and Columbia-Shuswap. The funding will support a number of community organizations partnering with Okanagan College to open doors for adult learners, as reported by The Lake Country Calendar, The Capital News, The Vernon Morning Star, and The Salmon Arm Observer. 

As part of Bookfest 2017, the Salmon Arm campus hosted the international launch of Powered by Love a non-fiction work sharing the remarkable story of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers project, which sees grandmothers (and other volunteers) in Canada raise funds through knitted and quilted items and many other endeavors to fund AIDS relief in Africa. The launch of the book was promoted in advance by The Salmon Arm Observer.

Renowned ethnobiologist Dr. Nancy Turner’s presentation on Oct. 18 at the Vernon campus was shared with readers by The Vernon Morning Star and Castanet. Turner discussed how Indigenous people in B.C. have traditionally passed down and continue to share their plant and habitat preservation knowledge, techniques and practices across generations.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow (2014) Raghwa Gopal was profiled in Okanagan Weekend last month for his continued efforts, as CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, to advance the region’s potential as a hub for technology. Also featured in the article was Okanagan College School of Business alumna Brea Retzlaff, Accelerate Okanagan’s Director of Operations. 

Another OC School of Business alumnus made the news in October when Justin O’Connor was named to the Top Forty Under 40 presented by BDO, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and The Daily Courier. O’Connor, owner and operator of the Sotheby’s Realty brokerage in Kelowna earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a specialization in Marketing from the College in 2004.

The College was a sponsor and served as the venue for the fourth annual Community Leader Awards which took place in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus on Monday, Oct. 23. OC Early Childhood Education Instructor Betty Cleland received top honour in the Mentor category and was featured in a special supplement by The Capital News. Also pictured in the piece were Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler and Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan Phil Ashman, who presented the Leader of the Year Award to Axis Family Resources Regional Manager Curtis McTavish.

Okanagan College’s Enactus team is a finalist in the upcoming social and environmental change pitch competition, ChangeUP 3, and
The Daily Courier, Capital NewsOkanagan Weekend and Castanet helped share the news.

The Revelstoke Review helped OC employee Kara Kazimer express her thanks to the community and her OC coworkers for their support after her nine-year-old daughter, Chelsea, was air-lifted to BC Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. 

Okanagan College was home to the Regional District of Central Okanagan’s Waste Reduction Office’s event, The Repair Café on Oct. 28. The fix-it workshop made the pages of Okanagan Weekend and Castanet.

OC Alumnus Shane Koyczan, an award-winning spoken word poet, author, musician and champion of social causes is performing in Kelowna and Penticton this week. He spoke with the Penticton Herald about his career and love for his home, the Okanagan. 

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen was featured in the Penticton HeraldPenticton Western News and Summerland Review for their $7,490 contribution to enhance the outdoor play space at the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus children’s centre.

The women's and men’s Okanagan College Coyotes basketball teams took on the Langara Falcons on Oct. 27. Global News, Capital NewsPenticton Herald and Daily Courier helped parade news about the games and events leading up to the games.

The Capital News and KelownaNow spoke about the Okanagan College Coyotes’ game history from the past few weeks and game against VIU’s Camosun Chargers.

Ben Klick, an OC Alumnus and local country musician, has been named the best country club act in B.C. and Castanet helped share the news.

Info News and Castanet shared the news of charges laid against an Armstrong man in connection with a 2016 vehicle crash in Vernon that left two young OC alumnae dead. 

Current OC student, Jag Sumal, was recently profiled by the Keremeos Review as the new owner of Fas Gas in Keremeos. 

A new report by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission shows the Central Okanagan is the fastest growing region in B.C. and Okanagan College was noted by Global News as a contributing factor.

The Vernon Morning Star spread the word about Okanagan College supporting the NexusBC Community Resource Centre for their next installment of the employment program.


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

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on November 14, 2017.