Pilot project aims to help students flourish

flourish ioc 250A new wellness project at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is promoting positive mental health and providing students the tools and resources they need to thrive in their studies and personal lives.

Flourish is a series of free drop-in workshops open to all students and will touch on tips and strategies for managing stress, anxiety and depression. Guest speakers throughout the year will help open up the conversation about mental health and work to break down stigmas of mental illness and the challenges students encounter in daily life. 

“As a counsellor, our goal is to create and maintain a positive climate for students to succeed, both academically and in their personal lives, and a major part of doing that is promoting positive mental health,” says Sarah Lefebure, OC Counsellor and co-creator of Flourish.

For more information on Flourish including workshop dates, please visit the Flourish webpage. Read more in the media release

AME-S intake added in Kelowna this fall

ame sept 2017 iocAmid soaring demand for aircraft technicians locally and across Canada, Okanagan College is offering an additional intake of its Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) Structures program this fall.

Starting on Nov. 14, the program will see up to 12 students step into KF Aerospace’s shop space at the Kelowna International Airport. Graduating students will have the opportunity to be interviewed by KF Aerospace in July, a full month before they’ll complete the program. 

“Our commitment to the College is to hire a minimum of half the graduating class, however the last three years straight we’ve hired every single graduating student,” says KF Aerospace Director of Human Resources Grant Stevens.

OC and KF Aerospace are hosting open houses on Sept. 20 and Oct. 18 to inform potential students about the program and about careers in the aviation industry.

Read the full story here

Viticulture program uncorks opportunity for incoming students

vit launch 2 iocOkanagan College’s new Viticulture Technician diploma program kicked off in wine country style earlier this month. On their very first day of class on Sept. 5 students had the chance to tour wineries on the Naramata Bench. They also seized the opportunity to leave their mark on a one-of-a-kind time capsule.

Grey Monk Estate Winery donated three bottles of sparkling wine to commemorate the launch of the program. One bottle was opened to mark the milestone of the first day. A second will be opened to celebrate the first cohort’s graduation in two years. The final bottle, signed by all 22 students, will be kept – unopened – for posterity.

“That bottle will stay in the cellar as a reminder of the first group and how we started,” says program Chair Dr. Gabriel Balint. “It’s like the first brick in the wall for the program.”

For updates about the program, follow the Food, Wine and Tourism Facebook page or learn more on the website.

SoFun workshop returns

sofun 2 iocReturning for the second time, Okanagan College, the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence and Purppl, a social enterprise accelerator, are once again joining forces to host a popular workshop for social entrepreneurs on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

SoFun is a one-day fundamentals workshop held at OC’s Vernon campus for social entrepreneurs of all levels to learn the essential business tools needed to set social enterprise ideas and real-world solutions in motion. Attendees will receive a copy of the Business Model Canvas, have an opportunity to work on their own social enterprise ideas, explore available business resources, connect with other like-minded individuals and have access to learn with and from other social entrepreneurs.

Leading the workshop will be Okanagan College School of Business professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah and Kerry Rempel, joined by Purppl founder Andrew Greer. Local social entrepreneur, Jaye Coward from the award-winning Farm Bound will also join the presentation team as the luncheon speaker. 

Tickets are $45 and include lunch, coffee and tea. Buy tickets online here. Read more in the media release.

Busy fall for Coyotes on the court and the field

bball first tip off iocOkanagan College’s new men’s and women’s basketball teams played their first-ever home openers on Friday, Sept. 9. The Coyotes took to the court against teams from Ambrose University in a packed gymnasium at Immaculata High School in Kelowna. The women’s team came up short 83-57 on opening night but bounced back with a decisive 92-87 win the next day, notching their first victory as a team. The men went 0-2 over their first weekend with an 85-77 decision on Friday and a 94-86 score Saturday afternoon.

The men’s team will face-off next against TRU for a scrimmage in Kamloops this Saturday, while the women’s team will go up against Douglas College for an away game on Sept. 27 and then play a double-header at home against Capilano University. Find full schedules at

Meanwhile the OC Coyotes baseball team celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program at the club’s annual Alumni weekend, Sept. 16-17. The current lineup played two friendly games against past team members to commemorate the occasion and in prep for a busy fall schedule. The team will face TRU on home turf again at Elks Stadium for back-to-back games on Friday starting at 4 p.m. They’ll remain at home for games against the Langley Blaze on Saturday and Sunday. Follow results and find the full schedule at

Wildfire expert Daniels at OC to share insights on causes, consequences

daniels wildfire iocA nationally renowned ecologist is coming to Okanagan College next month to share her research into long-term forest fire patterns and the multitude of factors behind this year’s intense wildfire activity in B.C.

Dr. Lori Daniels, professor of Forest Ecology and director of the Tree-Ring Lab at UBC in Vancouver will speak in the lecture theatre at the Vernon campus on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

“Wildfire is driven by climate, weather and fuels that vary among ecosystems and through time,” explains Daniels. “Combined, land-use change, fire exclusion and global warming have made many forests highly susceptible to intense fires that are difficult to control and spread to large sizes. Revolutionizing forest and fire management will improve ecosystem resilience to climate change, but we will not stop future fires from burning.”

Daniels’ talk will launch the 2017 Science in Society Speakers Series, which will see experts from a wide variety of fields speak at the College this fall. Follow this link for the full schedule and speaker bios.

Courses offer boomers new perspectives on retirement

Soon-to-be retirees looking to explore their options need look no further than two new OC Continuing Studies courses aimed at eliminating anxiety and smoothing the transition.

A six-week course entitled Launching Your Encore Career will offer soon-to-be retirees insights into how they can fulfill the dream of being their own boss, embarking on a second career or using their experience and knowledge to give back to the community.

For those searching for a quick introduction to common retirement pitfalls – and ways of sidestepping them – the College is also offering a four-hour workshop entitled Am I Ready to Retire? How to navigate a smooth transition from the workforce. This shorter offering is designed to help participants gauge their level of readiness to retire, explore their options and develop a plan to make the transition easier.

“Even when retirement is something we’ve looked forward to all our working lives, actually leaving the workforce is complicated,” says Kathy Fahey, a certified retirement coach and one of the instructors for the two new courses.

Launching Your Encore Career starts on Sept. 26 at the Kelowna campus. Am I Ready to Retire? workshop will be offered on Nov. 4 in Penticton and on Nov. 14-16 in Kelowna. Learn more on the Continuing Studies homepage

New offering gives high schoolers a head start

High school students are getting a jump on their Education Assistant (EA) training thanks to a new collaboration between Okanagan College and School District No. 23.

“School District No. 23 approached us to form a dual-credit partnership and help bring forward the next generation of Education Assistants,” says Valerie Banks, Program Coordinator, Continuing Studies. “The demand for EAs is high within Kelowna’s school district, which requires all EAs to be certified.”

Students who have excelled in their high school studies can apply to be a dual-credit student in their Grade 12 year. The dual-credit program allows students to split their final academic year, spending the first half completing their Grade 12 studies and the second half working towards completion of the EA certificate. The four and a half-month, full-time program is offered at George Elliot Secondary School in Lake Country. School District 23 will also be working closely with the College to connect students with practicum placements and educate them on career opportunities and hiring processes within the district.

Read the full story here.


Phil Ashman becomes Regional Dean of the Central Okanagan

phil ashman iocAfter conducting a national search, Okanagan College found its new Central Okanagan Regional Dean from within in Phil Ashman, a 15-year College veteran, who stepped into the role on Sept. 18.

“What interests me most about this new position is the opportunity to build on the successful partnerships Okanagan College has developed with so many valued community organizations in the Central Okanagan,” says Ashman. “I am excited to take on the new challenges and opportunities as a Regional Dean in further supporting our key directions and continued success as a world class educational institution.”

Ashman joined Okanagan College in 2002, first as a professor of Network and Telecommunications Engineering. He spent eight years in an instructional role before becoming department chair in 2010. Three years later he joined the College’s leadership team as Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health, a position he has held for the last four years.

Read the full story here.

Derek Cook Celebration of Life

derek cook sept 2017 iocA celebration of life in memory of long-time and well-respected business professor Derek Cook will be held on Friday, Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the atrium of the new Trades building at the Kelowna campus. All employees, as well as alumni and students are invited. 

Cook passed away on August 10. During his 12-year career with the School of Business he taught at all levels of the accounting and finance streams. He is remembered for his dedication to his students and going over and above, including as a coach of the Queen’s competition Finance team.

In his memory, a legacy scholarship has been set up with the Okanagan College Foundation. The Derek Cook Memorial Fund aims to raise $20,000 in order to create an annual award for a business student. All donations are tax deductible. Visit the event webpage for more information and click here to make a contribution (select the Derek Cook Memorial Fund in the dropdown designation tab).

Mattila chasing academic and community goals

mattila iocRising hockey star 18-year-old Myles Mattila is combining his passions for competitive hockey and volunteerism with a solid business education at Okanagan College.

The right-winger for the Kelowna Chiefs is one of approximately 2,380 new students who began classes at one of Okanagan College’s four campuses this month. According to Mattila, the decision to come to OC was an easy one, owing to the flexibility offered by the College which will allow him to stay active as an athlete and volunteer.

“I can excel in hockey, but why not also with a degree in hand?” says Mattila. “With team practice mid-day I needed something that afforded me the scheduling flexibility to still play competitively. The business program at the College has a reputation for community involvement and enabling students to give back.” 

Off the ice, Mattila is a vocal champion for youth mental health causes. He will represent Kelowna at the 4th International Conference on Youth Mental Health in Dublin, Ireland later this month.

Read on in the media release.

Thorpes’ generosity inspires Penticton students

thorpes 2017 iocSix students are looking forward not only to academic success but community impact during their time at the Penticton campus after receiving Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarships.

Makeena Hartmann, Hailey Grunow and Mickella Di Lorenzo Biggs, recent graduates of Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton, along with Ericka Bidwell from Summerland Secondary, each received a $2,500 Scholarship for Secondary School Graduates. Matthew Ironside of Penticton and Timothy Bey of Princeton were awarded with a $1,000 Entrance Award for Trades and Technology.

“When I learned I received the scholarship I had tears of joy,” says Grunow, who is entering the Associate of Arts Degree program. “Having the financial burden off my shoulders means I don’t need to work as much, and allows me to pay forward the Thorpe’s generosity by spending more time giving back through volunteering.”

The Thorpes have a long history of championing education in the South Okanagan, and have supported students at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan for more than a decade. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2006, $102,250 has been awarded to 49 students entering Okanagan College.

Read the full story here.

Beaulne and Minions aim to demystify community theatre

theatre iocOC English professor Jeremy Beaulne and Educational Technology Coordinator Mike Minions will take to the stage in the Kelowna campus Lecture Theatre as part of a series of free community theatre workshops on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Minions will be welcoming potential actors with a workshop called How Rehearsals Work while Beaulne will sit on directing and playwriting panels and will also adjudicate a “play-in-a-day” competition. Teams can register on that Saturday and will have 24 hours to create and rehearse a short play, which they will perform on the Kelowna campus stage at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. The winning team will receive tickets to an upcoming Theatre Kelowna production.

The event is hosted by the Red Dot Players, Shakespeare Kelowna and the Theatre Kelowna Society and is part of the nationwide Culture Days project. For more information and the complete schedule of workshops and panels, please visit the Theatre Kelowna Society’s Facebook page.

Dorothy Hamilton joins Continuing Studies

dorothy hamilton iocContinuing Studies welcomed a new team member recently with the arrival of Corporate Training Consultant Dorothy Hamilton.

A long time Kelowna resident, Hamilton comes to the College with a wealth of professional experience in marketing, sales and business management, honed during a 20+ year career in television with Global Edmonton and Global Okanagan.

She is also an accomplished speaker, having won a national speaking competition presented by the Government of Canada and hosted by Toastmasters International. Hamilton is also an Okanagan College alumna; she has participated in many classes at Okanagan College including two CS certificate programs.

If you would like to connect with Hamilton to speak about Okanagan College’s Corporate Training offerings, she can be reached by email, at ext. 4809 or in person in A120 at the Kelowna campus.

In memory of Gloria Chutskoff

Gloria Chutskoff, a former employee of Okanagan College in Kelowna, died on Sept. 8. Gloria joined Okanagan College in 2005 and worked as a Student Services Clerk in the Welcome Centre. She retired from the College in 2012.

A service in Gloria’s memory was held on Saturday, Sept. 17. Anyone who would like to send condolences to her family can do so online here.

2017-18 Innovation Fund recipients announced

Nine innovative projects stewarded by employees from every corner of the College’s region have received support from the OC Innovation Fund this year. Open to all employees, the fund is intended to enrich the learning and teaching process, augment the professional development and scholarly activity of employees and advance the College’s applied research agenda.

“Innovation – introducing, evaluating and embracing new ideas – is one of the College’s core values and serves as a foundation for so much of what we do,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, the College’s Vice President of Education. “This year’s recipients embody that spark of innovation that drives our college forward in many different areas.”

2017-18 Recipients:

  • Gabriel Balint – Developing a Multipurpose Teaching/Experimental Vineyard as part of the Precision Viticulture and Sustainability Concept in Penticton

  • Joaquim Camps – Prep for Success: Essential Skills for College or University

  • Michael Conyette – Student Gaze Patterns through Smart Glasses and Eye-tracker Technology

  • Paula Faragher & Sarah Lefebure – Flourish, a Wellness Project

  • Jillian Garrett – Department of Communications Student Support Program

  • Rob Kjarsgaard – Gateway to the Trades Curriculum Consolidation Project

  • Sherry Otruba – Chemistry 011 E-Learning Course Development

  • Wanda Radies – Individualized Post-Secondary through Modified Access and Plain Language Education for Students with Cognitive Challenges

  • Darrell Skinner – Supporting English as a Second Language Students in Medical Terminology Literacy – Joint TAD/ESL Project

September 19, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 37


Attend an internationalization consultation session

As part of the College’s Toward 2020 Strategic Plan, the Internationalization Project Team was established. The group’s goal is to enhance global awareness in order to succeed in the increasingly integrated world.

Through earlier consultations, the team developed four belief statements centred around diversity, increased international activities, and opportunities at home and abroad to broaden global perspectives for students and employees.

Employees are invited to participate in a series of consultation sessions to learn more about the belief statements and to discuss ways to bring them to life. Each session will be one hour. A session took place on Sept. 18 in Kelowna and on Sept. 21 at the Penticton campus. Upcoming sessions include:

  • Kelowna: Tues., Sept. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Trades building
  • Vernon: Wed., Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in room E102/103
  • Salmon Arm: Wed., Sept. 27 at 3:50 p.m. in room SA130

Visit the Internationalization webpage for more information.

Upcoming governance elections

The Board of Governors and the Education Council will be looking to fill eight positions this fall to help steer Okanagan College. Two faculty or vocational instructors will be sought in addition to six student representatives. Details and forms are available in the Elections tab in myOkanagan. 

Education Council considers curriculum and educational policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility for the management, administration and control of the property, revenue, expenditures, business and affairs of the institution.

The election process schedule will be as follows:

  • Call for nominations: Sept. 7 - 24 inclusive
  • Campaign period: Sept. 14 - Oct. 4
  • Candidates posted: Sept. 25
  • Elections: Oct. 7 - 15
  • Results announced: Oct. 16
  • Deadline for appeals: Oct. 23
  • Deadline for recount requests: Oct. 23

Emergency procedures posted

Emergency procedures posters have been posted in every classroom at the Kelowna campus, in high visibility areas (often near the door or light switch). Posters include emergency contact numbers (250 862 5401 from any cell phone, or 6699 from any campus phone) and the steps to take if you need first aid, if you experience a fire, lethal threat, power outage, hazardous material exposure or gas leak, building flood, or if you need to evacuate the building. Instructors, please review the poster with your classes during the first few days of each semester so everyone is familiar with the proper procedures. It is also recommended that students and employees program the emergency number into their cell phones for quick access. Posters will be posted at other OC campuses in the near future.

Celebrate Science Literacy Week 2017

A reminder that Library Services is celebrating Science Literacy Week from Sept. 18 to 24. Discover the world of science with displays of science books, periodicals, databases, and DVDs at each of the four campus libraries. As part of the national Science Literacy Week, this event promotes public awareness of science and highlights resources available. Visit the library webpage or stop by your campus library for more information about displays and events at each campus.

New work order system to launch this fall

Facilities and Business Services is working on the implementation of a new work order system for facilities-related work requests, and testing it with a pilot group now with an expected changeover to occur in October. More information will follow as the project team gets closer to the launch date.

EFAP September newsletter is now online

OC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider LifeWorks has provided a number of resources related to adapting to change this month. Read the September newsletter here.

Flash Glucose Monitoring System available through Manulife

Employees currently covered under the College’s extended health care benefits may be interested to know that the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System – a new category of diabetes monitoring systems that just received Health Canada approval – will be included in Manulife drug plans that provide coverage for diabetic supplies. The FreeStyle Libre system consists of a small, easy to wear sensor worn on the upper arm and a portable reader. Login in to Manulife Plan Member site for more information.


9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow
50/50 supports student awards

Sept. 21 – Experience the vibrant visual and dance celebration of Aboriginal culture at the ninth annual Youth Exhibition Powwow. The popular event will once again be held in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. Richard Jackson will emcee the celebration that will feature drum groups Birch Creek and The Cliffs. All dancers are welcome.

As in past years, the Powwow will feature a 50/50 draw with proceeds supporting awards for Aboriginal students. Tickets are $2 each and can be purchased in advance from the Aboriginal Services office (S124) at the Kelowna campus until 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. The draw will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the courtyard. Winner must be present at the time of the draw. If no winner comes forward after 10 minutes, another ticket will be drawn. Visit the Powwow webpage for more information. 

Asteroid and comet observations talk

Sept. 21  Learn about asteroid and comet observations at a free public talk with award-winning planetary radar astronomer and rocket scientist Alessondra Springmann. Visiting from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, Springmann currently works on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission. See the poster for more information. The talk takes place at 7:30 p.m. in room H115 at the Kelowna campus.

Greg Fjetland retirement reception

Sept. 26 – Education Advising staff member Greg Fjetland is retiring following a career that has spanned more than 20 years at Okanagan College. Employees are invited to join him on his last day of work, Tuesday, Sept. 26, at a reception from 3 - 4:30 p.m. in room E108 (International Kitchen) at the Kelowna campus. Please bring an appetizer to share. A cake and refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to

Darleen Lajeunesse retirement reception

Sept. 29 – Darleen Lajeunesse, Registrar’s Office employee and Kelowna switchboard attendant, will be retiring on Friday, Sept. 29 following 23 years of service at Okanagan College. A friendly face and voice to many, employees are invited to celebrate Darleen’s contributions to the College at a retirement reception on Friday, Sept. 22 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in the Executive Office Boardroom (S103B) at the Kelowna campus. 

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.

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. Find the workshop schedule and learn more here.


The announcement of a new partnership between Okanagan College and School District No. 23 that will allow Grade 12 students to get a head start on the Education Assistant certificate program made the Academica Top 10, KelownaNow, The Daily Courier and Castanet

Okanagan College School of Business Professor David Cram was interviewed by the Business News Network about a new course on the emerging business impacts of marijuana legalization and regulation in Canada. The story was also picked up by, The Penticton HeraldThe Vernon Morning Star, and The Daily Courier.

Word of new Okanagan College courses advising baby boomers about their options as they approach retirement was spread throughout the region by Castanet and The Daily Courier.

The appointment of Phil Ashman as new Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan was shared by Castanet, The Penticton HeraldThe Capital News and The Daily Courier

The story of new OC business student Myles Mattila’s winning ways on the ice and his inspiring efforts to champion mental health awareness in the community was served up to readers by The Daily Courier and Castanet

News that Okanagan College is offering an additional intake of its Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) – Structures program in Kelowna flew to readers thanks to coverage by Okanagan WeekendCastanet and The Salmon Arm Observer

The return of the popular SoFun social enterprise workshop for entrepreneurs – coming to the College’s Vernon campus on Tuesday, Sept. 26 – was heralded by Castanet, The Vernon Morning Star, and The Salmon Arm Observer

Six new Okanagan College students in Penticton received a big boost toward their education thanks to awards from the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship Fund as covered by The Penticton HeraldCastanet and

Awareness around Flourish, a new wellness project at the Penticton campus which aims to provide enhanced activities and resources for students to support their mental health, blossomed over the past week thanks to stories by The Capital News, The Penticton Herald and Castanet

KelownaNow was courtside for the OC Coyotes men’s and women’s basketball teams’ home openers in Kelowna this month. The Capital News profiled the teams and covered their first games as did The Daily Courier.

Jordan Perrey will step into the role of Director of IT Services at Okanagan College on Sept. 25 and news of his appointment was carried by The Vernon Morning Star and

Okanagan College alumnus Kelly Loudoun was named to the Top 40 Under 40 published by the The Daily Courier for his accomplishments as a homebuilder, marketer and hockey player.

Allan Coyle, Okanagan College's Director of Public Affairs, was quoted in recent articles carried by The Capital News and The Summerland Review about how young professionals benefit from small businesses in the Okanagan, along with the diverse career paths and job opportunities for OC graduates, locally and outside the region.

The Daily Courier gave readers a heads up about the return of the popular trunk sale presented by the Regional Waste Reduction Office. The sale will take place at Okanagan College Kelowna campus in parking Lot 17 on Sept. 30. 


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 October 3, 2017.