Strong turnout for 8th annual Powwow

2016 powwow iocMore than 350 elementary and secondary students, 75 dancers, 30 vendors and hundreds of OC and community attendees filled the courtyard of the Kelowna campus on Sept. 15 to celebrate and honour Aboriginal culture at the 8th annual Okanagan College Youth Exhibition Powwow.

“Overall this has been one of the best powwow’s that we have hosted,” says Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac, one of the event’s organizers. “I’m thoroughly satisfied with the level of OC engagement witnessed at the powwow. We had employees and members of the leadership team involved in the grand entry. I saw some staff and students dancing in intertribal songs, and of course numerous volunteers helping make this event the success it was. To me, that’s a prime example of how OC embodies cultural inclusion.”

Every September dancers and drummers from across the B.C. interior converge on the Kelowna campus to participate and share their artistry, skills, and knowledge. It is a visual celebration of Aboriginal culture that continues to generate growing interest and community participation each year. It’s also an event that benefits students—from creating awareness and opportunities to engage in cultural activities on campus, to the generation of support for student awards.

“We raised over $500 in raffle proceeds for another Aboriginal scholarship,” explains Isaac. “Thank you to Chef Bernard, Linda Dyck, Richard McAdam, Katerina Hay, Heather Carson, Carlyn Young, all of our volunteers, corporate sponsors, and community donors.”

Click here to view a video produced by Castanet.

New HRMA accreditation a boost for business students

hrma signing - iocAfter graduating from the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program this June, Ryan Lazauskas wasted no time stepping out into a career in Human Resources. And thanks to the announcement of a new accreditation for the College’s School of Business, BBA graduates like Lazauskas will be able to fast track their professional designation.

Baldev Gill, Chief Operating Officer of the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of BC and the Yukon, visited the Kelowna campus on Sept. 15 to recognize Okanagan College as an HRMA accredited institution. The distinction means graduates of the Human Resources Management program are now exempt from writing the National Knowledge Exam: the first step in obtaining the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, a valuable credential for HR professionals.

“This agreement represents a tangible outcome ensuring that BBA graduates are well equipped to take on professional roles in organizations of all types and sizes,” explains Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Employers can be confident that these students have developed competency in the nine required practice areas and are on their way to attaining certification as a Certified Human Resources Professional.”

The agreement will be retroactive for three years, meaning students who graduated with a BBA and human resources management specialty dating back to May of 2013 will receive an exemption from writing the exam, providing they achieved a minimum 70 per cent grade point average.  

Read more about the accreditation and benefits for students in the press release.

Okanagan College has a new sexual violence and misconduct policy 

All Okanagan College students and employees have the right to study, learn, and work in an environment free of sexual violence. Simply put, sexual violence and misconduct is not tolerated at Okanagan College.
The College has recently developed and approved a Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (which can be found here) that applies to all students and employees. The goal is to raise awareness about sexual violence and develop practices to prevent sexual violence on our campuses and, importantly, provide support to survivors who experience sexual assault. To that end, the College has developed a website ( that contains information, videos, and links to community resources. Everyone is encouraged to visit the site and review the materials.

Funding support from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General has also allowed the College to research best practices for training in sexual assault/misconduct and offer a series of different workshops. Starting this fall, trained OC facilitators will be presenting workshops on Being More Than a Bystander. Workshops will be offered over the year to students on every campus and to different employee groups.
OC’s two student associations are also getting involved and this winter they will be presenting a Let’s Get Consensual campaign. This campaign will offer students the opportunity to learn about how consent is paramount to strong healthy relationships.
Read the full story here.

Coding course to help students tap into tech sector jobs

A high-tech collaboration between Okanagan College and Lighthouse Labs - one of Canada’s fastest-growing computer coding trainers – has yielded an introductory course that will set students on the path to a career in coding this fall.

The Coding Fundamentals course begins Oct. 11 in Kelowna and will provide students with some of the most in-demand skills in the high-tech marketplace. Over the course of 60 hours, students will boost coding abilities and learn the basics of web development from experienced developers. Students will create apps using a variety of coding languages including Ruby, Sinatra and Swift.

“Coding is garnering a lot of interest from educators and employers,” observes Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department. “Lighthouse Labs is a recognized leader in this field. We are excited to collaborate with them on this leading edge course.”

More information is available in the press release.


Derickson new Vice Chair of OC Board of Governors

Chris Derickson Sept 2016Chris Derickson, a councillor from the Westbank First Nation, is the new Vice Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.

Derickson, who replaces Doug Manning in the role, has been on the College Board since 2014. He holds a degree in law from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC Okanagan. He is also currently completing a Masters of Business Administration in Aboriginal and Business Leadership at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

“Chris is a respected community member who brings leadership and planning insight to the Board of Governors,” says Okanagan College Board Chair Connie Denesiuk. “He will be a key asset in the governance of the College as we implement our new strategic plan.”

Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service Award nominations

hon fellows ioc septNominations are now being accepted for the Okanagan College Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service awards.

The Honorary Fellow award is recognition by Okanagan College of distinguished achievement or outstanding service. 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. Deadline for nominations is Nov. 10.

New funding fuels adult literacy program in Salmon Arm

sa event - sept 20 iocA grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation is helping instructors of Okanagan College’s Adult Literacy program explore new ways of connecting students with language.

The Foundation’s generous support, a grant of $1,118 this year, allowed for the purchase of several class sets of adult literacy novels with an Indigenous theme.  In addition to the novels, an Aboriginal Literacy workbook series, an active reader workbook series and a class set of magnetic poetry kits were also purchased.  The poetry kits will be used to explore different ways of connecting to language.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Shuswap Community Foundation, Salmon Arm’s Adult Literacy program will be able to continue to utilize unique teaching tools to help students with varied learning needs,” said Joyce Smith, Volunteer Literacy Tutor Coordinator.

Enactus students lend their business savvy
to Farmbag Fundraiser

farmbagA project supporting local farmers and socially aware projects in the community is giving OC students a chance to put their business skills to work.

The Farmbag program invites Okanagan residents to sign up for a three-month subscription to a monthly 25 lb bag of locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables. Each bag is $40 with proceeds benefitting local community groups and schools.

“Enactus Okanagan College originally partnered with Farmbag Fundraiser to help them better understand their target market and develop marketing material in order to increase the number of community organization they worked with,” explains Carly Suddard, VP Enactus Okanagan College Kelowna and
a third-year Bachelor of Business degree student.

Students’ investment in the project has come full circle, with a portion of proceeds now heading back to support students at the College. Individuals and businesses can sign up on the project website before Sept. 30. For more information contact Carly Suddard.

Donor support creates study space for carpentry students

turner renovation donationA local renovation expert and long-time Okanagan College supporter has stepped up with support for the next wave of carpenters training to follow in his family’s footsteps.

Gord Turner, founder of Gord Turner Renovations Ltd., has donated $15,000 to outfit a new study space in the Carpentry shop. The space will come online for students this fall.

“Education has never been more important in the trades,” says Turner. “The industry is constantly changing. If you want to be successful in the long run you have to keep learning and changing with it.”

Turner has been a member of the Carpentry program’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for nearly a decade and took a refresher course in carpentry at the Kelowna campus in the early 2000s. His sons Cody and Kyle are also alumni. Cody earned his Red Seal as a carpenter in 2005, while his younger son Kyle graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2008.

Read on in the press release.

New training for support workers serving Aboriginal communities

A new program collaboratively developed by Okanagan College and local First Nation communities will launch this fall to help support workers better serve Aboriginal individuals and families.

The first intake of the Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program opens in October at the College’s Salmon Arm campus. It will include a practicum with a local community/human service work employer.

“This program is the product of extensive consultation with bands throughout the Interior of B.C. as well as a number of community entities that serve Aboriginal peoples in the region,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We learned there was a need for training that enables community support workers to gain a deeper knowledge of the specific challenges facing Aboriginal individuals and families.”

Jennifer Leason is one of the scholars who is helping guide the process and make the program a reality.

"The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate says it all in its name,” notes Leason, a highly regarded Anishina-kwe scholar and PhD candidate who teaches Women’s Studies at Okanagan College. “The program is about transformative learning and providing culturally safe, relevant and meaningful support when working with Indigenous peoples, families and communities.”

Read more about this program in the press release.

September 20, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 13 Notices

IT Services scheduled outage

OC has scheduled an important upgrade to the Storage Area Network (SAN) that hosts the production servers and which will affect services on Saturday, Sept. 24.  It is anticipated that several services will be down from 6 p.m. to approximately 11 p.m.
The following services will not be available:
·         OC website
·         Banner
·         Library catalogue and online services
·         myOkanagan (including email and groups)
·         BRM
·         Financial Aid
·         Continuing Studies Online Registration
·         Apply Online
·         Online Payments
·         Classfinders
·         FAST
·         Web Req
·         Workflow (including EPAF & Test Accommodation)
·         Transcript Request
·         Housing Application
·         Student Affairs and Disability
The following services will continue to run normally:
·         Outlook email
·         Network folders
·         Moodle course management system
·         On campus Wireless
·         Lab and Info Commons workstations
·         HR POST (employment opportunities)
The OC website will be temporarily replaced with a maintenance page for the duration of the service outage. This page will have a direct link to Moodle.

Vehicles for sale, proceeds support students

OC Foundation and Supply Management Services, in conjunction with the Collision Repair Department is presently offering for sale two vehicles that have been repaired and restored by Okanagan College automotive trades students (under the watchful eye of Okanagan College instructors). Click on the following links to learn more about the two vehicles currently available: a 2010 Toyota Corolla CE 4 door sedan and a 2014 Mazda 3 GS-Sky 4 Door Hatchback. Consideration will be given only to those Sealed Bids received no later than: 2 p.m. PST, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. Proceeds benefit OC Collision Repair students.

New faces in the library this fall

Library Services invites students and employees to come in and say hello to the helpful and friendly faces at each campus library this semester. Click here to read the latest blog to learn who's who at your local campus library.

Feedback sought on Learner Centred Instructor Certificate

Learning and Teaching is currently reviewing the Learner-Centered Instructor Certificate Program (LCIC) offered through the College’s Continuing Studies department. This blended online program, available to Okanagan College employees, is designed to support participants in gaining a combination of theory and practical skills for planning and delivering learner-centred instruction. Okanagan College Therapist Assistant Diploma program instructor Darrell Skinner has been seconded to review the content and resources used in the Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate Program. If you are a graduate of the program, or are interested in providing feedback, please contact Darrell Skinner to help the College continue to enhance this program.   

Learning and Teaching Operational Model draft report released

Over the past several months a working group has examined a number of operational models for learning and teaching. The draft report on Moving Forward: A New Operational Model for Learning and Teaching at Okanagan College is available here. Please feel free to email any feedback you have on the proposed model to Laura Eagen or Beverlie Dietze by Oct. 1. Feedback received will be reviewed by the working group and will help to guide next steps in the continued enhancement of operational for learning and teaching at the College.

Group benefits card goes digital

Employees can now access a digital version of their benefits card through Group Benefits Mobile, with a number of benefits: employees can use the digital card at their pharmacy and can also use the digital card as a replacement if their wallet card is lost.

This means everything needed to use the benefits plan is now conveniently available via mobile devices. Some of the features that were already available to employees through the app include the ability to submit claims, access to explanation of benefits statements and claims payment details, the ability to view important messages from Manulife, and access to information and resources related to drug coverage through My Drug Plan.

Flowers for upcoming events

Okanagan College Floral Design students will be back in the classroom on Sept. 27. If you have an event that would be enhanced by a burst of floral creativity, please contact Chrissy Rombs in Continuing Studies to coordinate arrangements.


Celebrate Science Literacy Week

Sept. 19 - 25 – Discover the world of science with a display of science books, periodicals, databases, and DVDs which will be on display at each of the four Okanagan College Campus Libraries from Sept. 19 - 25. As part of national Science Literary Week, this event promotes public awareness of science and highlights resources available. Visit the Library webpage or your campus Library for more information about displays and events at each campus Library.

Science in Society Speaker series:
Dr. Jaymie Matthews

Sept. 26 and 27 – One of Canada’s foremost astronomers will visit Okanagan College to shine a light on his efforts to find and photograph potentially habitable worlds in our galaxy. Dr. Jaymie Matthews is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC. His presentation “Goldilocks and the Three Thousand Worlds: Searching for planets that are 'just right' " will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Mon., Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m., with an encore presentation in the Kelowna campus lecture threatre the following day, Tue., Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Admission in Vernon is $7, admission in Kelowna is free. More information is available on the Science in Society Speaker Series website.

Okanagan College’s 8th annual Youth Exhibition Powwow reached readers far and wide thanks to sweeping coverage by The Daily Courier, Okanagan Saturday, the Capital News, Castanet, KelownaNow, and Global News.

The warm welcome experienced by incoming students attending Orientation events at Okanagan College campuses was shared by The Daily Courier and The Vernon Morning Star.

Westbank First Nation Councillor Chris Derickson is the new Vice Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors, as shared in the pages of the Sept. 13 edition of The Daily Courier and Castanet.

A unique new program launched by the College to help support workers better assist Aboriginal communities was spotlighted in the Sept. 11 issue of The Okanagan Sunday and by Castanet.

Another new Okanagan College program making the news recently was the Gastrointestinal Nursing Certificate program which just wrapped its first intake; nursing student Shirley Pope is among the first graduates and was featured by The Capital News and Castanet.

Watermark Magazine highlighted the exciting co-op driven work and learning opportunities provided by the College’s Water Engineering Technology (WET) program.

The inspiring fundraising effort of Okanagan College English prof. and OC Faculty Association President Tim Walters for student in need Gary Baker was carried by a host of media, including The Vernon Morning Star and CastanetThe Morning Star also ran a story about others in the community who have rallied behind the Baker family in their time of need.

The Capital News shared word of an upcoming event featuring the culinary creations of Okanagan College Culinary Arts students, led by Culinary Arts Manager Bernard Casavant. The Fall Wine Festival Winemaker Dinner at Sandhill Winery on Sat., Oct. 1, will see students showcase their talents, with a portion of proceeds going toward a trip for a student to Riccione, Italy to work with chefs of the region.

John Lent, renowned Vernon scribe and retired Okanagan College English professor and regional dean, kicked off the Artists Salon Reading Series at the Bean Scene in Vernon on Sept. 12, as reported by The Vernon Morning Star; see the article for upcoming dates in November and early 2017.

At a recent press conference reported on by The Daily Courier and The Penticton Herald, Accelerate Okanagan estimated the tech sector’s economic impact at $1.3 billion throughout the region. Okanagan College Vice President Education Dr. Andrew Hay spoke at the event and joined the panel in addressing the role of Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan in supplying the well-trained graduates necessary to continue to grow and sustain the sector.

News of the passing of Norbert Heinzelmann, a long time IT Services employee at Okanagan College, was shared by The Daily Courier and The Capital News. In addition to his dedicated service to the College, Heinzelmann also actively volunteered in the community, a fact picked up on by Maxine DeHart who dedicated her Sept. 13 column in The Capital News to Heinzelmann.

Another passing in the College community came with the loss of Okanagan College donor Leo Plamondon who established the Leo Plamondon Family Entrance Bursary for Trades to encourage students to follow in his footsteps, as shared by The Daily Courier. Plamondon enjoyed a career in the trades working on some of the project’s biggest infrastructure projects.

The Vernon Morning Star informed readers of an out-of-this-world talk coming at up Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker series. UBC Astrophysics professor Dr. Jaymie Matthews will regail participants with tales of his research into potentially life-supporting planets in the galaxy at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus on Sept. 26 and the Kelowna campus on Sept. 27. Follow this link for more details.

Okanagan College Audio Engineering and Music Production (AEMP) alumnus Ben Klick was mentioned in The Daily Courier on Sept 15. Klick was recently named among other top local performing artists as a finalist for the performing arts category of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards and Greater Westside Board of Trade Key Business Awards.

While three founding members of the Penticton Writers and Publishers group may be moving on, their co-founding of the organization, which publishes local authors, was celebrated and reflected upon by The Penticton Herald. Okanagan College Honorary Fellow and local author Yasmin Thorpe was among the five women who together launched the group in 1994.

MP Richard Cannings, 2008 Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College, was featured in the pages of the The Osoyoos Times for his “Ride the Riding” bicycle tour that saw him navigate more than 500 kilometres of the South Okanagan-West Kootenay region in August.

The Daily Courier ran a piece on Sept. 7 covering the regional economic impact of students returning to class, from Kindergarten to post-secondary students attending Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan. It was noted that this buying blitz represents the second largest retail season behind only Christmas.

A new coding course developed and offered collaboratively by Okanagan College and Lighthouse Labs this fall was spotlighted in The Okanagan Sunday on Sept. 18; the 60-hour course begins on Oct. 11 in Kelowna.


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 Oct. 4, 2016.