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OC Board raises domestic tuition two per cent
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will be increasing its tuition for domestic students by two per cent in the coming year. International student tuition will increase by five per cent.

The decision was reached by the College’s Board of Governors on Tuesday, and follows policy set by the provincial government which limits fee increases to that amount.

For a university transfer arts student taking a full load of lecture courses, the increase will amount to approximately $65.28 per year, rising to $3,342.54.

For a student taking a six-month (24-week) electrical foundation program, tuition would increase by $51.73 to $2,638.29.

A year’s arts tuition for an international student will increase to $12,978 from $12,360.


Denesiuk, Derickson re-elected as OC Board Chair, Vice Chair
Okanagan College Media Release

Connie Denesiuk Jan 2017Connie Denesiuk has been re-elected as the chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. Chris Derickson has also been re-elected to the position of Vice Chair.

Christopher Derickson Sept 2014Denesiuk has served on the College Board since 2012, and has an extensive background in serving the province's K-12 system as a school district board chair, as a trustee and as president of the B.C. School Trustees Association. She was also a director of the Canada School Board Association.

"It's a real honour to be entrusted by my colleagues with the responsibilities of this position and to serve a great institution in this role," says Denesiuk. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Leadership degree at Royal Roads University.

Derickson's tenure with the College Board of Governors began in 2014. He is a councillor with the Westbank First Nation. He holds a degree in law from UBC, and is currently completing a Masters of Business Administration in Aboriginal and Business Leadership at Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business. 

The terms for the two positions run until Jan. 31, 2018.


Okanagan College 10th Annual Business Expo & Employment Fair brings career opportunities
Okanagan College Media Release

OC Business ExpoThe Okanagan College School of Business and OC
Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre is presenting the 10th Annual Business Expo and Employment Fair at Okanagan College on Wednesday, Feb. 1, featuring more than 50 businesses from the Okanagan Valley and beyond.

Many of the participating firms will be hiring.

The Business Expo & Employment Fair will be held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in the atrium of the Centre of Learning building from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event gives students and community members the opportunity to speak to and network with employers regarding career opportunities.

There are a number of regional and national companies who are looking for staff throughout Canada, as well as an array of employers looking for Okanagan-based employees.

CIBC, City of Kelowna, FortisBC, Investors Group, Metro Vancouver, PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., and TNG/Oakridge Accounting are just a few of the participating employers.

“This event provides an excellent opportunity for anyone considering a new career or employment in the Okanagan,” notes Dr. Barry McGillivray, Okanagan College’s Associate Dean of Business. “By bringing industry experts together with those seeking jobs and careers we are able to offer a direct line of communication and networking for job seekers. It’s especially valuable for our students.”

A full list of exhibitors and further information is available at 


OC Business students triumph at international business competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Students from Okanagan College’s School of Business once again showed they are among the best in the country, notching three podium finishes – including a first-place and two runner-up finishes – at Canada’s oldest and most prestigious case competition.OC Team at Queen's 2017

For fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student Madison Blancher, the path to competing at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) at Queen’s University became clear when she and her teammate Adrianna Knuth advanced through a challenging preliminary round in November. The pair didn’t rest on their laurels after becoming finalists, however, and in the weeks that followed they spent countless hours preparing for the competition, with one goal in mind: winning.

Their preparation paid off. The duo from Okanagan College, coached by Dr. Robert Groves and Roger Wheeler of the OC School of Business, took first place in the Human Resources category, besting finalists from Simon Fraser University, Concordia University, McGill University, Saint Mary’s University and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“We were definitely nervous going up against the best business students in the country and internationally,” says Blancher. “But the level of support we received from our coaches was incredible. We couldn’t have done it without their knowledge and expertise.”

“We were ecstatic when the results came in,” adds Knuth. “The best part about studying business at OC is that you have real-world opportunities like this to push yourself beyond your comfort zone – it’s the best way to learn.”

Blancher and Knuth weren’t the only ones celebrating as Okanagan College recorded one of its best ever showings in the competition. The Accounting team comprised of BBA students Kyla Bernardo and Kirsten Pitzoff placed second (coached by Adrian Fontenla and Randy Newton), as did the Management of Information Systems (MIS) duo of Jared Hubner and Anthony Peterson (coached by Dr. Glen Coulthard). The Debate team (coached by David Cram and Devin Rubadeau) also put in a strong effort, although they failed to crack the top three.

“All of us at the School of Business are extremely proud of our students who competed and the professors who volunteered as coaches,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “These amazing results speak to the effort, dedication and commitment of both the students and professors. They all represented Okanagan College and themselves with professionalism and poise on a competitive, international stage.”

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is Canada’s oldest and longest-running undergraduate business case competition, featuring eight different categories in which students can compete, including Accounting, Business Policy, Ethics, Debating, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Management of Information Systems. Held annually in Kingston, the event hosts more than 100 competitors from leading business schools across Canada and around the world.

“I came away from the competition with so much more confidence in myself and my abilities,” says Blancher. “I know that will carry forward into future competitions and my career.”

Blancher and Knuth are back in class this week, but both are already focused on their next challenges.

The pair has been invited to participate in HRC West, Western Canada’s top HR Case Competition, in Vancouver in early March. Both students will graduate this year, Blancher with a BBA with a specialty in Human Resources and Knuth with a BBA Honours degree, specializing in Human Resources (which she is on track to complete in just three years).

Even before graduation, Blancher’s career in HR has already taken off. She currently works full-time as a Junior Human Resources Advisor at KF Aerospace, while finishing her last four classes this semester at Okanagan College.

More information about the competition is available at


OC Vernon students shine with second-place finish in international business competition
Okanagan College Media Release

ICBC Jan 2016 Hubner, PetersonTwo Okanagan College students from Vernon have returned from one of Canada’s most prestigious international business competitions knowing that they are among the best in the country.

Jared Hubner, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student at the College’s Vernon campus joined forces with Anthony Peterson, a fourth-year BBA student, to compete in the finals of the Management of Information Systems (MIS) category at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) held at Queen’s University in Kingston. They placed second in the competition.

The duo from Okanagan College competed against finalists from the University of Vermont, Laurentian University, Sheridan College, Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Calgary. Teams were given five and a half hours to review and present recommendations on a case that involved a hypothetical university looking to sell and distribute online learning materials, prevent content piracy, and provide secure e‑commerce transactions. Vermont won the competition. The six competing finalists were chosen from a larger group of competitors based on a preliminary round completed in November.

The OC team tackled the problem by suggesting a new Business-to-Business (B2B) subscription-based service model that could have real-world benefit.

“Our solution was equal parts preparation and in-the-moment inspiration,” explains Hubner. “We came up with an out-of-the-box answer, and I think we had the confidence to do that based on the experience we’ve gained in the classroom.”

“We have tremendous support from our coaches,” says Peterson. “We came into the event feeling prepared thanks to them, and that was a huge factor in our success.”

Hubner says the fact that they faced strong competition in the category added to the pressure and the feeling of accomplishment when results were announced.

“It was an amazing feeling. It was very hard to process and contain the level of excitement and the feeling of accomplishment afterward.”

Among those cheering when the results were announced was the MIS team’s coach Glen Coulthard, a professor with Okanagan College’s School of Business.

“Competitions like this give our students a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and passion in real-world situations, and to prove to both themselves and others that they are among the top business students in the country,” explains Coulthard. “We are extremely proud of Anthony and Jared, not to mention the other three OC teams who performed so well at Queen’s.”

Okanagan College had one of its best ever showings at the competition. In addition to the second place finish for the MIS team, the College celebrated a first place finish by the Human Resources team (a first for an HR team from OC), a second-place finish for the Accounting team, and a strong effort by the debate team, although they failed to crack the top three.

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is Canada’s oldest and longest-running undergraduate business case competition, featuring eight different competitive events in which students can compete, including Accounting, Business Policy, Ethics, Debating, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Management of Information Systems.

Held annually in Kingston, the event hosts more than 100 competitors from leading business schools across Canada and around the world.

“It feels incredible to know that we competed and represented OC so well and at such a high international level,” explains Peterson. “I came away very inspired. It was an experience that will serve me well throughout the rest of my studies and my career.”

More information about the competition is available at


Strength in the shadows of Scottish history: book celebrates Jean Armour, Robbie Burns’ wife
Okanagan College Media Release

The day the world celebrates famed Scottish poet Robbie Burns this year (Jan. 25), Melanie Murray is hoping the world will take note of another key player in the saga of Burns’ life: Jean Armour, the poets’ wife.Melanie Murray Jan 2017

“I’m sure that without Jean, we wouldn’t have the body of work from Burns hat we have today,” says Murray, an English professor at Okanagan College. Her book
Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns, will be released by publisher Nightwood Editions on Jan. 25. “Everyone who knows Burns, knows Bonie Jean, but that doesn’t tell the story.”

Murray’s focus on Armour dates back five years, when she was in Scotland researching her first book, For Your Tomorrow, the Way of An Unlikely Soldier. That’s the story of her Scottish nephew Jeff Francis who served – and died – in the armed forces in Afghanistan. Being a fan of Burns, and with some time on her hands, she went to Mauchline, where Burns and Armour met, and visited the graveyard where their four daughters were buried.

“Knowing the grief my sister felt over her son’s death, I found myself thinking about the grief that Jean must have felt losing her four daughters. I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”

Five years of research, tracing the steps of Armour and Burns, visiting the towns and homes where they lived, resulted in the book – and Murray’s intense respect for Armour. Burns died at age 36. Armour was 31 with six children to raise. She lived another 35 years. “She was giving birth to her last child as he was being buried,” Murray notes. “She was a strong, passionate, resilient woman.”

“I wanted to give her a voice,” says Murray. “I want people to think about her story.”

Murray’s book is not a traditional biography: “It’s creative non-fiction. After going to these places, I wanted to take the facts and bring them to life, so I introduced myself into the story as a narrator. I really feel close to her and I feel I really know her. Hence the title…”

“Melanie Murray has achieved a startling intimacy in Should Auld Acquaintance,” notes Frances Greenslade, another OC English professor and author of Shelter. “She comes across less as an author and more as an affectionate friend, a patient listener to the ghost of Jean Armour telling her own story. I felt like an eavesdropper, listening in on the deliciously private conversation between two women born centuries apart, but who both knew what it was to yearn for something beyond the conventions their eras demanded of them.”

The book is available through,, Barnes and Noble, Chapters-Indigo and Harbour Publishing.

“The book provides the millions of Burns acolytes around the world with a new perspective on the wife of the famous poet and on the poet, himself,” says Murray.

“It brings focus to someone who deserves attention in her own right.”

A launch for Murray’s new book will take place Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna campus.


Sweet success for College with chocolate launch
Okanagan College Media Release

Chocolate Launch Jan 2017Okanagan College hosted an especially sweet reception on Monday and became the first post-secondary institution outside of Europe to create its very own chocolate recipes, under the name Okanagan College Artisan Chocolate.

At a tasting event on campus, the College introduced Okanagan Noir, a 69.8 per cent smooth dark chocolate with intense cocoa flavor and a fruity finish. It also unveiled a signature milk chocolate, Kalamalka Karamel—a solid milk chocolate with a high cocoa content (45.1 per cent) with sweet notes of caramel and a smooth honey finish. Both the chocolates were showcased in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes at the launch event.  

The exclusive milk and dark chocolate recipes were created by Chef Danny Capadouca and Chef Bernard Casavant in the summer of 2016 when the pair traveled to France to the Or Noir
TMII tasting laboratories of Cacao Barry, a chocolate company founded in 1842. Capadouca is the head instructor for the College’s Pastry Arts program and is well known in the industry for his expertise in chocolate and pastry. Casavant is a renowned chef and Okanagan College’s culinary manager.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to see this project come together, says Capadouca. “Having our own unique recipes will add a huge amount of value to the Pastry Arts program and will benefit our students. The support we’ve received from Cacao Barry and the team there has been unreal. I’m very proud of our products and would put them up against any good quality chocolate in the marketplace.”

Capadouca and Casavant spent nearly a week in France creating the custom blend of cocoa masses that are the heart of the chocolate recipes. The darker Okanagan Noir features a blend of beans from Tanzania, Cuba and Mexico.

“Chefs Capadouca and Casavant did an incredible job on these two recipes,” says Mark Pennington, Regional Sales Manager Western Canada for Cacao Barry. “I was very impressed by their process and of course by the end result. Okanagan College is breaking gastronomic ground in North America as the first institution of its kind to have its very own recipes.

“It’s a very rare achievement—the College is only the second culinary college in the world to have made their own chocolate.”

The chocolate will be used by students in the Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs at Okanagan College. Initially, it will also be available for purchase in the College’s cafeteria on Fridays at the Kelowna campus.

“I take a lot of personal pride in the contributions our students and instructors make in our communities and today’s launch of Okanagan College Artisan Chocolate is no exception,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “The students’ expertise and the quality of the food they produce is outstanding. None of that would be possible without exceptional instruction and leadership, which is something our chefs bring to the classroom daily.”


College to host panel discussion on Collective Impact movement
Okanagan College Media Release

It is becoming more widely understood that collaboration is the key to creating value and accelerating change in communities. Gone are the days when organizations worked in silos to address complex social issues. This collective impact model offers a framework for achieving social change at a community level and an upcoming panel discussion hosted by Okanagan College will help unravel the complexities of collective impact.

The College’s Scotiabank Centre for Non Profit Excellence will host the free panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 2 – 5 p.m. in the atrium of Okanagan College.

Panelists, Kevin McCort from Vancouver Foundation, Laurence East of Metro Community, and Ellen Boelcke from Kelowna Community Resources will be sharing their experiences and informing attendees about collaborative initiatives in the community.

“The panel will provide an opportunity for engaged individuals in Kelowna to gather and discuss some key issues in our community and formulate ideas about how we would like to see change take place,” explains Dr. Sheilagh Seaton from Okanagan College’s School of Business. “Collective impact has becomes such a hot topic in the Okanagan and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring individuals together to share information and best practices.”

Okanagan College’s Scotiabank Centre for Non Profit Excellence offers workshops and creates resources to assist non-profit organizations.

For more information about the event and for free tickets for the Collective Impact and Collaboration Panel please visit


Lecturer to uncover Mysteries of the Mind
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will host Dr. Tomas Veloz, an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, for an afternoon lecture series entitled Mysteries of the Mind: Quantum Perspectives in Cognitive Science for Learning Environments.Tomas Veloz Jan 2017

Veloz is the director of the Systemics department at the Instituto de Filosofia y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago, Chile, and a post-doctoral researcher at the Free University of Brussels. His research focuses on the application of the mathematical formalism of quantum theory to generalize probabilistic theories of rationality and cognition.

“We are thrilled to be hosting Dr. Veloz at Okanagan College,” said Dr. Norah Bowman, College professor of English and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. “His recent work on quantum physics and cognition can teach those of us in teaching, literature, arts and the humanities new ways of thinking. It’s a creative and stimulating field.”

The lecture takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 12 -1 p.m. in the lecture theatre. The free event is presented by Okanagan College’s Institute for Learning and Teaching.


Business grad reaps rewards of well-rounded College experience
Okanagan College Media Release


Hannah Griffin Jan 2017When setting off to pursue a career change, business student Hannah Griffin was surprised by the opportunities that came knocking during College.

Griffin thought she would have to wait to finish a diploma before embarking on a new career path, but a series of opportunities to enhance her education presented themselves the minute she became an Okanagan College business student.  

Griffin will be one of 369 students who will receive credentials at the College’s first convocation ceremony of 2017 this Saturday and will graduate with a Post-Baccalaureate diploma in Accounting from the Okanagan College School of Business.

While still in the first semester of the business program, Griffin was offered a position as a financial administrator with local tech success Vineyard Networks and jumped at the chance.

“Working during my studies has taken me longer to complete my diploma, but it was a win-win,” she explains. “I took distance courses part-time and gained experience in private and public accounting while being able to support my daughter.”

Born and raised in West Kelowna, Griffin completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UBC Okanagan. While making a living as an artist, the economic recession hit and she sought out a more stable career. The reputation of the College’s School of Business enticed her to enrol in the two-year Post-Baccalaureate diploma program in 2011.

Following the sale of Vineyard Networks and subsequent relocation of the company’s accounting office in 2015, Griffin took the opportunity to accelerate her education by continuing at the College on a full-time basis.

“One of the highlights of the program was the accessibility of my professors,” she says. “I knew I could go to anyone in the department and they would happily take the time to help me and answer questions.”

With the encouragement of her professors, she stepped outside of her comfort zone and joined the School of Business’s debate team and Enactus Okanagan College, where she co-founded CANsave, a financial literacy program for elementary school students.  

Her involvement in the two groups brought about regional and national travel and industry networking opportunities. In January 2016, Griffin competed at the finals of the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) at Queen’s University in Kingston and in May 2016 she flew to Toronto for the Enactus National Competition, where CANsave earned the title of Canada’s second-best Financial Literacy program.

When Griffin completed her studies in August, a connection from one of the College’s networking events led to a full-time position as an articling student at Crowe MacKay. She is concurrently pursuing her CPA designation.

On Saturday, Griffin’s three-year-old daughter Lucia will watch her don a cap and gown to receive her diploma.

“Balancing my education with providing the best life for Lucia has been a challenge, but also very rewarding.” says Griffin. “She will be able to look at me and see what a single mom is – a hardworking woman who can give back to others and be ambitious in chasing her dreams.”

Winter Convocation is the first of the College’s seven convocation ceremonies that take place this year. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. The College will confer 60 bachelor’s degrees, 17 associate degrees, 191 diplomas and 101 certificates.

The morning ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 and will stream live on the College’s Facebook page. 

In 2016, Okanagan College graduated more than 2,100 students from its programs.

Watch the ceremony live on


Alumnus comes home to OC for student-produced concerts
Okanagan College Media Release

Up and coming country music star Ben Klick will be bringing his high-energy, guitar-slinging country music back to his alma mater for an evening of country music entertainment, as part of a two-night concert series early in the new year.Ben Klick Jan 2017

Nominated at both the Okanagan Arts Awards, and British Columbia Country Music Association Awards, the West Kelowna native will be headlining the “North of Nashville” concert evening on Jan. 13 at Okanagan College. Country music enthusiasts will recognize his music from radio play, as well as from various festivals and events in the region.

Klick’s performance is part of a two-concert package that is being produced by students from the College’s Audio Engineering and Music Production certificate program: a program that Klick graduated from in 2015.

The second concert (Jan. 14) will see the Bjorn Kriel Trio (featuring Tim Hirtz) take the stage for “Here Comes Treble,” presenting a modern twist on classical jazz sounds. This youthful and entertaining group has developed a strong following in the local live music scene due to their lively shows.

These evenings form part of the live sound module of the AEMP program at Okanagan College, which trains students to work in various technical positions such as recording arts, music, theatre, concerts, broadcasting, video and film. Both concerts will help to raise funds for bursaries for future students to attend the AEMP program.

“It’s more than just a course about audio,” says current student Owen Moore. “It’s a course about developing your essential skills, your confidence, and self-discovery; realizing that you have the skill set to take control of your life and make a difference in an area that you are passionate about. To have someone like Ben Klick, who graduated from the AEMP program, come back to the College to share his music with us shows as that we can achieve success too.”

Shows start at 7 p.m. and are in the lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus on KLO Road. Tickets for the two-hour shows are available at the door for only $15 (students $10 with valid student ID). 


Home of Tomorrow demonstrates energy efficiency
Okanagan College Media Release

Wilden Living Lab Jan 2017Recent EnerGuide testing has shown the Home of Tomorrow, one of two homes that make up the Wilden Living Lab project, to be 52 per cent more energy efficient than a standard home constructed to today’s building code.  

The Home of Today and the Home of Tomorrow ­– two houses constructed side-by-side in the popular Wilden neighbourhood ­­– are part of a real-world study on sustainable homebuilding that compares the energy usage patterns of identical structures built with different energy-efficient technologies.

The pioneering initiative is collaborative three-year learning and research project by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corp., AuthenTech Homes, UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College and FortisBC.

Following the completion of construction of both homes in early November, the Living Lab partners enlisted an energy evaluation company to analyze the performance of each home based on the Government of Canada’s EnerGuide standard ratings for new homes.

Gilles Lesage, operations manager of Total Home Solutions, conducted the testing on insulation levels, airtightness, windows and door types and space and hot water heating systems. The Home of Tomorrow achieved an exceptional EnerGuide rating of 47 gigajoules (GJ) per year and greenhouse gas emissions of only 0.3 tonnes per year in the energy audit. In comparison, the Home of Today, which was built to current building code standards, has a rating of 110 GJ/year and GHG emissions of 3.0 tonnes/year.

Lesage attributes the efficiency rating to the sustainable construction of the Home of Tomorrow.

“This project shows the impact that’s made when homes are built with efficiency in mind right from the planning stage,” says Danielle Wensink, director, energy conservation and management for FortisBC. “We believe it’s well worth supporting forward-thinking projects like this that advance energy-efficient construction in the region.”

The Home of Tomorrow was built with several advanced, energy-efficient components that exceed current building code requirements, including geothermal heating and cooling, a heat pump water heater, triple glazed windows and an insulated concrete form foundation. The Home of Today was built to the current B.C. Building Code specifications, allowing it to act as a baseline comparison to the Home of Tomorrow.

The Wilden Living Lab project is also unique in that it has integrated students from both post-secondary institutions for hands-on participation.

Students from Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management and Residential Construction programs worked with local builder AuthenTech Homes on the construction of the homes and implementing the latest sustainable technologies.

“Working with the latest green building materials on these homes was very valuable for our students,” says Angus Wood, Okanagan College program instructor. “And seeing the EnerGuide results will affirm for them the benefits of new technology and techniques they employed in this project.”

The two Wilden Living Lab homes mark the College’s 49th and 50th community projects as part of their Homes for Learning program.

In Spring 2017, the homes will start their collection of real life data, when they will be sold at market value. The residents who move in will have their consumption monitored on the meters and sensors installed throughout the equipment in the homes. Researchers from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering will spend the next three years analyzing and comparing the collected data from the homes to learn how sustainable building technologies can influence energy consumption.

“The Wilden Living Lab will provide real life energy consumption data over the next three years and help us understand and compare the conventional and advanced local construction practices and energy efficient appliances, and its relationship to energy bills,” explains UBC Okanagan associate professor Dr. Shahria Alam, who is leading the monitoring effort.

“The initial test on the home of tomorrow has already proven its energy efficiency. The model being developed from the generated data will be also capable of selecting the most energy efficient components and their various combinations for residential construction.”

The findings from UBC will be published on the Wilden Living Lab website.

FortisBC will be offering open houses to the public in Feb. 2017.

The project has been named a finalist in four categories of the annual Tommie Awards, organized by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) Okanagan chapter. The winners will be announced at the Tommie Awards Gold Gala on Jan. 28.

More information about the project is available at