Department of History

History student works with her classmate during a group assignment

Explore the past with history at OC! 

History courses at OC are designed to engage learners with fascinating stories, in-depth analysis, and evocative multimedia presentations.  

From ancient societies to recent space exploration, you’ll be introduced to alternative social and political possibilities, gain a new understanding of current events, and rethink the way you approach your studies in every other discipline. Are you most interested in psychology, gender studies, business, law or medicine? Talk to your professor. Chances are good that you can write a history paper on a topic that excites you. Everything has a history! 

What skills will you gain from studying history?  

Students in our classes have the opportunity to discuss and analyze human behaviour, develop evidence-based arguments, and craft compelling narratives. We’ll help you to become better at research, analysis, writing and public speaking.

What about jobs?  

History majors may go on to careers as teachers, professors, librarians, museum directors, archivists, researchers, lawyers, policy analysts, police officers, intelligence analysts, military officers, foreign service specialists, public administrators, writers (technical and literary), editors, journalists, and broadcasters. Yet regardless of the discipline and career path you choose, taking history courses as part of your studies can help you to better understand your chosen field and improve your research and writing skills. Add a history course to your schedule today! 

Associate of Arts, History Emphasis

Diploma in International Development


A variety of courses are offered in Canadian, American, European, Asian, Global, and Indigenous history.


Dr. Chris Clarkson

History - Chair
Office: Salmon Arm Building 109
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-832-2126 ext. 8248
History instructor Chris Clarkson

I was raised in Northern BC and worked as a coal miner prior to attending university. Since arriving at Okanagan College in 2003, I have taught courses in Canadian, Indigenous, American, Chinese, Japanese, and World history. My research focuses on legal and penal history and my published work includes Domestic Reforms: Political Visions and Family Regulation in British Columbia, 1862-1940 (UBC Press, 2007), and (co-authored with Professor Melissa Munn, Criminology and Sociology) Disruptive Prisoners: Resistance, Reform and the New Deal (University of Toronto Press, 2021).

PhD, History, University of Ottawa
MA, History, UVic
BA, History and English, UVic

Dr. Shao Kang Chu

史學博士 祝少康教授
Office: Ashnola Building 113
Campus: Penticton
Phone: 250-492-4305 ext. 3223
History instructor Shao-Kang Chu

My primary research interests include the life and career of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist Movement, and China’s role in the Second World War. I enjoy teaching history, especially that of the modern world and modern China, from a non-Western perspective. Of all genres of history, I particularly enjoy military and political history. History, I believe, has always been the epitaph for the rich and powerful, and will remain so in the future.

PhD, History, University of British Columbia
MA, History, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
BA, History, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Professor Howard Hisdal

Office: E Building 418
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4768
History instructor Howard Hisdal

As a college professor my area of specialization is Canadian military history during the Second World War.  After I graduated from Royal Military College I served as an infantry platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, then, following 17 years as a civilian (I was a high school teacher for most of it), I became an armoured troop leader in the British Columbia Dragoons, a reserve regiment in the Okanagan. I made lieutenant twice and captain once, retiring from the military in 2014 after 25 years of service, including 10 military parachute jumps.  The Canadian Armed Forces awarded me a Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) for honourable service.  Since 2005, I have taught courses at Okanagan College in Ancient, Medieval, Canadian, American, World, and Indigenous history.  I have also created and taught courses on Warfare and Terrorism since 1945, and the Rise of Modern Capitalism.  Okanagan College has given me a Teaching Excellence Award.   In the Winter 2024 term I will teach a new course: HIST 220 History of Space Exploration.

MA, History, Carleton University
Honours History Teaching, University of Toronto
Teacher Education, Social Studies, University of British Columbia
BA, History, Royal Military College
Royal Roads Military College

Dr. Jim Wood

Office: B Building 208
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4227
History instructor Jim Wood

Jim Wood joined the History Department at Okanagan College in 2013 after teaching at several universities across Canada, including Trent, RMC, UBC Okanagan, and UVic. His articles have appeared in Canadian Military History, The Journal of Military History, The American Review of Canadian Studies, War and Society, and BC Studies, and his book publications include We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force, 1942-44 (2006) and Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 (UBC Press, 2010). He is a reserve officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, and he lives in Kelowna with his wife and three children.

PhD, History, Wilfred Laurier University
MA, History, University of New Brunswick

Dr. Matthieu Caron

Office: Main Building D365
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 6734
Caron, Matthieu headshot history

Matthieu Caron joined Okanagan College in fall 2022. He is currently working on a manuscript that examines nighttime governance and its economy in twentieth century Montreal (under contract with McGill-Queen's University Press). Sex, noise, labour, activism, and art form core chapter themes. His interest in urban history also paved the way for an ongoing research project that examines the history of Vancouver’s False Creek and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods from the 1880s to the 1980s, funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC). At the college Professor Caron teaches courses on urban, British Columbia, Canadian, and twentieth century world history.

PhD, History, University of Toronto
MA, History, Université de Montréal
BA, History, McGill University


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