Department of History

History student works with her classmate during a group assignment

George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The Department of History is interested in the critical events and issues in the past, helping future generations better understand how they impact the present and future. Faculty members have research interests spanning the legal, political, military, commercial and social history of North America, Asia, and Europe. Courses offer students knowledge and skills to benefit whichever field they choose.

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, Chinese, Japanese, and World history. My research focuses on legal and penal history, and I am the author of Domestic Reforms: Political Visions and Family Regulation in British Columbia, 1862-1940 (UBC Press, 2007). In 2018, Professor Melissa Munn and I completed a book manuscript entitled Disruptive Prisoners: Resistance, Reform and the New Deal. It should be published at some point in 2020.

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

Dr. Shao Kang Chu

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

Howard Hisdal

Office: Centre For Learning 418
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4768
History instructor Howard Hisdal

I am the Chair of the History Department and a specialist in Canadian military history. I served 25 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, first in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, then after a 17-year gap in the local reserve force regiment, the British Columbia Dragoons. I made lieutenant twice and captain once, retiring from the military in 2014. I am a graduate of the Royal Military College in Kingston, UBC in Vancouver, and Carleton University in Ottawa. Since 2005, I have taught history at Okanagan College on the Penticton, Vernon, and Kelowna campuses.

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

Dr. Jim Wood

Office: Health Building 127B
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


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