College shines at Gold Medal Plates

gold medal plates studentsAccolades are pouring in for Culinary Arts students who participated in this past weekend’s Gold Medal Plates competition.

“My mailbox is full,” said Jon Garratt, a third-year student and head of Okanagan College Junior Chefs.

A total of 36 Okanagan College students took part in the event, with 18 of them working closely with the award-winning chefs. Among those getting up close and personal with the chefs were Duncan Lee and Elliott Sarabura who assisted Chef Mike Barsky and his team from Bacalao restaurant in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

In a follow up email to Okanagan College students, Bacalao co-owner Andrea Maunder wrote “We were so impressed with your incredible work ethic, willingness to jump in and do anything, passion for cooking, keen interest in learning more about our cuisine and what we do. We would be proud to have either of you on our team back here on the Rock.”

The winning chef was Marc Lepine of Atelier Restaurant out of Ottawa who wowed the judges with his skill in molecular gastronomy. Silver went to Rob Feenie of the Cactus Club, while bronze went to chef Jean-Phillippe St-Denis of Kitchen Galerie Poisson.

This marked the second year Kelowna played home to the event, with Okanagan College playing a pivotal role. The event will continue to be held here through to 2015.

Civil Engineering students and SIFE partner for win at Canstruction

canstructionIt was a team effort that resulted in a first-place finish for Okanagan College at the 2012 Canstruction event.

The competition, which creates awareness around hunger issues and collects non-perishable food items for the Kelowna Food Bank and Salvation Army, took place at Orchard Park Mall from Feb. 6 – 11.

The 2012 competition was hosted by the Rotary Club of Kelowna with a huge organizing and coordination role from SIFE Okanagan.

Seven participating teams raised 18,000+ cans of food for community food bank users – Okanagan College was also among the competitors. SIFE Okanagan students teamed up with two first-year Civil Engineering students for an award-winning performance.

canstructioncivilThe SIFE students collected the food items for the structure and the Civil students tackled the engineering and design elements.

The judges thought the team’s efforts were worthy of a first place finish in the category of Best Use of Labels. The College team also finished second in the People’s Choice award, falling short of the title by just 15 votes.  

Feb. 29 important date for leap into Moodle

moodle1That’s the deadline for instructors wanting to have their Blackboard course material automatically moved over to a Moodle development shell.

There are a couple of options:
  • Request that all the content in your Blackboard course section be automatically converted to a Moodle course section (you need to make the decision to move prior to Feb. 29 but can opt for the material to transfer at the end of term), or
  • Request that it not be moved because you either don’t need it, or you’d prefer to rebuild the course content yourself within Moodle.
Educational Technology is encouraging instructors to visit the Moodle Migration Tool in the Faculty tab within myOkanagan and indicate preferences by Feb. 29  to ensure courses are ready to go for May 2012 and September 2012.

Meanwhile, Ed Tech Coordinator Mike Minions is offering introductory Moodle workshops at all four campuses. For dates and registration click here.

IT Services also highly recommends the online, self-paced Moodle 2.1 Essential Training for Teachers at You can sign out one of the College’s accounts from the Faculty tab in myOkanagan.

If you have any questions, please email or drop by the Educational Technology Centre on the Kelowna campus (L100).

A reminder that the courses starting after May 1 will be running entirely in Moodle and Blackboard will shut down in September 2012.

2012-13 call for Innovation Fund projects

What do home inspections, sustainability, e-books, wastewater reuse, assessment, 3D workplace training, and learning and teaching have in common? Well, it’s simple: Okanagan College and Innovation. The 2011-12 Okanagan College Innovation Fund projects were each unique but their end result will be to enhance the experience for students and employees at Okanagan College.

How do you improve the learning experience for Water Engineering Technology students? Ian MacDonald used his 2011-12 Okanagan College Innovation Fund project to develop a working model of sequencing batch reactors (SBR) that allows students to see, study, monitor and report on a wastewater treatment facility in their lab. This system benefits students and creates potential research capacity for Okanagan College at the same time. MacDonald’s project was one of seven projects funded through the 2011-12 Innovation Fund and the first one of the group to complete their project and report out.

While work on the other projects is continuing until the end of the year, the College is now accepting applications for 2012-13 Innovation Fund projects. The fund enables employees, either individually or on a team basis to express their professional creativity in proposing and completing projects that contribute to:
  • applied technology, product and process innovation
  • sustainability initiatives that can lead to institutional efficiencies
  • research and application of innovative practices related to learning and teaching activities and course delivery
  • innovative and improved student support activities.
The deadline for applications is April 16, 2012. Additional details on the Innovation Fund and the Innovation Fund Application Form can also be found in myOkanagan under - OC Express - Forms - Innovation Fund.

Theatre fundraiser raises spirits

Intrigue, the paranormal, and lots of laughs will be centre stage this March as Okanagan College Theatre and The Red Dot Players present Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

Okanagan College students, staff, and community members are looking for support in bringing this celebrated comedic play to Kelowna.
  • Be an ectoplasmic sponsor: give the opportunity for local high school students to attend Blithe Spirit (sponsorship offered in blocks of 10 tickets = $120). Sponsors will be recognized in the Blithe Spirit program
  • Be a phantasmic sponsor: support production and set costs. Donations of $50 or more will be recognized in the Blithe Spirit program
  • Display a Blithe Spirit poster in your place of business
  • Come to the show.
Please contact Leanna Jantzi or call 250-762-5445 ext. 4624 for sponsorship details.

The play runs at the Okanagan College Theatre from March 16-18.

Classics continue at the Salmar

The 'Classics at the Classics' Alfred Hitchcock series continues in March with four of Hitch's finest. In a five-year period Hitchcock directed Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds, arguably the greatest unbroken sequential quartet in the history of the cinema. All four of these masterpieces will be played on the big screen at the Salmar Classic theatre in Salmon Arm each Monday in March. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $5 general admission, $3 for Okanagan College students. This popular annual film series is associated with Dr. Tim Walters' English 215: Studies in Reading Film course and is made possible through the generous support of the Offices of the Salmon Arm Regional Dean and the AFP Dean.


Accounting for success

Two students from Okanagan College’s Okanagan School of Business have advanced to the regional round of the CA (Chartered Accountants) Case Competition to be held in Vancouver on Mar. 16 and 17. Amanda Blanchard and Ryan Davies had 24 hours to analyze a case and submit a 10-minute presentation. The pair will be up against eight other teams from Western Canada for the final round.

Penticton recycles for Ethiopia

EthiopiaA novel idea from Business Administration Chair David Northcott has the Penticton campus making international good with its recycling.

Northcott, who teaches Entrepreneurship and Development in Emerging Nations (EDEN) and is working on his doctoral studies in establishing a caring business culture, saw an opportunity when he looked at the recycling bins located around campus.

“We don’t realize how little it takes to make a difference,” he said. “It only takes $30 per month to keep a student in university in Ethiopia.”

Northcott knows because in 2009 he took six students from his EDEN class to Ethiopia. Not long after their return, the campus started focusing on creating a culture of sustainability and the penny dropped.

“I knew the organization Canadian Humanitarian was supporting young students and helping high school graduates with university, and I connected the two issues,” he said.

The Penticton Campus Regional Assembly agreed, saying it made sense for Canadian students and faculty already engaged in sustainable practices, like recycling, to expand that idea by helping students in an impoverished nation.

Now 100 per cent of the funds go to Canadian Humanitarian. Staff, and students like Kristi Leardo who is in her second year of Business Administration, are chipping in, some even bringing their refundables from home.

So far the group has raised $120. Northcott hopes student and faculty through the College system will either join this program, or create other projects to raise funds. Contact David Northcott, local 3241, for more information.

Inside Moodle with Brian Rhodes

brian rhodesBrian Rhodes of the ESL department has been test-driving the system since January, even though Moodle doesn’t officially go online until May at Okanagan College. His writing class is now fully up to speed on Moodle's capabilities to access information, correspond, upload, collaborate, etc.

Brian is no stranger to Moodle; he's been involved with it for over a decade, utilizing this LMS for a distance writing course with Nagoya Gakuin University. In fact, when the College was moving from WebCT to Blackboard, he was a proponent of Moodle.

"Unfortunately, my argument then to go to the Open Sourced Moodle fell on deaf ears. But I quietly continued using Moodle for my courses, especially writing courses."

Instructors shouldn't worry about the usual steep learning curve associated with a new LMS. Brian has assured his department's staff that it's easy and fun.

"Once you start uploading your materials, giving grades, and using the discussion forums, you realize that this really is valuable."

To help instructors understand Moodle, Brian is adding YouTube videos for things like logging in, 'docking blocks', and setting up a grade book.

"Usually when I get a question about Moodle, at least one that I can answer, I do a walk through in my screen recording program (Camtasia 2), then upload it to YouTube and email the URL. As my list of videos grows, so does my hands-on, so it's a learning experience for both sides."

When he doesn't know how to do something in Moodle, Brian defers to the College’s Moodle experts, Mike Minions and Ross McLerlich.

"Mike and Ross are training the trainers, and once that's done, we get going with instructors. It's an exciting time, for sure."

Students celebrate success in First Nations Employment Program

Okanagan College and partners from the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) held a First Nations Employment program from Nov. 15, 2011 – Jan. 24, 2012. The purpose of the program was to assist young OKIB members in becoming independent and self-reliant while determining their education and employment needs.

Nine graduates of the program were celebrated at a luncheon held on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Okanagan Indian Band Health Centre with Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis sharing his wisdom and best wishes. Also in attendance were: Norm Hatlevik, OKIB Health and Social Development Director; Cindy Brewer, OKIB Social Development Administrator; Kevin Ned, OKIB Education Manager; Glenda Louis, OKIB Education Assistant; Joanne Thomsen, Associate Director, Okanagan College - Continuing Studies; Cindy Meissner, Program Coordinator, Okanagan College - Continuing Studies; Teresa Proudlove, Instructor, Okanagan College - Continuing Studies and Marilyn Alexis, Educational Advisor and Aboriginal Mentor, Okanagan College.

Teresa Proudlove, Okanagan College’s program facilitator was great at constantly improvising, inspiring and empowering the students with invaluable employment skills and personal awareness.

Penticton students gain skills in financial literacy

money mattersFundamental English and Math students at the Penticton campus recently participated in Money Matters, an eight-hour numeracy and financial literacy pilot program for adult learners developed by ABC Life Literacy Canada with Founding Sponsor TD Bank Group and the Government of Canada.

TD Bank Group volunteers worked with small groups of Okanagan College students on: spending plans, basic banking, borrowing money and RESPs and other ways to save. Event participants found value in the session, one commented “I enjoyed it and I feel better about saving money.”

Mirror mirror on the wall, whose sweater is ugliest of all?

ugly sweater kelownaOn Feb. 9, Okanagan College staff in Kelowna and Salmon Arm took action against climate change by turning down the heat and celebrating National Sweater Day  in style with an interdepartmental Ugly Sweater Contest.

In Kelowna, judge Randy Maradyn faced an almost impossible task, but finally came up with three winners:
Third place: representing Facilities Management – Tanis “80s inspired” Stoltz. 
Second place: representing Advancement & Alumni – Tessa “didn’t you wear that to work last week?” Derksen. 
First place: representing Ancillary & Business Services – Louise “I love Rudolph” Breitsprecher
. Honourable mention: Rob “Canucks fan stuck in the 80s” St. Onge.

ugly sweater sa
Further north in Salmon Arm, AACP student Angel Baker won the nicest sweater (and a gift certificate to the Book Store), while on the ugly side of things Star MacGregor and Debbie Turner tied for best (or worst, depending on your perspective) ugly sweater.

Inspired by BUAD 339, Duval creates new business

Susie Duval, Okanagan School of Business support staff and Business student travelled to Ethiopia in 2011 with the Entrepreneurship & Development in Emerging Nations class (BUAD 339). The impact of her experience in Ethiopia, the study of social business, and her next business course in Entrepreneurship have resulted in the creation of her own social business called EthiopiArt.  

She has created 1,124 pieces of inventory from two original paintings made by the children from the school she worked in. Net profits from the sale of these items will be returned to Ethiopia - approximately $5,000. This is just the start for Susie, she plans to use five more pieces of art being brought back by another team in February. The expected yearly net profit invested back into Ethiopia is forecasted at $60,000 per year for this venture. 
The Okanagan College Book Store is currently displaying the artwork.

In memory of David Wlasuk

David Wlasuk, a former student in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M program at the Kelowna campus, passed away on Dec. 30, 2011. David completed his AME training at Okanagan College in 2009 and went on to obtain his license through Northern Lights College. 

A celebration of David’s life will be held by his family.

Hisdal shares insights on military training in the Okanagan Valley

hisdalHistory professor Howard Hisdal gave a public lecture for the Lake Country Museum at the Creekside Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 22. The lecture was called: “The Ghosts around us: Military Training in the Okanagan Valley.”

The lecture, which was well attended, resulted in a family reunion of sorts for one participant. A woman who attended the presentation identified her grandfather in a photograph of the Boer War, which was part of Howard’s presentation.
February 14, 2012 Vol. 5 Issue 22


Accelerate Okanagan seeks 15 start-ups

Accelerate Okanagan is currently accepting applications for 15 start-up companies who are interested in accessing free office space in Penticton or Kelowna, plus free program support that includes mentorship and free advice on legal, human resource and financial issues for a full year. This is a 12-month program designed to support and nurture early-stage technology companies from product concept to market entry.

Successful applicants will receive one-year free enrolment in our Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) and free access to shared office space at Accelerate Okanagan’s Innovation Centres in Kelowna or Penticton.
The deadline for applications is Feb. 15, 2012. For more information, contact visit Accelerate Okanagan  or email 
Winners announced: Feb. 23. Program starts: Mar. 1.

Feminist Films

The Okanagan College Women’s Resource Centre (A149) is presenting: Feminist Film Month. 
Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Room H115 at the Kelowna campus.

Feb. 15: Jennifer’s Body

Feb. 29: Miss Representation

Read redux

If you attended the session presented by Mary Read at Connections 2010 called "Who Do You Think You Are?" and are interested in learning how to further pursue your family tree, consider attending a Genealogy Boot Camp with Dave Obee on Feb. 25 at the Okanagan Regional Library in Kelowna. 

Sponsored by the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, the all-day event will teach you effective and efficient ways to make real progress with your family history. 

For more information, contact Mary Read or visit the KDGS website.

Finance Reminders

Every year on Jan. 1 the Canada Revenue Agency provides employers with the new Federal and Provincial Claim Code amounts. Okanagan College automatically updates employees who are claiming the Basic Personal Amount; however amounts outside of the basic personal amount are not changed.

If you wish to ensure that the appropriate taxes are being withheld, please submit a new Federal and Provincial TD1 to Payroll. These forms can be found in myOkanagan under Payroll Forms. 
As we approach the Fiscal Year end, please be reminded that mileage and expense claims for the 2011-12 year should be submitted to Finance prior to March 31. Expenses should be included in the year in which they were incurred and even within the same fiscal year, expenses should be submitted in a timely manner (by semester or less). If you have any questions, please contact Vicki Pannell or call ext. 4312.

Notice of Faculty and Support Staff Election

Education Council and the Board of Governors are looking to fill the following positions:

Education Council:
Six (6) Portfolio Faculty Representatives

Board of Governors:
One (1) Faculty Representative

  • One (1) Support Staff Representative

Call for Nominations:  Wednesday, Feb. 8 to Tuesday, Feb. 21 inclusive. Election: Tuesday, Mar. 12 and Wednesday, Mar. 14. 
Please follow this link for more information.

Support Staff Celebration

The Institute for Learning and Teaching is hosting a Support Staff Employee Appreciation Luncheon on Feb. 21 in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning.

There will be two sessions with the same presenters and presentations. The first session starts at 11:30 a.m. and the second session starts at 12:30 p.m. with presentations including an orientation session from the Employee and Family Wellness Program and health and exercise strategies from the Recreation Department.

A light lunch will be available for attendees. Please RSVP to Patti Toma by day’s end Feb. 14.

Flu prevention

Prevent the flu this season by washing your hands frequently.

The best way to clean your hands is with soap and warm water.

The Campus Health and Wellness Nurses have been working with Okanagan College administration and Health, Safety & Emergency Management Services to spread the message and not illness.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are recommended “when you are out and not able to wash your hands.”

For more information visit Public Health Agency of Canada,  Interior Health Authority or Okanagan College's Health, Safety and Wellness site.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Dan Larsen, from IT Services at the Kelowna campus, who has won the Friday, Feb. 10 payday draw for $590!
Thanks to participants, the 50/50 Staff Lottery 2011 has awarded $14,443 to students needing immediate financial assistance. If you’re interested in joining the almost 200 staff who participate, please contact Tessa Derksen (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni office, or download a registration form online.


Feb. 15 – Science in Society Speaker Series features green IT specialist Bill St. Arnaud. The lecture gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door.

Feb. 16 – SIFE Okanagan is hosting its annual Red Tie Gala, a fundraiser to support SIFE teams in their pursuit of regional and national competition titles. Tickets to the event are $35 and are available by contacting Holly - 250-575-3795.

Feb. 17-19 - Eat.Drink.Tweet, a social media conference with a culinary twist, will take place at the Penticton campus. To register for Eat.Drink.Tweet., go online.

Feb. 17 – Cheer on the Coyotes hockey team as they match up against Trinity Western University at the Memorial Arena in Kelowna. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 18 – Catch the Coyotes vs SFU on ice at Memorial Arena in Kelowna. Game time: 7:30 p.m.

Mar. 2 – The 29th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition will take place at the Kelowna campus. Check out the excitement of the Heavy Weight category in the lecture theatre around 1 p.m. 

Apr. 1 – Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race will take place at the Kelowna campus. Races get underway at 8 a.m. Register before March 1 and secure early bird pricing. Go online for more info, to register or volunteer.

Work is continuing on site development for Agur Lake, with the chair of the camp Board Barb Hatton giving special thanks to staff and students in Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program. Read: Agur camp test seen for July.

Nine of the best chefs in Canada gathered in Kelowna last weekend to compete in the final round of the Canadian Culinary Championships, hosted in part by Okanagan College. See Ottawa chef has recipe for success (Daily Courier), Culinary artist (Capital News), Top chefs vie for title in mystery contest, and earlier coverage: Kitchen Tour, Gold Medal Plates, Gold Medal Plate chefs to descend on Kelowna, and Competitors fill in so chefs can compete in Kelowna. View some of the news footage here. The high-profile event also put the spotlight on students. Read: Students hungry to compete.

Okanagan College students played a key role in Canstruction Kelowna, helping to raise more than 18,000 cans of food and over $4,000 in cash. Read: Food banks the real winners in Canstruction competition, and Canned sculptures to feed those in need, in the Capital News and, in the Daily Courier: One can at a time in fight against hunger.

Okanagan College registrar Jane Muskens highlighted educational investments in her column Investing in British Columbians, and then examined the gap between rich and poor in Answer to unequal incomes.

School District 53’s commitment to the Trades continued with students enrolled in various programs offered by the College. Read School District 53 continues to expand trades training opportunities for students from the Osoyoos Times.

CHBC stopped by to cover the Okanagan College Business Expo held earlier this month.

The re-election of Lance Kayfish as Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors and Tom Styffe as Vice Chair was announced in the Vernon Morning Star, Capital News, and Lake Country Calendar. Read: College board re-elects chairs, Lance Kayfish, and Kayfish, Styffe to lead OC board.

Students at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College were among thousands across the nation protesting high tuition fees. Read editorial: Tuition fees are too high, College students plan protest today, Rising costs decried, and Students protest crippling tuition debt.

The popular Eat.Drink.Tweet returns to Penticton campus. Read: Social media seminar on again in the Summerland Review, and Popular social media event returns to college.

The Penticton campus of Okanagan College won the Business of the Year Award from the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. Read: College wins award.

Three goals with less than 90 seconds to spare was the story for the Coyotes in OC shows balance.

Registration is now open for the B.C. Youth Write Camp. Read: July camp offered for young writers.

Snowshoe director, guide and Education Council Chair Rick Gee broke trail. Read Kelowna Nordic.

The Osoyoos Times focused on the immigrant settlement story in Okanagan College proud to sponsor English as a Second Language program in Osoyoos.

Gallery Vertigo at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College will hold a new exhibit featuring works from Vernon photographer Lisa Torrie. Read about the artist and the exhibit in It’s a bug’s life.

Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer.

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 Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.