Employee Excellence Awards

The Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards program recognizes the contributions made by employees. The program has been developed in concert with the College's employee groups and complements the existing Distinguished Service Award and the Employee Long Service Recognition program. Take time to recognize those you work with who have made a difference to you, to students and the institution. Nominations will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of representatives from our employee groups. The President's Award nominees will be reviewed and determined by the President. Nominations can be sent to employeeawards@okanagan.bc.ca

Group photo of Employee Excellence Awards

Congratulations to all 2020 finalists and recipients!

PRESIDENT’S AWARD
Erika Henfling

STRONG START AWARD
Colette Martin

SCHOLARLY & CREATIVE ACTIVITY AWARD
Dr. Melissa Munn

SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD
Jewell Gillies
Bobbie-Jo Koutsantonis
Rick Montagnon

LEADERSHIP AWARD
Leonard Lermer

KEY DIRECTIONS AWARD
Roger Wheeler

TEACHING EXCELLENCE
Corey Bell
Adrian Fontenla
Roberta Massey

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Dawn Douglas

Watch the Awards Ceremony here:

Nomination form - all awards

Check back when nominations open for 2021.

Nomination Form - President's Award

Check back when nominations open for 2021.

Awards

Career Achievement Award

This award will honour and recognize an Okanagan College employee who has made a significant and positive contribution to Okanagan College during his or her working career.

Eligible: Employees with equal to, or more than, twenty years of service from hiring date to nomination date deadline.

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual

Criteria: Okanagan College recognizes the life-time career contribution of the employee who has made significant contribution to the effectiveness of the organization in delivering its vision, mission and values. An employee nominated for this award will have:

  • Been employed by Okanagan College for at least twenty years;
  • Made specific, tangible contributions to Okanagan College during his or her years of employment;
  • Provided recognized and dedicated service to the Okanagan College community;
  • Been committed to professional growth;
  • Served as a role model or mentor to other employees;
  • Demonstrated personal integrity; and
  • Earned the respect of professional peers.

Continuous Improvement Award

This award will honour and recognize creative and innovative employees who have undertaken initiatives that have enhanced the effectiveness or efficiency of Okanagan College. These employees will have made a significant and positive impact on Okanagan College’s educational or business processes, access for students, or will have enhanced employee morale.

Eligible: All employees

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual or team

Criteria: An individual or a team nominated for this award will have developed or implemented new initiatives or made unique adaptations to existing programs, processes or concepts. These initiatives or adaptations will normally be of significant value to, and have an important impact on Okanagan College and may demonstrate one or more of the following categories:

Problem solving and creativity:

  • Used an alternate method or developed a creative solution to a problem;
  • Took initiative without specific direction or supervision;
  • Overcame obstacles and worked well under unusual circumstances.

Resource utilization:

  • Identified innovative ways to create a financial saving to Okanagan College;
  • Initiated measures or ways to save materials, resources or staff time.

System Improvements:

  • Made innovative and practical recommendations to improve health and safety in the workplace and to promote safe work practices.
  • Identified innovative healthy-workplace practices to improve employee morale.

Okanagan College Educational Processes:

  • Identified and applied new or innovative teaching methods;
  • Enhanced student learning by developing creative or new approaches to learning;
  • Identified and implemented new approaches to improve educational support services.

Key Directions Award

This award will honour and recognize an Okanagan College employee or team who have personified the Mission, Core Values and Key Directions contained within the Strategic Plan and have demonstrated significant and measurable contribution(s) within one of the Key Directions areas.

  1. Supporting Learner Readiness and Success
  2. Excelling in Teaching, Programming and Applied Research
  3. Working With, and Learning From, the Indigenous Community
  4. Serving and Engaging the Community
  5. Focusing on Organizational Sustainability

Eligible: All employees

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded to: An individual or a team

Criteria: An individual or a team nominated for this award will have surpassed the expectations of Okanagan College, its staff or students by seizing opportunities in one or more of the following areas to support the Key Directions as stated in the Strategic Plan.

1. Supporting Learner Readiness and Success– Through their educational experience, learners are better prepared for work, life and further study.

  • Improve pathways for students into, within and beyond Okanagan College.
  • Provide the best possible support services for learners.
  • Enhance the learner experience by improving administrative systems and processes, and by creating an engaging college environment.
  • Implement an internationalization plan so that students better understand the world around them.

2. Excelling in Teaching, Programming and Applied Research – Students, employers and the community will benefit from the College’s commitment to innovative and responsive education.

  •  Use the best combination of course delivery methods, such as face-to-face, E-learning and blended approaches to address diverse learner and community needs.
  • Provide an array of programming that effectively responds to the needs of our students, employers and communities.
  • Provide opportunities for teaching professionals to continuously enhance their skills, knowledge and practice.
  • Significantly develop applied research, scholarly activity and knowledge transfer activities to better serve students, communities and employers.

3. Working With, and Learning From the Indigenous Community – The College values and respects indigenous culture and ways of knowing and is working towards
indigenization. The goal is an authentic partnership that benefits all parties and enriches the education of learners.

  • Commit to an indigenization plan through engagement with Indigenous communities. The plan will address:
  • Enhancing ties with Indigenous partners.
  • Strengthening support services as well as physical, cultural and spiritual spaces that are available to learners.
  • Increasing opportunities for the college community to learn from Indigenous knowledge and culture.
  • Identifying possible changes to College policies, structure and processes that will benefit all.

4. Serving and Engaging the Community – Strengthening relationships with alumni,
employers and community groups contributes to the health and prosperity of the
region the College serves.

  • Increase the number and strength of connections.
  • Build and sustain relationships with alumni and donors.
  • Increase opportunities for engagement with all communities through approaches such as applied research, experiential learning, student employment programs, guest speakers and events.

5. Focusing on Organizational Sustainability – The College needs to address the human and financial resources, infrastructure, and environmental challenges that will accompany anticipated demographic, economic and social changes.

  • Seek additional sources of funding to sustain and further develop the College.
  • Ensure there are sustainable operations in each of the four regions.
  • Augment the College’s human resource plan through improved strategies in key areas such as succession planning, employee development and the recruitment and retention of a diverse employee base.
  • Complete and implement a sustainability plan that addresses environmental, financial and social sustainability.

Leadership Award

This award will honour and recognize an Okanagan College employee who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. 

Eligible: All employees

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual

Criteria: An employee nominated for this category will have demonstrated many of the following qualities of exceptional leadership:

  • Motivated and inspired the people around them;
  • Inspired a high level commitment from others when taking on new initiatives;
  • Created a compelling vision for the future and helped others understand their role in achieving it;
  • Actively shared responsibility, information and credit when working towards the achievement of a goal;
  • Ensured that people were recognized for their contributions and celebrated the accomplishments of others;
  • Provided team members with the tools and support needed to perform their tasks;
  • Took prompt decisive action to resolve issues quickly and effectively;
  • Communicated in a manner which is fair, straightforward, honorable, and open; and
  • Set a high personal standard of integrity by leading by example and by supporting the Mission, Core Values and Key Directions of Okanagan College.

Scholarly and Creative Activity Award

This award will honour and recognize the scholarly or creative activity of an individual, or a team who have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of knowledge through their work at Okanagan College.

Eligible: All employees

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual or team

Criteria: An individual or a team nominated for this award will have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement/enrichment of knowledge through scholarly or creative activity at Okanagan College. Scholarly or creative activity primarily (but not exclusively) includes:

  • Scholarly Activity which involves oral or written activities that reflect a thorough and critical collection of knowledge of one’s profession or discipline; and can include the practical application of research findings.
  • Creative Activities which involve creative practice, exhibition, performance, composition, multimedia presentations and other similar activities that reflect applied practice of one’s profession or discipline.

Note: In addition to the regular items in this nomination package, a curriculum vitae or a list of scholarly or creative activity performed by this individual or team may be attached.

Service Excellence Award

This award will honour and recognize Okanagan College employees who have consistently gone beyond their regular duties and responsibilities to meet the needs of Okanagan College and contribute to our culture of service excellence.

Eligible: Non-teaching employees

Maximum: Three awards per year

Awarded To: One award to an individual or a team

Criteria: An individual or a team nominated for this award will have surpassed the expectations of Okanagan College, its staff or students by seizing opportunities to do more than is asked and will have demonstrated one or more of the following:

  • An extraordinary commitment to continuously providing excellent service to clients beyond the scope of usual roles and responsibilities;
  • A commitment and significant contribution to the success of a project or initiative;
  • Actions that have had a significant impact on students, staff, departments or Okanagan College;
  • A positive attitude, good judgment, and good communications skills;
  • A commitment of time and effort to represent Okanagan College and potentially enhance its reputation; and
  • The ability to achieve outstanding success despite difficult circumstances and unforeseen problems.

Strong Start Award

This award will honour and recognize a new Okanagan College employee who has made a significant positive contribution during his or her first two years of employment.

Eligible: Employees with equal to, or less than, two years of service from hiring date to nomination date deadline. Employees can be nominated in consecutive years provided they were not a recipient in the previous year.

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual

Criteria: Okanagan College recognizes that new employees often bring new ideas, new perspectives, and new energy to the workplace. An employee nominated for this award will have:

  • Been employed by Okanagan College for two years or less;
  • Made specific, tangible contributions to Okanagan College during his or her first two years of employment. These may include innovative suggestions to develop or improve processes or approaches that have a direct impact on service delivery or student success.

Teaching Excellence Award

This award will honour and recognize teaching excellence at Okanagan College. It will be awarded to those individuals with instructional responsibilities who have exhibited consistent excellence in teaching and who have had a significant impact on student learning and academic growth and success. 

 

Eligible: All instructional employees
Note: An employee is not eligible to win this award two years in a row

Maximum: Three awards per year

Awarded To: An individual or teaching team

Criteria: An instructional employee or a teaching team nominated for this award will have made an extraordinary contribution to teaching and learning at Okanagan College in the following ways:

  • Communicated class subject matter accurately, clearly and with enthusiasm; invited, presented and challenged multiple points of view;
  • Planned and organized all course material in a way which added significant value to the learner;
  • Challenged, inspired and supported students to do their very best work;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, and passion for, the subject matter;
  • Ensured that information is ‘leading edge’ in the area;
  • Treated all students with respect and encouraged and openly considered feedback;
  • Used effective teaching methods and techniques to adapt teaching style to fit student needs and available resources;
  • Responded appropriately to the individual needs of each student by being available and approachable for out of classroom consultation;
  • Acted as a role model by embracing his or her own professional development;
  • Established a positive and collaborative learning environment;
  • Generated a desire for continuous and life-long learning in others, especially students; and
  • Acted as a valuable resource for students and colleagues at Okanagan College.

President’s Award

This award will honour and recognize a current employee who has provided outstanding service to Okanagan College, who has shared and supported the Mission, Core Values and Key Directions of Okanagan College and who has been actively engaged within the college community.

Eligible: All employees
Note: This award will be given at the discretion of the President. It will not necessarily be awarded every year.

Maximum: One award per year

Awarded To: An individual 

Criteria: An employee nominated for this award will have:

  • Provided outstanding service and demonstrated commitment to the college, its students and its mission;
  • Consistently contributed to the institution over a sustained period of time;
  • Enhanced the reputation of the institution through his or her actions and efforts; and
  • Demonstrated an ability to establish and maintain effective and supportive working relationships within or beyond the organization.

Milestone recognition

All those employees who have completed a credential, published or received an award from an external organization in the past year deserve to be recognized. Please share your achievements, or those of your colleagues, by completing this form.

Note: Milestones submitted before midnight Friday, May 1, 2020 will be included in the May 13, 2020 celebration event.

Frequently Asked Questions

All employees are eligible for nomination.

Any employee may nominate an eligible employee.

For the purposes of the Okanagan College Employee Excellence Award Program a team is defined as a core group of employees closely associated in a given work, activity or project. Core members are those who are central to the activity or project being nominated, differentiated from other employees who are loosely associated with it.

An ideal nomination package includes:

  • A completed Nomination Form
  • A Statement of Nomination must clearly state why the nominee is a good
  • candidate for that particular award based on the criteria set in the award description
  • and must not exceed two pages.
  • Up to three letters of support (1 page per support letter)

No other attachments are permitted with the nomination package except in the case of the Scholarly & Creative Activity Award which does permit a detailed list of the scholarly activity. Additional pages beyond those noted above will not be accepted and will not be reviewed by the judges

The general focus of the awards are accomplishments from the previous year (1st April – 31st March). However, there may be instances where previous accomplishments are a factor, particularly for awards such as the President’s Award. Please submit the information you believe best supports the nomination and the selection committee will determine eligibility.

Only employees may nominate fellow employees. However, letters of support from students are welcomed and encouraged.

Yes any employee paid by Okanagan College in the past fiscal year may be nominated.

There are no restrictions. Because of the nature of the nomination process, it is possible that an employee may be nominated in more than one category a year. However, finalists and recipients in a particular category cannot be re-nominated for the same category in the next year and must wait an entire year before being re-nominated in a particular category. An exception to this is the Strong Start Award where employees can be nominated to consecutive years provided they were not a recipient in the previous year.

Yes. A person can submit as many nominations as he or she wishes. There must be a complete package for each award nomination. One package cannot be used for multiple award submissions.

The nominee is not required to sign-off on the nomination. Nominees will be informed after the closing date that they have been nominated and asked if they are willing to have their name go forward to the appropriate selection committee for review.

Two Judging Committees have been established. They will review the nominations and following their review, the top three candidates in each category will be informed. The recipients will be announced at the institutional event usually held in May.

Please fill out the form for the respective award and email to: employeeawards@okanagan.bc.ca

President's Award Form
All Awards Nomination Form

Yes. If you wish your nomination to remain confidential please indicate this when submitting the nomination.

Yes. Although we would prefer the documentation to be submitted electronically you may submit it in hard copy to:

Diane Adair
Human Resources
Okanagan College
KLO Campus
1000 KLO Road
Kelowna, BC V1Y 4X8

Contacts

Chair - Event Planning
Linda Heska, Human Resources Director

Judging Committee
Allan Coyle, Interim, Vice President, Students (Co-Chair)
Laura Thurnheer, Business Faculty (Co-Chair)

Event Committee
Diane Adair, Human Resources
Bianka Blandon, Human Resources
Cam McRobb, Trades & Apprenticeship
Tyler Finley, Public Affairs
Michelle Lowry, Public Affairs