One of the Okanagan’s best-known businesses has thrown its support behind the campaign to expand and renovate the trades training complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.
Barry Lapointe, CEO and Chairman of Kelowna Flightcraft, has made a $500,000 donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign that will help complete the $33-million project.
“I believe that people who have done well in this region should give back,” says Lapointe. “And we feel strongly about supporting post-secondary education.”
Lapointe’s donation to Okanagan College was acknowledged this week by Premier Christy Clark, area MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson, and several representatives of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation at Flightcraft’s airport hangar, where a class of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering students were nearing completion of their course.
“Barry sees what’s coming: a shortage of skilled labour, and a tremendous opportunity for trained people,” noted Premier Clark. “He has always supported the creation of more education and career opportunities in the Okanagan, culminating in this generous donation.”
Lapointe’s donation brings the $7-million campaign up over the $3 million mark. The money raised will help complete and equip the trades complex and create support for students who take programs there. The province has contributed $28-million to the project.
The building and renovation project is expected to be complete by spring 2016. Approximately 5,100 square metres of shops and classes will be renovated and an additional 5,500 square metres of shops, classroom and student space are being constructed along KLO Road.
The complex will accommodate approximately 2,600 students annually in a range of trades programs.
“Barry’s support is a key donation for the campaign,” explains campaign chair Dennis Gabelhouse. “Industry support, from people like Barry, from the automotive industry, from companies like Westwood Electric sends a message to would-be tradespeople that validates their career choices.”
“We know that we are facing a significant skills gap – especially in the trades – in the coming years,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Barry and others understand that and are investing in our future.”
Okanagan College is the second-largest trades training institution in B.C.
Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques become part of curriculum
As the New Year approaches, many people take time to make resolutions. At UBC Okanagan, mindfulness has not only become a resolution, but a fast-growing movement to improve education—in and outside the classroom.
Promoting Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques (known as SMART), smartUBC is a program originally developed in the United States intended to help educators. Evidence-based research proves that mindfulness programs create better educators. UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Education has developed a 20-hour workshop-style smartEducation course, but Annette LaGrange, chair of the faculty’s curriculum committee, says mindfulness goes well beyond the classroom.
“The scientific evidence developed in the last 20 years is clear,” says LaGrange. “We can change our brains and by doing so we can become more mindful, more able to respond effectively and with less stress. We now know how the brain changes and what processes we can use to change our minds so that we can be happier, healthier and able to respond to others in ways that are kind and compassionate.”
Idea is catching on
While first adopted for educators, other UBC faculties quickly took note. LaGrange, who helps manage the implementation of the academic components of the program, says only positive growth can come from the adoption of the smartUBC mindset. And it goes well beyond the classroom. Indeed, LaGrange says being mindful is a skill needed for day-to-day living in our busy and stressed society.
“We can be more attentive in the present moment and respond more appropriately in stressful situations. This is a very valuable skill especially for professionals who work directly with people in demanding situations.”
What exactly is mindfulness? Bonny Thorne, manager of smartUBC, says the UBC program builds on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques and personal awareness tools. smartUBC is also developing new programs and services in collaboration with community, industry, and academic partners.
During the smartEducation course, for example, educators learn:
- stress management techniques
- how to control emotions
- self-care skills to cultivate personal and professional resilience
- enhanced concentration and decision-making skills
- methods to improve overall mental and physical health
The idea is to improve and promote personal happiness through healthy habits of the mind through experiential practices that promote:
- concentration, attention, and mindfulness
- awareness and understanding of emotions
- empathy, compassion
- positive interpersonal communication
These skills help educators promote a positive learning environment, as well as enabling them to support mindfulness programs for students.
The movement is growing across UBC’s Okanagan campus. The School of Social Work is currently exploring the use of evidence-based mindfulness practices in the training of clinical social workers in the Master of Social Work program. And the School of Nursing (SON) will officially implement mindfulness into its curriculum starting September 2015.
SON Associate Director Sheila Epp says Nursing has a course stream called relational practice—essential for learning about self and building the ability to be with residents, patients, and clients in multiple life and health situations—but Epp knew there was room for more.
“We wanted to explore the notion of working with smartEducation to increase and possibly infuse mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness within the Nursing program,” says Epp. “It was a perfect fit for our relational practice curriculum and was what we were looking for in terms of evidence-informed practices.”
Mindfulness at home, school, or work
Mindfulness, Epp says, can begin at home without training and she suggests basic ideas like pausing when a situation arises, taking a deep breath, thinking and then responding. Mindful-based stress reduction courses are often available, and at the very least, a yoga or meditation session may help bring some calm into a frantic work day.
For the working professional, especially those in stressful careers like education, social work, and nursing, mindfulness training just make sense, she adds.
“Research shows that engaging in mindfulness leads to improved ability to practice to a higher standard,” says Epp. “We will want to see this infused in patient care as well—research shows that patients and clients can benefit from meditation and relaxation skills as part of their care.”
As exams come to a close at campus, LaGrange encourages everybody to try a little mindfulness.
“Finding time in our lives to be present in the moment is often very hard especially at this time of the year,” she says. “We have been taught that to multi task is the way to achieve more, yet brain science is telling us that this is stressful and does not make for the best decisions. Perhaps in the holidays we can decide to do less, buy less, and spend more time enjoying families and friends doing simple things together like going for a walk in nature.”
She suggests finding time to spend time alone and using that time to check in with yourself, your feelings, your sensations, your thoughts. Make it a gift to yourself at this mindful time of year.
Enactus Okanagan College is the only college in Canada and one of only five post-secondary institutions across Canada to receive three or more national partnership grants from Enactus Canada to support entrepreneurship in the Okanagan.
The grants are evidence that the non-profit student-run organization is making good on its goal of using the power of entrepreneurial action to help individuals in need.
The Enactus Okanagan College students have already applied funds from two of the grants to encourage social entrepreneurship in young people and have launched a new social enterprise, InnSpire, to generate funds for a homeless shelter in Kelowna.
The grants are part of the Enactus Canada partnership program and include the Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur Project Partnership sponsored by the RBC Foundation and presented by Futurpreneur, the BDC Entrepreneurs First Project Partnership, and the 3M Canada Problem Solving Project Partnership.
“Being selected for the three grants goes to show how much effort our team, and our community partners put into our programs,” said Tom Arrowsmith, president of Enactus Okanagan College. “These grants add an extra level of validity to our programs by having them be nationally recognized.”
Dr. Kyleen Myrah is the faculty advisor helping oversee the newly launched InnSpire venture, which is a partnership with Inn From the Cold. The students have created a social enterprise that generates revenue from the sale of donated soap. The funds support Inn From the Cold’s Chandler House and the students get the chance to put their business skills to use.
“The goal of this project is to run a social enterprise; providing a sustainable source of revenue that also serves to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, promote the work of the Inn From the Cold organization, and provide long-term employable opportunities for the men in the Chandler house,” said Myrah.
The Enactus Okanagan College students launched the social enterprise in November using the proceeds from the 3M Project Solving Partnership as seed money. The project has already achieved several thousand dollars in revenues for Inn From the Cold. Future plans for the project include expanding the number of sales locations and the product base to further support the sustainability of the program.
The Unleash Social Business Case Competition funded by RBC and presented by Futurpreneur was hosted at Accelerate Okanagan during Entrepreneurship week in November. This case competition pitted teams of students working together to develop sustainable business plans to address social issues facing our community.
The finalist from the program presented their case to a panel of judges. Karen Vandergaag, a member of the winning team, described the experience and the winning case.
“When we received the case, my team looked at how we could take a few social issues in our community and bring together some entrepreneurial ideas to come up with a solution,” said Vandergaag. “I got a lot of value from the process of turning our ideas into a concept that would solve some of Kelowna’s pressing social problems.”
The BDC Entrepreneurs First Grant will be used to support the growth and expansion of Venture Okanagan. Venture Okanagan provides a forum for start-ups to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and other potential funders.
In addition to connecting startups with investors, Venture Okanagan also provides mentorship and support throughout the multi-week process. This competitive forum will be held again in the spring of 2015.
Two enormous, colourful butterflies now enhance University Centre Ballroom
It may be winter, but two bright and colourful butterflies have made a recent and dramatic appearance at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Susan Belton, UBC’s Public Art Collection Curator, is celebrating the installation on the Okanagan campus of a second artwork by renowned Canadian artist Jack Shadbolt. This time, two enormous, colourful butterflies flanking a central chrysalis have been installed in the Ballroom inside University Centre. Titled Primavera, the wooden construction is 9.5 feet high, 20.5 feet wide and weighs 1,100 pounds. The sculpture now covers the south wall in a room used for many special events and public functions.
“Its great size made the placement in the Ballroom a daunting prospect,” says Belton. “We required consultation with a structural engineer and the use of a brilliant installer who came up with a way to use three enormous scaffolds to winch the work into place.”
Primavera comes to UBC Okanagan as a generous art loan from Kelowna’s Tantalus Vineyards. It was initially created by Shadbolt for an installation in Vancouver’s MacMillan Bloedel Building in 1987. Shadbolt made the work in the same year as Tree of Life, now installed in the Reichwald Health Sciences Centre on the UBC Okanagan campus.
“Given the enormous size of both works, it is amazing to think of someone at the age of 78 constructing such massive pieces,” says Belton. “Together they represent the artist at the height of his career, and we are incredibly fortunate to have them both here.”
As does Tree of Life, Primavera shows Shadbolt working to create something that addresses his notion that life is an uncontrollable, exuberant force that changes and flourishes, just as a butterfly transforms and emerges from its chrysalis. Shadbolt said, “I saw the butterfly as a powerful symbol of the natural and spiritual will to survive through change and transformation.”
Belton adds, “What a perfect theme for this campus, which is in a perpetual state of metamorphosis.”
Two years ago, celebrated Canadian poet Patrick Lane received an honorary degree from UBC Okanagan. He gave an emotional and inspirational Convocation address about a blue butterfly he once found on a cold December day in Kelowna—very near the current site of UBC’s Okanagan campus. The butterfly theme, its renewal and exuberant life, is well symbolized at the university.
Patrick Lane’s 2013 UBC Convocation address: http://www.patricklane.ca/ubc-convocation-address-2013/
“We are extremely grateful to Eric Savics and Tantalus Vineyards for the loan of this important artwork,” says Belton. “Far-sighted and creative individuals like Mr. Savics enrich our campus immeasurably. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni can now encounter a second cultural artifact of national significance in our own backyard.”
Belton also acknowledged the invaluable help of Pauline Boyle of Vancouver, who worked tirelessly to help bring the project to completion.
Jack Shadbolt (1909-1998) was a major Canadian artist with 70 solo exhibitions and important retrospectives at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, and the Glenbow Museum. Shadbolt represented Canada in many international exhibitions, including the prestigious Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Carnegie International at Pittsburgh, and the Brussels and Seattle World’s Fairs.
In 1969, a 30-year retrospective of his work was shown at the National Gallery of Canada and subsequently toured the country. In 1972, Shadbolt was appointed to the Order of Canada, and in 1973 he received the University of Alberta Canadian Artist's Award. In 1990, he became a member of the Order of British Columbia. He also received honorary degrees from all three major research universities in British Columbia.
Okanagan College students in the Electrical Trades programs will soon plug into a cutting edge new learning space thanks to a generous donation of $100,000 from Westwood Electric.
Westwood’s donation to the Okanagan College Foundation’s “Bright Horizons: Building for Skills” Campaign will support the Trades Training Complex, currently under construction at the Kelowna Campus. The electrical controls lab in the new facility will feature state of the art equipment, technology, and workstations for students.
Westwood’s decision to support the campaign for the Trades Training Complex was based on the recognition that proper training is crucial for maintaining the overall health and growth of trades, both locally and beyond.
“Today's apprentices are tomorrow’s qualified journeypersons, supervisors and industry leaders. The best possible trades training will only further promote the apprentice’s future, opportunities for local business and ultimately the province of British Columbia,” said Jason McCormick, Vice President - Operations and Partner of Westwood Electric, which is celebrating 40 years in business.
“We see this as a very special opportunity to be a part of the campaign behind the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus,” said McCormick. “We are honoured be involved with what will be one of the largest, most comprehensive and environmentally sustainable trades training facilities in British Columbia.”
"This support from Westwood is exciting news for Okanagan College and especially so for our students enrolled in the Electrical Trades programs, which is one of our largest trades programs, having grown by over 80 students this year," said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. "The Trades Training Complex will provide students with a learning environment that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. We thank Westwood for their generous investment in our students and in our College’s mission to transform lives and communities."
Work on the $33-million complex expansion and renovation has begun and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016. The provincial government has committed $28-million to the project and the Okanagan College Foundation is responsible for raising an additional $7 million; $5 million for capital costs and the remaining $2 million going towards student and program support.
Okanagan College embarked on the expansion to be pro-active in anticipating and meeting industry needs at a time when there is a looming shortage of trades workers.
“We are excited to watch this new facility take shape and look forward to the many benefits it will provide to the apprentices and businesses in our region,” said McCormick.
Michael Shakespeare, associate vice-president of finance and pperations at UBC Okanagan, will jump into Lake Okanagan on January 19, 2015, if the campus reaches its $57,000 United Way campaign goal before campaign end on December 31, 2014.
Since October 6 the campus has raised $34,000, approximately $20,000 shy of its $57,000 goal.
Shakespeare says he hopes the polar dip will bring attention to the incredible work that United Way and its 39 funded partners accomplish in the Okanagan community.
“UBC Okanagan, its faculty, staff and students, invest each year in the hopes of making a lasting difference in our community,” says Shakespeare.
The announcement continues Shakespeare’s long history with the United Way campaign. In previous years Shakespeare has offered a much sought-after UBC parking pass for a draw amongst the campus’ United Way faculty and staff contributors.
Shelley Gilmore, Executive Director of the United Way of Central and South Okanagan Similkameen, says she is thrilled to hear of Shakespeare’s announcement.
“It is innovative fundraising efforts like this that will make the difference in our local office reaching its goal of $1.5 million,” says Gilmore.
United Way CSO’s campaign kicked off in September with the goal of $1.5 million. With two months left, the fundraising thermometer has yet to reach the half-way mark.
For more information about the UBC United Way campaign visit:
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FortisBC energy efficiency programs result in significant savings for UBC Okanagan
When fans watch the Okanagan Heat sink baskets in the UBC gymnasium, they may not be aware that energy-efficient lighting in the building is also helping the university score on its electricity bill.
It’s not the only facility where UBC and FortisBC have worked together to push for energy savings. Since 2005, UBC Okanagan’s massive campus expansion projects have totalled more than $400 million in capital investment.
Energy efficiency programs implemented as part of expansion and upgrade projects have touched most of the Okanagan campus buildings including Arts; Arts and Sciences Centre; Engineering, Management and Education; Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research; Gymnasium; the Library; Purcell Residence; Sciences; Reichwald Health Sciences Centre; and University Centre.
Through the commercial arm of its PowerSense program, FortisBC offers incentives for purchasing energy-efficient materials as part of construction and renovation projects.
The benefits add up. UBC has received FortisBC rebates of more than $700,000 for electricity and gas projects since 2005. Many of these rebates were earned by choosing energy-efficient building design and equipment for new construction. Some rebates were earned by selecting energy-efficient retrofits, such as new lighting and occupancy sensors for campus buildings.
“The benefits of energy savings are far reaching,” says Michael Shakespeare, UBC associate vice-president of finance and operations. “In addition to rebates and continued annual savings, UBC’s energy-efficiency initiatives are contributing to a resilient future for the next generation.”
Sarah Bird, a third-year student in the zoology program and chair of the Environment and Sustainability Society advocates for energy efficiency.
“There is a lot of energy demand globally. UBC’s action to reduce that load on the planet is making a statement about UBC’s commitment to sustainability,” says Bird. “I picked UBC Okanagan because it’s a small campus. Knowing that my university is also doing things to maintain environmental sustainability makes me feel good about my choice.”
“Over the past decade, UBC has reached the point where the institution is saving more than seven million kilowatt hours of electricity each year as a result of its participation in PowerSense programs,” says Roger Dall’Antonia, executive vice-president, customer service and regulatory affairs, FortisBC. “The kilowatt hours of electricity UBC saves each year translates into $465,000 in energy savings annually.”
“We are committed to working with all of our customers – big or small – to get the most out of their energy dollar,” said Dall’Antonia.
The energy savings and financial savings resulting from the programs illustrate UBC’s commitment to both environmental and economic sustainability.
Okanagan College will send its largest-ever contingent of business students to Kingston in January to compete in the final round of the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) after 10 students advanced from a competitive preliminary round.
Five teams of students from the College will compete in the international event, which is held annually at Queen’s University in mid-January. ICBC is Canada’s longest-running undergraduate business case competition.
This year, more than 140 teams were invited to compete in the preliminary round, only 46 teams advanced. The College will send the second largest number of students to the event – the University of Calgary will send just two more.
Arguably the most prestigious post-secondary business case competition in the country, the final round of ICBC requires teams of two students to create an innovative and viable business solution to a problem in their field of competition.
The College will be represented in the areas of accounting, ethics, debate, finance, and management of information systems.
Okanagan College’s Jared Cook will be heading to ICBC for the second year in a row. Last year he made the finals in accounting. This year he will be joined by his partner Amanda Wright to take on top schools such as Concordia University, the University of Calgary, Brock University and the host Queen’s in the area of finance.
Cook will be joined at the competition by two familiar faces; his brother Jason will compete in the final round of ethics and his father, professor Derek Cook, will attend the competition as coach of his finance team.
“Each year that we compete successfully against top business schools across the country and other parts of the world, I become more convinced that our students are receiving a first class business education at Okanagan College and that we are preparing graduates that are the equal of any in Canada,” said professor Cook. “Although I have enjoyed all of my previous trips to Queen’s, this is a special year for me as my two youngest sons, both BBA students at Okanagan College, are in the finals this year. No matter what the outcome, it will be a very memorable year for me.”
Jason Cook will make his first trip to Queen’s in January as part of the ethics team.
“I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to represent Okanagan College on an international level,” said Jason Cook. “The success I have enjoyed is due in large part to my dedicated partner, to the faculty who have ensured we were prepared for the preliminary round and lastly to my family for providing the competitive motivation.”
Kathy Rush honoured for work done in and outside the classroom
Kathy Rush, an associate professor with UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing, was recently honoured with an Award of Excellence from the College of Registered Nurses of B.C.
Rush, presented with an award for excellence in education, is one of 36 nurses recognized at the annual College of Registered Nurses of B.C. (CRNBC) ceremony this fall.
“I am thrilled by this award and the support of my colleagues and am truly humbled as I consider the wonderfully dedicated teachers whom I work with every day,” says Rush. “I have the privilege of being part of the lives and learning of exceptional students, and am proud to say they will be our next generation of leaders in healthcare.”
Rush has been at UBC’s Okanagan campus eight years and teaches in the graduate and undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing. She helped launch UBC Okanagan’s Master of Science in Nursing program, and has played an instrumental role coaching future nurse educators.
Patricia Marck, director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing, says Rush is well known as an expert in care of older adults, and her expertise is far-ranging. With a recent grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Rush is now collaborating with the health region’s Cardiac Services team to enhance health services for older cardiac patients in rural and remote communities.
Rush has shown exemplary leadership as the graduate program coordinator, advising and guiding students as needed, while also chairing a Master of Science in Nursing program committee, and representing nursing at the College of Graduate Studies, Marck says.
Beyond that, Rush has been researching one of the most pressing issues in nursing education: new graduate transition—work funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR ) and culminating in six publications and a final report to MSFHR.
“Rush’s work is not only timely, but critical when we consider the complex health-care environments that new graduates are entering,” Marck says.
Passionate about nursing education and advancing the scholarship and evidence-base for teaching, she researches different approaches to teaching and learning such as flexible delivery, intentional learning, and simulation. She currently leads a joint UBC-Interior Health research project to develop Inter-professional Clinical Learning Units where students, faculty, and physicians and health region staff can work together to provide evidence-based patient care.
Nine nurses were honoured for excellence in education at the CRNBC’s awards event including Rush and senior instructor Joanne Ricci from UBC Vancouver. Leanne Currie, an associate professor at UBC’s Vancouver campus, was presented with an award for excellence in nursing research.
The CRNBC is the regulatory body for more than 39, 000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and licensed graduate nurses in British Columbia.
Chad Parrent and Teresa Robinson are among those students looking forward to the January start of Okanagan College’s Advanced GIS (Geographic Information Systems) certificate program in Kelowna.
Robinson is adding to her resume as a geophysical technologist and knows there is work waiting for her at the completion of the program. Parrent is among those who have already registered for the 20-week program that provides students with the skills to create maps and gather, edit and manage GIS and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) data, and manage projects.
The program is a blend of theory and practical application that prepares graduates for work in a variety of sectors including resources, government and with First Nations.
Parrent, who is 34, is anticipating the program will lead him to a career in the region using GIS skills – hopefully with government.
“I’m interested in geography and mapping. That’s what led me to look at the program,” explains Parrent. “Then I spent some time speaking with the instructor (Bruce Ganton), to ensure I knew what I was getting into. I am very interested in the career opportunities associated with the program.”
Robinson, who is looking to re-engage in the workforce, has already identified work that she’ll be able to get at the conclusion of the program. She’s anticipating that the opportunity will exist to work remotely from the Okanagan with companies and projects elsewhere, as well.
The College’s GIS programs had their origins in Salmon Arm several years ago and are primarily based at this campus, but increasing demand has prompted the institution to offer them in Kelowna, as well as in Salmon Arm, explains Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development. (There are February and August intakes in Salmon Arm.)
“I wanted to take the course three years ago, but wasn’t able to travel to Salmon Arm,” says Robinson, “so, yes, I’m really glad it is being offered in Kelowna.”
Part of the program sees students undertake two major projects of their own design and another project of the type they’d find in a typical workplace.
“There is significant and growing need for the skill set that students will develop,” explains Silvestrone. “Mapping and GIS are essential these days to understand data, traffic patterns, demographics, demand patterns, environmental issues . . . You name it, GIS is probably associated with it somehow.”
Students can still apply for the course, which starts Jan. 26. It is eligible for government student assistance. To find out more or apply, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/advancedGIS
For a full range of program opportunities starting in January, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/januarystart.
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