Fun, informative activities for students on tap throughout September
The first days of September are busy ones on UBC’s Okanagan campus with many events designed to ensure students feel welcome, comfortable and at home.
New international students have an opportunity to participate in Jumpstart, this week to Friday, August 29, while domestic students will take part in Kick Start. Both Jumpstart and Kick Start are intensive orientations held the week prior to classes. They offer students fun adventures off campus, academic orientation on campus, and the chance to learn alongside other new-to-UBC students.
Create New Student Orientation is a day-long series of events on Tuesday, September 2, specifically for the newest members of UBC’s campus community. During Create, new graduate and undergraduate students will learn about the people, places, activities, and resources available on campus.
Among events is the annual Colour Run, where students get blasted with blue and gold paint as they complete fun challenges. For a $5 donation, the Colour Run will raise funds for Feed the Valley, a food bank initiative. The colour run takes place at 3:30 p.m. at the University commons, beside the University Centre. As well, Showcase, a vendor market to highlight on-campus resources and local goods and services available to students off campus, happens the same day as Create.
“I am really excited for Kick Start because I will meet so many people and start making friends right away,” says Anna Bowden, who begins her first year of university at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “I don't know anyone who is going to UBC besides people I have met on Facebook. I decided to register for Create because it is an orientation for everyone and a huge welcome to campus. Who would want to miss that? There are going to be so many great events on campus. I will get such a taste of everything that the school and city has to offer!”
Create Day will be followed by Week Of Welcome – a full week of events and activities for new students, including barbeques, recreational events, improv, movie nights, festivals, social gatherings and more. And, for the first time UBC’s Okanagan campus is kicking off Spark – a month-long extended orientation program designed to help students achieve academic success, social networking, and make connections to the community.
“We are very excited to offer Spark to students this year,” says Greg Mather, commuter student program coordinator. “By offering four weeks of programs, events and workshops that target these themes, we hope to spark new connections within the UBC Okanagan community.”
For more information and detailed schedules for any of the orientations visit www.ubc.ca/okanagan/students/newtoubc/orientations
Award-winning instructors, published poets, experienced editors and publishers, as well as archeologists, geographers, sociologists and political scientists are among those instructors who are bringing an array of interesting and applied university arts courses to Okanagan College’s Vernon’s campus this year.
“There are tremendous talents who teach here,” explains Jane Lister, the College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “And they are committed to providing students a great learning experience that can’t be matched in larger schools.”
An example of the talent is author and freelance editor and writer Jeremy Lanaway, whose role with publishing company Pearson Longman’s Canadian, UK, and Asian subsidiaries has led him to author, co-author, and edit more than 70 English language teaching textbooks. Lanaway is teaching ENGL 209: Studies in Professional Editing this fall.
“It is part of the very strong cadre of courses we offer in Vernon that emphasize applied theoretical and creative practice,” says Lister.
Other examples of that emphasis on English and writing include prize-winning poet Kevin McPherson teaching ENGL 150: Poetry and Drama and Kerry Gilbert (another published poet) offering ENGL 116: Introduction to Creative Writing classes.
A seven-time national award-winner for book design, Jason Dewinetz, offers a course in Applied Publishing Skills this fall. A core of the Diploma in Writing and Publishing, the course (FINA/ENGL 170) introduces students to the use of state-of-the-art publishing and design software, as well as hands-on experience with quality letter presses.
“Our strengths in university arts go well beyond English,” notes Lister. Amy Cohen infuses her introductory anthropology courses with the passion and engagement that she brings to her community work in and around the Okanagan. Cohen’s principal research has concentrated on the intersection of the law, citizenship and race.
Brad Clements – a name familiar to many who have been following the efforts to acquire the CN Rail right-of-way for a park – brings his industry experience to the classroom as he teaches the Principles of Micro-Economics.
Craig McLuckie, Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs, returns to the classroom with ENGL 213: British Literature, an examination of Polish, Irish, English and Scottish writing from three genres; a timely course as the UK/GB sees independence votes in its constituent nations. McLuckie is also the author and editor of several books that examine the intersection of culture, community and politics.
“The list of instructors who bring their research and applied experience to the classroom is long. From psychology, to communications, to political science and geography, sociology, Spanish, history, French, philosophy and environmental and indigenous studies – we have many courses that will interest students, whether they are intent on getting a liberal arts degree or just pursuing knowledge for its own sake,” says Lister.
The best way to learn about what is being offered is to visit the campus or www.okanagan.bc.ca/vernonarts2014, she notes. There is still opportunity to apply to attend Okanagan College this fall. If you only want to take a course for interest’s sake, you can register to audit courses (which means you can experience the joy of learning with no grades!)
Extensive research conducted by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, the British Columbia Wine Institute and Okanagan College’s School of Business has uncovered what motivates wine visitors to come to this region and the secret to ensuring they return.
This is especially important given the Okanagan’s increasing profile on the global wine stage. A July poll of readers of the U.S.’s largest circulating newspaper, USA Today, found the Okanagan was the #2 wine destination in the world, second only to Alentejo, Portugal.
“Using interviews with 900 visitors to the Winter, Spring and Fall Okanagan Wine Festivals in 2012 and early 2013, we looked specifically at what impact wine-related events and festivals had on their desire to come to the region,” says leader of the research project Dr. Blair Baldwin, Okanagan College School of Business Professor and Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager.
Baldwin and his team discovered that the greatest influence on visitor motivation was event and festivals execution—meaning not just the presence of those events but also the experience guests had while there.
“You may sell out your event or win an award for your wine but if you haven’t devoted enough resources to ensuring a seamless experience, such as having prominent directional signage, good traffic flow to your wine shop, enough tasting room servers, and ample parking, visitors won’t return. And they won’t recommend it to their friends either,” says Baldwin.
Baldwin was invited to present these groundbreaking findings at the prestigious Academy of Wine Business Research conference at the University of Geisenheim in Germany earlier this summer.
“The critical knowledge gained from this primary research will add so much value to the industry,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism.
“This was a rare opportunity to promote Okanagan College and our region’s exceptional wineries, events and festivals to an international audience,” says Rouse. “There were 125 delegates from 28 wine regions including the Okanagan, Niagara, Sonoma, Napa, Marlborough, Adelaide, Bordeaux, Champagne, Oregon and Tuscany at this conference.”
The research project was part of a larger body of research originally conducted by the same group in the fall of 2013 that looked at the economic impact of wine tourism to the Okanagan. See www.thewinefestivals.com/blog for more details.
Dive right into the world of espionage and intrigue at Okanagan College this fall. English professor Dr. Matt Kavanagh will take students on a journey through some of the most riveting 20th century British spy novels ever written in ENGL 213 (Studies in British Literature) which focuses on spies, double agents, and fugitive authors.
“Even though the genre gets its start at the beginning of the 20th century, the subject matter is very contemporary: declining geopolitical power, betrayal, and terrorism,” says Kavanagh.
“Fantasy figures like James Bond are meant to embody a sense of national virility at a time when Britain’s sense of its place in the world was very much in question. Then there are organization-men like George Smiley who orchestrate intrigue from their desks in anonymous institutional settings. Most interesting are the traitors who spy against their own country and serve as scapegoats whose betrayal ‘explains’ Britain’s keenly felt sense of diminishment amidst a broad sense of decline,” he says.
Beyond Ian Fleming and John Le Carré, this class examines modernist classics by Joseph Conrad and Elizabeth Bowen as well as contemporary work by John Banville and Salman Rushdie (who has written a memoir of his time spent living on the run from Islamic fundamentalists in Joseph Anton).
ENGL 213 is just one of several unique English courses being offered at Okanagan College this fall.
Another is ENGL 204 (Applied English Studies), a course that puts students in the role of editor at an actual literary publication, Ryga: A Journal of Provocations. A companion course, ENGL 205, runs in the Winter term.
“From content creation to layout, students use the analytical and writing skills they have learned in their previous English classes and master the applied skills they need to create, design and publish a magazine,” says English professor Corinna Chong.
“Applied English Studies will not only appeal to arts students, but also to students interested in communications, marketing and business, as they will have the opportunity to run a real publishing company.”
While the fall term is fast approaching, Okanagan College is still accepting applications for enrolment. Go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/becomeastudent for details.
Imperial College London researchers visit partners at UBC Okanagan
A partnership between UBC Okanagan and Imperial College London (UK) is focused on development of a new helmet that could one day reduce sports-related concussions.
Professors Peter Childs and Dan Plant, visiting from Imperial College, spent the week at UBC’s Okanagan campus, meeting with researchers and sharing ideas and designs that can change lives.
Plant is one of the developers of Armourgel—a light, flexible material that absorbs shock on impact and can reduce physical harm from falls or other kinds of contact. While at UBC, Plant met with Prof. Paul van Donkelaar, director of UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, and demonstrated several samples of Armourgel. The applications of this novel new material are far-reaching -- from protective bike gear, to clothing for elderly people prone to falls, to more effective helmets.
That’s where UBC Okanagan’s new Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) facility comes in.
STAR (star.ubc.ca) is a hub for innovative research projects that focus on human performance and protection by bringing together expertise from across UBC, industry and other universities. In one of the first major collaborations through STAR, van Donkelaar is working with Armourgel and Kelowna’s Helios Global Technologies to develop a helmet liner that could lessen the impact of blows to the head, specifically in contact sports. His research examines the damage sustained by young athletes who have been concussed while playing sports, especially those who have had more than one concussion.
Part of this work examines how concussions can affect blood flow to the brain, how this impacts neurocognitive function, and how to determine when young athletes are physically ready to begin playing a contact sport again.
"Sport-related concussion is becoming a major concern for athletes, parents, coaches, and sport associations,” says van Donkelaar. “Finding ways to improve the safety of contact sports is one key approach to mitigating the risks of concussion. The development of Armourgel helmets could be a step in the right direction to making contact sports safer."
In van Donkelaar’s lab, Plant presented several variations of the Armourgel product, and explained how it can be manufactured in different thicknesses, and can be applied in many ways. The goal now is to work on a prototype helmet liner that may one day become standard safety equipment for those who play contact sports.
During their visit, Peter Childs, Professor of Engineering Design at Imperial College London, spoke about the benefits of a partnership between UBC and Imperial. The goal is to expand the relationship and provide new opportunities for students from both universities.
This spring, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Okanagan Campus Principal Deborah Buszard signed an agreement with Imperial College as part of UBC’s plan to foster deeper relationships that can lead to innovative research
“The visit by Imperial College London opens the door to exciting new opportunities for this campus and our partners in the community,” says Buszard. “It is wonderful to be hosting scholars of the calibre of Peter Childs and Dan Plant. I look forward to seeing the results of the joint projects already underway with UBC researchers, as well as other opportunities for collaboration discussed during this week’s visit.”
While in the Okanagan, the visitors from Imperial met with representatives from local businesses and industries, community leaders, and representatives from several faculties at UBC including the Faculty of Management, Applied Science, and the Faculty of Health and Social Development.
-- 30 --
UBC professor receives funding to examine the conversation on water in BC and how it may impact the Sustainable Water Act
Grace H. Fan, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship with UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Management, has received $73,800 in funding over two years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support research on the discourse on water in BC.
“BC is going to have a new water act – the Sustainable Water Act, which is replacing the more than 100-year-old water act, and it is going to have a significant impact on the way water is managed throughout BC,” says Fan, who uses organization theory to explain entrepreneurship and water sustainability. Organizational theory is the study of organizations and their interrelationship with the environment in which they operate.
“My research will focus on the process of how the BC Sustainable Water Act has been developed – who was consulted, how they were involved, the transparency of those consultations, and what, if any, influence or impact those dialogues have in forming policy for the Sustainable Water Act.”
Fan and her co-investigator, Dev Jennings from the University of Alberta, are interested in the process of how the policy is developed, and will also examine how the policy is received by the community and stakeholders, and what further negotiations take place. They will also look at how the Sustainable Water Act will be implemented at the ground level.
It is anticipated the Sustainable Water Act will be announced and reviewed in spring 2015.
“It will be the first time BC is going to have legislation on ground water, which is a significant change,” says Fan. “Also, for the first time, they have included wording about First Nations, which is another important issue.
“We assume there will be lots of negotiation resulting from these two specific issues. We’re interested in figuring out the legal framework in which this all takes place. What groups will be included and invited to participate in this? How will they contribute? How transparent will the negotiations be?”
Fan explains her research could be used by policy-makers, communities, and stakeholders to better understand their roles and possible alternatives in the consultation and negotiation process, potentially leading to smoother implementation of policy and better collaboration from stakeholders.
Fan’s past research, funded by the UBC Okanagan Provost’s research office, has examined policy development and stakeholder collaboration at its best. She has applied organizational theory to study the collaborative model created and maintained by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) and Okanagan Water Stewardship Council, who have successfully brought together diverse stakeholders throughout Okanagan communities to address water sustainability issues in the Okanagan Valley.
“The collaborative model is very fascinating,” says Fan. “What the OBWB and Stewardship Council have achieved by working together is often considered a leading example of water management in Canada, and the whole of North America.
“It is important to understand the background of this collaborative model, how it works, who it involves, how it prioritizes and makes decisions, and why it has been and continues to be successful and sustainable in water management. Once we understand why something works, or why something doesn’t, we can make conscious decisions to achieve best possible results in policy creation, implementation and management.”
School of Health and Exercise Sciences is looking for more community partners
After years of classroom study and lab research, Kurt Whitney couldn’t wait to test out what he had learned.
With a career goal of becoming a chiropractor, Whitney is studying human kinetics with the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. In his fourth and final year, Whitney was thrilled to be placed at the Valeo Health Clinic in Kelowna, where he logged 40 practical hours under the supervision of chiropractor Ben Stevens. He came back to campus excited about his career plans.
“My practicum placement has definitely motivated me to work harder,” he says. “Not only did I learn a great deal, but I was also able to improve my skills, especially when it comes to client assessment, time-management, and organization.”
Practicum placements are mandatory for Bachelor of Human Kinetics students, explains School of Health and Exercise Sciences practicum coordinator Rebecca Frechette. Based on the student’s goals, schooling, and interest, Frechette tries to find a community organization that can help with student skill development and supervision.
“Our fourth-year students are extending the walls of their classrooms into the community,” says Frechette. “Valuable connections are made through experiential learning opportunities in their practicum program.”
Practical placements not only benefit the students, but Frechette notes that community partners often gain from having a student in their working environment. Along with the required 40 practical hours, students must also research a topic within the scope of the practice, provide a summary of their findings and then give a presentation on their experience to their colleagues and professors.
“Practicum experiences are invaluable for enhancing the student’s career potential,” says Frechette. “Our students benefit a great deal from applying at least three years of their university education in a practical setting.”
Frechette notes the community has been highly supportive of the practicum placement program and she thanks the many organizations who have been involved in the past. With September just around the corner, she is thinking about future placements for this year’s fourth-year students and is encouraging new community partners to participate in the placement program.
“We appreciate all community support and this involvement is critical in the sustainability of our practicum program,” she adds. “Our students benefit a great deal when they have the opportunity to apply at least three years of their university education in a practical organizational setting.”
Student placements in the Health and Exercise Sciences practicum program include, but are not limited to, involvement in:
- Exercise rehabilitation
- Shadowing/assisting medical and health professionals such as physicians, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors
- Strength and conditioning/training different populations
- Coaching/training athletes
- Working with individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities
- Health promotion-based organizations
- Employee wellness programs
- Assisted living and residential care facilities
- School districts
- Athletic therapy
- Fitness/recreation management
If you are interested in having a UBC Human Kinetics practicum student join your organization in the upcoming school year—from September to December, or January to April—please contact Rebecca Frechette at 250-807-9565 or send an email to [email protected].
Theatre productions at Rotary Centre for the Arts enabled by $15,000 donation
UBC performance students will again offer a series of public performances in downtown Kelowna and at the University Theatre on campus, thanks in large part to a $15,000 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation.
Theatre26, a group of students at UBC Okanagan supervised by a faculty member from the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, will present five professional theatre productions at the Rotary Centre, the Kelowna Community Theatre and the University Theatre over the 2014-2015 academic year as a result of the grant.
“This gift from the Central Okanagan Foundation enables us to provide this community experience and value-added educational opportunity by allowing us to pay for productions over the upcoming theatre season,” says Neil Cadger, associate professor in the interdisciplinary performance program in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.
Over the past year and a half, Theatre26 has mounted five professional performances in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts through a grant from UBC.
“Now we have another season assured where we can showcase our students’ work and bring in companies and individual performers that add to the cultural vibrancy of the Okanagan,” says Cadger. “We are deeply interested in reaching out and involving the local community with a long-term goal of creating a sustainable, and more robust live-performance industry.”
Bruce Davies, executive director of the Central Okanagan Foundation, says the Foundation recognizes Theatre26 as a viable arts company that enhances the art and cultural offerings in the Okanagan.
“The Central Okanagan Foundation is pleased to support UBC’s promotion of home-grown theatre and dance productions by increasing the availability of performances of eclectic, unconventional and innovative entertainment,” says Davies. “This program provides UBC students, grade school students and local theatre and dance audiences with exposure to high quality, live, contemporary performances.”
The proposed lineup of UBC performances supported by the Central Okanagan Foundation grant for 2014-15 includes:
- Sunday Service Improv Comedy (Vancouver), September 2014
- Butt Kapinski, Deanna Fleysher (Los Angeles), October 2014
- It’s going to get worse and worse and worse my friend, Lisbeth Gruwez (Belgium), January 2015
- Marooned, Aron De Casmaker and Jesse Buck (United Kingdom), February 2015
- Winner and Losers, Theatre Replacement & New World Theatre (Vancouver), March 2015
Theatre26 won bronze in the Best of Kelowna 2014 promotion category for theatre groups.
UBC’s start an evolution campaign has raised $84 million to date in the Okanagan.
To find out more about Theatre26, visit: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/fccs/news-events/ongoing/theatre-26
Nurses, psychologists and health-care practitioners join in rural care project
For the estimated 350,000 people living with atrial fibrillation (AF) – a common heart arrhythmia – residing in a rural community can mean limited access to the network of healthcare support which is pivotal to managing this complex and unpredictable condition.
If poorly managed, AF can increase stroke risk by five times, cause repeated hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and contribute to considerable uncertainty, psychosocial distress and reduced quality of life.
An interdisciplinary team from UBC and Interior Health received $20,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop an innovative telehealth service, and continue their research addressing current gaps in rural cardiac health care services.
“Often the only option for older adults living in rural areas to receive specialty health care requires leaving the comfort and familiarity of their communities and may lead them to forgo much-needed care,” says Kathy Rush, team lead and associate professor in the UBC Okanagan School of Nursing.
The telehealth system will provide quick, easy access to specialty services, bringing long distance heart-related health care to the patient – and the primary physician.
“In the absence of specialty care, rural primary care physicians assume responsibility for the care that specialists typically manage in urban areas,” says Dr. Carol Laberge, cardiac program director at Interior Health. “Telehealth and rural service delivery promote high quality, accessible patient-oriented care –consistent with the strategic directions of the health authority.”
The interprofessional team expects the telehealth service to increase efficiencies, and time and cost savings for both patients and the health care system.
“This innovative project focusses on the most important part of the health care team – the people receiving care,” says Prof. Patricia Marck, director of the School of Nursing. “If we want to improve care, it is time to develop solutions that work for them closer to home.”
The UBC Okanagan team, led by Rush, includes Susan Holtzman and Linda Hatt, associate professors in psychology at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, and Robert Janke, deputy chief librarian of the Okanagan campus.
Janke is conducting a survey of literature to identify the range and nature of telehealth approaches used with rural living older adults with cardiac conditions. Holtzman and Hatt will provide expertise in the psychosocial components of the telehealth design, with specific attention to patients’ needs for emotional and informational support.
The Interior Health team is led by Laberge, and includes nurse practitioners, Louann Janicki and Nicole Gorman, along with cardiologist, Dr. Petr Polasek.
This CIHR Planning Grant builds on two grants the team has received in 2013 including a CIHR catalyst grant and an Institute of Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention grant.
Clint Bannister knows it’s hard to put an exact price on the value of a post-secondary education, but he is confident there is a very real return on the investment.
The 31-year-old Okanagan College graduate and civil engineering design technologist at Urban Systems in Kelowna is one example of the thousands of Okanagan College graduates whose impact on the regional economy exceeds half a billion dollars annually. Provincially, the impact comes closer to a billion dollars.
A recent economic impact study undertaken by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) found that in 2012-13 Okanagan College and its students added $542 million to the regional economy. It pegged the institution’s provincial impact at $915 million.
Before entering Okanagan College, Bannister worked in sales. These days he spends most of his professional life designing highways and municipal roads; it was his investment in a college diploma that has prepared him for a long and rewarding career.
“Before I took the Civil Engineering Technology program at Okanagan College, I didn’t realize having a skilled education was so important to lifelong career success,” said Bannister. “I am excited to work for a great company doing something that really matters to the community.”
The study also found that Okanagan College students like Bannister, who were active in the regional workforce over the course of one year, collectively contributed $446 million in higher earnings and increased employer productivity.
In addition, Okanagan College’s operations and the spending from out-of-region students added $96 million to the economy.
Bannister completed his engineering technology diploma in 2011 and was hired within a month of graduation. Originally from North Vancouver, he chose to stay in the Okanagan and is among an increasing group of Okanagan College grads who provide a 12.7 per cent return to B.C. taxpayers on their investment in post-secondary education.
The positive effect of Okanagan College runs much deeper than added income. On a provincial scale, Okanagan College grads in the workforce save the provincial social safety net an estimated $16 million annually through reduced crime rates, lower unemployment rates and improved health. In short, graduates like Bannister are more productive and reduce the strain on social services.
The payoff doesn’t just impact taxpayers. Students who complete a college credential receive a huge return on that investment as well. EMSI’s estimate suggests that there is a 51 per cent lifetime earnings bump attributable to a two-year diploma over someone who has only a high school credential – it is worth an additional $346,800 over their estimated working lifetime.
For someone with a degree, such as Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Computer Information Systems, the estimated increase in working lifetime earnings compared to a high-school credential holder is 80 per cent or an additional $544,000.
“When I was working in sales my salary was up and down week-to-week and it was stressful not being able to count on a set paycheque,” said Bannister. “I also didn’t see a lot of prospects for the future. It’s so worth getting a practical education because a job like the one I have now is so much more rewarding and more lucrative over the long term.”
“The results of this study confirm that there is a significant return on the investment in post-secondary education for graduates, taxpayers and our regional economy,” explained Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “The economic impact is important to acknowledge but so is the value education yields for students and the wellbeing of our communities.”
“I chose the College because it’s local, the program is a good mix of technical and academic experience and it’s very highly regarded in the engineering industry,” said Bannister. “The co-op program was instrumental in preparing me for work and helped me apply fundamental knowledge to real world experiences."
Read more Campus Life articles