Okanagan College is a public, comprehensive, post-secondary educational institution that was established under the provisions of the College and Institute Act (2004). Okanagan College offers a wide variety of career, continuing education, degree, developmental, trades and technologies, university studies, and vocational programs. The region served by Okanagan College covers 37,750 square kilometres, and extends from Osoyoos and Princeton in the south and west to Mica Creek and Revelstoke in the north and east.
Okanagan College is governed by the Board of Governors and the Education Council, and is operated in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
History of Okanagan College
Established in 1965, Okanagan Regional College enrolled its first university studies and career transfer students in 1968. During the period 1970 to 1974, the College was melded with the B.C. Vocational School, and Okanagan College assumed responsibility for Adult Education progams.
In response to the Minister's Access for All initiative in 1989, the mandate of Okanagan College was expanded to provide baccalaureate degrees, in partnership with established universities. During the next two years Okanagan College introduced third and fourth year courses leading to degrees in Arts and in Science in partnership with the University of British Columbia, and in Education and in Nursing in partnership with the University of Victoria. To reflect this new mandate, the name Okanagan University College was adopted in 1992.
In June of 1994 the provincial government introduced Bill 22, the College and Institute Amendment Act, which was brought into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, effective January 15, 1995. The principal aims of the amendments were to give university colleges and provincial institutes the power to grant baccalaureate and honorary degrees; to include internal institution members on the boards of colleges, university colleges and institutes; and to create an education council within each institution. A bicameral system of governance, similar to the type of governance found in Canadian universities, was established. The powers and duties of the two governing bodies, boards and education councils, and areas of joint authority are defined in the College and Institute Act.
The designation of Okanagan College was rescinded and Okanagan University College was designated by Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, which came into effect on January 15, 1995. The college region was defined as " the combined area of the following School Districts established by the School Act: No. 19 (Revelstoke), No. 22 (Vernon), No. 23 (Central Okanagan), No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen), No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen), No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha), and No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap).
A separate Order in Council came into effect on January 15, 1995 which granted OUC the authority to grant the following degrees in its own name: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Social Work, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Honorary Doctor of Letters, Honorary Doctor of Technology.
On March 17, 2004 the Provincial Government announced that OUC would evolve into two new institutions by September 2005 – UBC Okanagan and the new Okanagan College. The new Okanagan College was designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as an authorized college under the College and Institute Act on November 26, 2004 and an interim board was appointed.