Accounting. Marketing. Leadership. Lego?

Transformative Learning | Strategy 14: Interdisciplinary Education
Theme: Innovation
Dr. Kari Marken uses Lego to encourage MBA students to play and build meaning together | Photo credit: Geoff Lister

Picture a typical MBA course, and you’re likely to envision students engrossed in classes on topics such as Organizational Behaviour, Economics, Management and Business Ethics. Enter Dr. Kari Marken’s Creativity course classroom, however, and you’d be in for a surprise. After all, playing with Lego bricks or drawing on papered walls aren’t exactly the activities taking place in most offices or boardrooms—but speak with Dr. Marken long enough and you’ll start to believe they probably should be.

“To create is to bring something into existence,” the lecturer shares, “and if we look at it that way, that’s what we’re all doing all the time in our work—we’re creating things. If you’re leaving a business school with an MBA or a Master’s, there’s a degree to which you should have some fluency in how to lead others through a creative process to generate better solutions.”

Creativity, which has been a requirement for completion in Masters of Management and Full-Time MBA programs for many years, is one of a number of courses taught by Dr. Marken since September 2020, when she joined the UBC Sauder School of Business. Rather than giving lengthy lectures, Dr. Marken prefers to catalyze students’ creativity by drawing on her diverse background in teaching and the arts. Her résumé includes, among other things, an early career as a high-school Drama teacher; a Master’s and PhD in Curriculum and Pedagogy; six years as an Educational Designer with the UBC Centre for Student Involvement & Careers; and, finally, her most recent position as a full-time lecturer in the UBC Sauder School of Business.

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Through Strategy 14: Interdisciplinary Education, UBC is developing academic structures that foster and support opportunities for students from different perspectives and disciplines to work together on complex or emergent problems.