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Sauder School of Business professor Moura Quayle, the new director of UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, is hoping to bridge gaps between policy and business by strengthening the bond between the Institute and her home faculty.

The Liu Institute produces research with goals of impacting policy and advancing sustainability, security and social justice, through an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach.

Quayle will remain a professor at Sauder, where she teaches design strategies for business innovation using the d.studio that she set up in 2009. The d.studio is an innovative teaching and research facility she’s hoping to bring to the Liu Institute as well, as it neatly ties into their policy problem-solving strategies.

Bringing business into policy

To Quayle, it makes sense having a Sauder professor head up the Liu Institute because of the alignment of values, such as sustainability and promoting a global perspective.

“Everything we do now has got to make a global-local link,” she says. “Even working in Vancouver, everyone needs a certain amount of intercultural fluency.”

As part of establishing stronger ties between Sauder and Liu, Quayle plans to increase the business community’s voice and engagement in the policy work going on at the Liu Institute, as she feels not enough policy is developed with business in mind.

At Liu, she’ll be assisting with the development of a new program, a master’s in public policy, which is being proposed by the Liu Institute in conjunction with UBC’s Institute of Asian Research, the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and other UBC contributors, including Sauder. She says the program could tie in neatly with the UBC MBA program at Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, as students from both programs could potentially benefit from the other program’s course offerings.

She intends to make global policy work an even bigger part of what the Liu Institute does. She says she’s in listening mode for now as she navigates what direction the Liu Institute should be heading in, but she’s looking forward to getting started on the more concrete developments.

“I’m excited to have once again the capacity to design a process with a vision, with values, and a strategy, and actually follow through and implement it to make real changes,” she says.

Bridging gaps and connecting the campus community

As she settles into her new office overlooking UBC’s forested northwest corner, Quayle says she’s looking forward to meeting with professors from across campus, to collaborate and share ideas.

“It’s about me going to them and actively listening, to understand what their aspirations are, so that we can make things really happen,” she says.

Bridging gaps between different departments has always been a big part of her work, from building a community out of the diverse components of UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems during her time as their dean, to overseeing all areas of advanced education with the provincial government, and even her work at Sauder.

“Business itself is highly interdisciplinary,” she says, adding that one of the best aspects of teaching at Sauder is hearing her students talk about how all their classes, from accounting to finance to marketing, come together.

“I think inter-disciplinary work is how we’ll be problem-solving into the future,” she says. “It’s very rare that one discipline is able to crack the kinds of multi-faceted challenges we have these days.”

Re-designing the world of business

Quayle comes from a landscape architecture and urban design background, which culminated in an eight-year position as dean of Land and Food Systems. She then became B.C.’s Deputy Minister of Advanced Education, which was when she first started connecting business to policy work by setting up an informal business advisory. She came to Sauder in 2009, bringing her design skills to the school by getting students to approach business with a different mindset – what she calls the strategic design process – while working in the d.studio.

“Strategic design is about changing how business problems are defined and solved,” she says. “We apply the toolkit of the designer to the world of business.”

She’s hoping a new d.studio at the Liu Institute could be more focused on policy work. She envisions a d.studio at Liu for teaching policy, but also for engaging stakeholders who actually design policy.

“I want to invite government leaders, business leaders, global leaders to come into the studio and tackle policy problems,” she says. “That’s my vision; I’ve got a lot of work to do.”