Donors are not just creating programs, awards and new research opportunities. Their input actually helps to shape the culture at the school.
There’s a consensus that business schools around the world are becoming more committed to connecting the core skills of business with a values-based outlook.
“But Sauder’s vision is distinct because we are rooted at a unique geographic and social crossroads,” says Sauder professor Dale Griffin, Advisory Council Chair in Consumer Behaviour.
"The school and our students have an immediate need to understand issues such as the role of diversity in business, how organizations can be environmentally sustainable and the role Aboriginal communities play in our future—topics we are face-to-face with because of our location and cultural setting.”
Many of the school’s alumni and donors, too, are motivated to support research and education that fosters responsible leadership.
For example, UBC alumnus Peter Dhillon, Chairman of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., was inspired by his family’s commitment to ethics and giving back to the community when he came up with the idea to partner with Sauder to fund Canada’s first centre for business ethics. The centre will be instrumental in teaching, researching and promoting values-driven business practices in Canada and around the world.
Also in 2015, Sauder alumni Warren and Maureen Spitz, along with their children Gregory, Kelsey and Mathew, created a new pathway for Aboriginal women to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce at the Sauder School. The Spitz Fellows Program aims to eliminate financial barriers to success and empower students to become the leaders they envision.
As diversity and inclusion are top priorities for RBC, the bank has funded an outreach program featuring Sauder’s latest research on diversity in leadership. The kick-off events, including a panel of female leaders discussing the issues and roadblocks that many women experience during their careers, ran last year in Vancouver and Toronto.
The Rockcheck Foundation recently supported the innovative mission of Sauder Social Entrepreneurship (SSE) - Kenya, a five-week entrepreneurship course delivered by Sauder students in two of Nairobi’s largest slums. The gift will help to build capacity by providing year-round mentorship and seed funding for promising Kenyan ventures, enhance long-term program outcomes and explore options for expanding the SSE model into China.
Vancouver’s Aquilini family is passionate about fostering a new generation of leaders among BC’s Aboriginal communities and increasing their engagement in business education. Through the family’s gift to establish the Aquilini Family Aboriginal Awards in Business, more support is now available to students in Sauder’s Aboriginal Management Program and Ch’nook Scholars program.
“Donors are not just creating programs, awards and new research opportunities,” reflects Griffin. "Their input actually helps to shape the culture at the school.”
That culture, he clarifies, is not meant to impose certain values on students.
“The essence of values-based education is not about telling people what to think or believe. It’s about helping them develop an understanding and awareness of the benefits of including values in our decision-making processes so students can reflect on their own experiences and consider what it means to be values-based in today’s world."