At UBC Sauder, faculty members are more than just ‘professors.’ They conduct impactful research that is changing how society views the world while also inspiring students to pursue their academic passions and become the thoughtful, values-driven leaders the business world needs. This year, UBC Sauder welcomes seven new full-time lecturers, tenured and tenure-track faculty to the school. In the seventh of this series, we introduce you to Kari Marken, Lecturer in the Law and Business Communications Group and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, UBC Sauder School of Business.
What brought you to UBC Sauder?
I was looking for a full-time teaching role in a place that values entrepreneurial thinking, risk-taking, innovation, and collaboration. Business schools often walk-the-walk of these values, so I was drawn to this role at UBC Sauder because I wanted to immerse myself in an environment where I could apply these values wholeheartedly to my teaching and academic life.
What fuels your research – what prompted you to research this area?
I am fuelled by a deep curiosity about the experiences of teachers, students, and creatives as they embark on formal or informal educational processes (in schools or organizations). Of particular interest are the stories we tell ourselves about teaching and learning. The words we choose to communicate the processes externally, the metaphors that subtly or overtly guide our actions within systems, and the beliefs we have about what is or is not ‘learning.’
What inspires you to teach?
Teaching keeps me in lively dialogue about the things I think I know a lot about. In other words, teaching gets me to reimagine and play with the ideas and concepts that I might start taking for granted the more expertise I gain. Teaching keeps me humble, playful, curious, and continually in conversation with people who can challenge, question and shift my perspective on what I profess to ‘know.’ When I teach, I deepen my own learning.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered through your research?
I’ve discovered the influence institutional language has on the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves regarding our ability to create, teach and learn. The language we use creates a subtle (or overt) script of who belongs and who does not belong, and a sense of belonging influences everyone. Some of the most influential educators and creative thinkers grew up believing they had very little to contribute to the bigger story.
What do you believe is the future of your industry?
In many ways, I believe we are currently living in a version of the future! We are facing the challenges of re-designing the entire education system, and re-creating a society for the future. Many of the buzzwords we’ve been bandying about in creative industries and education (words like ‘design’, ‘innovate’, ‘pivot’, ‘unpack’, ‘engage’) have living, breathing, moving meaning right now. We may disagree with how these verbs should manifest into the future, but at least we’re having a collective experience of doing and not just talking about change.
What are you most looking forward to in Vancouver?
I’ve lived in Vancouver for over fifteen years and I most appreciate the city’s size. It’s small enough to feel as though, after a while, you can run into familiar faces but big enough to have pockets of mystery and anonymity.