Darden Dean To Give Up Job In 2015

Robert Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business

Robert Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia announced today (April 14) that Dean Robert F. Bruner will return to the faculty of the Darden School of Business upon the completion of his second term in 2015. Bruner, who was named the first Dean of the Year by Poets&Quants in 2011, will leave after a decade in the school’s top job.

Bruner is the second highly prominent business school dean to announce his departure in as many months. In March 25th, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School Dean Paul Danos, the longest-serving dean of any top business school in the world, announced that he will not seek reappointment after his sixth four-year term ends in June 2015.

Bruner, a Darden faculty member since 1982, is the school’s eighth dean, and one of its longest-serving. He has won numerous teaching awards and has advanced both the Darden School and the global field of management education. At the conclusion of his second term in July 2015, Bruner will return to the faculty and take a traditional one-year leave of absence. He plans to return to resume a focus on teaching, research and writing.

Bruner and his leadership team have led Darden in several areas, including technology, diversity, globalization, and entrepreneurship and innovation. But his greatest achievement has as much to do with what didn’t change at Darden than what did change. He maintained the school’s tradition of teaching excellence, making sure that Darden continued to have the best MBA teaching faculty in the world.


During his tenure, the Darden School launched two new formats of the Darden MBA, targeted at executives who wish to work full time while pursuing the degree: the MBA for Executives, composed of monthly residencies and distance learning, and the Global MBA for Executives, which combines six, two-week residencies in Brazil, China, India, Europe and the United States.

Among business school deans, Bruner is recognized as a pioneer in the use of social media. He started his popular Dean’s Blog in 2006 and is a prolific tweeter. He has encouraged leading-edge efforts in technology at Darden, including the School’s 2009 collaboration with Amazon to pilot e-readers in the classroom and the 2013 delivery of several massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform. More than half a million people registered for the courses.

As part of the Campaign for the University of Virginia, Dean Robert F. Bruner and team raised $150 million for Darden and established new research Centers of Excellence, including the Darden Center for Asset Management and the Darden Institute for Business in Society. Financial aid for students has also increased, and the academic potential, diversity and geographic reach of students have reached new heights. The Class of 2015 boasts record-breaking GMAT scores and grade point averages and represents 37 countries. The school said that career placements are near the all-time high.


“Bob Bruner’s impact on Darden has been transformational and will carry the school forward,” said University President Teresa A. Sullivan in a statement. “Darden is recognized worldwide for student satisfaction and for delivering the best graduate business education experience. Bob and his team have achieved this reputation through curricular innovations, the launch of two new formats of the Darden MBA, an unrelenting search for top faculty and student talent, and attention to every detail of the academic experience.”

Provost John Simon also announced that Ken Eades, a Darden professor and area coordinator in finance, will serve as chair of the committee charged with conducting a global search for the ninth dean. “We will conduct a thorough search and offer opportunities for all of Darden’s constituencies to engage in the process,” said Simon in a statement. “Bob has laid a strong foundation for Darden to continue to make its mark on the world stage.”

Born in Chicago and raised in Wisconsin, Bruner received a B.A. from Yale University and the MBA and DBA degrees from Harvard University. A master of the case study classroom, he teaches and conducts research in finance and management and has served as a visiting professor at INSEAD, IESE and Columbia University business schools. He has written or co-authored some 300 case studies and several books, including Deals From HellApplied Mergers and AcquisitionsCase Studies in Finance and The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned From the Market’s Perfect Storm.

Poets&Quants recognized Bruner in 2011 after he led a global task force of deans for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business that produced a comprehensive review of global management education. The resulting book-length report, The Globalization of Management Education, urged educational leaders to rise to the challenges of globalization as they prepare students.

“Bob’s passion for teaching, writing and research, his steady, strong leadership and the sum of all the efforts he has led as dean have made a tremendous impact on this School,” said Phil Knisely, chair of the Darden School Foundation.

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