‘Great Faculty Are Not Born:’ Darden Teaching Legend Calls for Faculty Support

By Jay Hodgkins

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is built on a foundation of faculty excellence. Darden professors have a reputation for masterfully orchestrating case discussions in the classroom, backed up by rankings recognizing them as the world’s best business school teachers.

However, Darden’s historical success in the classroom is no guarantor of preeminence in the future, which Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research Sankaran “Venkat” Venkataraman, the Mastercard Professor of Business Administration, knows well. Overseeing the recruitment of dozens of new faculty members at Darden during his tenure as senior associate dean, a role in which he is responsible for the development and retention of the School’s rising faculty stars, Venkataraman recently wrote a letter to Darden alumni stressing the importance of investment in the next generation of faculty and continued faculty excellence.

Great faculty are not born, nor are they built in a day. It takes years and an academical village to attract, nurture and develop great faculty talent. Faculty excellence has always been the bedrock on which Darden’s preeminence has been built. The need of the hour is to invest in the next generation of our faculty, who will continue to walk in the footsteps of those who have made Darden special. We have to find and attract the Bruners and the Colleys, the Chaplinskys and the Liedtkas of tomorrow.

And we have to invest in the teaching and the research infrastructures that take raw faculty talent and transform them into thought leaders and impactful teachers and mentors for talented students who will go on to become the leaders in the world of tomorrow. It takes a Darden village of teaching and research support systems to develop the Freemans and the Hornimans, the Freys and the Isabellas, of tomorrow. For great faculty are not born, they are developed with support, systems, toil, and inspiration. Indeed, this is an investment.

Investment in faculty excellence would be easy, if we could just take the future value of our faculty and go to the capital markets for the resources necessary today.  We do not have such a capital market. But Darden is blessed with its community of generosity. Indeed, our Darden family has been extraordinarily generous over the years to the Darden village. Let us take our generosity and invest in the future bedrock of Darden. Let us invest our generosity on the talent and the systems necessary to nurture and develop faculty excellence so that Darden can continue to deliver on the full potential of its talent and its mission.

View the spring 2017 issue of Darden’s Pillars newsletter to read more about Darden Annual Fund priorities and philanthropy impact stories.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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