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U.Va.’s Darden dean to step down next year

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Robert F. Bruner will step down as dean of the University of Virgnia’s Darden School of Business when he completes his second term next year.

Bruner will return to the Darden faculty. He has served as dean for nearly a decade and has taught at Darden for 23 years.

“We’re on a mission at the Darden School,” Bruner said in a statement. “Each day, our global community pulls together to improve the world by developing responsible leaders and advancing knowledge. Leading this mission over the past nine years and in the year ahead has been, and is, a privilege. We have depth of leadership throughout Darden. And we have great momentum. I am proud of all that the extended community of the Darden School has — and will — achieve.”

Ken Eades, a professor of business administration at Darden, will chair a search committee for the school’s new dean.

Bruner, the Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, has been a Darden faculty member since 1982. He is Darden’s eighth dean and one of its longest-serving.

“Bob Bruner’s impact on Darden has been transformational and will carry the school forward,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said in a statement.

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. After that, he plans to resume a focus on teaching, research and writing.

During Bruner’s tenure, Darden began two new formats of the Darden MBA, targeted at executives who work full time while pursuing the degree: the MBA for Executives, which includes 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.

Through the executive MBA formats, Darden has become a leader in online learning, employing real-time, online classes and hosting virtual team meetings.

Bruner also is known as a pioneer in the use of social media. He started his Dean’s Blog in 2006 and is a prolific tweeter. He also oversaw the development last year of several massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera platform. More than half a million people registered for the courses.

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