Open Door Policy

I went to Dean Bruner‘s house for a cookout tonight. Yes, the Dean’s house. For a cookout. He was casually clad in jeans and a polo while cooking burgers (even veggie burgers for you, Lils) on the grill.

The sign greeting us at the Bruner home. Photo courtesy of Brooke Edmonsten Lloyd III.

I’ll back track for a second. I have 4 Microsoft Outlook calendar items over the next few weeks with different dinners and events with the Dean, two of which happen to be at his house. The event tonight was for all of the Darden Student Bloggers, one at his house next week is for the Darden National Association of Women MBA (NWAMBA) members (100+ of us!), one is a dinner on grounds for the Darden Student Association Exec Committee, and the last is an item some of us won in an auction to have wine on the Downtown Mall with the Dean and his wife.

Whew. Is this normal at other schools? I have no idea. In all transparency, I only looked at and applied to Darden, so I am not sure what the norms are at other schools…but I’m going to venture out and say it’s probably not quite the same.

I went to the Dean’s house this evening with a few of my classmates. Three of us were surprised when the driver knew exactly how to get to the Dean’s house. Creepy? Maybe. But she explained that he is one of her seminar professors, and that their class has met at his house before. I am in another section of that seminar, and have been to one of my professor’s houses at the beginning of the year and will be going to another professor’s house at the end of this term. I guess that’s the Darden way. (And there always seems to be lots of wine flowing–also the Darden way.)

Since August, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gone to my professors’ offices–both announced and unannounced, good visits and bad ones. The “open door policy” at Darden is more than just lip service; I’ve never been turned away from meeting with a professor, even if it’s just for a few minutes here and there. One of my Accounting professors even met with me for over an hour and a half a few days before the Term 3 exam to make sure I had a grasp of the material (…she did her best, but it was a lost cause. Bless her heart.)

Us Darden students moan and groan about our cumbersome schedules and little free time. In recent weeks, we’ve been transitioning into our new leadership roles (I have officially been handed over the VP Social baton from Sierra!) and have been helping the community through our Capstone and Building Goodness in April (BGIA) projects. Term 6 has begun, and Second Years are wrapping up their very short time at Darden.

But what I think we sometimes fail to realize is that our professors are just as swamped as we are. On top of their time in the classroom, many of them are parents, juggling students and research, and trying to maintain some dose of normalcy in their own lives. We’re here for two years and then we’re gone; the faculty and staff outlast us by far, and they play a crucial role in keeping the culture and community of Darden moving forward. They’ll continue to auction off poker dinners, limo rides, spa days and bbqs at their houses, just as long as they’ll continue to keep the doors to their offices open.

(P.S. to all prospective students: a big thank you for reading my blog! I found out today I was nominated for Clear Admit’s Best Of Blogging Award. I hope this blog has provided you a glimpse into what life is like for us at Darden. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!)

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One Response to Open Door Policy

  1. Pingback: Why Darden? (Part 1 of 2) | Darden Poet

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