UVA Darden School of Business and Yale School of Management earned high marks for faculty quality, securing the top two rankings in the The Economist‘s 2018 student survey. Poets & Quants profiled the two schools in a feature article this week, highlighting Darden’s “high touch, high tone, high octane” faculty-student engagement.

At Virginia Darden, faculty applies the case method to stir critical thinking. Think of cases as true-life stories, ones that pose dilemmas and place students in the role of decision-maker. Trouble is, there are no right-or-wrong answers in cases – just better-or-worse. In preparing for case discussions, students evaluate the how-and-why, pit alternatives against tradeoffs, and weigh long-term strategy alongside short-term relief… In class, students advance solutions, facing questions designed to pick apart their arguments. Over two years, they develop a systematic and strategic approach to making conclusions and persuading peers.

Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and Mastercard Professor of Business Administration Sankaran Venkataraman expounded on the Darden experience – and the authentic way in which the student-driven approach transforms faculty from “sage on the stage to facilitator on the floor.”

“What Darden allows the scholar to be is a full and well-rounded scholar. Darden values ideas and the production of ideas. It values taking those ideas to young people who will be the future leaders of the world. It values taking those ideas and attempting to move the needle on practice. It provides a system and a support system that allows scholars to express themselves in a complete and energizing way.”

Darden’s priority on faculty excellence is reflected in its sedulous development program – which emphasizes time, commitment and support.

[New faculty] hold mock case discussions with established faculty to identify areas where they need coaching. At the same time, senior faculty will sit in on their classes to observe and later provide feedback. “Typically, in other schools, the feedback is tipped to their research,” Venkataraman contends. “At Darden, the feedback extends to their teaching as well. The support system here to be a teacher is very, very advanced to a point where it is as good as any other schools’ support systems for research.

Read the full Poets & Quants story here.