Dr. Diane Bruce


Q&A with Dr. Diane Bruce, Rubel School dean

Spring 2024

Dr. Diane Bruce’s appointment as dean of Bellarmine’s W. Fielding Rubel School of Business in May 2023 was a homecoming. Bruce returned to her hometown of Louisville from Naperville, Ill., where she had been the inaugural dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship at North Central College and had held a variety of positions since 1997.

Her first job was working as a cashier and a bike mechanic at her parents’ retail store in Shively and later in Fern Creek, where she said she learned about having a strong work ethic, how to do basic bookkeeping, how to work with the public and how to fix a flat tire—“all very important skills.”

At Bellarmine, she is initially focusing on getting to know the faculty, staff and curriculum and “positioning the Rubel School prominently in the Louisville business community as a partner and collaborator seeking to provide the skills desired in the local workforce.”

What drew you to Bellarmine?

The values and the mission of the institution really appealed. I was at a similar institution before this, and it had the same focus on dignity, access and equity—those values that I think we all hold dear. It was also an opportunity to come home and be a part of something that I already knew was special and where I could make my own contribution to the city.

What are your goals for the Rubel School?

As I look forward, I want to make sure that we provide opportunities for everyone. I see Bellarmine as a place where people have more opportunity to interact with faculty; they have more opportunity to get internships in some sense because of our connections. I really want to build on those kinds of things, really stress the high-quality teaching that we have—we have outstanding faculty—and continue to make Bellarmine’s one of the best business schools in the state.

What is your sense of Bellarmine’s relationship with the larger community, and how will that shape what you do here?

Since my return to Louisville, I've been incredibly impressed with how connected Bellarmine is to the business community—how many of the leaders of our local institutions, our accounting firms and our banks have connections to Bellarmine. So I've been really trying to work on those relationships with those individuals to provide internships and career opportunities for students and also just to bring them into the classroom where they can be mentors or talk to students about their jobs or their industries.

How does Bellarmine equip its students to be successful?

I think one thing that makes Bellarmine different from some of our competitors is the education of the whole person. You know, it’s not just learning about business, but also learning how to think critically, how to communicate effectively, how to work in teams. When you think about all the other areas you study, you're not just using one part of your brain, you're developing all of yourself. And that really helps to position you for a lifetime of learning, growing and moving into various positions, as opposed to just getting that first job.

How do you know that Rubel School graduates will meet workforce needs?

Over the last few months, we’ve gone out and talked to business leaders about what they're looking for in employees, and we have made some changes to focus on those particular areas. Some of it may surprise you in the sense that it's not just curricular. Of course, we're making sure that students are up to date on current technologies, understand how to use materials ethically and that kind of thing. But we’re also focusing on the soft skills. We’re thinking about how we ensure that our students can communicate. Can they solve problems? We’re trying to build those kinds of things into the curriculum at various points because those are the kinds of skills that are going to move students forward and set them apart from other MBA students or students in general. I mean, it's great if you can run all the numbers and do the spreadsheets. But if you can't communicate what those numbers actually mean, then there's nothing there, you know? 

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