This is the review of Kent State University, School of Library and Information Sciences, Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Museum Studies.
Here are some facts about the university and program:
- Though this review covers just the MLIS degree program and a specific concentration, the school offers a variety of MA combinations with the MLIS degree in addition to various concentrations.
- Ranked #18 by U.S. News & World Report on the list Best Graduate Schools for Library and Information Studies in 2013
- Most of the MLIS courses are found online
- The program has some pretty cool financial aid offers such as graduate assistantships for full tuition remission plus a small stipend as well as scholarships and fellowships
The review is based on 17 responses from graduates who finished the degree less than a year ago to up to five years ago.
The advantages they found to the program were:
- The program was not content specific. We studied museums as a whole rather than focusing on a particular type.
- The program can be taught 100% online but offered various in-person workshops and the MuseLab for those looking for face to face learning experiences
- Strength of curriculum and small class sizes: there are a large variety of courses to choose from both within and outside of the museum track. The museum track provides a great introduction to the museum field.
- Could cherry pick from museum, library and archives specialties which enhanced marketability.
- The professors are highly experienced in their field and know how to teach online courses
- Advisor was always available to chat and took a great interest in helping me succeed in my goals.
- The program makes you well prepared for creating engaging and meaningful spaces for nontraditional learning. It makes you think outside normal museum and library standards when it comes to programming.
- The program is very interactive among peers even though most of the coursework is done online. Expect great conversations among classmates and professor feedback.
- Good access to relevant technology
The disadvantages of the program were:
- More museum courses especially education/engagement
- Could have provided opportunities to learn about the wider scope of roles in museums
- Blackboard online learning space can be glitchy
- Wish there was more workshops specifically for museum studies
- Core classes can be a little too focused on (public) libraries
- Distance learning can put some at a disadvantage when it comes to networking or practical experience especially for archival and collection classes
- Not listening to students when expressing concerns regarding certain instructors
Based on these pros and cons, the respondents rated the program as it was when they attended 8.94/10.00.
71% of respondents do not live near Kent State University while 29% do live near the university.
29% of respondents work in a library, 18% work in a history museum, 12% work in an art museum, 12% in a specialty museum, 6% in a historical society, 6% at the National Park Service, 6% in a private or corporate collection, 6% is a contractor, and 6% outside of the museum and library field.
As for the type of work that respondents do, 35% Collections Management and Education, 23% Visitor Services/Membership and Curatorial, 18% Exhibitions and Administration, 12% Archival/Library, 6% Registration and Communication/Social Media.
Some current job titles of respondents are:
- Teen Services Librarian
- Museum Technician
- Education Programs Coordinator
- Curatorial Assistant
- Social Media Coordinator
Some dream jobs of the respondents are:
- Research Archivist/ Librarian
- Manager of Youth Programs
- Executive Director
The first impression of a program for me is usually through their website. When starting to browse around the School of Library and Information Science website I think I actually said “wow” out loud. All the details I was looking for on their website were easy to find and the site is aesthetically pleasing to boot. I realize that does not say anything about the content of the program but a site that is easy to navigate is a site I’m more likely to stay on and explore.
Moving on, based on these responses and the information I could find online, the program seems best for those interested in collections and/or education in museums or libraries. Because some perks to the program, like the graduate assistantships and MuseLab are offered on campus, I would guess it would be best to be located at least within the state though the program is online. I think this program has a lot to offer in and outside of the museum field with its dual degree programs, and various specializations.