Monday, April 14, 2014

The Graduate School Conundrum

I'm excited to announce that a panel I proposed for the New England Museum Association's 2014 Annual Conference has been accepted.

My idea for the panel has been growing over the last few years, as I meet young & emerging professionals from all over the country. It seems like every conversation I have leads me to discover a graduate program I've never heard of - and too often, students aren't prepared for the real world of museum work.

I'm designing a survey right now aimed at two audiences: first, museum graduate programs themselves, to see what kind of degrees & classes are offered, how the program is structured, and essentially attempt a snapshot of what's out there.

The second audience is museum professionals and will attempt to discover how many currently working professionals have graduate degrees; how useful they've found them; what skills have transferred; what skills have been useless; whether they hire graduate students.

The basic question is this: if graduate school is becoming the new gateway to the museum profession, what's it really teaching us? Is it really that important?

I'll share my reading and thinking here on the blog as I continue through the project, and will publicize the surveys when they go live.

In the meantime, I'd greatly appreciate any links to reading about museum studies programs, whether published, online, or unpublished, and would appreciate any feedback about what questions you think need to be asked or what issues should be addressed. Comment here or shoot me an email at amanda.gustin[at]gmail[dot]com.