Museum Studies Background - FY 2003-04 & 2004-05 Budget Reduction Process

Museum Studies Background
APRIL 3, 2003

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Office of Research and Graduate Studies

This document has been provided by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies as additional background information on the Museum Studies program, and circumstances surrounding its proposed elimination.
What is the Museum Studies Program?

Museum Studies is a masters degree program offering either the M.A. or the M.S. degree. Most students pursue a “non-thesis” option of 36 credit hours and do not do a major research project to complete their degree.

What are the admission requirements for the Museum Studies Program?

Admissions requirements are relatively flexible, with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, GRE verbal scores at the 50th percentile and a one page statement of goals. The program admits approximately 70 – 80 percent of all students who apply, which is relatively higher than many masters programs at UNL.

How many students are in the Museum Studies Program?

There are approximately 40 students currently enrolled in the program. A total of 14 are scheduled to graduate in May 2003. The program has admitted 10 new students for the fall 2003 term.

Who teaches in the Museum Studies program?

In the last four terms (Spring '02, summer '02, fall '03, spring '03) the Museum Studies program offered a total of 24 courses. During this time, only three tenure-line Museum faculty taught in the Museum Studies program; most courses were taught by courtesy or adjunct faculty. Five courses were taught by managerial/professional employees who are adjunct faculty in the program. Two courses were taught by adjunct faculty who do not hold permanent appointments at UNL.

How will we manage the current students during the transition?

The Office of Graduate Studies temporarily suspended the admission of any new students who intended to start their programs of study in the fall of 2003. Their admission could be reinstated if the program is not eliminated. We will continue to offer courses that will enable current students to complete their Museum Studies coursework by May 2004.

Why has the Museum Studies program been proposed for elimination?

The Museum Studies program has identifiable strengths. The program received a favorable Academic Program Review report in its last review. It was identified as one of 77 'academic program priorities' at UNL. It is a medium-sized masters program, with relatively stable enrollments. It has a good placement rate for graduates of the program. It has ties to over 20 museums and historical societies throughout Nebraska.

In spite of these strengths, the program has characteristics that make it vulnerable. The masters degree program in Museum Studies is not housed in any academic department or college at UNL. The program serves very few students who are not Museum Studies majors. In fact, less than 14 percent of total Museum Studies enrollments were for non-majors. Fewer than 30 students who were not Museum Studies majors have enrolled in any of the 24 Museum Studies courses offered in the last four terms. Therefore, a relatively small number of non-Museum Studies graduate students at UNL would be directly affected by the elimination of the Museum Studies masters program. In addition, this program is and has been historically under-funded. Its stated-funded budget of $25,500 has never provided sufficient resources to sustain the program. Additional operating resources have been required each year to operate in program. In the current semester, for example, two practicum courses were substituted for traditional classroom courses because the program couldn't afford instructors.