September 23-24, 1999

ITEM 104-2003-R0999 Authorization to Offer a Non-teaching Undergraduate Minor in Museum Studies; Montana State University-Bozeman

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to award an undergraduate non-teaching minor in Museum Studies to students who complete the required curriculum which encompasses a series of subject matter courses in combination with museum history and practices courses, undergraduate research and internships designed to deepen students= understanding of both museum history and museum practice and will help to position them for future careers in one of North America=s more than 9,000 museums or in the alternative, to pursue graduate work in the field.

EXPLANATION: In requesting authorization to offer this minor, Montana State University-Bozeman recognizes that no other university in the region offers an opportunity for students to combine subject matter course work with museums practices in such a way as to achieve an undergraduate minor.

Montana State University-Bozeman has a significant resource base to support a Museum Studies minor. The Museum of the Rockies which is fully accredited by the American Association of Museums has, for 40 years, been a part of the university campus. The Museum of the Rockies is also a general museum which means it includes a number of disciplines--astronomy, earth sciences, ethnology, archaeology, historical archaeology, history, paleontology, photography, fine arts and textiles. The museum also has a strong research and teaching mission already in place and has recently been moved to a college-level division of the university. Each year more than 3,000 MSU students are assigned to do course work at the museum. University faculty and students regularly use the collections in their academic work. Museum curators and faculty also collaborate on research and teaching. In any given year, at least two curators are teaching in the university=s academic program.

In addition the Department of History and Philosophy has incorporated a course on museum history into its upper-division offerings. Although this course was not advertised, 23 students signed up the first semester. The department collaborated with the museum in the design and teaching of the new course. The museum has also received approval for a new 300 level course in museum practices to be offered in the fall of 2000.

The Museum Studies minor requires students to complete 12 upper division credits in museum history, practices and experience that are to be merged with 12 credits of course work in selected, already existing non-teaching minors, including art history, biology, business administration, English literature, English writing, geography, geology, history, Native American studies or sociology. Montana State University-Bozeman is also working with the Montana State University College of Technology-Great Falls on ways in which students who complete the certification program in resource interpretation may pursue their interests in academic museum studies on the Bozeman campus.