The iSchool’s MARA Program–The Best Way to Prepare for the Growing Field of Information Management

iStudent Blog

Published: March 16, 2016 by Allison Randall Gatt

If you enjoy learning about data, government regulations, records management and archival strategies then the iSchool’s MARA program is a perfect fit for you.

Current MARA students are people interested in the basics of the lifecycle management of information and eager to learn about policies and procedures that relate to cyber security, data breach and issues related to government regulations and litigation support. start new careers in records management. Many are looking to increase their skills and be more competitive in the field by getting an advanced degree which will prepare them for professional certifications in archives and records management.  Prospective MARA students are interested in policy development and enjoy the challenges that come with the management and lifecycle of records and information, including long-term digital preservation.  Does that sound like you?  Then please read on, my friend.

The just-released Archives and Records Management Job Analysis lists job postings in three major categories: Archives, Records Management and Information Management and Governance. The report lists the vast majority of unique job postings in the Archives category, using search terms including archivist, archive technician, digital asset coordinator and project archivist.  This makes both the iSchool’s MARA program and the MLIS program with a focus on Archives and Preservation a good choice for the growing fields of archives, records management and information governance. The jobs analysis lists the certifications, technical skills and software knowledge necessary to qualify for many of these jobs.  For a more detailed look at the job analysis, go to this iSchool webpage and download it.

Students who graduate from the iSchool’s MARA program can look forward to pursuing careers in knowledge and information management, and data management and compliance issues.  “Legal and regulatory requirements are growing.  Security commissions are setting new regulations and organizations must be in compliance with the rules,” says MARA instructor Dr. Lisa Daulby. The good news is that new regulations create a high-demand for professionals familiar with these regulations who can perform the work effectively, efficiently, and responsibly, especially within the oil, financial and health fields.  “The iSchool’s MARA degree offers a good mix of the theoretical knowledge of archivists as well as industry knowledge,” says Daulby.

MARA graduates certified in information governance regulations are in high demand in a wide variety of environments and job descriptions include digital assets manager, risk management consultant, technical information specialist and knowledge manager.  To be a knowledge manager—how cool is that?  It sounds so wise and all-knowing. 

The iSchool’s MARA degree at San Jose State University is considered one of the leading graduate school programs by leading experts including KMWorld, a leading publisher of resources and information for the information governance professional. The curriculum requires 42 units including 11 required courses and 3 electives which include MARA 295, an on-the-job internship consulting project.  Graduates are also well prepared to take the Certified Records Manager (CRM) exam when they are done with the program, as well as a variety of other industry-specific records management certification exams. 

Other exciting course options include Info 284 topics like Born Digital Content, t and Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation.  MARA students are also allowed to choose their elective courses from a long list of the iSchool’s MLIS courses.  Like everyone at the SJSU School of Information, MARA students will work with the latest in technology and social media.  The Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation course gives students the chance to work with Preservica software as they move content to one phase of the information lifecycle to another.

“Information professionals are responsible for capturing and managing records and information from creation through final disposition,” says iSchool professor and MARA program coordinator Dr. Pat Franks. “This includes destruction or long-term preservation, and these professionals must be comfortable with the variety of technology and records formats in use today.”

As you become part of the MARA program, there are a variety of resources that you can use to find out more about the rapidly growing field of information governance.  To feel like more of a part of the iSchool community, you can follow the MARA blog, and students are encouraged to become active members of student groups like the SAA and ASIS&T.  First year MARA students have their choice of a free one-year membership to either one of these professional organizations. 

If the iSchool MARA program sounds like the right fit for you, check out more in the SJSU School of Information MARA brochure and feel free to contact Dr. Pat Franks with any specific unanswered questions. 

For other interesting and timely content, check out these posts:
Fall 2016 Course Offerings– Highlights in Youth Services

Want Funds for Your Education? Flex Your Grad School Skills and Apply for a Scholarship

Tips on Which Records Management Certifications to Pursue

image courtesy of renjith krishnan

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