MARA Hosts a Virtual Open House

iStudent Blog

Published: December 22, 2019 by Havilah Steinman

San José State University’s iSchool boasts an impressive set of programs, including the Master of Archives and Records Administration (MARA). Led by Dr. Pat Franks, MARA just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. I recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual open house about MARA and some highlights about this innovative program are below.

Dr. Franks hosted the event alongside Dr. Lisa Daulby, iSchool, lecturer and McKenna Wulker, MARA student and writer of the MARA blog. Dr. Daulby teaches quite a few of the classes within the MARA program, including The Records and Information Management Professions and Access, Storage and Retrieval of Records and Information. Wulker posts regularly on the blog and offers great snapshots of life as a MARA student. Be sure to check out her most recent post, ARMA InfoCon: The Download

The Master of Archives and Records Administration degree program requires 42 units: 14 classes total, 11 of which are required. This leaves room in a student’s schedule for three exciting electives! Closer to the end of the program, students take more seminar-type courses, focusing on hot topics within the industry, such as information governance and information insurance. The required course work includes Research Methods in Records Management and Archival Science and the e-Portfolio. The e-Portfolio is a cumulative class, taken at the end of the program, designed to showcase student’s skills gleaned in their classwork and extracurricular experiences.

Archival Certifications and Pathway Options 

An impressive 15 classes included in the MARA course work are pre-approved by the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). This is important for interested students who wish to become a certified archivist by the ACA. More information about this exciting certification can be found within the ACA Handbook for Archival Certification. While the MARA program naturally prepares students for the ACA exam, they are not required to take it.

In addition to the ACA Archival Certification exam preparation, students have the option to follow three different pathways to complement and enhance their MARA degree:

For example, follow the Information Governance, Assurance and Security pathway by taking these three courses: Developing and Information Governance Strategy, Information Assurance and Cyber Security.

MARA Education Extends Beyond the Classroom

In addition to the quality faculty and excellent curriculum in the MARA program, all the students also have the opportunity to learn from industry experts through the MARA guest lecture series. These lectures are hosted live and always recorded for those who cannot attend. One of the recent presentations took a dive into the deep blue ocean to explore records management with our aquatic friends; check out Global Records Management for Aquariums and Zoos! MARA students are also encouraged to join student group Virtual Center For Archives & Records Administration (VCARA) to connect with other students and build their personal professional community.

One thing is for sure, with how strategically the MARA program is crafted, students are certain to come out the other side well-equipped archival professionals, regardless of which path is taken. If you’re considering the MLIS and MARA program, be sure to read Which Degree is Right for You. Want more information about what student life is like in the MARA program? Check out the blog posts below. 


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