University of Delaware Office of Public Relations The Messenger Vol. 6, No. 1/1996 Getting a businesslike attitude about museums A new program this fall at the University of Delaware-the first of its kind in the United States-offers museum professionals the opportunity to expand their management skills. The innovative program, a new concentration in the UD Master of Business Administration degree program, focuses on museum leadership and management and certification in museum studies. The general climate of museums has changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years, according to Bryant F. Tolles Jr., director of the UD's Museum Studies Program. As the country grows ever more multicultural, museums must follow the pattern and provide exhibitions and educational presentations that serve their changing populations. In addition, he says, the institutions face increasing competition for declining amounts of federal and local funding. For these reasons, there is a growing need for museum professionals who combine appropriate undergraduate study, such as art history or history, with graduate training in business management and museology, Tolles said. "The traditional route has been to train in academic traditions, then take continuing education courses. But, today, people need more formal academic preparation," he said. To meet this need, the UD colleges of Business and Economics and Arts and Science have joined forces for the new concentration, which creates new options for candidates seeking career opportunities with museums, historical organizations or other similar institutions. "The MBA provides an in-depth understanding of business issues and financial concepts that have an impact on the effective management of museums, historical organizations and other associated enterprises," Robert B. Barker, director of the MBA program at the University, said. This joint program also provides new learning experiences for students who are enrolled in the University's MBA and Museum Studies programs. Current MBA students may, if they wish, complete the requirements for certification in museum studies. Students who are seeking an MBA with a concentration in museum leadership and management enroll in the standard MBA courses and also take nine credit hours of their elective coursework in museum studies. Those who wish to complete their certification in museum studies must take 12 credit hours, including the museum internship course, which is normally completed between the first and second year of study. The UD's MBA program, with several options, including full- and part-time study, currently has an enrollment of some 540 students. Of the approximately 700 schools with MBA programs in the nation, the University is in the top third, meeting the high standards of excellence demanded for accreditation.