Saturday, June 13, 2009

Board of Regents Approves Clayton State’s Archival Studies Masters Program

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) has approved another landmark in the development of Clayton State University… a program literally 10 years in development.

The USG board gave its approval on Wednesday, June 10, to the establishment of a Master’s in Archival Studies for Clayton State, extending the University’s long-standing relationship with both the Georgia Archives and the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) Southeast Region, a relationship that extends across not only a decade, but two presidents and two interim presidents at Clayton State.

The archival studies program, which will begin in August 2009, is the university's seventh graduate-level program and the only program of its kind in the State of Georgia… a fitting circumstance, since the Georgia and NARA facilities, which will so greatly benefit Clayton State’s future master’s students, are also unique – the only co-located state and federal archives facilities in the United States. Both the Georgia and NARA archives already employ Clayton State undergraduate students to help with research and archiving of materials.The 45-semester-hour program will focus on archival studies theory and methodology, as well as practice in the administrative, legal, economic, historical, managerial and information studies areas, and will be housed in the University’s College of Information and Mathematical Sciences. Administration of the program will be by Clayton State’s School of Graduate Studies. Course topics will include traditional and digital preservation, introduction to electronic records, archives and technology, and materials arrangement and description of archival documents. It is projected that 20 to 25 students per year will enroll in the program.

Clayton State’s first contact with NARA dates back to the administration of the University’s second president, Dr. Richard A. Skinner, who, in effect, invited John Carlin, archivist of the United States, to relocate the Southeast Regional Archives from its outdated East Point facility to the intersection of Jonesboro Road and Clayton State Boulevard, a quarter mile west of the Clayton State main campus in Morrow. After Skinner left to direct the USG’s Georgia GLOBE initiative in 1999, Interim President Michael Vollmer kept the momentum going as then-Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox pondered the idea of a new home for the Georgia Archives. Both archives eventually built their new facilities on adjoining land during the administration of Clayton State’s third president, Dr. Thomas K. Harden. Finally, approval for the new graduate program came less than a month after Dr. Thomas J. Hynes took office as Clayton State interim president, following Harden’s appointment as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

Another key player in the development of the archival studies program is Clayton State Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs Dr. Sharon Hoffman, who wrote, applied for, and received, almost $600,000 in two federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education to start the program. A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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