MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 16 SEPTEMBER 1996 AT
12.00 NOON IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS AT UNIVERSITY
Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences
Present: Graham Wilks (Keele) in the Chair, Alan Zinober
(Sheffield), Ken Brown, LMS representative (Glasgow),
Alan Ryley (Glamorgan), Adrian Lepper (IMA), Donald
Davison (Queen's), Mike Atkinson (St Andrews), Ken
Houston (Ulster) and Chris Wright (Middlesex).
1. Apologies: David Crighton, Ekkehard Kopp, Stephen
Ryrie, Adrian Smith, Martin Everitt (arriving late).
2. Minutes of Meeting, 28 May 1996. Approved.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes. Ken Houston
reported that a project assistant had started work and
the second edition of the MATHSKILLS Newsletter had
Stephen Ryrie had written to say that he had attended one
meeting of JMC and forwarded a copy of the minutes to the
4. Ekkehard Kopp's Cooption. The Chairman suggested
that Ekkehard Kopp be invited to meetings as an advisor.
5. Treasurer's Report - Accounts. Martin Everitt
reported that there were currently 77 paid-up members
with a healthy account balance of 23,000.
6. Advice to Members on Regulations for MMaths and
MPhys. Graham Wilks would liaise with Chris Robson to
draft advice that would be issued to members.
7. WWW - Communication. The Secretary outlined
proposals for using e-mail to replace the current system
of mailshots for communicating with members. This would
involve two stages. The first stage would entail the
posting of minutes on WWW with a circular to members
explaining the proposals and quoting the URL.
In addition there would have to be conventional mailshots
at regular intervals to remind members about major
updates. Minutes would continue to be e-mailed to
committee members as in the past, but in ASCII format.
The second stage would involve direct circulation by e-
mail to all members, and we would start to collect their
e-mail addresses with a view to commencing early in 1997.
CCW, Ann Ebberson
8. Datasets for Mathematics and Computer Science. The
JISC Datasets Steering Group was considering whether to
provide bibliographic datasets nationally for free access
in 1996/97. Bruce Royan had asked for advice. Mike
Atkinson reported on the options. He had identified one
'front runner' for mathematics (Mathematical Reviews from
the American Mathematical Society), and passed his
recommendation to Bruce Royan.
9. RAE Grading Process. Graham Wilks (Chairman)
reported that a recent consultation document on the
funding of research was relevant here, namely HEFCE
CP/2/96. Among other things the Council were inviting
comments on the degree of selectivity it should adopt in
allocating funds for the QR element of its funding.
Comments were also invited on the introduction of three
cost weights - part laboratory-based, laboratory-based
and clinical, and mainly classroom-based - within which
the Mathematics units of assessment would be assigned
'part laboratory-based'. This mirrored suggestions in a
companion consultation document on funding for teaching
where four price groups were mooted, with Mathematics
upgraded from classroom-based to a new price group 'part
laboratory-based'. These documents can be found on the
the relevant entry:
The research funding documents indicated that selectivity
should not be less than the current exercise. The AGM
had clearly indicated that it was opposed to further
selectivity, and this view should be transmitted in any
HoDoMS response. Committee members were urged to feed
back any comments on either document to the Chairman as a
basis for response to HEFCE by 25 October.
10. Suggestion for workshop on Teaching Quality
Assessment. This item was taken with Item 11.
11. Video for School Pupils "Careers in Mathematics".
The Committee noted the letter from Colin Frazer drawing
attention to the fact that a video had been made many
years ago and the Chair said he would follow this up.
12. Continuing Professional Development. The Chairman
introduced a brief discussion on this topic, but no
action was taken.
13. Coordinated diagnostic testing. The Chairman
presented a paper passed to HoDoMS by JMC. It was a
suggestion by Dr Neville Hunt of Coventry that
universities should collaborate on diagnostic testing to
accumulate an objective source of data on standards of
preparation of students at entry to university. The
suggestion was well received and the Chairman was
authorised to contact Dr Hunt and pursue the initiative.
14. Annual Conference. 24-25 March 1997. Graham
Wilks reminded the Committee that both Sir Robert May and
Professor Brian Fender had accepted invitations to speak.
Graham outlined his vision of the meeting as one
signalling collaboration between the various
representative voices of Mathematics, e.g. learned
societies, professional bodies, education associations,
etc. He hoped the programme would reflect that ethos.
Provisionally, he suggested that the meeting should start
at midday on Monday 24 March, 1997, with a session on
research (policy, strategy and funding). Tuesday would
be devoted to teaching issues including the suggested
workshop on Teaching Quality. Dr Brannan might be
persuaded to take this forward. The AGM would also
figure in Tuesday's programme as would a full session of
update and presentations related to Mathskills. It might
also include popularisation of mathematics. The
Committee felt that TQA should be a high priority - the
Working Group would now proceed to develop the programme.
15. Any Other Business. Members' attention was
directed by Graham Wilks to a series of documents
including one from the BBC about a proposed series of
programmes on mathematics. Graham Wilks would follow
The Chairman also referred to the transitional
arrangements for scheduling the annual conference and AGM
and the need for early consideration of who should be the
next cohort of HoDoMS committee representatives.
16. Date of Next Meeting. Monday, 13 January, 1997, 12
noon at UCL.