Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences
MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 13 JANUARY 1997 AT 12.00
NOON IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Present: Graham Wilks (Keele) in the Chair, Chris Wright
(Middlesex), Ekkehard Kopp (Hull), David Larman (UCL), Adrian
Lepper (IMA), David Crighton (Cambridge), Alan Zinober
(Sheffield), Stephen Ryrie (West of England), Mike Atkinson (St
Andrews), Ken Houston (Ulster), Allan Norcliffe (Sheffield
Hallam) and Donald Davison (Queen's).
1. Apologies: Alan Ryley, Ken Brown and Adrian Smith.
2. Minutes of Meeting, 16 September 1996: Approved.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes:
Item 6: No progress had been made with eliciting advice
about regulations for MMaths degrees.
Item 9: The Chairman reported his response to the HEFCE
Research Funding document, expressing disquiet at the
unequal transfer of the funding base from HEFCE to the
Research Councils, and other matters relating to the
determination of subject quanta.
Item 15: The Chairman had seen the schedule of
programmes on mathematics proposed by the BBC, but it
was unlikely that HodoMS could make a contribution.
4. MATHSKILLS Update.
Ekkehard Kopp reported on a workshop held on 14 December
1996 and outlined a proposed programme of presentation at
the HodoMS Annual Conference on 25 March.
Minutes of the Discipline Network Steering Committee were
tabled together with the Project Coordinator's Report. He was
concerned that the industrial contacts were not as strong as
they might be.
5. Diagnostic Testing.
Graham Wilks drew attention to a request for a wider
programme of diagnostic testing as originally made by Dr
Neville Hunt at Coventry University and passed by JMC to
HoDoMS for consideration. It included a bid for stlg1000 to
help set up a Web information site accessible to the whole HE
sector by Easter 1997. In the longer term, it was proposed to
develop a diagnostic test to be on line by September 1998.
This was agreed subject to the condition that the Consortium
should be asked to consult the wider community about current
practice. (Note: there will be a MATHSKILLS update session
built into the Annual Conference programme).
6. Annual Conference.
Graham Wilks outlined his draft programme. The Committee
considered the extent to which the reception and banquet
might be subsidised by HoDoMS. Ekkehard Kopp proposed to
incorporate a discussion session on assessment methods within
the MATHSKILLS update session.
7. AGM: Constitutional Amendments.
It was agreed that proposals to amend the Constitution be
circulated to membership for decision at the March AGM, that
would additionally allow former Heads of Department to
become members. In turn, former Heads would become eligible
for election as members and officers of the Committee. The
aim of the proposal was to facilitate the selection of a
suitably distinguished past Head as Committee Chair who could
devote more time to the job than was feasible for current
Heads. Graham Wilks would also investigate the possibility of
links with the various Conferences of Professors. (GW, CCW).
8. UK Mathematics Trust.
The Chairman asked Alan Zinober to approach Dr Neumann with a
view to offering HoDoMS support. (AZ)
9. Mathematics Video.
Graham Wilks had obtained from Colin Fraser (University of
Abertay) a copy of an early video promoting student
recruitment to mathematics undergraduate courses. He would
circulate copies to the Committee and a future meeting would
consider whether to promote an updated version. (GW)
Stephen Ryrie tabled copies of the 1996 Annual Report.
Graham Wilks thanked him on the Committee's behalf for
11. The Incorporated Engineer.
Chris Wright pointed out that the recent proposals of the
Engineering Council to raise entry qualifications might have
the affect of dividing engineering degree programmes into two
classes. There would be a reduction in the number of
accredited programmes with a corresponding growth in
programmes aimed at the Incorporated Engineer from its
present small base. This in turn could have an appreciable
affect on the profile of mathematics teaching in many
Chris Wright would table a paper at the next meeting setting
out some of the issues, incorporating suggestions from Allan
Norcliffe and other members of the Committee. (CCW, AN)
12. Any Other Business.
12.1. Graham Wilks reported his disquiet at the timescale
over which recent modification to the Maths A-level core was
being carried out, and tabled his letter to the DfEE drawing
attention to the issues involved.
12.2. HEFCE Funding for mathematics teaching: Graham Wilks
had been approached by several members to formulate on behalf
of HoDoMS a strong response to the withdrawal of the original
HEFCE proposal to fund mathematics as a partly
laboratory-based subject, and he tabled a draft letter. The
committee strongly supported the letter, which would be
amended before despatch. (GW)
12.3. It was agreed that the current annual membership
subscription rate (stlg100) should be maintained for another
13. Date of Next Meeting: 12 noon on Monday 24 March, 1997,
at the Annual Conference at Keele University.
The meeting closed at 2.50 p.m.