HoDoMS
Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of the meeting of the HoDoMS Committee held in the Library, Department of Mathematics, University College London on Monday, 22 September 1997 at 1200hrs.

Vice-Chairman Prof Ken Houston opened the meeting and welcomed the new Chairman Prof David Brannan.

Present:
Prof M Atkinson
Prof D Brannan (Chairman)
Prof K Brown
Prof M Everett
Dr T Gethins
Prof K Houston
Dr A Lepper
Dr S Ryrie
Prof G Wilks
Prof C Wright (Secretary)
Prof A Zinobar


1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Prof David Crighton and Dr Ekkehard Kopp.

2. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 24 MARCH 1997 AT KEELE UNIVERSITY

The Minutes of the meeting of 24 March were approved.

3. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES

There were no matter arising.

4. COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

4.1 Prof David Brannan was confirmed as Chairman.

4.2 There were no cooptions

4.3 Prof Ken Houston volunteered to take over as Secretary until the AGM at Easter 1999.

5. COHESION AMONG INTEREST GROUPS IN MATHEMATICS (see Item 4 in AGM Minutes)

Prof Graham Wilks outlined his suggestions for networking among HoDoMS, JMC, LMS, CPAM, CPS, RSS, GMP, UMTC and others. Committee members with special responsibility for liaison were confirmed as follows:

Prof M Atkinson- Committee of Professors of Computing
Prof D Brannan - SCAA, HEFCE
Prof K Brown - LMS, Edinburgh Mathematical Society
Prof K Houston - UMTC
Prof E Kopp - DfEE
Dr A Lepper - IMA
Dr S Ryrie - Joint Mathematical Council
Prof G Wilks - CPAM
Prof A Zinobar - Mathematics Trust


6. REVIEW OF 1997 CONFERENCE AND PLANS FOR 1998

6.1 David Brannan congratulated Graham Wilks on the success of the Conference. Sixty-five members attended. It was decided to adopt a one-day format for 1998 (11am to 5pm starting with the AGM) and a two-day format for 1999. Graham would help with the preparation of the 1999 Conference, and was keen to attract top class speakers as in 1997. Action: GW

6.2 Prof Alan Zinobar volunteered Sheffield as the venue for the 1998 event and would investigate the availability of accommodation. Action: AZ

6.3 David Brannan would check possible dates, and the preferred date circulated tothe membership as soon as possible. Action: DB, KH

6.4 Topics would be drawn from the MMath degree, shifts in the contents of mathematics degrees, the Dearing and Government White Paper, benchmarking of UG programmes (ie level descriptors) and possibly TQA.

7. DEARING REPORT AND REPRESENTATIONS TO DfEE

The possibility of a submission targeted at the forthcoming Government White Paper was discussed. It was decided to wait for publication, but we should be alert to topics that could emerge such as numeracy, benchmarking, the MMath, intermediate qualifications, the role of the external examiner, IT in teaching and learning, the structure of funding for mathematics, teaching-only contracts, and service teaching on sub-degree courses.

8. LETTER FROM GARTH DALES ON SUBJECT LEVEL DESCRIPTORS

The Chairman said he would enquire further and bring this matter up at the next meeting.

9. WHITE PAPER `THE PEOPLE'S LOTTERY' AND SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS

Attention was drawn to the entry on the World Wide Web (www.culture.gov.uk) giving the text of the Government White Paper on the People's Lottery which suggested an endowment for Science and the Arts (NESTA). Members were asked to contact David Brannan to help formulate a response by 10 October.

10. MATHSKILLS PROJECT

Ekkehard Kopp was away at the time of the meeting but would send a progress report as soon as he could.

11. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

11.1 It was agreed to offer £1000 to the group headed by Douglas Quinnery at Keele to help pump-prime the development of diagnostic testing via a web site.

11.2 Promotional video: Dr Lucas at the University of Abertay Dundee had written enquiring about the promotional video produced by a consortium of polytechnics some years ago be updated. Graham Wilks would take this up. David Brannan also drew attention to a video made by him recently. Suggestions were tentatively put forward about developing a CD-ROM.

11.3 It was agreed that the membership subscription would remain at £100. Prof Martin Everett would send out requests shortly.

11.4 Promotional activities: Graham Wilks drew attention to the Pupil Researcher Initiative sponsored by EPSRC: there were no maths specialists as candidates. Also he suggested that the mathematics community supported initiatives such as SET more vigorously.

11.5 Teaching and Learning: Graham Wilks also wondered whether the companies that produced software such as MATHEMATICA, for example, could be persuaded to fund educational initiatives that promote good practice, such as a prize fund for projects or courses for heads of department. This would be brought up as an agenda item at the next meeting and in the meantime Graham would circulate an explanatory e-mail. Action: KH, GW

12. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting would be on Monday, 12 January 1998 at UCL

Prof Chris Wright,
Secretary