HoDoMS
Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of a meeting of the HoDoMS Committee held in the Library, Department of Mathematics, University College London on Monday 12 January 1998 at 1200 hrs.

Present:

Prof M Atkinson

Prof D Brannan (Chairman)

Dr J Erdos

Prof K Houston (Secretary)

Prof V Isham

Dr E Kopp

Dr A Lepper

Dr S Ryrie

Prof G Wilks

Prof A Zinober

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Prof D Crighton, Prof M Everett and Dr T Gethins.

2. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

The Chairman welcomed Dr John Erdos and Prof Valerie Isham as the new LMS and RSS representatives, respectively, on the committee. He thanked the previous representatives, Prof K Browne and Prof Adrian Smith for their contributions to the work of the committee.

3. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 22 September 1997 AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

The minutes of the meeting of 22 September 1997 were approved.

4. MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES NOT OTHERWISE ON THE AGENDA

4.1 Minute 5. The updated list of committee members with special responsibilities is

Prof M Atkinson : CPHC, Edinburgh Mathematics Society

Prof D Brannan : QCA, QAA, HEFCE

Prof D Crighton : EPSRC

Prof J Erdos : LMS

Prof K Houston : UMTC

Prof V Isham : RSS, CoPoS

Dr A Lepper : IMA

Dr S Ryrie : JMC

Prof G Wilks : CPAM

Prof A Zinober : Mathematics Trust

DB is to write to Alan Slomson (Leeds) to see if HoDoMS can help support the Mathematics Trust.

4.2 Minute 8. There was no further response to the Chairman's letter and so this correspondence has lapsed.

4.3 Minute 11.1. Douglas Quinney (Keele) has started work on the project supported by HoDoMS. A web page has been set up and work on developing it will continue. http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ma/diagnostic/

4.4 Minute 11.2. The committee viewed the old video and decided that it was too much out of date to be revised.

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4.5 Minute 11.5. Sponsorship - GW is to follow this up. There was discussion around "prizes", "maths gateway funding" and "Texas Instruments"

5. CHAIRMAN'S COMMUNICATIONS

5.1 DB has received a request from Jack Abramsky of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority requesting a meeting between the mathematics team at QCA and a delegation of 4 or 5 representatives from HoDoMS. It was agreed that DB, KH, SR, JE and possibly Prof Chris Robson should attend if possible. The likely dates are 24, 26 or 27 February 1998. DB is to arrange the meeting and inform representatives.

5.2 QCA had published Guidance Material on mental strategies for calculation.

5.3 It was noted that the QAA for HE had published a Subject Review Handbook which also acts as a revised Assessor's Hand book.

5.4 GW and EK are to advise DB on responding to Pam Bishop (CTI-Maths) re a request for a letter of support. CTI programmes are currently being reviewed.

5.5 It was noted that a Mathwise Users group had been established and that a number of workshops around the country had been organised.

6. ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The annual conference will be held in the Tapestry Room at Sheffield University on Friday 3 April 1998 between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm. The programme will be published when it is finalised. So far two speakers have been settled:- Prof TMM O'Shea, formerly of OU and now Master of Birkbeck College, and Prof E Kopp, MathSkills Project (together with a speaker from industry). A third speaker is still to be agreed.

Further information from m.floy@shef.ac.uk, a.zinober@shef.ac.uk

7. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The AGM will be held during the first session of the conference at 11.00 am on 3 April. The business will include:

8. MATHSKILLS PROJECT

A report was received from EK.

Further to the report it was agreed that DB, with advice from those committee members not directly associated with MathSkills, should act as Evaluator for the project.

It was also noted that the bid for a further grant from DfEE, co-ordinated by Judy Ekins, was unsuccessful.

The project director EK announced his resignation as director from April 1998 and asked for a volunteer to continue the work. It was noted that Neil Gordon was willing to act as the project technical officer for as long as he was employed by Hull University.

It was reported that DfEE will not be funding Discipline Networks in the future.

It was also agreed that HoDoMS should continue to support and promote teaching initiatives through MathSkills and any other available, appropriate media.

9. TREASURER'S REPORT

The Treasurer reported that, to date, 60 institutions had renewed their membership for 1997-98.

10. "HIGHER QUALITY"

The publication of this Bulletin of the QAA for HE was noted.

11. ANY OTHER RELEVANT BUSINESS

11.1 It was reported that Pam Bishop was producing a list of Mathematics Organisations in the UK, with contact details, URCs, etc.

11.2 There was a debate about the current RAE consultation and it was agreed that DB would respond on behalf of HoDoMS. Committee members were asked to read the consultation document and to send 4 or 5 points to DB.

11.3 The publication of "Innovation in Teaching and Assessing Mathematics at University Level" by Leone Burton and Chris Haines in "Teaching in Higher Education", 2, 3, 273-293, 1997, was noted. This contains a pertinent discussion of the role of the Department Manager as an Agent for Change.

11.4 A preliminary announcement of UMTC-98 is on the web in the MathSkills site.

12. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting was arranged for 5.00 pm on Thursday 2 April at Sheffield University, the night before the AGM and Annual Conference.

It was agreed that HoDoMS would support committee members expenses for dinner, bed and breakfast but not travel, which should be met by members' institutions.

AZ is to make arrangements and is to be informed of attendance intentions by committee members.

13. Besides viewing the old polytechnic video mentioned at minute 4.4 above, the committee also viewed an OU video promoting careers in Mathematics. This is to be circulated to members for further viewing and copying if desired.

14. The meeting ended at 1530 hrs.

SK Houston

Hon Secretary