HoDoMS
Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON FRIDAY 8th JANUARY 1999 AT 11.30am

MEMBERS PRESENT

Prof M Atkinson
Prof D Brannan (Chairman)
Dr J Erdos (LMS rep)
Prof M Everett (Treasurer)
Dr L Fletcher
Dr T Gethins
Prof K Houston (Secretary)
Prof V Isham (RSS rep)
Dr A Lepper (IMA rep)
Prof R Moffett
Dr S Ryrie
Dr N Steele
Prof G Wilks (Vice Chairman)

Apologies for absence

Dr E Kopp

1. Minutes of meeting held on 4th September 1998.

The minutes were approved.

2. Matters arising from the minutes not otherwise on the agenda.

Minute 6. EK and KH had not yet followed up with a survey of Mathsheads to see which initiatives of MathSkills should be followed up.

Minute 9. EK and KH had initiated a survey of Mathsheads regarding the M Math degree.

3.Correspondence.

A circular letter (21/12/98) from EPSRC to Learned Society Presidents and Heads of Department relating to the new proposals for the "quota" allocation of PG research studentships was noted. AL reported that there had recently been a useful meeting between representatives of the Learned Societies and officials of EPSRC to discuss this topic. The committee expressed the view that HoDoMS should take an initiative and seek an invitation to future meetings. DB is to write to EPSRC.

4. Arrangements and business for HoDoMS AGM in Keele on 7th April.

Agenda for the AGM were discussed and KH is to circulate Mathsheads with a notice of the meeting and of the annual conference. DB reported that various people had agreed to accept nomination for the various officer posts on the committee. Other committee members are to seek new volunteers to serve on the committee. KH is to write to the Presidents of the IMA, LMS and RSS inviting them to nominate persons whom the new committee might co-opt as representatives. GW, who is retiring from the committee at the AGM, will be invited to the committee meeting in January 2001 to help organise the April 2001 conference at Keele.

5. Arrangements and programme for the Residential Conference in Keele University, 7-8 April 1999

GW reported that domestic arrangements were well in hand. The estimated cost for about 60 people is about £5,500. It was agreed that paid up members of HoDoMS could send one delegate per subscription paid for the nominal registration fee of £25 and extra delegates at the cost of £100 each. The fee for non-members of HoDoMS is £125 which is, simply, the annual subscription plus the members' fee. Each fee covers Bed, Breakfast and Banquet, coffee and tea, and a buffet lunch on 7th . Participants are to register directly with GW.

The program will be as follows

Day 1 (Wed 7th April 1999)

11.30 a.m. Arrival and Registration
12.00 noon. Buffet lunch.
1.00 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. "Subject Review - the present and the future". Speakers are Michael Emery (Associate Director of QAA), John Erdos and Martin Everett. DB is to write to Michael Emery.
2.30 p.m. Tea
3.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. "RAE - 2001". It is hoped that speakers will include one or more of the three chairs of the panels and John Rogers (HEFCE, RAE manager). JE is to finalise details for this session.
5.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m. AGM.
7. 30 p.m. Banquet. (No after dinner speaker.)

Day 2 (Thursday 8th April 1999)

9.00 a.m. - 10.30 a.m. "Opportunities for Graduates as Mathematics Teachers" - Jane Benham and Derek Woodrow (TAA); "Mathematics at Work" - Henry Beker (President IMA). NS is to finalise details of this session.
10.30 a.m. Coffee.
11.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. "Using IT in Teaching" - Douglas Quinney (Keele) on MathWise and Edmund Robertson (St Andrew's) on MacTutor. MA is to finalise details of this session.
12.30 p.m. Depart (Lunch may be purchased in the cafeteria for those who want it.)
12.45 p.m. Meeting of the new committee (with a sandwich lunch). Session organisers are to inform KH of the final details of their sessions by 31st January.

It was agreed that the topics of Key Skills Teaching and Service Teaching would be carried forward to the one day conference in April 2000.

6. QCA matters:

(i) QCA Annual Conference on 1st July 1998

A report had been previously circulated and is attached as Appendix 1.

(ii) QCA Invitation Conference on the National Curriculum, 2-3 July. SR had been unable to attend this conference but he reported that the QCA had published free standing mathematics modules suitable for use by students who wanted some mathematics beyond GCSE to help them in their study of other subjects. Also the National Curriculum may be revised to incorporate changes in algebra and geometry.

(iii) HoDoMS - QCA Maths-team meeting on 23rd November 1998 (at the new QCA premises).

HoDoMS members were consulted regarding a new post 16 qualification that comprises individual study modules, including the one mentioned above, and which will lead to the award of a Certificate. This is being piloted in 1998/99.

(iv) Role of JMC in relation to HoDoMS-QCA relations

It was considered desirable to present a unified front to QCA and it was suggested that the JMC could do this for the school constituency, but that there should be a separate voice for the HE constituency. DB is to write to the three Learned Societies and the JMC about the formation of a suitable committee. Schools are the producers of QCA courses while HE is the user of the output of QCA courses. It was considered that there was a need for the HE constituency to be pro-active in the matter of the school curriculum.

7. Future of CTI Mathematics and Statistics - HoDoMS position.

TG reported on a meeting he attended on 21/10/98 of the CTI Advisory Committee. It was noted that all CTI centres would be closed and that new "subject centres" would be created which would have a responsibility, not only for advice regarding IT, but also for advice regarding pedagogy. There is to be a "Maths, Stats and OR" centre but it was unclear if this would be a single site or a distributed one. The current directorate of the Maths CTI centre, in collaboration with Birmingham University were putting in a bid to become the new Maths Subject centre. Also the Maths CTI centre is seeking funds to create and maintain a UK Mathematics "Gateway" to the internet. This would concentrate on HE Teaching and Research.

8. Subscription situation for 1998-99.

ME reported that to date 39 institutions had paid their subscription for this year. Last year there were 80 paid up members. A reminder will be sent out with the notice of the AGM and Conference.

9. Response to HEFCE Consultation paper 98/40.

EK and DB had completed this response which is attached as Appendix 2.

10. Relations between HoDoMS and UMTC.

DB reported on the meeting with UMTC committee last September. Recently UMTC had been attracting about 50 academics to its annual conferences, which are designed as working conferences and which could be tailored to meet some of the CPD needs of lecturers who are Members of ILTHE. The UMTC committee would like to work collaboratively with HoDoMS so that there would be a HoDoMS representative on the committee and HoDoMS would be proactive in sending staff to the conference. It was considered desirable that HoDoMS be recognised by QAA and ILTHE as the Mathematics Subject Association. DB is to write to the ILTHE Planning Group. It was also recognised that there could be other providers of CPD besides UMTC. (There is a new paper about ILTHE on the CVCP web site.)

11. Fragmentation of the UK Mathematics Community.

The committee agreed that it was unfortunate that there are so many voices speaking for "mathematics" in the UK and DB is to write to the Presidents of the three Learned Societies (IMA, LMS, RSS) to encourage them to renew their efforts to achieve a formal, single voice. It was recognised that the three Presidents and their CEOs met regularly but informally. Also the question of a mathematics Internet site should be explored (e.g. www.mathematics.ac.uk). LF referred the committee to such a site in Germany (www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/ssgfi/math/index.html). The committee thought that HoDoMS could have a unifying role.)

12. MathSkills Discipline Network.

The last survey of employers had been completed but not yet written up. The funding allocated to the Warwick Project had no yet been claimed. KH is now director of MathSkills.

13. Report on QAA Invitation Conference in Manchester on 8th December 1998

A report had been written by EK and is attached as Appendix 3. RM, who was also at the meeting, gave a verbal report. Regarding "benchmarking", it was noted that the first three pilot subjects of Chemistry, History and Law had written their documents and they were all of a different nature, thus illustrating the difficulties involved in the task. Mathematics will be in the second half of the cycle.

The QAA consultation paper on postgraduate qualifications (Nov 1998) requires a response by 26/4/99. This has implications for the title of M Math courses, but not the content or survival. But RM said "If the MMath courses are not supported intensively by staff, they will surely die".

14. HoDoMS views on the future of QAA Subject Review post 2001

Discussion postponed until after the April 1999 conference.

15. Subject Review -views of those reviewed so far on the process

Members of the committee who had experienced recent subject review visits all agreed that an enormous amount of work was involved in preparing for the visit. All but one had a good experience of the event. It was noted that while all six aspects of provision were given equal weight, most time was spent inspecting aspect 2, Teaching, Learning and Assessment. DB is to ask QAA for a timetable of visits and to express some of the concerns aired by the committee.

16. RAE 2001

It was noted that the chairs of the three panels had been appointed and that consultation was still ongoing regarding some issues including how to handle interdisciplinary research. The three chairs are Prof Byron Morgan (Kent, Statistics Panel chair), Prof Nigel Hitchin (Oxford, Pure Panel chair), Prof David Crighton (Cambridge, Applied Panel chair).

17. Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

A planning group had been established and they have published a discussion document "Implementing the Vision" (22/10/98) and this is available on the CVCP website.

18. Any other business.

(i) QAA have published a Code of practice for Collaborative Provision at both national and international levels.

(ii) MA, who maintains the HoDoMS website but who is retiring from the committee in April has agreed to continue to do this job for a while until another volunteer comes forward.

SK Houston
Hon Secretary
9th January 1999.