Minutes of the meeting of HoDoMS Committee

9 January 2004, 11.30am, Kings College London

Present:

Duncan Lawson (Chair)
Alice Rogers (Vice-Chair)
Peter Giblin (Secretary)
Charles Goldie (Former Chair)
Neil Challis (Treasurer)
Tony Mann
Andrew Osbaldestin
Derek Goldrei
David Stirling
Tony Wickstead
David Youdan (IMA)
Jon Forster (RSS)

The Chair welcomed the new representative from the Royal Statistical Society, Jon Forster from the University of Southampton.

1. There were apologies for absence from David Sloan, Jim Howie and Jeff Griffiths.

2. The minutes of the meeting of 10 October 2003 were approved subject to correcting a misprint.

3. Matters arising not otherwise on the agenda.

4. Correspondence: none not covered elsewhere.

5. Chair's communications. None, but TW raised a recent News item from the HEFCE website (23 December 2003) which concerned the rebanding of mathematics from B to C. The main points:

Noted that HoDoMS endorsed the CMS response to HEFCE concerning the proposed rebanding of Mathematics but did not make a separate response.

6. Conference.

Confirmed speakers:

Charles Clarke
Annette Bramley (EPSRC
Angela Walsh (TTA)
Pam Bishop/John Blake (LTSN)

The Higher Education Academy is to appoint a CEO, who will be approached to speak at the Conference. Action: DL

Widening Participation. The most relevant parts for us are

At least the first one can come under the LTSN umbrella at the Conference. No particular person to be invited to talk on this.

Smith Report: Pointed out that CMS, Science Council and the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) are organizing an announcement seminar late February or early March, with 100 places funded by ETB. After discussion agreed to invite Adrian Smith to address the Conference on the Report and its likely implementation: the steps forward from here.

Roberts Report: Professor Watson (on the Roberts panel) to be approached. Action: DL

7. Teacher Training Agency

A number of different courses currently on offer to boost the number of 'qualified' maths teachers.

What is the role of HE? What is the best way for HE to interact with the TTA in order to improve existing teachers' skills and to increase the number of well-qualified maths undergraduates going into teaching? How will such interaction be funded? These are topics which can be broached in informal discussions at the conference with the TTA speaker.

8. Bologna Declaration (document from Brian Stewart circulated)

This may have profound implications for Masters degrees, and in particular MMath and similar degrees. The european standard is a two- year masters, which does not fit with either MMath or the present MSc.

It was pointed out that the Chartered Engineer status is based on a 4-year Masters degree and this is equally compromised by Bologna.

It was also reported that Imperial College is contemplating a 2-year Masters degree.

It was noted that now that local authority funding is largely withdrawn the advantage of the MMath (four years' guaranteed funding) over BSc + MSc has diminished.

A document from a meeting of Deans of Science (Torino, April 2003) was circulated, suggesting that the way forward might be a common european framework expressed in terms of learning outcomes for degrees. (This conflicts with among other things the Benchmark for MSOR which emphasizes diversity.)

9. Watching Briefs (significant items only):

JMC/ACME (DS)

QCA (DL)

Agreed that it was worth sending a representative to QCA meetings when invited, though many subjects discussed were of marginal relevance.

QAA (DS)

ILT, LTSN (DL)

IMA (DY)

Suggested that as IMA and LMS become closer (alternative strategies are currently being considered), HoDoMS could become closer to both.

LMS (CG, passing to AR); also EPSRC (CG)

10. Membership

So far 50 paid-up or promised, which equals the total last year.

11. Smith Inquiry

No new news.

12. A.O.B.

None.

Peter Giblin
Hon Sec HoDoMS