Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences



MEMBERS PRESENT - Prof M Atkinson, Prof D Brannan (Chairman), Dr J Erdos, Dr L Fletcher, Dr T Gethins, Prof K Houston (Secretary), Dr E Kopp, Dr S Ryrie, Dr N Steele, Prof G Wilks.

1. Apologies for absence - Prof M Everett, Prof V Isham, Dr A Lepper, Prof R Moffett.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 2nd April 1998.

The minutes were approved.

3. Matters arising from the minutes (not otherwise on the agenda)

Minute 4(1). EK had attended the meting with QAA on 20th April and he gave a brief report. QAA are expected to issue a report of the consultation by the end of October 1998.

Minute 10. The Treasurer will soon be sending out requests to departments for subscriptions for 1998/99.

4. Correspondence.

There was a discussion of the topic raised in an e-mail concerning the idea that there should only be one, combined, mathematics panel for the 2001 RAE. Members could see the point that the correspondent was making, but felt that the present arrangement, where there is some consultation between the panel chairs, was as good as it would get. It was recognised that no system could take account of the very different circumstances of all departments.

5. Chairman's communications.

The chairman reviewed the activities of the HoDoMS committee and commented that he had taken steps to find nominees for the various officer posts for the two years starting April 1999.

6. MathSkills evaluation and future.

EK tabled a copy of the final report and the summary report of the MathSkills Project to DfEE. He has still to write up and publish the latest employers' survey.

The Warwick Project (Adrian Simpson et al) still has to be paid the grant promised.

EK has handed over the directorship of the project to KH, but the website will continue to be maintained at Hull.

A joint funding application by Mathwise, CTI and MathSkills to Adapt-UFI was unsuccessful. There is the possibility of a further application under Objective 4.

EK and KH will survey Mathsheads to see which initiatives should be followed up.

The publication of HEFCE circular 98/40 was noted. This is a consultation document relating to Learning and Teaching: strategy and funding proposals. The consultation will end on 23.10.98.

It was suggested that MathSkills could be a pro-active organ of HoDoMS in the future.

It was noted that Edexcel have an award for professional practice developed through Placement and that elements of an NVQ in Key Skills could be obtained by students taking courses in which Key Skills training was embedded.

7. Subject Programme Review - Mathematics.

It was noted that various members of the committee, EK, RM, DB, LF, SR, KH, have been or are being trained as subject programme reviewers. DB will ask the QAA for the timetable for SPRVs in Mathematics over the next two years.

This topic will be discussed at the annual conference in April 1999.

8. Reports from committee members with special responsibilities. (See minute 4.1 of 12 January 1998.)

(i) SR tabled a report of a recent meeting of the JMC. An item in the report - the recruitment of mathematics graduates to ITT/PGCE courses - gave cause for alarm. The TTA would like HoDs to invite a speaker to address final year undergraduates about teaching as a career.
(ii) EK reported that DfEE seem to have a desire to continue with discipline based, skills projects, but yet the only project funded in the last round was generic.
(iii) JE reported that EPSRC had given a presentation on methods of allocating postgraduate grants. They had been told that the mathematics community was opposed to the "quota" system and would prefer awards to go to the best students. It was also reported that there was a proposal to change the method of funding MSc courses so that more support would be required from industry. This could cause the closure of some MSc courses.
(iv) TG reported that the CTI centres will cease to exist in their present format in July 1999, but that there will be new "subject" centres with a similar brief.
(v) KH noted that the UMTC conference would be held in the week commencing 7th September.
(vi) Other members reported that they had "nothing further to report" on activities concerning HEFCE, QCA and CPAM.

9. 1999 conference.

A draft programme was arranged

Day 1 (Wed 7th April 1999)

Registration before lunch
Two sessions in the afternoon
Stay overnight in Keele University's halls.

Day 2 (Thurs 8th April 1999)

Three sessions in the morning
Meeting of new committee.

It was agreed that the following would take responsibility for contacting proposed speakers and arranging a session at the conference

Member Topic

(For Wednesday)



(For Thursday)

NS TTA, "Maths at Work"

MA, EK Pedagogy (IT; Key Skills)

LF Service teaching to engineers

GW will make all the local arrangements at Keele.

EK, KH will request information from HoDs relating to the M Math in the light of student fees.

The first trawl for speakers should be completed by 15th October.

10. Any other relevant business

There was a discussion on the fragmentation of the UK mathematics community. It was suggested that there should be a central website, "Mathematics UK", which would link to, and be linked from, all other UK maths websites.

11. Date and venue of next meeting.

The next meeting of the committee was arranged for 11.30 a.m. on Friday 8th January 1999 in LMS headquarters, DeMorgan House, Russell Square, London.

12. At 4.00 pm. A meeting with Johnston Anderson of TALUM and Peter Edwards and Dexter Booth of UMTC to discuss matters of mutual interest.

A full discussion of the origins, aims etc of TALUM and UMTC was held and various suggestions concerning "doing things together" were made. There is to be further consultation. (It was noted that DB is planning to attend a UMTC committee meeting on 10th September in Sheffield.)

SK Houston
Hon Secretary
7th September 1998.