Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of Committee Meeting of 8th April 1999, held at Keele University

Present: Prof. K Houston (Chair), Dr W Boyd, Prof D Brannan, Prof W Bruce, Prof J Erdos, Prof M Everett (Treasurer), Prof L Fletcher, Dr T Gethins, Dr C Goldie, Dr A Lepper (IMA rep), Prof R Moffett, Dr S Ryrie (Secretary).

Apologies: Prof V Isham (RSS rep), Dr N Steele (Vice-Chair).

1. Welcome to new members.

The Chair welcome Bill Boyd, Bill Bruce and Charles Goldie to their first meeting of the Committee.

2. Minutes of meeting of 8th January 1999.

These minutes were approved.

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

Minute 2: The surveys by E Kopp and K Houston were not yet complete.

4. Membership:

The meeting noted that there were no members from any Scottish institution.

The meeting agreed that individual members would represent it on other bodies as follows:

Joint Mathematical Council: JE (replacing SR)

Computers in Teaching Initiative: TG.

In addition, the meeting agreed that individuals would have "watching briefs" on the activities of other bodies as follows:


The meeting also agreed to nominate one of its members(RJM for 1999/2000) to act as informal liaison person with CPAM.

5. Treasurer's Report

The meeting agreed that KH and ME should become signatories to the HODOMS bank account, and asked ME to undertake the actions necessary to achieve this.

6. Subject Benchmarks

The meeting noted that the QAA will probably establish a "mathematics panel", to be responsible for "benchmarks", within the next two years, but that it was not yet known whether there would be a "subject association". The meeting agreed that it would be beneficial if the mathematics community were to give early consideration to benchmarking, in order to raise awareness of the issues and perhaps to influence eventual QAA guidelines. With this in mind, it welcomed the establishment by the Presidents of IMA/LMS/RSS of an ad-hoc group to consider the issues involved in benchmarking, and particularly welcomed the invitation to send a representative to the first meeting of that group (on 12th April). The meeting agreed that JE would represent it there.

7. HODs Database

The meeting noted that KH is compiling a database of "Departments of Mathematical Science" and their Heads, and agreed that this should include related departments such as (for instance) statistics or OR. KH will continue to collect, collate and verify data until the database is ready for use.

8. QCA Consultation

The meeting agreed that DB would attend the next QCA consultation meeting (in April or May).

9. Communication

Agreed that an electronic HODOMS newsletter, perhaps once per term, would be useful. SR to action. Agreed to accept NS's offer of maintaining the HODOMS website at Coventry, with thanks to Mike Atkinson for maintaining it at St Andrews for some years. SR to contact NS to put the move into effect.

10. Unity of the Mathematics Community

The meeting noted the recent exchange of letters with each of the IMA, the RSS and the LMS, and also noted the support expressed by Jane Benham (TTA) and Prof. Henry Beker (IMA), within their presentations to the HODOMS conference, for a "single voice" for mathematics, a view which the meeting shared.

The meeting agreed that it should continue to present the case for a "single voice" as and when opportunities present themselves, but that further approaches to the three societies are unlikely to be productive at this stage.

11. Dates of Future Meetings

Committee meetings on 23rd September 1999 and 6th January.

We agreed that the HODOMS Conference in 2000 should be at Easter in Birmingham; SR to check the dates of BMC/BAMC and to liaise with KH to set a date. (but since then the possibility has been aired of holding it at Leeds along with the BMC - matter still to be resolved.)