Minutes of HoDoMS Committee meeting
27th September 2002 Royal Statistical Society


Charles Goldie (University of Sussex), Chair
Neil Challis (Sheffield Hallam University), Secretary
Martin Everett (University of Greenwich), Treasurer
Lucy Allen (I.M.A.)
Maia Angelova (Northumbria University)
Peter Giblin (University of Liverpool)
Jeff Griffiths (OR Society)
Ken Houston (University of Ulster)
Duncan Lawson (University of Coventry)
Alice Rogers (King's College, London)
David Stirling (University of Reading)
Trevor Sweeting (RSS)
Tony Wickstead (Queen's University, Belfast)

1. Apologies for absence
Jim Howie, David Youdan (substitute Lucy Allen)

2. Minutes of meeting of 5th April 2002 accepted as correct.

3. Matters arising not otherwise on the agenda
3.1 (minute 4.3) Chair wrote to Secretary of State to ask if the School-University Interface committee has been subsumed into a 14-19 working party announced in June. No response yet.
3.2 (minutes 4.7 and 6) Chair attended CPAM. Outcome, supported by Chair, was a proposal for a joint meeting of chairs of HoDoMS, CPAM and COPS to explore common ground. JG to explore possible involvement of COPIOR.
3.3 (minute 5) Chair has written to Medical School Admissions Tutors about the Further Maths issue.
3.4 (minute 8) Noted that LTSN MSOR would host HoDoMS url, but Birmingham will charge 750 pounds. DL will investigate Coventry as an alternative.

4. Correspondence
4.1 Chair wrote to Select Committee on Science and Technology pointing out how the Royal Society neglects Mathematical Sciences. He quoted hard facts from Statistics and Probability; and will involve FRS mathematicians in this issue.
4.2 Chair had received expression of concern from University of Durham about grade inflation in degree classifications. Committee felt this was a broader issue than MSOR, and action was not appropriate.
4.3 Chair had received a request for use of the MathsHeads Adverts list from Taylor and Francis publishers, concerning a free alerting service. Initial response was to refuse, but there was some feeling that there may be possible mutual benefit. Agreed to allow one announcement and see what the response is. Use of the Allstat list criteria to decide what is suitable may be appropriate.
4.4 Chair has written letters of support to departments in University of Hull (falling student numbers), Salford University (reorganisation leading to loss of identity), Essex (under temporary reprieve).

5. Chair's Communications not otherwise on the agenda

6. Arrangements for 2003 Annual Conference
Practicalities: At Greenwich Conference Centre, 24 hour stay (lunch to Content: Sir Howard Newby is booked for the morning of Friday 11th April 2003.
First trawl for possible topics:
- national shortage of schoolteachers vs decline in university maths posts.
- Interaction with Commons Science and Technology Committee. Invite Ian Gibson MP, plus the mathematician on the committee, perhaps for pm 10th?
- LTSN MSOR update item
- Roberts report follow-up.
- International (Welsh/English/NI?) Baccalaureate
- CMS Careers group may have reported.

7. Watching brief assignments:
(Mentioned only where there is something to report)

JMC in June was mainly about AS Level. ACME is interested in threats to Mathematics departments, and will do what it can. Chair has been invited to Science Council to comment; Suggested that Chair discusses with Chris Robson.
JMC agenda November will include Further Maths A Level, and the issue of Maths Service teaching in HE, raised by David Griffel.
The issue arises of replacement chair for JMC. LA will investigate how this will be resolved.

CMG attended in March (no minutes yet), and will attend in November; currently ad hoc, but will seek to be a regular observer.
Maths Student of the Year: prizes come from commercial sponsors. Individuals to pursue this. Proposal for 4 year funded PhD from Warwick, with EPSRC to allow 5 for completion. HoDoMS can add to the pressure here and Chair will write.

Meeting with QCA May 16th, main topic AS Level. AS/A Level Consultation closing date 18th October. All to respond to Chair, who will co-ordinate responses.
Next QCA meeting 15th November. Proposed HoDoMS delegation (to bear in mind balance of representation) Peter Giblin, Alice Rogers, Brian Stewart or Peter Saunders (LMS), Neil Challis, RSS rep (TS to advise). (Chair will approach QCA).

Paul Clarke has resigned. Acting CEO is in charge. Recruitment has exceeded expectations. Members being consulted about operation.

The training course for new lecturers had good reports, but there was some discussion about the pros and cons of its timing.

Reached 30+ participants, but is not growing.

Chair has written to point out that the pupil-researcher initiative ignores mathematics. Noted the idea that researchers get TTA credit.
More resources for multi-disciplinary work, for support for principal investigators who just need time, and for connectivity.
Currently Mathfit last call.
Current calls for Mathematical Biology, Environmental Mathematics and Mathematics of Finance proposals.
Doctoral Training Accounts same this year.
Fast track grants now for staff<35 years old.
Reported that Maths team keen to visit departments (e.g. going to Liverpool in October.)

IMA approached HoDoMs for support in establishing a profile of mathematics service teaching in UK university departments.
Noted that HoDoMs would be issuing a follow-up to Walter Middleton's "threats" questionnaire in January 2003 (minute 10(b) below refers) which would be addressing service teaching, and hence concern that possible additional questionnaire would lead to a damaging reduction in the historically high rate of return achieved by HoDoMs.
IMA are setting up a working group on careers for mathematics graduates, to support CMS initiative in this area. Seeking material. Suggested consult RSS material.
IMA is separating corporate and chartered membership; the implications for course accreditation will emerge.

Who is to represent RSS on HoDoMS is due for review. Concerned that information will flow to the right people. Agreed to widen the circulation list to key people in other learned bodies as appropriate.

Noted that next in 2005.

Newton Institute (PG)
Noted the useful web page of national meetings

8. Reports from committee members with particular responsibilities not covered above

CMG attended conference 26/9. A six month training programme for those who want to convert to secondary maths teaching is being considered. Committee considered this far too short and inadequate a training period, which would also wreck 2 year courses.

9. Subscription situation for 2001/2 (ME)
Membership static at about 70. Fee to be held at 100 pounds. Current assets about 27000 pounds. Noted Treasurer will retire from post in April.

10. Threats to Departments.
(a) Threats questionnaire results
To help/inform ACME. Around one quarter under threat, although some difficulties in counting and defining. Issue that total student numbers holding up, but concentrating in fewer places. Some discussion of European situation. Possible uses of data: inform Science Council; seek learned society support; press campaign.

(b) 1st year student count data
Chair to write to UUK and SCOP saying it is unsatisfactory that the year 1 count is not available until April, and final figures for last academic year are only out in January. If final figures are to be slow, then an interim count is needed, but HESA are minded to stop this. Agreed to suggest to CMS that the data gathering/monitoring task should be shared by (rotated around?) the learned societies. Resolved to create a mini-dossier of evidence for use in various fora. Suggest a letter-writing campaign on shortage of secondary maths teachers as opportunities arise. (Details: noted that Oxford figures are wrong and Ulster omitted because of a definition anomaly)

Agreed to support WM in repeating Threats survey. January timescale.

11. MMath questionnaire results
There is some evidence of pressure for insisting on 120 credits at M Level. HoDoMS wil give web references to the CMS papers on MMath and MSc. The community should rely on these rather than other sources in the continuing absence of a benchmark for MMath. The status of Credit Consortia guidelines is still unclear. Thanks to David Stirling.

12. Tuning
Comment now would be premature.

Date of next meeting Friday 10th January 2003 11.00 for 11.30 at LMS

Neil Challis
Hon Sec HoDoMS