Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of HoDoMS Committee meeting
10th January 2003 London Mathematical Society


Charles Goldie (University of Sussex), Chair
Neil Challis (Sheffield Hallam University), Secretary
Martin Everett (University of Greenwich), Treasurer
David Youdan (I.M.A.)
Maia Angelova (Northumbria University)
Peter Giblin (University of Liverpool)
Ken Houston (University of Ulster)
Jim Howie (London Mathematical Society)
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)
Also present by invitation
Alistair Fitt (University of Southampton)

1. Apologies for absence
Jeff Griffiths, Walter Middleton

2. Minutes of meeting of 27th September 2002 accepted as correct.

3. Matters arising not otherwise on the agenda
3.1 (minute 3.2) Chair reported that he had met chairs of CPAM and COPS. While all are concerned to present a united front and support the CMS, closer direct liaison is currently inappropriate given the differing natures of HoDoMS, CPAM and COPS.
3.2 (minute 3.3) Chair reported 13 responses to letter about Further Maths and Medical Schools, 7 directly favourable but all responding in some detail.
3.3 (minute 4.1) Chair wrote to two FRS and President.
3.4 (minute 4.2) Degree grade inflation: THES Nov 15th confirmed UUK pushing against degree classification.
3.5 (minute 4.3) Chair forwarded publisher's circular to Mathsheads-Adverts inviting responses on principle. Nil reaction.
3.6 (minute 7) Response from EPSRC Maths Programme Director refusing to extend penalty-free period but giving reassurance about special case pleas.
3.7 (minute 10b) HESA data: wholly negative response from HESA Chief Executive over interim data collection. Chair will consult LMS.
3.8 (minute 3.4) HoDoMS website: Host is still required. hodoms.ac.uk cannot be hosted on the Coventry server. Jim Howie to investigate LMS server, and David Youdan that of IMA.

4. Correspondence
4.1 Chair has offered moral support to several more Departments facing cuts/closure.
4.2 Mathematical Association: Chair provided address list for Mathematical Association to circulate HoDs about recruitment packs for graduands.
4.3 Joint funding bodies review of RAE - HoDoMS submitted its terse 2 point response.
4.4 Engineering Council registration standards: HoDoMS submitted a list of three issues concerning maths/stats in engineering for the review to consider.
4.5 AMET: Chair wrote requesting information on whether PGCE students tend to be locally based, and whether big maths departments undershoot in proportion of output who enter teaching. Reply awaited. 4.6 Science Media Centre: nominated as possible maths/stats contacts Peter Giblin, Ken Houston, Charles Goldie.
4.7 Received TTA plans for using experienced but non-mathematical people, to teach mathematics. Currently 1 year unfunded mathematics training then 1 year teacher training (funded). TTA is proposing 6 months funded mathematical preparation (Jan 03 pilot, Jan 04 start). Committee felt the proper thing was to fund year 1 too. Chair to write to suggest Mathematics departments make a contribution here.

5. Chair's Communications not otherwise on the agenda
5.1 Science Council Mathematics Colloquium (22 October). Chair attended. Varied views, but coherent report emerged.
5.2 Millenium Maths Project organised (at the behest of Sir Peter Williams, Chair Engineering and Technology Board) an information day on school-university interface maths issues. Chair attended and presented, and subsequently wrote to Secretary of State. Asked what department is doing to fulfil government promises in response to Roberts review. Suggested ACME recommendation in its CPD report for centres of excellence for maths teachers needs to be joined up with parallel science centres funded by Wellcome. Response awaited.
5.3 Communication from Prof N H Bingham concerning bureaucratic interference with EPSRC prioritising panels; suggested more a learned society matter, perhaps of interest for CMS.

6. Arrangements for 2003 Annual Conference 10/11 April 2003
Commitments for programme so far:
Thursday 10th April before 4: 1. Prof Adrian Smith
Friday 11th April: 2. Sir Howard Newby
Either day:
3. Careers: Clifford Cocks, Chief Mathematician, GCHQ. Possibly Mark Robson (Bank of England). CMS Careers Initiative
4. LTSN session
5. The crisis in research publishing
6. Graduate Teaching Programme and secondary maths teaching
An evening session can be reserved for other topics
Practicalities: 50 overnight plus 10 day places booked at the conference centre (near RNC Greenwich). 24 hour stay (lunch to 7. Watching brief assignments:
(Mentioned only where there is something to report)

Chair attended last meeting when main interest was ACME CPD report proposing centres of excellence and funded opportunities for teachers to develop subject knowledge. Secretary of State response awaited. Discussion of new chair of JMC and mechanism for nomination - Bernard Silverman FRS was mentioned as possible nominee, with approval.

HoDoMS retains no more than on-off watching brief status
CMS Careers Initiative: supported and encouraged.
International Mathematics Review. CMS is supporting this and EPSRC will do it. Some discussion of mechanism and steering committee constitution.

Meeting with QCA Nov 15th, main relevant topic AS/A Level consultation outcomes. New syllabus 2004, first output 2006. Which model is a matter for awarding bodies. Core material now spread over four modules out of 6. Graphic calculators allowed in 5 modules out of 6 and no calculator in 6th. Only titles Maths and Further Maths (Statistics is outside this process). Strong support from community for changes. November sitting will continue (little used). Improved results reported as those who have experienced the National Curriculum come through. The issue of Further Maths remains - if even the elite cannot insist on it, then how can it survive?
For the algebra/geometry review, CMS will seek a CMS rep., to cover both pre- and post-16. A comparison of IB and A Level is planned.

No replacement Chief Executive yet.

Good report for Cliff Allen - paper journal and website resources. SKH is finishing as rep on advisory committee and John Blake is to seek a replacement. Noted the discussions on combining ILT/LTSN/HESA into one common (stronger) organisation, but concerns about subject networks, and balance of generic and subject based people on any new council.

Will happen again this year.

Alastair Rose taking over basic technology programme Jan 2003, but will continue as head of mathematics programme until replacement appointed. Chair to write and wish him well. A panel has met to discuss peer review of doctoral training accounts. No written outcome yet. Funding opportunities continue to include connectivity and interdisciplinary projects. A priority is the Life Sciences interface programme; range of other supported areas includes call for Doctoral Training Centres (Jan 15), exploitation of genomics study groups, quantum computation, computer engineering, financial mathematics.
Concern from CMS reported about DTAs being subsumed into KTAs (knowledge training accounts): possibly bureaucratic, unclear whether parallel or subsumed, predicated on large departments therefore disadvantaging mathematics. Must monitor.
Noted that CMS meeting notes (13/12/02) say following consultation EPSRC will introduce collaborative training and knowledge transfer, although some concern expressed about making sure the funds reach the right place.

Membership grades are splitting: CMath (professional mathematician, full details of mathematical background needed, not only an approved course - although programme approval will continue and is being redesigned); and Member (broader backgrounds including teaching maths). Responses have been received to the service teaching questionnaire, and will be analysed by Glyn James.

Grades of membership are also being reviewed here, with current consultation.

Paper noted from Brian Stewart (Ed Committee) discussing closure of mathematics departments. Discussed Ambassador scheme (aligned with careers initiative) with young ambassadors funded by Simon Singh.

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

9. Subscription situation for 2001/2 (ME)
Accounts circulated. 46 institutions have paid (usual level) with another 15-20 expected up to conference.

(a) Smith Committee
Deadline for consultation comments 14th March. Subgroup (CMG, DL, PG, NVC) to swap initial thoughts by 26 January with view to first draft. Questions concerning timescale (tight), place of HE (end user or under consideration?), possible commonality with other bodies (partial?).

(b) National Scene
Noted waiting for DfES to respond to Roberts review.
Noted waiting for impact of ACME CPD report.
Noted continuing threats to some departments - the next HoDoMS "Threats to Departments"
questionnaire is about to be distributed.
Noted new HEFCE funding model - but only in long term.

Date of next meeting (new committee) at Conference Friday 11th April 2003 2 p.m. University of Greenwich
Conference April 10/11, starting with lunch at 12.30 on 10th April.
(Clash with BAMC/BMC noted)

Neil Challis
Hon Sec HoDoMS