Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
10th April 2003

Present: Prof C Goldie (Chair), Dr N Challis (Secretary) and 21 others.

1. Apologies: Dr M Angelova, W Middleton

2. Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the AGM of 4th April 2002 were approved.

3. Matters arising: Re minute 9:There are now four list administrators for MathsHeads and MathsHeads-Adverts: Neil Challis, Charles Goldie, Neil Gordon, Ken Houston, and queries may be addressed to any of these.

4. Chairman's report: Prof Goldie's report was presented and is appended to these minutes.

5. Treasurer's report: Prof Everett presented a brief report, and accounts are appended for the last full academic year (1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002). The number of member departments is still decreasing, with approximately 50 subscriptions paid for 2002/3 at time of reporting. The Treasurer noted money spent on buying data on trends in Mathematics from HESA, and seeks views on whether this is an appropriate use of HoDoMS resources.

6. Election of Officers:

Officers were elected as follows:
Chair Professor D Lawson University of Coventry
Secretary Professor P Giblin University of Liverpool
Treasurer Dr N Challis Sheffield Hallam University
Vice-Chair Dr F A Rogers Kings College, London
There is a further ex-officio member
Past Chair Professor C Goldie University of Sussex

7. Election of Committee Members: Given the assumption of officer roles, and the retirement from the committee of two officers and three members, there were five vacancies.

Members were elected to four of these as follows for a period of two years in each case:
Dr D Goldrei (Open University)
A Mann (Greenwich)
Dr A Osbaldestin (Portsmouth)
Dr A Wickstead (Queen's University, Belfast)

It was agreed that the fifth vacancy could be filled by co-option until the next AGM.

8. The Chair proposed a vote of thanks to the co-optees on the committee: David Youdan (IMA), Prof Jim Howie (LMS), Prof T Sweeting (RSS), and Prof J Griffiths (OR Society), and pointed out that they both represented their institutions, and allowed a balanced geographical coverage of the UK amongst the committee membership.

The Committee now therefore comprises:
Prof D Lawson (Chair) Retires 2005
Dr F A Rogers (Vice-Chair) Retires 2005
Prof P Giblin (Secretary) Retires 2005
Dr N Challis (Treasurer) Retires 2005
Prof C Goldie (retiring Chair) Retires 2005
A Mann Retires 2005
Dr A Osbaldestin Retires 2005
Dr D Goldrei Retires 2005
Dr D Stirling Retires 2004
Prof A Wickstead Retires 2005
D Youdan (IMA) Co-opted
Prof J Griffiths (OR Society) Co-opted
Prof J Howie (LMS) Co-opted
Prof T Sweeting (RSS) Co-opted

9. AOB: None.

Appendix: Chair's Report to 2003 AGM

Your Committee and Officers have had a busy year and I certainly seem to have had a second year as your Chair that was busier than my first. Of course, as with our students seemingly getting younger every year, it's hard to distinguish their truly becoming more juvenile from the effect of oneself getting older and more jaded; thus it may have merely seemed that there was more HoDoMS business this year than last. But I think there really was. With the A-Level Maths crisis last summer, the Roberts Review and the setting up of the Smith Maths Inquiry, the new Secretary of State taking personal responsibility in his Department for mathematics as a subject, and finally the government commitment to a national centre for developing maths teaching, maths has had a continual exposure on the national scene and the consciousness of the concerned. It would take too long to list HoDoMS activities in detail, so let me just record that we've tried to take an active part in all relevant developments and a proactive part in defending our own interests -- for the good of all, naturally, as without maths departments certain vital components of our society, such as trained teachers for pupils of all the numerate disciplines, would not exist.

I also am going to refrain from a traditional theme of annual reports of the HoDoMS Chair, the lack of unity of our branch - our subject corner - of our profession, though that lack of unity certainly exists and is damaging. The government Chief Scientist, David King, fulminates in his presentations against subjects that are "balkanised", and his example for opprobrium is Biology, but I fear that's not because he would regard Mathematics as satisfactorily un-balkanised, it's just that we've been too insignificant to notice.

Instead, let me make some brief remarks about the way your Committee and I see HoDoMS and how we've attempted to reflect that in the construction of this Annual Conference. The overriding aim has been to support the cooperation across different sectors that is in my experience unusual in UK academic life and is perhaps the chief strength of HoDoMS. That implies we should have sessions of interest to the research-intensive and also sessions that contrast with those. The research-related sessions have clustered together in tomorrow morning's programme but that is only partly by design. Some speakers at our conference are like opera divas in having to be booked up to a year in advance. That limits severely the extent to which we can be topical. Nevertheless we succeeded in divining some topics that we thought would be topical at this time, and the first session tomorrow morning, on the crisis -- or coming crisis -- in research publishing, is one result. The session tomorrow on careers is also appropriate there, as I expect it will be as much about where research students might find careers as where first-degree graduates might. We none of us need instructing as to how our graduates might seek employment in accountancy, and it was to lift our eyes above the contemplation of that having to be the fate for most of them that we tried to exhibit possible career paths greatly distant from that.

To return to today's programme, my initial idea in laying on a session on the Graduate Teacher Programme as a flexible route into schoolteaching was the naive one that as university maths departments were being downsized or cut, while schools were crying out for maths teachers, there might be a route that a few individuals would find attractive, from the uncertain future of university maths lecturing to the now better paid and valued world of secondary schools. My colleagues on the HoDoMS Committee were horrified by the idea and regarded it as marking the end of civilisation as we know it, but I still think that for some few individuals, and only for those few, it has some seeds of merit.

There's one way in which I'm very happy to continue this Report in traditional style, and that's in naming and thanking those who have given HodoMS good service over the past year. Unlike the bodies we interact with such as the QCA, EPSRC, IMA, LMS and so on, we have no infrastructure. We're just a collection of volunteers. The ratio of value of work done for HoDoMS over payment for that work is infinity. Chief worker for conference organisation has been the Honorary Secretary Neil Challis, who has tirelessly liaised with Greenwich and with all the speakers. All the Officers change this year and Martin Everett has served for long as Honorary Treasurer. It's been good to have him in place for so many years, even if extra-constitutionally, as there's a rigmarole involved in changing the signatory on the bank account. Martin has risen from running just mathematics here at Greenwich to running the whole of the University of Westminster as its Provost, and we congratulate him on his apotheosis. Duncan Lawson has been an ever-wise advice source as Vice-Chair. Maia Angelova, Walter Middleton and Tony Wickstead retire from the Committee and their active participation has been much appreciated. Peter Giblin, Alice Rogers and David Stirling continue unless elected as Officers; David has been our representative in the Tower of Babel, the JMC, for which he deserves much gratitude. Jim Howie, Trevor Sweeting and Jeff Griffiths continued as co- opted representatives of learned societies, while David Youdan succeeded to the IMA co-opted place. Co-optees are members, not observers, and their active participation is much appreciated.

Finally a word of thanks to Tony Mann, Head of Maths here at Greenwich, who has developed his trouble-shooting and fixing skills in our service probably more than he would have wished, to our great benefit.

Professor C.M. Goldie
April 2003

Appendix: HoDoMS accounts for Period 1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002

Balance brought forward from 2000/200124121.02
Subscriptions for 2001/20026100.00
Conference payments3151.08
General Subscriptions105.00
Conference, Birmingham 6115.56
Committee Expenses1434.01
Data Enquiry Costs 368.95
Balance Carried Forward to 2002/200325348.58
M.G. Everett
Hon Treasurer
August 2002