Heads of Department of Mathematical Sciences

Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee of HoDoMS

at the Royal Statistical Society, Friday 10 October 2003, 11am


D Lawson (Chair)
(F) A Rogers (Vice-Chair)
P Giblin (Secretary)
N Challis (Treasurer)
C Goldie (former Chair)
A Mann
A Osbaldestin
D Goldrei
D Stirling
A Wickstead
D Youdan (IMA)
J Howie (LMS)

1. Apologies for absence were received from D Sloan and G Griffiths.

2. The minutes of the meeting of 11 April 2003 were approved.

3. Matters arising:

- Website: the LMS had agreed to host the website. Action: DL
- No RSS representative had yet been identified despite reminders by Trevor Sweeting to the RSS. Action: DL
- Ken Houston was no longer involved in the Mathsheads list. Neil Gordon, NC and CG now have control.

4,5 Correspondence and Chair's Communications

- A lot of things in a state of limbo while the outcome of the Smith report awaited (next week?), the Tomlinson Report (Summer 2004?) and the details of the Roberts Report (currently out for consultation with funding bodies).
- A new appointment to ACME expected, representing FE/vocational
- A replacement is being sought for A Gammon who has resigned

6. Conference

- DL reported that Charles Clarke through his office had accepted HoDoMS invitation to speak at the Annual Conference, Birmingham 29-30 March 2004. Some suggestions for subjects to raise or to send to his office before the meeting, for them to accept or not:
- - Unit of resource for maths to be reduced; how will this square with Roberts report?
- - The International Review of Maths (Dec 2003) will report to EPSRC who commissioned the Review. Perhaps the results will be out before the Conference.
- - What action will follow the Smith Report on 14-19 Maths?
- - What are the prospects for compulsory maths (in some form) post-16? On the other hand it is realised that Charles Clarke could not preempt Tomblinson's conclusions so may not be forthcoming on some points!
- - What should be the role of HE in ameliorating the shortage of qualified maths teachers? Should HE routinely provide a voluntary taste of teaching in maths degree programmes? Note that we cannot make the profession more attractive. Should a condition of say a science or engineering graduate being qualified to teach maths in school be that s/he was taught maths by members of a maths department at University? [A long shot.]
- - What will be the role of the proposed National Academy and how will it mesh with the National Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Mathematics which Charles Clarke himself proposed?
- - What about Maths Departments under threat? Concentration of funds for research is government driven. What are the consequences for maths departments which tend to be relatively small? The concentration will have knock-on effects for the supply of teachers and other graduates at all levels. How does it square with Widening Participation?
- It was suggested that Bernard Silverman would be a good person to invite to the conference; he could be also be asked to be a standby in case Charles Clarke cancelled at or after the last minute.

- OTHER THEMES FOR CONFERENCE; noted that these should be of interest to all of UK if possible.

- - Widening Participation: DS to investigate
- - LTSN: DL to contact Pam Bishop; National Academy: invite whoever is running it; action DL
- - International Review: Annette Bramley, programme manager for Maths in EPSRC. Action DL
- - Teacher Training Agency. DL to contact Head. Remarked that teacher supply in Scotland is not so serious as in England despite stricter rules.
- - Outcome of Roberts review, next RAE. PG to investigate whether end of March is suitable time for this. Remarked that the RAE may allow cross-institutional submissions.

7. Reports (significant items only)

JMC: (AR attended for DS). The new chair is Bernard Silverman.

ACME: (DS) Next major topic to be Assessment. Somewhat in limbo waiting for Smith Inquiry outcome.

CMS: (DY reported) HoDoMS had asked to be a regular observer but this was not agreed (ACME is the only regular observer). But HoDoMS representative could attend for particular topic or lobbying.

QCA: Brian Stewart and CG went to meeting. Next one 11 Nov; DL, Brian Stewart, third person? should attend. Nigel Steele will attend on behalf of IMA. Important that representatives of organizations put considered views of the organization and not just their own spontaneous views.

ILT, LTSN: (DL) The LTSN is funded to December 2004; status now uncertain because of Academy. Ballot of ILT members on joining Academy now underway. Academy becomes legal entity 1 Jan 2004. Unclear how the Academy will fit with Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching and with the area of Staff Development in general.

UMTC: (NC) 40 attended this year. Wants to stay working conference but is surviving not thriving.

EPSRC: (CG) Wants to concentrate funding on 'successful' departments through Portfolios.

Offloading administration of doctoral student grants to universities.

Is Statistics adequately funded (doubts from Committee of Professors of Statistics).

Last call for Environmental Science and Statistics.

Special initiatives take a big top slice from mathematics funds.

IMA (DY) Updated programme approval scheme, majority of universities cooperating. External Assessor in the Periodic Review to give IMA approval; the Assessor need not be member of IMA but needs to be approved by IMA.

CMath has members in industry, teaching; less in academic community. Membership of IMA has been separated from CMath.

Early 2004: Chartered Scientist will be introduced, and IMA will be empowered to confer this. Other organizations which currently give Chartered status and will award Chartered Scientist status may subsume their own Chartered award into this. But IMA unlikely to stop giving CMath.

TTA: (AR) Maths Subject Enhancement Courses, next one 10 November 10-4.30. AM, DG to go to this.

Widening Participation: (AM) Schwartz Inquiry on university access has nothing specific to maths as yet. www.admissions-review.org.uk

Much WP money in universities is for support and retention of students who are 'at risk'.

8. Smith Inquiry: nothing further to add at this stage.

9. Financial Position and Accounts The treasurer presented the accounts which showed a drop in balance from 25348 to 21070, primarily as a result of the deliberate decision to subsidise the 2003 conference in Greenwich. Number of subscriptions down. Treasurer and Chair to send letter to all Departments.

10. Next meeting: 9 January 2004 at the LMS subject to availability (Action PG)

11. AOB

- Response to outcome of Smith Inquiry. Press Release needed from HoDoMS. DL to draft. Local press should also be used to raise profile of maths after the Inquiry ends.