[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the thirty-fourth meeting of Council

Saturday, 16th November, 2002, 11 a.m.

Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, LONDON WC1E 7HU.



  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Chair's report
  5. Secretary's report
  6. Treasurer's report
  7. Statistics and Website
  8. Election of officers and members of Standing Committee
  9. Bulletin
  10. Report on Arts and Humanities Research Board
  11. AOB
  12. Report on The Learning and Teaching Subject Network
  13. Panel and discussion on teacher training in Classics


Present: Prof. E.G. Clark (Chair/Bristol); Dr R. Alston (Royal Holloway, London); Dr C. Behr (Roehampton); Dr C.E. Chaffin (Kent); Dr M.J. Edwards (Queen Mary, London); Dr C. Emlyn-Jones (Open); Prof. C.J. Gill (Exeter); Dr L. Hardwick (Classics LTSN, reporting); Dr T.E.H. Harrison (St. Andrews); Dr A.J.W. Laird (Warwick); Dr N.J. Lowe (Webmaster); Prof. R.C.T. Parker (Oxford); Mrs G. Partington (JACT, observing); Dr E.E. Pender (Secretary/Leeds); Prof. T. Rajak (Reading); Prof. C.J. Rowe (Durham); Dr N.K. Rutter (Treasurer/Edinburgh); Prof. A. Schiesaro (King's College London); Prof. M. Schofield (Cambridge); Prof. R.W. Sharples (University College, London); Prof. D.J.G. Shipley (Statistics/Leicester); Dr A.J.S. Spawforth (Newcastle); Dr D.J. Spencer (Birmingham); Dr C. Steel (Glasgow).


1. Apologies

Apologies were received from Manchester and Nottingham, and from Dr T. Morgan (Editor, Bulletin).


2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous Council, 17th November 2001, were accepted and signed.


3. Matters Arising

3.1 C-Web (National Classics Prospectus)

- taken with item 7 below.

3.2 League Tables letter to The Guardian

The letter proposed at Council 2001 had been sent to the Education Editor at The Guardian. The Chair (GC) advised departments to consult their listing on the website version of the league table to check that the information given was correct and to alert the Education Editor, with a copy to the Chair, if it was incorrect.


4. Chair's report

4.1 Queen's University Belfast

The Chair had joined with other classical organisations in signing a letter to national newspapers asking for reconsideration of the decision to close the Department of Classics.
A petition had been posted on the Classicists (email) List, and copies were also available in the Institute of Classical Studies library at the time of the Council meeting. A communication from Professor F. Williams and Dr. M. Alden (Belfast) was circulated. The letter set out the current state of Classics at Belfast and reported the widespread critical reaction to the closure of the department. Ancient History was to move to an enlarged School of History, one classicist was to teach classical literature in the School of English but arrangements for classical studies and languages were less clear (Greek had been taught at Queen's since the foundation of the university in 1849). Meetings were on-going. CUCD would watch the situation and offer any possible support.

4.2 RAE Consultation

This consultation took place in summer 2002, in the expectation that HEFCE would, as in previous RAE cycles, ask for comment at short notice. It was therefore possible to respond at short notice (by November 29th 2002) to the request for comment on the Roberts Review, which asked for radical re-assessment of the system. Only 14 out of 29 member departments had so far replied to the CUCD consultation. The Chair reported that of those who did reply, several gave detailed and thoughtful attention to the effect of RAE. The main results had been noted in the Chair's Report (Bulletin 2002) and would be discussed at more length in next year's Bulletin.
Council's discussion of the summary included the following points. At present departments receive 85% funding from the research review outcome and 15% from project funding (e.g. bids to funding Councils). The dual-support system could be modified so that more funding came from AHRB, but that might favour particular kinds of academic work. HEFCE seemed to be looking for a cheaper system than that currently used. The present system uses 3 months of (usually) professorial time for each panellist. There was not enough money in the system to make RAE a rational exercise any longer. The central issue was that if research outputs improved a department's rating, the department could nevertheless receive less funding. The current debate on the RAE and funding was overshadowed by the bigger national debate on university fees. One positive outcome had been that the RAE had made all universities take research seriously; in RAE terms Classics has been a high achieving subject (of 260 category A staff in Classics, 210 were in 5 or 5* departments). Classics did not have a 'tail' of low achieving departments. The Roberts Review offered 4 options for assessing research quality:
It was agreed that CUCD supported a combination of i) and ii). Option iv) would disadvantage those who had performed less well but had since progressed. The Chair asked for further feedback as the consultation continued.

4.3 British Academy Consultation

The Chair had been asked to respond to the British Academy consultation on the contribution of the arts and humanities to 'the knowledge economy and the health of society.' Council noted the importance of the phrase 'the health of society'.

4.4 Bristol Classical Press

The Chair reported that Bristol Classical Press continues as a Duckworth imprint. John Betts, founder of BCP, is establishing a new company. Council warmly acknowledged the contribution that John Betts has made, and continues to make, to classical publishing.

4.5 British School at Rome,

The British School at Rome has advertised the Tim Potter Memorial Award, which is intended especially for applicants who have not previously had the opportunity to work in Italy.

4.6 Term of current Chair

The Chair reported her intention (explained in the Bulletin) to demit at Council 2003.


5. Secretary's report

5.1 CUCD archive at ICS

The Secretary reported that a CUCD archive had been compiled, including minutes and general records dating back to the foundation of CUCD in 1969 and correspondence from 1976-1999. The Institute of Classical Studies had kindly agreed to house the archive. Researchers could gain access through the librarians. The Institute's collection of CUCD Bulletins was already available to readers (open access). This was at present the only full collection of Bulletins publicly available.

5.2 AHRB nominations: arrangements for future

The secretary reported that the names proposed by CUCD for AHRB panel selection were held on their database for three years. Since names would thus be removed at intervals, it would be useful for Council to have access to a record of those names it sent on each year. Following discussion on whether this information should be made publicly available, Professor Schofield proposed that each year a representative from the AHRB should be invited to attend Council for more effective liaison. On the matter of nominations sent forward for approval at Council, the Chair expressed her concern at the low level of response from departments.

5.3 Representatives confirmed that CUCD information was being disseminated effectively to their departments.


6. Treasurer's report

The Treasurer, Professor Keith Rutter, presented his report of the annual accounts up to November 16th 2002, showing figures after the merging of the Business Premium Account with the regular CUCD account. The statement at November 30th 2001 had been £1,328.43. Income to date for 2002 had been £3,473.19 and expenditure £2,670.26. This left the account at £2,131.36. Most items of expenditure and income were in line with the previous year, except that claims for travel expenses (inflated by problems with the railways in 2001-2) were significantly lower, as were Bulletin costs. The Chair expressed warm thanks to Professor Rutter for accurate and helpful accounting during his term of office.


7 Statistics and Website

7.1 Statistics

The Statistics Officer, Professor Graham Shipley, presented the Bulletin's annual report on figures and thanked departments for their co-operation. Excluding the numbers from the Open University, there were c. 570 undergraduates studying Beginners' Greek and c. 580 studying Beginners' Latin.
He reported that in the next round the questionnaire would include statistics for Home/ EU students as against Overseas/ Non EU.


7.2 Website

i) C-Web
The Website Officer, Dr Nick Lowe, explained to Council the new C-Web initiative (National Classics Prospectus on-line), designed as a “front window” for the subject nationally. The management of the website was shared between CUCD, the Joint Association of Classics Teachers (JACT) and the Classical Association (CA), with Charlotte Roueché as Chair and Gabriel Bodard running the site at King's College London. The website was about to “go live” and would be launched officially at the Classical Association meeting in 2003. Meanwhile a dummy site was available and any comments were invited by December 19th 2002 (to be sent to gabriel.bodard@kcl.ac.uk). Temporary address for the site: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/kis/schools/byzmodgreek/Z304/18ix02.html.

ii) CUCD website
Dr Lowe thanked GS and the Bulletin Editor, Dr Teresa Morgan, for their help in posting the Bulletin onto the CUCD website in good time for Council - the first time that this had been achieved. He reported that the site was now up to date on the list of External Examiners, the reports of Standing Committee and the minutes of Council. On the issue of making CUCD records accessible, Dr Lowe confirmed that it would be possible each year to post the full contents of the annual Bulletin onto the website, and that back issues could also be posted.


8. Election of officers and members of Standing Committee

At this Council the officers completing their terms were the Treasurer and Secretary. From Standing Committee Professor David Braund would complete his term of office and another vacancy would be created by the co-option of Dr Diana Spencer into the role of Election Officer. Co-options were now to be made on an annual basis at Council. As stated in the Constitution, the number of co-opted members should not be higher than elected members of Standing Committee (6). Council approved the following co-options for 2002-3: Dr Diana Spencer (Election Officer); Dr Roy Gibson (Media affairs); Dr James Robson (Classical languages teaching); Dr Christopher Smith (Scottish Universities); Mrs Gill Partington (Representative from JACT); and Dr Peter Jones (Media adviser).
The Election Officer reported that the response from departments to requests for nominations had been low. It was noted that all the candidates standing for election this year were junior members of staff. While the committee warmly welcomed the contribution of all, it was agreed that, in view of CUCD's role as a lobbying organisation, departmental contacts should be encouraged also to nominate senior members of staff.
Voting took place and the results of this year's election were as follows: Dr. Philip Burton (Birmingham) elected as Secretary; Dr. Patricia Baker (Kent) as Treasurer; Dr. Susanna Phillippo (Newcastle) and Dr. Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow) elected to Standing Committee. Council expressed its thanks to the outgoing officers and members of the committee: Professor Rutter, Dr Pender, Professor Braund and Dr Chris Emlyn-Jones (co-opted 1999 for the Open University).


9. Bulletin

i) Bulletin 2002
The new Bulletin (issue 31) was distributed to departmental representatives. This year's issue had been produced at the University of Leicester with a print run of 400. The new timetable for production had ensured delivery in good time for Council and would be used again for 2003: all articles to be sent to the Editor by the beginning of September; CUCD internal reports to be sent by mid-September; printing at Leicester during October with delivery at the Institute of Classical Studies by the week before Council for distribution at the meeting itself. Clare Roberts of the Institute of Classical Studies was thanked for her help in arranging delivery and collection.

ii) Spare copies
Each year there were at least 50 unused copies of the Bulletin. The question of what to do with spare copies was discussed with suggestions including: pulping them after one year; extras being given to postgraduates; and an annual mail-out to university libraries. Dr Lowe and Dr George Boys-Stones had reviewed holdings of the Bulletin at departments and found that full sets were held at the Institute of Classical Studies, Glasgow, Durham, Leeds and Oxford. Dr Pender proposed that any spare copies should be sent to these and any other departments willing to maintain a collection; and, since exact numbers of copies needed was known ahead of printing, that the surplus be reduced (especially since the Bulletin would now be available via the website). It was noted that the issue of copyright had not been consistently addressed. Standing Committee was asked to consider distribution and report to next year's Council.


10. Report on Arts and Humanities Research Board

GC noted that AHRB funding is at present entirely responsive, but that subject-associations would be asked for their views on ring-fenced or targeted funding for doctoral work in endangered areas of study. Council would welcome additional funding for postgraduates, but did not want targeted funding to be taken from other areas and was strongly opposed to any directive funding. GC reported on AHRB's progress to Research Council status; further information is available at www.ahrb.ac.uk


11. AOB

Professor Robert Parker, the British Academy representative to the Fondation Hardt, reported that the Fondation was experiencing financial difficulties but that the scholarships scheme would run for at least two more years. UK applications for the grants had been extremely low for a number of years and suggestions were invited as to how the scheme could be developed for the future. Professor Parker reminded Council that in addition to its own programme of conferences the Fondation also welcomed proposals from outside. Professor Parker was willing to offer advice on presenting such proposals and on applying for scholarships.

[Lunch break.]


12. Report on The Learning and Teaching Subject Network

Dr Lorna Hardwick reported on the recent work of the Learning and Teaching Support Network in Classics and Ancient History. The Proceedings of the national conference on Texts and Commentaries had been published and copies were being sent to all departments and Libraries. Other publications contributed by Classics and AH academics included Briefing Papers on teaching with Glossed texts and on Active Learning, articles in CUCD Bulletin and JACT Review and a case study on Developing Literary Criticism of poetry in translation. All publications are peer reviewed and are also available on-line (http://hca.ltsn.ac.uk). In order to further promote debate on key issues a Panel had been organised for the Classical Association conference in April 2003. Networks had been funded for those with interests in Koine Greek, Medieval Latin and ICT. A number of collaborative activities had been held, with seminars hosted by Bristol (Reception Studies) and Leicester (Learning and Teaching with Images), a colloquium for new lecturers, and a consultation on Widening Participation. Future events include seminars on knowledge based curriculum development, language-learning on the web, classics and theatre studies and a conference on classical civilisation and ancient history (January 25th). Applications for the next round of Teaching Development Grants are now invited (closing date January 31st). (Grants have previously been awarded to staff at Liverpool, St Andrews, Leicester, Lampeter, Cambridge and an OU/Birmingham collaboration.) Further details of all activities are available from David Fitzpatrick (D.G.Fitzpatrick@open.ac.uk) LH paid tribute to the work of the Classics and Ancient History Advisory Panel in advising on priorities. The Funding Councils have extended LTSN funding until the end of 2004 and discussions are now in hand on the future shape of LTSN until 2004 and after. She will be consulting with the subject associations and will circulate a position paper to the subject association representatives in the new year. It was noted that that there had been some problems in the central administration of the Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology, which is hosted by the Department of History at the University of Glasgow in recognition of the funding provided by SHEFC. (The work in History is based at Nottingham and Bath Spa, Classics and Ancient History at the OU and Archaeology at Leicester. Glasgow is responsible for the web site, the reporting processes to the LTSN executive and the dispersal of funding). These difficulties had not so far damaged the work in Classics and Ancient History but Archaeology had been severely affected. Council expressed unanimous solidarity with colleagues in Archaeology and LH was asked to press for a future model of operation in which there was a high degree of devolution to subjects.


13. Panel and discussion on teacher training in Classics

Speakers: Mr Tony Williams (Faculty of Education, University of Strathclyde, Jordanhill); Dr Charlotte Behr (School of Humanities and Cultural Studies, University of Surrey, Roehampton); and Mr Bob Lister (Department of Education, University of Cambridge).

The meeting closed at 3.30pm.


Dr P. Burton
Centre for the Editing of Texts in Religion
Elmfield House
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham
B29 6LQ.


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