[Council of University Classical Departments]

Report of the 103rd meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, 26th January 2002, 11 a.m.

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


  1. Minutes of meeting of October 13th 2001
  2. Report of Council and matters arising for Standing Committee
  3. Chair's Report
  4. Secretary's Report
  5. Treasurer's Report
  6. Statistics
  7. CUCD consultation on RAE
  8. Cost of illustrations for academic books
  9. CUCD representative to LTSN
  10. HEFCE Funding Bands
  11. AOB
  12. Dates of next meetings


Present: E.G. Clark (Chair), G. Boys-Stones, R.K. Gibson, P.R. Hardie, N.J. Lowe, D.G.J. Shipley, E.E. Pender, N.K. Rutter, C.J. Smith, D.J. Spencer.

The new members of the committee, Dr P.R. Hardie, Prof. S. Mitchell, and Ms G. Partington, were welcomed.


1. Minutes of meeting of October 13th 2001

Minutes of meeting of October 13th 2001 were accepted.

Matters Arising:

1.1 CUCD consultation on QAA
The Chair pointed out that the QAA process was not quite complete and that there had as yet been no reply from departments to the previous Chair's letter regarding a CUCD response to the review. There was discussion on whether to ask QAA reviewers for their feedback on the process. There was general agreement that the overall benefit of QAA to teaching quality had been small and that whatever benefits gained had been dwarfed by the pain of the process. Scottish representatives pointed out that the "lighter touch" version of the audit had resulted in such high costs in Scotland that the future of this version of the audit was also in doubt. It was agreed that once the process was completed, the matter would be reviewed.


2. Report of Council and matters arising for Standing Committee

It was agreed that henceforth minutes of Council should be sent to members of Standing Commitee as well as to Institutional Contacts.

2.1 AHRB nominations
It was agreed that the two lists of nominations approved by Council in 2000 and 2001 should be publicised via the CUCD website. Contacts would be informed of the proposal to publicise the lists so that any concerns could be resolved before publication. It was noted that Professor Buxton's institution was not Exeter, as stated in the 2001 list, but Bristol.

2.2 National Classics Prospectus
NL reported on developments. In the light of input from the Classical Association Charlotte Roueche was tightening the proposal, which would go before the CA AGM in April 2002. Since at this stage the CA had not approved the appointment of an editorial board, NL and CR would continue with the project as a working party.

2.3 Bulletin distribution for 2002
The overall purpose of the Bulletin was discussed and it was agreed that the printed version of the Bulletin was important for keeping departments informed about CUCD. With its Chair's report and Statistics report, the Bulletin was part of official Council business. The committee reviewed production costs, print run and arrangements for delivery and distribution at Council 2002

2.4 League tables
The Chair would seek input from Contacts for the letter to The Guardian regarding its "league table" of Classics departments and would circulate the final version to members of SC before sending it to the newspaper. The Chair thanked Roy Gibson for his research on the league table.


3. Chair's Report

The Chair thanked the outgoing Chair, Bob Sharples, for all his work for CUCD, and the Secretary for achieving a smooth transition. All business was dealt with under other heads.


4. Secretary's Report

4.1 Member Institutions 2001-2
The current website list of 28 member institutions needed to be updated to take account of recent changes: Keele and St. Mary's University College were no longer members but two new institutions had joined CUCD in the autumn - Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London and Roehampton, University of Surrey. The Institute of Classical Studies would be contacted again for its decision. The updated list, with contact addresses, would be sent to the Treasurer for the new round of subscription requests.

4.2 Membership and rotation of Standing Committee for 2001- 2 and 2002-3
In accordance with the revised constitution, the number of officers was now six and the number of elected members also six.

  1. Officers
    This year the secretary and treasurer would complete their term of office (three years) and so there would be two vacancies to be filled at the November election.

  2. Elected members
    With two new members elected for the current session, the desired rotation (two new elected members every year) could be achieved in future years. For 2002-3, however, since only one elected member (Prof. D.Braund, elected 1999) would be completing his term of office, one further reshuffle would be required to allow two vacancies to be available for the November election.

4.3 Co-opted members and representative from JACT
Co-options were now being made on an annual basis. The co- options of Roy Gibson (Media affairs) and Christopher Smith (Scottish Universities) should be continued for 2002-3 to allow them to complete the three-year term of office for which they were originally elected (2000). JACT had chosen Gill Partington as their representative, although other members had agreed to substitute where necessary. Notification of changes would be passed on to the webmaster for posting on the website.


5. Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer reported that there was £1388.76 left in the Community Account (for running costs) and that the Bulletin bill (before mailing) was £1353.00. The remaining sum would not be enough to cover travel and administrative expenses, which had been unusually large due to increased travel costs in 2000/1 and the one-off payment to UCAS for providing statistics (see Bulletin 2001). However, a 'rescue package' was available in the form of the Business Premium Account (£1,200). He therefore proposed that the two accounts should be amalgamated forthwith. The proposal was accepted. Subscriptions for the current year would be requested in due course.


6. Statistics

6.1 Revised questionnaire
Positive feedback had been received on the revised questionnaire but it was agreed that minor changes might still be needed to ensure that the format was clear for Scottish universities, which used a different system of levels of study (with level 3 as a General level and level 4 for Honours). It was agreed to leave the wording as "level" (instead of "year") for the moment but GS would solicit further feedback and offer advice to those completing the returns.

The questionnaire would again be posted on the CUCD website, as this new system of compiling returns had proved effective last year. GS was thanked for all his work on the questionnaire.


7. CUCD consultation on RAE

Departments were still awaiting feedback on the Research Assessment Exercise. In due course HEFCE would convey the views of the panel to CUCD for circulation. In addition to "Institutional Feedback", there would be overview reports produced by the panellists and a "state of the subject" account. Once the HEFCE reports were in the public domain, CUCD could seek departmental feedback.


8. Cost of illustrations for academic books

Rising costs for illustrations were leading to difficulties in obtaining funding. The Chair requested any further information on this situation to be passed on to her, to determine whether CUCD might have a role in asking the grant giving bodies to review their policy on commercial publications.


9. CUCD representative to LTSN

With the retirement of the previous Chair, a new representative was needed. The Secretary agreed to undertake this role until November.


10. HEFCE Funding Bands

In reply to a query from Oxford as to whether Classics was in funding band D or C, the Chair clarified the current funding arrangements. Students in classical departments were usually funded as HEFCE Price Group D (Humanities). Group C was the HEFCE category 'Other Modern Languages', i.e. not French, Spanish or German. The argument for extra funding was that the modern languages had extra expenditure on language labs and subscriptions to print, broadcast and other media. Many classicists had tried computer-aided language learning and found that our students prefer traditional teaching. Therefore we had to use the argument that language work required intensive teaching. Experience so far suggested that we needed to know (a) what proportion of our students was engaged in intensive study of language and (b) what proportion of their time was devoted to language study. Members of Standing Committee undertook to ascertain the funding arrangements in their own departments and report back to the next meeting.


11. AOB

11.1 There had as yet been no further information on the AHRB Review of Postgraduate Training.

11.2 A briefing document from the Co-ordinating Committee for Classics was received with thanks.

11.3 On behalf of CUCD Nick Lowe had attended (24/1/02) a meeting of representatives of the subject associations in the Humanities, organised by History at the Universities Defence Group. The meeting was a briefing by consultants commissioned by HEFCE to report on the infrastructure of Arts and Humanities research. Their report would review institutional infrastructures (in the form of building and space) and subject- specific infrastructure (in the form of equipment needed for research). It was agreed that the Humanities had been undervalued and under-resourced: the consultants had identified a culture of 'excellence in poverty'. The report would seek the reasons for the chronic under-investment in the Humanities and how the situation of the Humanities differed from that of Science. The report would also establish the remedial figure needed to address the under-investment. The meeting identified the sums of £4.6 billion for teaching and £0.5 billion for research.

The meeting also offered an opportunity for the subject associations to begin to share information and to discuss the formation of a unified subject association to represent all Arts and Humanities. NL agreed to represent CUCD in any subsequent discussions.


12. Dates of next meetings

Standing Committee:May 18th 2002
October 12th 2002
Annual Council:November 16th 2002.

The meeting closed at 1.40 pm.

E. E. Pender
School of Classics
University of Leeds
LEEDS
LS2 9JT
e.e.pender@leeds.ac.uk


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