[Council of University Classical Departments]

Report of the 104th meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, May 18th 2002, 11am

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

  1. 1. Minutes and matters arising
  2. Chair's Report
  3. Secretary's report
  4. Treasurer's report
  5. Bulletin
  6. Statistics & website
  7. External Examiners list
  8. National Classics Prospectus (C-web)
  9. November Council 2002
  10. HEFCE funding bands
  11. AOB

1. Minutes and matters arising

Minutes of the meeting of January 26th 2002 were accepted.

Matters Arising:
1.1 Consultation on QAA (Quality Assurance Audit)
It was unclear whether the QAA process was actually complete and what would happen next. CUCD would not pursue its consultation (see Chair's report 2.1 below) but an article on the experience and effect of the QAA would appear in Bulletin 2002.

1.2 Consultation on RAE (Research Assessment Exercise)
Since all departments had now received their feedback reports, it was agreed that this would be a good time to consult CUCD contacts. The Chair clarified that the overview reports on Classics and Ancient History/Archaeology were now in the public domain - available on the RAE website [http://www.rae.ac.uk and follow the Overview Report link] - and could be printed in the CUCD Bulletin. So that CUCD could respond at short notice to any consultation request from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council, England), contacts would be asked to send their comments (in particular on criteria, feedback, and judgements made by university management) in advance. Any collective report could then be brought to Standing Committee in October and published in the Bulletin. If departments were coming under pressure as a result of the RAE, CUCD would lend support. At present it was not known whether there would be another RAE exercise and, if so, what form it would take.

2. Chair's Report

The Chair delivered the following report on activity since January:

2.1 CUCD consultations
The Chair reported that the rate of response to CUCD consultations was quite low, despite email communication. It was thought that this might reflect a general overload and indicate simply that members felt there was no pressing reason to respond. It was agreed that colleagues should always be offered the chance to express their views, but that, where no response was forthcoming, the Chair could speak on behalf of CUCD where necessary.

2.2 Guardian University Guide
Copies of the recent Times league table on Classics departments and the Times Higher Education Supplement article on "how the data are compiled" were distributed. It was noted that the Times' results were very different from those of the Guardian published in the autumn. It was confirmed that Keele, mentioned in both the Times and THES, would complete its transfer to Manchester at the end of this academic year. The Chair, in consultation with members of standing committee, would write to the Times and Guardian to draw attention to inconsistencies and errors and to express concerns about league tables (in line with the proposal agreed at Council 2001).

2.3 Postgraduate Green Paper
Had responded at short notice to the AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) Postgraduate green paper, noting that a 2+2 years' structure would be helpful for postgraduates who need to acquire languages, and that research training usually needs to be very specific.

2.4 LTSN
With the previous chair, had supported the LTSN (Learning and Teaching Subject Network) bid for renewal of funding.

3. Secretary's report

CUCD archive: Material from various sources was being collected and organised with the aim of passing on to the new secretary a more streamlined archive of papers. A decision was needed about where to keep the archive in future (respecting the confidentiality of some of the material) and classics libraries would be approached in the first instance.

4. Treasurer's report

The treasurer reported that the merging of the two CUCD Bank Accounts ('Business Premium' and 'Community') had been successfully carried out. All bills had been paid to date. The current round of collecting subscriptions was under way and at the end of March the merged Account held ?912.96. It was confirmed that the Constitution did not require an annual audit of accounts and that, since the turnover was small, publication of accounts at Council was sufficient.

5. Bulletin

The editor reported on articles offered or suggested for this year's issue. As to the production timetable for this year's Bulletin, the aim was for the editor to receive all material by the beginning of September 2002 (with 15th September as the deadline for CUCD's internal reports). This would allow c.8 weeks for editing, printing and delivery. Arrangements for delivery at the ICS would be monitored during October/November. The following points were agreed:
  1. printing should move to the University of Leicester's reprographic services, which offered lower costs than the current printers;
  2. the standard number of pages per issue should be 48;
  3. the print run should be cut from 450 to 400 copies;
  4. Council should be asked for a decision on what should be done each year with surplus copies;
  5. the editor would begin to compile a list of possible destinations for the surplus copies.

6. Statistics & website

The Statistics Officer reported that he had received statistics reports from several departments and was in the process of pursuing those outstanding. He would use the Excel computing programme for the new set of data. Feedback on this year's Statistics exercise had been positive and the gathering of data from UCAS was judged useful. However, in view of costs, it was agreed that the UCAS statistics might be sought every three years rather than annually. The webmaster would liaise with the Bulletin Editor to post this year's issue on the website.

7. External Examiners list

Updates had been received on new and retiring external examiners for the next session. The Chair asked whether the list could include notification of research leave but it was agreed that this would be difficult to keep up to date.

8. National Classics Prospectus (C-web)

The creation of a "Why Classics?" website - to be known as "C-web" - was now underway. A properly constituted editorial board, with representatives from CUCD, the CA (Classical Association) and JACT (Joint Association of Classics Teachers) was now in existence and would be meeting soon to begin work on content. The aim was to have something in place by the end of the calendar year.

The role of the website would be that of outreach, promoting Classics to potential undergraduates (pre-university) and those wishing to find out about the subject from the outside. But it would also provide links to other Classics and associated portals. Future developments would be reported through the Chair's annual report, Bulletin and at Council. The meeting warmly welcomed this new initiative.

9. November Council 2002

9.1 Nomination and election of officers and SC members
This year both the secretary and treasurer would complete their terms of office and, with the movement of one elected member to co-opted status, there would be two vacancies for new elected members. This would allow in future the desired rotation, whereby two new members could be elected each year to serve a three-year term.
Dr Diana Spencer agreed to take on the (co-opted) role of election co-ordination, compiling the list of nominations for Standing Committee in October and seeking secondings before Council. Again voting would take place only at Council itself.

9.2 AHRB Nominations
The nominations approved at Council 2001 would be passed on to the AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board). Approved names received from CUCD were held on the AHRB database for three years, on a cycle from September to August. Owing to the large list of names approved by CUCD in recent years, there would be no need to seek further nominations for Council 2002. The exercise would resume in summer 2003 (to be decided at Council 2003 and to come into effect in August 2004). The issue was raised of whether to publish on the CUCD website the lists of names approved by Council but, after discussion, it was agreed that the decision should be reviewed at the next standing committee and ultimately rested with Council itself.

9.3 Theme/guest speaker: Classics teacher training
The theme at this year's Council should again be teacher training in Classics, a subject highlighted at Council 1999 but deserving further attention owing to its central importance to the subject. This year's discussion would again seek to clarify the national picture and to determine CUCD's role in supporting teacher training.

10. HEFCE funding bands

HEFCE was conducting a 'fundamental review' of funding and would not re-band. However, the previous banding exercise had determined some of the funding mechanisms still in place for Classics and Ancient History and it was useful to try to share information on any local arrangements for increased funding of classical language teaching.

11. AOB

Dates of next meetings:
Standing Committee: October 12th 2002
Council: November 16th 2002

E. E. Pender
School of Classics
University of Leeds

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