Present: Graham Shipley (Leicester, Chair), Nick Fisher (Cardiff), Stephen Mitchell (Exeter), Douglas Cairns (Edinburgh), Ken Dowden (Birmingham), Mike Edwards (Institute of Classical Studies, London), Vince Gaffney (Birmingham), Patty Baker (Kent), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow), Teresa Morgan (Oxford), Felix Budelmann (Open), Nick Lowe (Royal Holloway), Richard Hunter (Cambridge), Marije Martijn (Leiden), Bob Sharples (University College, London), Tessa Rajak (Reading), Judith Mossman (Nottingham), Fiona Hobden (Liverpool), Duncan Kennedy (Bristol), Philip Burton (St Andrews)
Stephen Mitchell reported that the BA is still considering the implications of this decision, but that it is unlikely that the CUCD could make a useful contribution at this stage. There is likey to be some pressure on the Schools to develop their disciplinary remit. STANDING COMMITTEE to revisit the matter in January.
The Arts and Humanities Research Board has been more prescriptive than the research councils in requiring subject-specific skills. Each student has £450 allocated per year for training appropriate of the student.
There have also been suggestions that Ancient History and Classical Studies A Level might be merged; these seem to have been dropped. The JACT Ancient History are looking for a new chair, preferable a prominent university teacher. The same is true of the JACT Classical Civilization Committee.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has mooted the possibility of dropping Higher Greek, Russian, and Politics. Douglas Cairns has written on behalf of Classical Association of Scotland; Russell Shone also has written on behalf of the Hellenic Society. The SQA have indicated there is no immediate cause for concern; it is in any case true that most Scottish schools offering Greek take the 'A' Levels.
Prof. Gaffney thanked the Council for its invitation. The Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity back Classics wholeheartedly; but the last RAE had placed Classics in a six-figure deficit. Classics had been combined into a large research unit. It was always likely a) that teaching would have to be restructured, and b) that the future of Classics as a degree would be dependent on its next RAE result. A small degree could not be maintained in itself, nor had it provided a sufficient stream of postgraduates to justify its continuation.
In view of previous RAE result, it was essential to examine ways of deploying more staff time on research. This had been part of a wider teaching review across the Institute; this was not limited to the teaching of the classical languages. The IAA provides massive opportunity for classicists through the interaction with areas such as archaeology and Byzantine studies. Increased student intake across the Institute had probably led to a higher number of students studying languages. The ACCESS grid offered unique opportunities for collaborative teaching and research. There had been no penalization of classics; the steps that had been taken were essential to safeguard the existence of any classics teaching at a time when the RAE result had put the whole subject in jeopardy. Prof. Gaffney stressed his commitment to keeping classics at the heart of the IAA.
In response to questions on how the emphasis on non-linguistic degrees would affect postgraduate recruitment, Prof. Dowden (also Birmingham) replied that there were around 35-40 students, and it would take some years for the culture of the new Institute to become established. An ab initio language degree was not a realistic option. Prof. Gaffney expressed the hope that staff provision could be increased in future.
The Chair thanked Prof. Gaffney for the time he had taken in correspondence and in attending Council. He stated his view that the Institute had been reacting to results outside its control, and taken judgements accordingly, and done its best in a difficult situation. The CUCD should offer its support to the IAA in their attempts to develop their teaching structures and the staffing situation.
Ms Martijn thanked the Council for her invitation. OIKOS was a collaboration between Amsterdam, the Free University of Amsterdam; research groups on Textual cohesion, ii. From Alexandria to Rome, iii. Text and World View; iv) Impact of Empire.***. The intention was not be exhaustive but to concentrate on existing areas of strength. The groups have a defined life-span and set of objectives. Each PhD student is participant of at least one research group, providing useful skills and contacts within and outside the Netherlands. This has led to a breakdown of territorial and parochial attitudes within the Netherlands.
Every PhD student is in theory obliged to complete five elements, though in practice this doesn't always happen. Each element of the programme is evaluated by student participants, and issues raised are taken into account when the programme is reviewed. In future, topics proposed by students may be the subject of courses. From this year, there is an independent student-run seminar in classical subjects, to cover all aspects of the graduate student's experience.
PhD Programme. I. Methodology and Techniques; ii. Historiography and theory of the discipline; iii. Text in context; one-day course, twice a year; a Greek/Latin text is studied from various different perspectives. iv. Paper sessions; These take place once every two years; students give papers on their PhD work, with senior respondents. v. Master Class; originally two-day meetings led by renowned scholars in which participants gave papers in a conference setting; respondent is a post-graduate student. These are now annual, and take place in Athens; PhD students undertake all the organization. The organizing committee nominates a 'Master' (not necessarily from within the Netherlands), who then proposes a topic and a set of sub-topics, which are assigned to individual students. The Master herself prepares a lecture (open to the public). The one-hour sessions consist of presentation, response, Master's comments, and general discipline. One annual question is that of finding a thteme which is wide enough to be general interest, without losing coherence. The Master's lecture is also intended to draw together different themes associated with the topic.
Is the trip abroad necessary? The location itself is a draw, but there are other benefits; evaluations showed that due to isolation from one's usual environment helped focus the mind. The setting was also inspirational; excursions were made which were relevant to the theme of the conference. Various papers from the conference have been submitted for publication in Lampas. vi. Graduate Seminar.
The OIKOS centre has recently been granted a further six-year extension by the Royal Netherlands Academy, the principle funding body (of several).
Mike Edwards. The ICS team hoped to visit the OIKOS centre to see its work.
Vince Gaffney. Student numbers? Text/Context has 6-8 students, the others around 15, but undergraduates are also invited to attend, and do. Would larger teams actually undermine the sense of group cohesion (Martijn: yes, this had happened at one recent session). For the Master-Class, 12 students is the maximum practical number. Total number of PhD students in the Netherlands? Notionally 40 on the books, though not all active.
Nick Lowe: what percentage of PhD students are members? Martijn: 50%, but those who aren't, are either part-time students or in more peripheral disciplines within classics. Lowe: does this pose a problem of students who don't fit into any of the 7 research areas. Martijn; this can happen.
Budelmann: can students not funded by bodies funding OIKOS participate? Martijn: not necessarily, provided the institutions are prepared to fund work undertaken by students within the graduate schools.
Rajak: are there other research schools in other areas? Martijn: yes, and there has been some discussion about the demarcation between different group areas.
West: could publications be published in English? Martijn; yes, English is increasingly the working language for classics research in the Netherlands.
Rajak: how long does a PhD take, and how prominent in the student's life is OIKOS. Martijn; notionally four years, but often longer. It has been discussed whether OIKOS should take a more active role in monitoring students' progress, but this is still seen as being the province of the supervisor and institution.
West: when relations break down between student and supervisor, would OIKOS be involved in matching up a new supervisor? Martijn; officially not, but de facto this can happen.
Behr: where do the research groups come from? Martijn: they may be the initiative of individual scholars, but function as the work of more than one scholar. Groups don't need to be inter-disciplinary.
Shipley: does OIKOS have a role in setting agenda for classics research across the Netherlands? Martijn: informally, yes. PhD students are now less expected to come up with brilliant ideas of their own, and more to undertake PhDs which are to a larger extent part of bigger research groups.
The Council thanked Ms Martijn warmly for her presentation.
'The CUCD is strongly opposed to the abolition or phasing out of the dual-support system for University research.'
Prof. Mitchell summarized the present situation. Research funding currently comes through two streams: a) directly to Universities on the basis of RAE grades, b) and through the awards of Research Councils. The humanities subject organizations and the AHRB (at least until recently) felt that the curtailing of dual funding would be disastrous, as most funding for research still comes through universities. The move towards Full Economic Costings (FEC) for AHRB projects is likely to exacerbate this, as the 46% of total costs currently budgetted for overheads did not cover the full figure of costs (a figure of 100% would be more realistic). There was also pressure from the sciences and some universities with a heavy science base away from dual support.
Prof. Dowden questioned this interpretation of Full Economic Costings. FEC would, he said, allow the full cost of research to be provided, and so would not necessarily be detrimental. The motion, if passed, would record the CUCD's position, but for whose benefit and what account would be taken of it?
Prof. Mitchell suggested that issue would recur at some point. AHRB (or its successor AHRC) may have more funding to disburse, but only at the expense of QR funding, unless the Treasury were to become vastly more generous.
The Council remained seriously concerned about the possible withdrawal of dual-support funding. The motion was not put.
The motion was passed in the emended form:
'There shall be a Standing Committee consisting of:
'4a. A Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary, elected to serve as such; '4b. Nine elected members. The Standing Committee shall assign offices among these elected members; these offices will include a Bulletin Editor, Statistics Officer, and representative to the Council of JACT. 4. c. Up to six co-opted members; 4.d. The Director of the Institute of Classical Studies, or the Director's representative."'
Classics- Ancient History is in a partnership subject centre with History and Archaeology. The Subject Centre is managed by the University of Glasgow, but the work in Classics-Ancient History has been hosted by The Open University's Department of Classical Studies since 2000. As the existing team will be handing over the work at the end of July 2005, it is necessary to find a new host institution. The Subject Centre format of the LTSN will continue within The Higher Education Academy and Classics-Ancient History will remain in the current subject configuration and to be managed by Glasgow. Although there are still some uncertainties about The Higher Education, the first phase of its work will be from 2005 to 2010.
For further information, please contact Professor Lorna who is the current Subject Director for Classics-Ancient History (L.P.Hardwick@open.ac.uk), or Professor Lin Foxhall who is the Classics Ancient History representative on The Subject Centre's Steering Group (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Dr Colin Brooks who is the Centre Director for The Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology (email@example.com).
Professional Accreditation: One of the first priorities of The Higher Education Academy is Professional Accreditation. As Subject Centres will have an important role in facilitating this, a way forward is for Classics-Ancient History community collectively to develop a module, which will be recognized as an integral part of the training process, and run it alongside existing institutional training.
Some ongoing information gathering exercises:
Dr P. Burton
Centre for the Editing of Texts in Religion
The University of Birmingham