[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 110th meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, 16th October, 2004, 11 a.m.

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

  1. Apologies for Absence.
  2. Minutes of Last Meeting
  3. Matters Arising
    1. Foreign Schools and Societies
    2. Teacher Trainer Post, Strathclyde
    3. OCR 'A' Level
    4. AHRB Peer Review College
    5. Contacts
    6. Institute of Classical Studies
    7. Learning and Teaching Support Network/CUCD meeting
    8. Research Assessment Exercise Nominations
    9. C-Web
  4. Chair's Report
    1. Personalia
    2. Learning and Teaching Support Network
    3. AHRB Dual Support Reform
    4. AQA
    5. Birmingham
    6. Oikos
    7. AHRB PG round
    8. Statistics
    9. Structure of CUCD
  5. Treasurer's Report
    1. Finances and Subscriptions.
    2. Banks.
    3. Higher Education Academy
  6. Secretary's Report
    1. Departmental Contacts.
    2. Publicity for outside bodies
    3. Congratulations to Graham Shipley
  7. Classicists' Career Paths
  8. Classicists in Public Life
  9. CUCD and the Institute of Classical Studies
  10. Elections to Standing Committee
  11. Business for Council
  12. A. O. B.
  13. Date of next meeting

Present: Graham Shipley (chair), Gill Partington, Patricia Baker, Philip Hardie, Costas Panayotakis, Susanna Phillippo, Peter O'Neill, Philip Burton, Nick Lowe.

1. Apologies for Absence.

Apologies were received from John Morgan, Teresa Morgan, Peter Jones, Stephen Mitchell, Paul Millett, James Robson.

2. Minutes of Last Meeting

3. Matters Arising

3.i. Foreign Schools and Societies
The Annual General Meeting of the British Academy had approved narrowly the change of funding to overseas schools, to move from core funding to funding for specific projects.
3.ii. Teacher Trainer Post, Strathclyde
Costas Panayotakis reported that there were no applicants for the post of classics/English teacher training at Strathclyde. Despite considerable publicity and the active involvement of Tam Dalyell MP, the Rector of Edinburgh, no appointment is imminent.
3.iii. OCR 'A' Level
Gill Partington reported that there had been a useful meeting between JACT reps and the OCR board. It had been recognized that numbers of the candidates is high in some centres. The JACT Ancient History committee would be producing a revised post-Tomlinson syllabus; suggestions should be forwarded to Gill Partington. The meeting had agreed that distinction between Ancient History and Classical Civilization was important and should be maintained. In any event, the Ancient History and Classical Civilization syllabuses would have to be re-written. A senior ancient historian would be approached and invited to front the Ancient History committee; other names had also been mooted. The committee is doing relatively little at present, but will have much to do post-Tomlinson. No principal examiners now come from the University sector, which is to be regretted; though this is difficult in view of universities' emphasis on research output. The date of 2007 has been canvassed for the new syllabus; there is considerable feeling that this does not allow enough time for trialling of the course.
3.iv. AHRB Peer Review College
Over 850 nominations were received, of which 470 were appointed. Only 8 of the 14 CUCD nominees were taken up (details on CUCD website), though another 11 classicists had been appointed on the nomination of other bodies or head-hunted by AHRB to fill gaps.
3.v. Contacts
(under Secretary's Business).
3.vi. Institute of Classical Studies
The Committee welcomed the appointments of Prof. Tim Cornell as Director and Prof. Michael Edwards as Acting Director for the first two years. Chris Carey as the previous Acting Director had applied for funds for collaborative PG training; this application has been successful. The management board is to be chaired by the chair of the CUCD and contain from CUCD (three representatives from outside London). This should be balanced regionally, to strengthen links across the UK. The CUCD is to elicit suggestions from all departments, bearing in mind balance of region, career status, subject, gender. Action. Philip Burton to email contacts and the Classicists list.
3.vii. Learning and Teaching Support Network/CUCD meeting
(27/5/04). Four major issues were addressed; A) Language teaching and language-levels; B) PG study and training; C) future of classics and ancient history in the arts curriculum; D) collaborative training. There was a useful discussion, with considerable emphasis on the need for subject-specific training, and an emphasis on the value of bodies such as LTSN within the Higher Education Academy
3.viii. Research Assessment Exercise Nominations
These have been sent in, along with a covering letter. The supra-panel under which Classics falls is to be chaired by chaired by Prof. Martin Daunton (Cambridge);the panel under which Archaeology falls will be chaired by Prof. Nigel Thrift (Oxford). Details of timescales and procedures are given at www.rae.ac.uk.
3.ix. C-Web
The website is up and contains some useful content. The site is hosted in Glasgow. It is suggested that the Institute of Classical Studies might wish to arrange a launch, and that the HE Access Commissar should be invited. Action. Graham Shipley to email Michael Edwards. It was noted that since January the Independent website contained 10-11 pieces on classics, generally reflecting a very positive attitude, which might be suitable for inclusion on the website.

4. Chair's Report

4.i. Personalia
The deaths of Michael Comber, Dominic Montserrat, Jonathan Walters, and Michael Jameson were noted with sadness. The Committee was glad to note the appointment of Simon Hornblower as an FBA and Filippo Coarelli and Werner Eck as Corresponding Members.
4.ii. Learning and Teaching Support Network
David Fitzpatrick had co-organized with CUCD a session on teaching and learning for the Classical Association conference 2005 (9/4/05).

A new director for the Classics LTSN will be appointed, and CUCD had been asked to provide a representative (provisionally the Chair, which failing a deputy) for the appointment panel. The Committee were pleased that the CUCD had been approached. The appointment would take place over the winter.

The Chair would be interviewed (qua ancient historian) by James Wisdom, as part of an LTSN History/Classics/Archaeology evaluation process, on the use he and his colleagues made of their resources.

4.iii. AHRB Dual Support Reform
The basis of AHRB research funding was to be changed. Institutions will thus have to selective in which applications they allow to proceed, as from September 2005 there will no longer be the 46% institutional topslice for funding bids; rather, institutions will receive a fixed proportion of the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of research project. The figure is yet to be determined, but it will on average be significantly higher than at present. All research organizations will be required to use a refined version of the existing Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) to calculate the FEC of proposed projects. Detailed guidance on this was published in March 2004, and research organizations are expected to have implemented the use of TRAC by January 2005. One impact may be that departments will have to be more selective in deciding which research grant applications to support.
4.iv. AQA
A discussion had taken place in the Lords and a debate in the Commons about the public examination of Classics. CUCD statistics were quoted in the debates. The Government under-secretaries in both the Lords and Commons had expressed regret at the AQA's behaviour, but the AQA had been unmoved by their representations, on the ground (inter alia) that 80% of students came from independent schools. Not all members of the committee felt the force of this argument. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (with oversight for public exams) has acknowledged that it does not have authority to ensure there are two examination bodies in any given subject.

The representations of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers were similarly received by the QCA. The AQA syllabus has a smaller vocabulary requirement at GCSE, and so was more suitable when the subject was taught on a short time scale. Latin and Greek are already perceived by students as more difficult than other languages. JACT has a meeting lined up with OCR to ensure input on Greek and Latin syllabuses (Ancient History and Classical Civilization syllabuses are already set by JACT). AQA and OCR had been reluctant two years ago to discuss undertaking different syllabuses. Philip Hardie offered to contact James Morwood to make the case to OCR for a second syllabus accessible to students taking Latin outside the regular curriculum. The AQA had insisted that Greek and Latin should be treated together, and not as separate cases; it was felt that this did not necessarily reflect the real situation.

4.v. Birmingham
The Single Honours Classics degree was no longer to be offered at Birmingham. Ab initio language had been moved out of Year 1 and put in Years 2 and 3, and at MA level. This was driven by small numbers of students in Single Honours programmes in recent years, and by the 3-grade performance of the Classics group in recent RAEs. There is a conflict of views between the senior management and some of the classics staff at the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity on the amount of consultation that had taken place before this decision was taken. It was noted that that IAA management had acted to keep alive language teaching which might otherwise be under threat of complete closure.

The Birmingham case raised wider concerns about the retention of 'traditional' degree programmes with strong language elements. Although numbers in these courses were generally lower than in the non-linguistic programmes, maintaining these 'traditional' degrees did not necessarily impose heavy student demands, when many of the modules available were taught also as parts of other degree programmes. University administrators were sometimes unaware that language teaching was relatively light in terms of preparation compared to big lecture courses. In connexion with research, there was a concern that cutting linguistic undergraduate degrees would weaken recruitment of the best students at PG level. Given the overlap between teaching and research, it did not necessarily follow that taking staff away from teaching would boost research. Staff should, however, be stopped from 'over-teaching'. Against this, there was considerable pressure (from the Quality Assurance Agency and often from institutional probation and promotion boards) to show innovation in teaching; this was expensive in time. Action: GS to write to Prof. Vince Gaffney.

4.vi. Oikos
Ineke Sluiter had been approached with a view to reporting to Council on the OIKOS research training centre. She had suggested the CUCD invite Marije Martijn to present at Council. This suggestion was adopted. Action: Philip Burton, Patty Baker
4.vii. AHRB PG round
From consultation with departmental contacts, three main issues had emerged: A) the application forms were complex, and imposed a heavy administrative burden on institutions. The training statement in particular appears unduly complex. It was not possible to dissuade applicants considered as weaker, since often an application for AHRB was a prerequisite for other funding applications (and see the next point). Arguably more information should be given to generic statements by institutions. B) institutional rankings were not always followed, sometimes in quite dramatic ways which were not transparent to the institutions themselves. C) further feedback would be welcome on unsuccessful applications, both to individual and institutions; information on the proportion of grants awarded to students in the classics field in relation to other comparable fields. Action: GS to write to Chris Carey.
4.viii. Statistics
(Chair reporting in Paul Millett's absence). The increase in students on non-traditional had classical courses continued. Numbers in traditional classics courses also were up slightly on 2002-2003. Ab initio language courses, however, were down, though this might reflect in part a continuing move away from compulsory language requirements. Staff numbers were up, except in 'other' category (e. g. post-graduate tutors); it was accepted that this was a hard category to define and monitor.

4.ix. Structure of CUCD
The present structure was agreed to be satisfactory. The Chair welcomed the willingness of the Treasurer and Secretary to conduct business delegated to them. The approval of Council would be sought for the spending on further funds on postgraduate assistance. (To council)

5. Treasurer's Report

5.i. Finances and Subscriptions.
The Council is 4*** in credit. Subscriptions have been received from Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Edinburgh, ***London, King's College, London, Queen Mary's, London, the Institute of Classical Studies, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Roehampton, St Andrews, Warwick, and Southampton. The Open University has been in contact regarding its subscription. The Treasurer would be sending reminders next month to defaulting departments. The balance figure included expense claims for SC members for meetings in January and May, plus some other outstanding payments, so the available balance was lower by a three-figure sum.

5.ii. Banks.
Barclays having proved systematically incompetent, the Treasurer was authorized to find another Bank for the Council. HSBC and the Alliance and Leicester were mooted as possible candidates. Action. PBaker and Council
5.iii. Higher Education Academy
The Treasurer had been due to attend a meeting of with representatives of the HE Academy (and other parties) on the CUCD's behalf, but had been unable to do so due to transport problems. Notes taken by David Fitzpatrick indicated the HE Academy had been broadly favourable to subject-specific staff training and bodies which fostered it. This was welcomed by the Committee.

6. Secretary's Report

6.i. Departmental Contacts.
It was agreed that the Council should retain a system of named departmental contacts, rather than sending messages to generic institutional addresses. The Secretary would send a message to the Classicists list at the beginning of the academic year to ensure the list was fully up to date.

6.ii. Publicity for outside bodies

The Secretary had been contacted by a classics graduate disinterestedly recommending a classical tour company, and suggesting the Council might publicize its services. It was agreed that the Council could not undertake to supply what might be taken as endorsement.

6.iii. Congratulations to Graham Shipley

The Committee congratulated the Chair and his wife on the birth of their son Joseph.

7. Classicists' Career Paths

(Dr Phillippo reporting.) Some colleagues had been asking about the possibility of a document similar to the 'Classics in the Marketplace' survey from the early 1990s. It was felt that some facts and figures about graduate employment might be useful to prospective students, parents, university administrators, and figures in government and the Civil Service. The Higher Education Academy might be prepared to help support it. Action. Susanna Phillippo to investigate how Classics in the Marketplace was conducted and financed, and whether the HE Academy could offer support; she and Peter O'Neill and Philip Burton to sift the issues; Philip Burton to report to Council.

8. Classicists in Public Life

The Chair would contact Jeannie Cohen (Friends of Classics) to discuss a meeting of classicists before likely Election date (May 2005), with prominent speaker(s).

9. CUCD and the Institute of Classical Studies

It was confirmed that the ICS is and always has been a member of the CUCD. It was agreed that the Director should be invited to attend future meetings, and that Council should be asked to approve a constitutional motion giving the Director of the ICS an ex officio place on the Standing Committee. Action. Philip Burton to write to Mike Edwards (Acting Director) and Tim Cornell (incoming Director) and would formulate a motion for Council

10. Elections to Standing Committee

Four nominations have been received for three vacancies. One option is co-option of one nominee and election of the others. However, it was not clear whether one of the four was willing to stand. Action: Costas Panayotakis, Graham Shipley, and Philip Burton to make recommendation on the best procedure concerning candidates and vacancies.

It was agreed that special attention would be paid in the 2005 elections to ensure that nominees were likely to maintain the Committee's balance by subject and region, as well as other factors.

The Committee thanked Stephen Mitchell, Teresa Morgan, and Philip Hardie for their services to date.

11. Business for Council

12. A. O. B.

The Bulletin is now ready for publication. Printing will take place in Leicester. PHB will liaise with Clare Roberts to ensure that they are delivered to ICS and available for the meeting. Nick Lowe to arrange distribution at Council. Action: PHB, NJL.

13. Date of next meeting

22nd January, 2005.

The meeting closed at 1.28 p. m.

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