- Apologies for Absence
- Minutes of Last meeting
- Matters Arising
- Chair's Report
- Subject Centre
- Response to HEFCE about the RAE
- AHRC Panel and Peer Review College: call for nominations
- AHRC Consultation on Doctoral Research
- AHRC Consultation on Specialist Networks
- Enhancement of public profile
- CA conference
- International Baccalaureate
- CUCD web site
- QAA Regional Seminar
- Burgess Report
- Subject Banding.
- Subject Centre
- Business for Council
- QAA Benchmarking
- Secretary's Report
- Treasurer's Report
- ICS move
- Classics in the Marketplace
- Date of the next meeting
Present: Graham Shipley (chair), Patty Baker (minutes), Jonathan Powell, John Morgan, Mirjam Plantinga, Costas Panayotakis, Peter O'Neill, Susanna Phillippo, Fiona McHardy, Nick Lowe, Philip Hardie.
In attendance (up to item 5): Richard Williams (Project Officer, Subject Centre) vice Christopher Rowe.
Apologies were received from Philip Burton, James Robson, Christopher Rowe, Peter Jones, Paul Millett, Mike Edwards, Gill Partington.
GS would send the Secretary minor changes.
- Minute 3 para. iii. Strathclyde/Jordanhill. GS had written enquiring after latest developments. CP reported that there were 7 (seven) students enrolled in the 2005/06 program. Two were studying classical languages: one had a BA from Oxford, the other from St Andrews. The other five had graduated from Glasgow. Of these five, one was doing straight classical civilisation and the other four were doing classics as a secondary subject. Their teacher is retired. They have one hour a week teaching. There is uncertainty about next year's program, but they are optimistic. GS to write stating that the situation is pleasing and to ask about next year's arrangements. ACTION GS.
- Minute 3 para. v. Language descriptors. There is confusion about the relationship between University and public exams. RW was asked to contact CR.
FMcH commented that students undertaking PGCE training were usually required to study another subject such as history. GS noted that the Subject Centre might be able to bring people forward on the issue.
- Minute 4. iii. Future shape of CUCD. The Secretary had checked the CA constitution and would contact Douglas Cairns to see if CA was interested in instituting cross-membership between its Council and our Standing Committee. ACTION P. Burton.
- Minute 11. Parliament. We owe Friends of Classics the £600 we set aside for the March event; there was confusion about whether our contribution was needed. Patty Baker is still awaiting a response from Jeannie Cohen for an address to send the money to.
Some tidying was needed in the draft of minute 11.
The meeting noted with regret the deaths of Frank Lepper (Oxford) and Guy Lee.
GS had represented CUCD during the appointment of the new Project Office, Richard Williams.
GS had responded on the basis of the plentiful comments sent by departments. The suggestion that individuals could self-nominate one book as counting for two items had caused unease. GS had suggested that the panel have discretion to identify outstanding works at the outset. SP asked if there were guidelines for this submission; GS responded that this was too much work and it was better not to try to achieve fine-tuned rules which might tie things down in unexpected way. However, everything suggested the RAE panels (Classics and Archaeology) were sensitive to issues. Philip Hardie offered to discuss this at the RAE panel meeting.
Malcolm Schofield was nominated by CUCD as a possible panellist. In the PRC, Classics was well covered. As this request would recur periodically, it was important to check the AHRC web site where members of the PRC are listed.
P. Baker, who had handled this on the Chair's behalf, reported no response from CUCD members. It was agreed that two of AHRC's firm recommendations were worth seizing upon: the proposal to offer grants for longer MAs and for an extra year of Ph.D. study in certain cases, This would be especially useful for languages and for specialist options such as epigraphy and papyrology. P. Baker to write on behalf of CUCD in support of this. ACTION P. Baker.
The AHRC had asked for information on support groups or specialist research groups, to ensure that peer-review is done fairly. So far only the Women's Classical Caucus and Lambda (a group supporting sexual minorities) had come to light; the latter apparently has no UK members, however. GS had sent these names in.
Emma Stafford is now the CA's publicity officer and we should develop active contacts with her.
GS was liasing with some PGs to see what the CUCD panel should cover.
A question was raised about what, if any, effect the International Baccalaureate would have on ancient history papers. SP to ask Donald Hill about this, as he marks for IB exams. ACTION SP.
MPs and peers were keen to form an All-Party Group for Classics. This could have two aspects: political pressure for classics and social events with guest speakers.
Questions were to be raised at the CA council meeting in November about the development of the web page. Questions to be addressed to Douglas Cairns.
Nick Lowe reported that he is updating various aspects of the web site. CUCD thanked him for his hard work at a time of pressure. He is digitising the contents of all the back issues of the Bulletin, starting with the ones he has.
Graham Shipley to attend the seminar on December 13, 2005, about Securing and Maintaining Academic standards.
Two consultation documents had been published by Universities UK. The main document was mooting changes to degree classification (e.g. simply Distinction - Pass - Fail) in relation to student transcripts (with enriched information including data drawn from the Personal Development Plan). There was much discussion of this and of the problems of changing the system of marking. 'Pass' was liable to lead to disgruntlement, nearly all students attaining the same grade on very different performances; it currently connoted weak performance. Employers might want precisely the kind of 'gold standard' currently expressed as II.1. Should a 'merit' replace it, i.e. a 4-point rather than 3-point scale? Without it, how would parity be achieved? JP raised the point that our class descriptors were anchored to definitions of II.1, II.2 etc.; remove the classes and how do you define the meaning of different marks on a numerical scale? The second document, on credits, raised the spectre of the over-strict application of level descriptors. GS to consult CUCD Contacts over the issues. ACTION GS.
Questions had been raised again over which subjects deserved to be in higher bands. Languages are labour intensive, and it was noted that modern languages are generally placed in high bands. Classical archaeology was also singled out as labour-intensive. The Secretary could be asked to survey CUCD Contacts for information in confidence; GS would phone HEFCE to see what their advice was and what criteria they might use. ACTION P. Burton, GS.
RW reported that the Subject Centre would be holding meetings with departments. There would be consultations on subjects such as reflective learning. GS noted that the Advisory Panel had been restructured, and welcomed the offer a place for the CUCD chair. CR had noted previously that the Advisory Panel was keen to create links with CUCD, HEFCE, etc. CR would speak at Council about this and other issues. Other issues mentioned included the need to encourage and develop schoolchildrens interest in classics. The Centre would arrange for special sessions on this. GS thanked RW for attending.
The head of research for the AHRC, Tony McEnery, would address Council before lunch. GS asked for suggestions as to specific issues to be addressed. They might include the recent changes to funding, and future policy options; the move away from the managed project (researcher + RAs) to the project grant (collaborative, cross-institution) model. Will the lone scholar be fostered? SP would like to ask about the relationship between the public and private sectors.
There were still problems about the location for Council. The imminent move of the ICS was problematic, though it was reported that it might be delayed until December. The Warburg had been approached, but cannot offer lunch. Other venues were suggested, including hotels (e.g. Tavistock? Holiday Inn?).
The Secretary had been handling this, as CP (Elections Officer) was a candidate for re-election. The Treasurer and Secretary were due to demit, as were CP and SP among ordinary members. With the exception of the Secretary, however, all were willing to serve a second term. Nominations had been received for all three willing to stand again; Dr Bruce Gibson (Liverpool) was the only nominee for Secretary. Secretary to e-mail Contacts requesting seconders for all four. If a seconder were found for a candidate, s/he would be declared elected at Council and no further nominations or ballots needed. Secretary also to ask all four candidates to submit c.100 words in their cause. ACTION P. Burton.
There was much discussion over the revision to the Benchmarking Document. GS reported on Robin Osbornes update, and JP set out the latest issues arising from QAAs comments on our initial suggestions. SC thanks the working group (RO, JP, SP, and Christopher Smith) for their work. GS to ask RO whether it was known what use had been made of the Benchmark; if necessary, the Secretary could canvass Contacts for information. It was noted
that it could be particularly useful when setting up new courses or defending language teaching within universities from the over-right application of level descriptors (e.g. beginners Greek in year 2/3 or at MA). Whether MA programmes should have a benchmarking statement was a good question but possibly one for the (near) future. If possible, could RO present a draft text to Council? ACTION GS/P. Burton
It was noted that BG, if elected, might not be able to attend the first meeting after Council, and that P. Burton had kindly offered to attend to take minutes. SC thanked the Secretary in his absence for this offer, and for all his hard work since 2002.
FMcH reported that among articles to be included in the Bulletin would be a paper by Charles Martindale with a response from Chris Rowe. Tom Harrison had contributed a piece on teaching ancient history. GSs short speech at Parliament was to be included, along with his index of previous Bulletins. PM was almost finished with the statistics. GS had still to write his Chairs report.
The layout has changed to a two-column design. There was a discussion about whether the Bulletins should be available on the web in PDF or word format; NL felt both were desirable. GS thanked FMcH for her hard work.
P. Baker reported that the funds stood at £3,762.69. 600 would be paid for the Parliament reception and another 200300 for the Bulletin. Most universities had paid their 2005-6 subscription though a number were still awaited. She would write to these in the next week or two to remind them.
PM sent word through GS that he was waiting for the last couple of returns. It was suggested that a good tactic in future might be to write directly to the Head of a dilatory department requesting the statistics.
ME sent word through GS that the move may be delayed, and that the Library should only be closed for a week, whilst it is moved. JP gave the London perspective. It was agreed that CUCD should offer to help when asked but that there might be nothing we could do at the moment to help matters.
SP reported that Ardal MacMahon (OU) had compiled a number of questionnaires to consider how classics students fared in the job market. There were separate questionnaires for students, employers and departments. Some questions had been raised by PJ about the manner in which the questions are to be answered. The main points are: is the questionnaire going to yield adequate data for its purpose, what form is the final output to take, and who is it meant to reach? There was a suggestion that AMacM might issue follow-up guidance (to his e-mail circular) as to the best way to complete the questionnaire and as to its purpose. SP agreed to discuss these issues with him, RW and CR.
No other issues were raised.
11 February was agreed. GS suggested a regular 4-month spacing and suggested we fix the June meeting for either 3 or 10 June. The Secretary would be asked to e-mail SC members asking for availability in June (so that those not present today could have a view).
With that the meeting closed at 13:35.
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