[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 115th meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, 3rd June, 2006, 11 a.m.

Room NG16, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes of Last meeting
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Chair's Report
  5. Institute of Classical Studies and Library
  6. Subject Centre.
  7. QAA Benchmarking
  8. Temporary Lecturers
  9. AHRC review of postgraduate funding
  10. Secretary's Business
  11. Elections
  12. Treasurer
  13. Webmaster's Update
  14. Bulletin
  15. Statistics
  16. Business and speaker for AGM
  17. Date of AGM and SC
  18. Any Other Business

Present: Graham Shipley (Leicester; Chair), Bruce Gibson (Liverpool; Secretary), Patty Baker (Kent; Treasurer), Nick Lowe (RHUL; Webmaster), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton; Editor), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow; Elections), James Robson (Open; Languages), Christopher Rowe (Durham; Subject Centre), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS), Philip Hardie (Oxford), John Morgan (Swansea), Gill Partington (JACT), Susanna Phillippo (Newcastle upon Tyne), Jonathan Powell (RHUL), John Rich (Nottingham).

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Peter Jones (Coordinating Committee for Classics) and Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter).

2. Minutes of Last meeting.

The minutes of the meeting of 11 February 2006 were received. Following a query from Prof. Sharples (UCL), it was agreed to the replace the following sentence from section 2 of those minutes, "This line had further been endorsed by London Subject Panel in Classics (meeting on 3 February)", with new text:
"The London Subject Panel in Classics (meeting on 3 February) was also in agreement with pursuing this line."

3. Matters Arising.

4. Chair's Report

  1. The Chair had sent a response to the AHRC concerning the European Humanities Research Index on behalf of CUCD, which had declined to participate in support of the scheme (after his survey of classical colleagues, there had been a 4 to 1 majority against participation). The response of Archaeology had been somewhat more positive. There was some concern that the AHRC might have diluted the full force of the responses of some subject associations, but the Chair had anticipated this eventuality and had sent the CUCD response direct to the relevant panel chairs.
  2. Personalia: the death of Prof. Malcolm Willcock in May 2006 was reported.
    The Chair also encouraged colleagues and departments to consider classicists who might be nominated for honours.
  3. Date of APA/AIA meeting. The Chair reported that nearly all correspondents had expressed a preference for the meeting to take place in early January (as currently), rather than a reversion to the old start date of 27 December. No decision from the American subject associations had been announced thus far.
  4. The Chair had organised a panel on Classics and Publishing at the CA meeting in Newcastle, which had been a success. 40-60 individuals had attended the session, and there was a feeling that more panels on related topics, such as submission to journals, should ensue. A longer time allocation than 90 minutes would also be desirable, perhaps with the participation of a recent PhD candidate. The Chair was grateful to Kate Pool from the Society of Authors for her contribution (her expenses would be paid by CUCD and ICS), and would be happy to organise a further panel at the next CA in April 2007.
  5. On Wednesday, 14 June, the Chair would attend the AHRC consultation meeting with subject associations, and, on Thursday, 15 June, an AHRC meeting on PG funding, to which subject associations were now being invited as well There was also an AHRC summer reception on 14 June, where Dr Robson would accompany the Chair. ACTION: GS, JR
  6. AHRC review of postgraduate funding (originally item 9 on the agenda for the meeting, but dealt with under the Chair's Report by agreement): the AHRC letter concerning the review of PG funding mechanisms was noted, and concern was expressed at the possibility of directive methods of awarding research funding. While CUCD had suggested the areas of study for the ring-fenced awards which had been set up, the Standing Committee was against any movement away from the principles behind the existing process (though reduction of the administrative burden would be welcomed). The Chair would consult with other subject associations. After a further discussion of the transparency of the current system of awards, the Chair noted that members of the peer review college had recently been invited to a grading meeting, and observed that this could usefully happen with the PG competition as well. It was also noted suggested that someone from the AHRC might usefully be invited to an SC meeting (following Prof. McEnery's appearance at Council last November). ACTION: GS.
  7. In connexion with the All-party Parliamentary Group for Classics, the Chair noted that he was intending to organise a meeting with Michael Fallon, MP during June. He had also written to the Lord Bragg drawing his attention to the CUCD and the all-party group.
  8. The Chair would need cover during July and August. The Secretary agreed to be available as much as possible, and the Treasurer agreed to be available as well. ACTION: GS, BG, PB.
  9. The Chair reported that he wished to generate discussion concerning the future of the CUCD. It was suggested that a rise in subscriptions might enable future holders of the Chair to have a module worth of teaching relief from their own institution. Some caution was expressed about the notion of a rise in the subscriptions, while Prof. Rowe suggested that the Subject Centre might be able to assist in some areas of the Chair's work. It was agreed to consider the topic of support for the Chair at the next SC meeting and possibly at the November Council as well. ACTION: BG (to note for agenda).

5. Institute of Classical Studies and Library.

The Director of the ICS reported on the current volatile and complex situation, noting three paramount issues: finance, management of the library, and space.

With regard to space, this had largely been solved. The unofficial plan was a return to the 3rd floor of the South Block, though a new entrance would be needed for Reading Room A. There would be a small amount of new space, but room for expansion would be curtailed. Some seating would be lost, though access to the basement would continue. Shelving might have to be adjusted.

Management: The Director was pushing forward this issue in concert with the other Directors in the School of Advanced Studies, bar one. The Vice-Chancellor of London University had produced a protocol document, which the Directors of the School were about to respond to (particular support from the Warburg and the Institute of Legal Studies was noted); the aim was for the Librarian to report to the Director.

Finance: The Directors of the SAS had some anxiety regarding the convergence scheme of financing. The Classics budget had been top-sliced on 1 August 2005. The Director of the ICS had been originally left 52K to fund the Institute, but had managed to raise this figure by 80K, which had however had an impact on the library's share of the budget, so that there was however a divergence between the ICS and the Roman and Hellenic Societies in financial terms.

Discussion and questions then ensued. The Director reported that his intention was to maintain the programme of seminars. Even though the predicted deficit for the year was 95K, the following year would see the ICS go back into a credit balance.

With regard to the possibility of a move from Senate House, the Director had been told by the VC that he could not take the ICS away from Senate House, and was legally unable to move it on his own decision. It was for the Roman and Hellenic Societies to decide whether to move their books to the building in Drury Lane made available to them by KCL. The VC of London University had said that he would not allow the ICS books to leave Senate House; the viability of this prohibition was discussed. If HEFCE did not contribute to the funding of an Institute based in KCL, there would be a shortfall of at least 500K. The publications of the ICS, it emerged, were owned by the University.

Prof. Powell thanked Prof. Edwards for all his efforts, and expressed his opposition to any possible break-up of the library. After further discussion, it was agreed that:

The Chair would write to the VC of the University of London offering support to the ICS and appreciation of the Director's work, and would reiterate that i) CUCD was in favour of the ICS maintaining its world status, as had been recommended in the review; ii) the break-up of such a noted research library was at all costs to be avoided; and iii) the Directorship of the ICS should continue to be funded as a full-time position. ACTION: GS.

6. Subject Centre.

Prof. Rowe presented his report on the Subject Centre, which he had previously circulated to members of the SC. He reported that the meeting of the Subject Centre Advisory Board on 1 June had taken place but had had to be adjourned. The Board would be reconvening on 4 July. The following points were drawn to the attention of the meeting:

7. QAA Benchmarking

Prof. Osborne's panel had implemented the revisions suggested by CUCD, but QAA had requested a period of further consultation.

Prof. Rowe reported there had been a consultation event in February 2006 on M level Benchmarking, but there was little likelihood of any immediate developments of note.

8. Temporary Lecturers

The Chair gave a report of responses from UK classicists that had been received in response to Dr Steven Green's discussion paper on this topic, which had mainly been concerned with i) the timing and processing of applications, ii) feedback to candidates, and iii) career guidance. Dr Green's initiative in raising these issues was broadly welcomed by the SC, and it was suggested that some institutions (rather than departments, since the problems raised were unlikely to be subject-specific) might wish to consider how they prepared their own graduates for applications, and how their Human Resources departments handled applications. Some unease was however expressed relating to the practicality and indeed the legal ramifications of offering feedback to candidates. It was agreed to revisit the topic at the meeting of SC in October. ACTION: BG (to note for agenda).

9. AHRC review of postgraduate funding.

Dealt with under 4. vi above.

10. Secretary's Business

On this occasion, there was no business.

11. Elections.

The resignation of Dr O'Neill from the SC was received with regret, though he was congratulated on his new ventures. Dr Panayotakis noted that the Chair, Dr Millett, and Dr Morgan were also due to complete their term. The Chair's decision not to seek re-election was also noted with great regret. A deadline of 30 September for new nominations would apply. Dr Panayotakis would draft a circular which could then be sent by the Secretary to department contacts. ACTION: CP, BG.

12. Treasurer.

There was currently 1990.93 in the account. Letters had been sent out during the previous week requesting the annual subscriptions.

13. Webmaster's Update.

This item was deferred.

14. Bulletin.

No articles had currently been received for the forthcoming Bulletin, though two were in prospect for August. It was noted that inaugural lectures can be published in the Bulletin.

The suggestion that copies be circulated to other subject bodies was discussed, and it was decided that these should be sent to administrators of classical societies in the UK, to classical associations in other countries, and perhaps to some other subjects as well. ACTION: FMcH.

15. Statistics

There was no information to report. The Chair would circulate the annual call for statistical information. ACTION: GS. The issue of whether statistics might be of interest to HEA, was noted, and it was suggested that Dr Millett might be alerted to this possibility. It was also noted that it would be wise to consider such issues as what actually constituted a 'traditional classics degree'. ACTION: GS/PM.

16. Business and speaker for AGM.

The Chair would invite Michael Fallon and another member of one or other House to speak at Council.

17. Date of AGM and SC.

The following dates were agreed:
AGM: Saturday, 11 November.
SC: Saturday, 14 October.

18. Any Other Business

Mrs Partington gave a report on recent developments at OCR. Ancient History had been reassigned to be included in the QCA Classics criteria, but OCR (the only remaining examining body for GCSE and A level Greek and Latin, and A level Ancient History) was terminating the partnership syllabus agreements that had provided for the involvement of the JACT Ancient History and Classical Civilisation committees. It was decided that this would need to be considered again at the October SC meeting.

ACTION: BG (to note for the agenda)

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