[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the thirty-ninth meeting of Council

Saturday, 10th November, 2007, 11 a.m.

Room NG16, Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, London.

  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of the Last Council
  3. Chair's report
  4. Temporary Lecturers
  5. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library.
  6. Bulletin
  7. Subject Centre
  8. Statistics
  9. Secretary's Business
  10. Elections to Standing Committee
  11. Treasurer's Report
  12. Any Other Business
  13. Date of next meeting.

Present: Robin Osborne (Chair, Cambridge), Bruce Gibson (Secretary, Liverpool), Patty Baker (Treasurer, Kent), Guy Bradley (Cardiff), Gillian Clark (Bristol), Armand D&rquot;Angour (Oxford), Ken Dowden (Birmingham), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS, SC), Andrew Erskine (Edinburgh), Abigail Graham (Warwick), Elena Isayev (Exeter, SC)), Constantina Katsari (Leicester), Nick Lowe (Webmaster, RHUL), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton, SC), John Morgan (Swansea, SC), Matthew Nicholls (Reading), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow, SC), James Robson (Open, SC), Christopher Rowe (Subject Centre, Durham), Stephen Todd (Manchester), Michael Trapp (KCL), Betine van Zyl Smit (Nottingham), Greg Woolf (St Andrews).

1. Apologies

Apologies were received from: Chris Carey (UCL), Peter Jones (Co-ordinating Committee for Classics), Paul Millett (Cambridge), Gill Partington (JACT), James Richardson (Lampeter), Emma Stafford (Leeds).

2. Minutes of the Last Council

These were approved. It was agreed that in future the minutes of Council did not in general need to attribute opinions to individuals. There were no separate matters arising not covered in other agenda items.

3. Chair's report

  1. AHRC. There had been various issues on which CUCD had been engaged with the AHRC:
    1. A letter sent by the Chair earlier in the year regarding recruitment to College and Panel had had a good response from Prof. McEnery.
    2. Jonathan Powell's recent report regarding the AHRC briefing he had attended earlier in the week was received with thanks. The AHRC was proposing to speed up the processing of applications for research awards, which would involve restricting the role of the Panel. It was noted that review procedures needed to be as sound as those used by peer-reviewed journals, and it was agreed that the existence of a standing Subject Panel was nevertheless in the interest of the classics community, and that robust decision-making was even more important than the speed at which decisions were taken.
    3. A brief and unhelpful letter had been received in response to the Chair's most recent letter to AHRC regarding the ERIH initiative; no attempt had been made to engage with the points made by CUCD. It was agreed that the contents of the list of journals were such that continued responses and probing from CUCD were even more necessary, and it was agreed that the Chair would write again to AHRC. In discussion it was noted that a permanent group which lobbied for subject associations might be useful, especially if the British Academy chose not to take a representational role in such matters.
  2. QCA. CUCD had taken a stand over the lack of proper consultation over the threat to abolish Ancient History, but no real response had been received.
  3. OCR Language Qualifications. Though the idea of asset languages being used at university level to provide standardised language qualifications had been raised, there had been some concerns from classicists, and it was unclear whether all Teacher Training institutions in Classics would wish to take part. Since OCR was only interested in a take-up of 10000 or more, it seemed that this idea would not being going further.
  4. Classics for All. Tom Harrison (Liverpool) had notified the Chair and Secretary of the plan to promote Classics for All (which would be linked with JACT) to co-ordinate activities in such areas as outreach and support for teachers. The plan was to raise £5 million, in order to be able to support schemes in boroughs and schools. In discussion it was noted that the Charlotte's Web resource for classics was effectively in abeyance, and it was agreed to welcome the creation of Classics for All, and to offer the support of CUCD.

4. Temporary Lecturers

The draft protocol circulated with the papers was discussed in detail. It was noted that there were various categories and titles of temporary staff in current usage, and that teaching should in any case be seen as dependent on research activity in most cases. It was agreed that the Chair and Secretary would produce a further draft for the February SC meeting, and the document should have three separate sections, dealing with i) the definition of jobs, ii) proper procedures for appointments, and iii) staff development for temporary staff whilst in post. The need for a web presence was recognised, and it was agreed that examples of good and bad practice might be salutary reading for HR departments. It was additionally noted that the 2007 Bulletin contained much material relevant to the concerns of temporary staff, and member departments were encouraged to ensure that it was diffused as widely as possible.

5. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library.

The Director reported on recent developments. The problem with the entrance to the library after the envisaged move back to the South Block that had been reported to the October SC meeting now appeared to have receded, since the Director had now agreed with the UoL planers that the entrance would be in the lift lobby on the third floor. He would be recommending to the Councils of the Societies that they agree to this, but that they resist the suggestion of the University that the ICS library staff should be involved in working on the general issue and reception desk in the lobby. Building work had started on the South Block, with asbestos treatment and rewiring now completed. The second stage, refurbishment, was likely to be completed in summer or autumn 2008. The most likely time for a move of the ICS back to the South Block was Christmas 2008.

The HEFCE review was imminent at the end of the month, reporting on the SAS, on full economic costing, and on specially funded libraries. Very little information had been received, though it was predicted that SAS would continue, with a further review after five years.

The Council thanked the Director for his continuing work, and renewed its full support for him and for the ICS.

6. Bulletin

The Editor was warmly thanked for all her work on the CUCD Bulletin for 2007. The perennial debate over the merits of hard and electronic copy briefly surfaced, and it was agreed to keep the issue under review in the future.

7. Subject Centre

The Director tabled a report on activities over the last year and the minutes of a recent advisory panel. It was likely that the subject centre advisory board's review would generate tangible and welcome outcomes for the Classics element in the Subject Centre. Prof. Woolf, who was on the advisory board, then gave a brief report, and was thanked by the Director for his support.

The Director also reported that the ICS had agreed to provide £18000 to support the Subject Centre in the 'Classics mapping project', which would allow for a six month contract. This would survey and report on all aspects of Classics in the UK, but especially in FE and HE. Colleagues were asked to alert the Director as to suitable individuals who might take on the project; it was noted that apprising JACT might be a good way to draw on their knowledge in finding the right person. The project would undoubtedly be very useful for any organisations, such as Classics for All, involved in outreach. The next stage after this would be for the Subject Centre to reach agreement with Friends of Classics and CUCD regarding Classics in the Marketplace. There were still ambitions for a central website to replace Charlotte's Web, though it was not wholly clear who would maintain this. The Director additionally agreed to arrange for the circulation to HoDs and L&T chairs, in electronic form, of an up-to-date version of the HEA/HCA leaflet first circulated in 2006/7, at James Robson&rquot;s suggestion, giving information for intending teachers of Classical subjects on the opportunities and prerequisites for PG training in England and Scotland; he asked that this be distributed as widely as possible among undergraduate students.

8. Statistics

The Chair reported on behalf of Dr Millett that he was intending to continue the current style of reporting, which was approved enthusiastically by Council. Dr Millett had also emphasised once again the need for departments to respond swiftly to his request for statistics, since delay made it a great deal more difficult to present accurate data.

9. Secretary's Business

The Secretary reported that he had been approached by the Public Policy Group from LSE, who were undertaking a research project for the British Academy, and had asked for classicists to help provide them with instances where classicists had impacted in such areas as government and public policy. A website would be set up in due course, and the Secretary undertook to draw it to the attention of CUCD members as soon as he was alerted.

10. Elections to Standing Committee

Dr Panayotakis noted that there were five candidates for four vacancies on the Standing Committee: Dr Steven Green (Leeds), Dr Fiona McHardy (Roehampton), Prof. Christopher Pelling (Oxford), Prof. Jonathan Powell (RHUL), and Dr Amy Smith (Reading). The elections were then conducted according to the Alternative Vote method laid down by the constitution. Dr Panayotakis agreed to count the votes after the meeting and to report to the Chair and Secretary on the results.

11. Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer presented her report. There was a very healthy balance of £3915.45. Whilst some institutions had not paid their subscriptions, Exeter were acclaimed for having paid twice. Belfast and Southampton were still not paying their subscriptions. There would be support for the language show at Olympia, and it was noted that CUCD had also made a commitment to support Classics in the Marketplace.

12. Any Other Business

At the request of the Bryanston management committee, a flier was distributed advertising their summer school.

The Council noted and deplored the recent announcement by Mr John Denham, Minster of State, regarding the withdrawal of funding for students with 'Equivalent and Lower Qualifications' (ELQ). Not only would this have a particularly heavy impact on institutions such as the Open University and on Birkbeck, but it was observed that the government's commitment to widening access and lifelong learning were also put at risk by such a move. Colleagues were encouraged to sign the online petition against the policy. It was noted that there might well be cases where candidates with a second undergraduate degree in classics had gone on to doctoral work, and the Chair agreed to investigate the position at Birkbeck in this respect. The Council noted that common action from subject associations was needed on this front, as well as from the British Academy. It was agreed that CUCD would write in protest.

Dr Panayotakis agreed to contact Dr Frank O'Hagan in the Faculty of Education at the University of Glasgow to find out whether or not they would be admitting students to their PGDE programme in Classics in session 2008-9.

13. Date of next meeting.

It was agreed that the next meeting of CUCD Council should take place on either 8 or 15 November 2008. The desirability of avoiding any clash with the British Epigraphical Society was noted. [Subsequent to the meeting, the date for CUCD Council was confirmed as 15 November 2008.]


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