[Council of University Classical Departments]

First draft of minutes of the 117th meeting of Standing Committee

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

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


  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. New Members
  3. Minutes of Last meeting
  4. Matters Arising
  5. Institute of Classical Studies and the Library
  6. Chair's Report
  7. Future and Funding of the CUCD
  8. Subject Centre
  9. Language Show
  10. Benchmarking
  11. Secretary's Business
  12. Treasurer's Report
  13. Webmaster
  14. CUCD Bulletin
  15. Statistics
  16. Date of next meeting


Present: Robin Osborne (Cambridge; Chair), Bruce Gibson (Liverpool; Secretary), Elena Isayev (Exeter), Nick Lowe (RHUL; Webmaster), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton; Editor), Paul Millett (Cambridge; Statistics), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow; Elections), Susanna Phillippo (Newcastle upon Tyne), and James Robson (Open; Languages). In attendance (for item 5): Christopher Pelling (Oxford; President of the Hellenic Society).

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Patty Baker (Kent; Treasurer), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS), Philip Hardie (Cambridge), Peter Jones (Coordinating Committee for Classics), John Morgan (Swansea), Gill Partington (JACT), Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter), Jonathan Powell (RHUL), John Rich (Nottingham), and Christopher Rowe (Durham; Subject Centre).

2. New Members

Prof. Osborne and Dr Isayev were welcomed to the Standing Committee.

3. Minutes of Last meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 14 October 2006 were received. Various minor corrections were noted, and the minutes were approved.

4. Matters Arising

5. Institute of Classical Studies and the Library

Prof. Pelling, President of the Hellenic Society, was invited to address the meeting by the Chair. He began with a short outline of the history of negotiations between the University of London and the Hellenic and Roman Societies regarding the future of the ICS and of the Joint Library. The Councils of both Societies had voted in November 2006 to move out of Senate House to accommodation rented from KCL in Drury Lane, on the important proviso that such a move would have to be workable. Problems remained with both locations: it was not yet clear if the funds could be raised that would allow a move to Drury Lane, while the managerial issues relating to the running of the library were an obstacle to remaining in Senate House. If the Societies did move out, they would take their books, some two thirds of the total collection in the Joint Library.

There had been some progress in both cases. The Presidents of the Societies had met the Dean of the School of Advanced Studies, and there had been some movement on the question of the running of the library; it was proposed that the Director of the ICS would chair the Library Committee, but the officers of the Societies as a whole would prefer the chair to be the Honorary Librarian. More negotiations were needed, if the Societies were to decide to remain in Senate House, and, in particular, issues of access and the power of the Library Committee needed to be clarified.

Negotiations with KCL had also moved forward a little: in particular, KCL were offering some prospect of a financial safety-net after the first three years, and were also alert to the need of the Societies to have a long-term guarantee of accommodation. There had been much discussion within the Societies concerning the document which set out a protocol for fundraising. The issue of what such fundraising was for was a central one: it was important that any campaign have a broader vision than simply securing funds for the library.

Prof. Pelling stressed three areas: i) the difficulties of diplomacy with the University of London, and the very low morale of the staff of the Joint Library: the issues at stake in London were very different from those which faced most university libraries, and the way in which the University had, for instance, removed books for sale without consulting the Librarian was particularly resented; ii) the likely timing of any final decision might well be the Council meetings and AGMs of the Societies in June, rather than March, and iii) the large sums of money which would be required if there was to be a move to Drury Lane. There would be some subsidy offered by KCL in the early years in Drury Lane, during which an additional annual income of £150000 would be needed, but it would subsequently become necessary to secure an increase in income of some £350000, in order to meet the greater costs that would be incurred in Drury Lane. In terms of capital sums, an endowment of between £4 and £10 million would be necessary, though it may be that potential donors would be more interested in rollover funding than capital endowment; Prof. Pelling noted that the APA was doubtful whether its own fundraising drive for $3-5 million would succeed, so any larger campaign by the Societies was by no means certain of success.

The Chair thanked Prof. Pelling for his remarks, and discussion ensued. It was apparent that there was currently little appetite for moving out of London altogether. The imminent HEFCE review of the University of London (likely to be January – March 2008) was noted, as was the impending retirement of the current Dean of the School of Advanced Studies. With regard to the possible fate of the books in the Joint Library which were not owned by the Societies, it was suggested that they might well be added to the Senate House collection, which meant that reintegration of a split library was not likely. There was some discussion over what role might be played by a centre of classical studies based in Drury Lane, and it was emphasised that such a body would not seek to be a rival to the ICS; possible areas of activity might include such areas as outreach and language work, which were not obvious aspects of the current remit of the ICS. It was unclear whether such a centre would be able to accredit any courses, if it were not part of the University of London. There was also brief consideration of the impact of any move on the classical community in the London colleges.

It was agreed to continue to express support for the Director of the ICS and the two Societies in their dealings with the University of London, and to affirm the hope of CUCD that the library would not be split. It was also agreed that the SC should consider from a UK perspective how classical activities in London might develop in ways that would be of benefit to member departments.

6. Chair's Report

  1. The Chair had responded to the RCUK consultation concerning funding and block grants. Only one department had sent a response, so it was proposed that, to help departments focus on the issues embedded in complex consultative papers, future consultations would be sent out to departments with a possible response drafted by the Chair. It was also important that such responses were sent to relevant parties higher up within University administrations.
  2. AHRC College and Panel. It was in the interest of the subject that care went into the selection and makeup of the Panel and College of peer reviewers. AHRC practice had resulted in rather unbalanced results, while the use of undifferentiated lists had been unhelpful. It was agreed that the Chair should write to the AHRC to advise on how such procedures might be improved.

7. Future and Funding of the CUCD

The Chair reported that he was not seeking relief from teaching duties. It was decided to defer discussion of the funding of the CUCD until a future meeting. It was agreed that the CUCD Bulletin for 2007 would continue in hard copy format.

8. Subject Centre

The Secretary reported on behalf of Prof. Rowe, who had sent apologies to the meeting. A summary of current and forthcoming activity would shortly be circulated to departments, and a meeting was being planned to begin the process of 'mapping' of Classics, nationwide, at all levels, as had been suggested at the November Council. The review group on the future organisation of the Centre had also met and would be reporting to Chair of the Centre Advisory Board (Elizabeth Moignard), and other interested bodies. Prof. Rowe and Dr OKell would welcome contact from anyone who needed the help of the Subject Centre, or who had suggestions for activities which the Subject Centre might be involved in.

In discussion, it was noted that the Subject Centre was interested in receiving material which might be deployed in an online resource for language teaching. The wide geographic range of events organised by the Subject Centre was warmly welcomed.

9. Language Show

Dr Robson reported that there would be another Language Show at Olympia in November 2007, and it was agreed that the June SC meeting would consider a bid for financial support.

ACTION: JER to table a document in advance of the June SC meeting.

10. Benchmarking

The Chair reported that the QAA seemed satisfied with the current position, and that a revised statement was now in place. M level benchmarking was now firmly in the long grass. Prof. Osborne was thanked for all of his work in this area.

11. Secretary's Business

The Secretary invited Dr Panayotakis to report on membership of the SC. SC agreed to co-opt the following members: Dr Jones, Dr Lowe, Mrs Partington, Dr Plantinga, Dr Robson, and Prof. Rowe. Dr McHardy agreed to continue as Editor of the Bulletin, Dr Millett agreed to continue to compile the annual statistical survey, and Dr Panayotakis agreed to serve as Elections Officer: all were thanked warmly by the SC for their continuing labours.

12. Treasurer's Report

Dr Panayotakis reported on behalf of Dr Baker. There was a healthy balance of £3044.20. All Universities had paid with the exception of Belfast and Southampton. There would be one more attempt to collect the subscription from Belfast, while Southampton's membership was, to the SC's regret, deemed to have lapsed.

13. Webmaster

Dr Lowe would update the online details of SC members and officers, and would liaise with the Secretary concerning minutes of recent meetings.

14. CUCD Bulletin

The Editor was thanked for the 2006 Bulletin. Hard copies were still to go out to some departments; it was noted that delays in the production of the last issue had largely arisen as a result of the failure of many departments to respond to the statistical survey promptly. Submissions for the 2007 issue were encouraged.

15. Statistics

Dr Millett reported that he would be sending documentation of the annual statistical survey to Heads of Department as well as to the CUCD contact.

16. Date of next meeting

After some discussion and consideration of other classical meetings taking place in June, it was agreed that the next meeting would take place on 9 June 2007, at 11 am.


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