Present: Robin Osborne (Cambridge; Chair), Bruce Gibson (Liverpool; Secretary), Patty Baker (Kent; Treasurer), Philip Hardie (Cambridge), Elena Isayev (Exeter), Nick Lowe (RHUL; Webmaster), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton; Editor), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow; Elections), Jonathan Powell (RHUL), Susanna Phillippo (Newcastle upon Tyne), James Robson (Open; Languages), Christopher Rowe (Durham; Subject Centre).
The minutes of the meeting of 10 February 2007 were received and approved.
The Chair had written to QCA over the suspension of the Ancient History A level. He had been sent the standard reply sent to others who had complained, and, on writing again to restate his concerns, had received no further response at all. The Chair then reported on the current state of affairs:
The Chair noted that OCR had rescinded their decision to abolish; there would continue to be an A level in Ancient History if something acceptable to OCR and to the subject community could be found. Dr Zahra Newby (Warwick), the Chair of the Ancient History Subject Committee, and others had been in meetings with OCR.
Specifications for the A level were proving difficult to negotiate, since OCR was suspicious of small cohort options on the grounds that lack of comparability made them harder to examine. OCR were also keen to reduce the number of units. Currently, many options were taught both at AS and A2 levels, which allowed for a good level of choice in Greek and Roman history at both levels. Examiners would be needed who could cover a wide range of topics.
The Chair reported that the current plan was for the first year of the Ancient History A level to have 1 Roman and 1 Greek unit, both dealing with documents along the lines of existing document-based options. A2 would also have 1 Greek and 1 Roman element, and would be source-based, without seeking specific document-based comment.
A response was due to be sent to OCR on 11 June, for which specimen papers were being devised. The Chair was confident that OCR's concerns could be met, and that an acceptable specification for the qualification which to a large extent repackaged existing options would arise, and which would therefore be helpful to those teaching in schools. One area of debate, however, was Roman Britain. This was currently an option in Classical Civilization, and therefore could not be an option in Ancient History. It had been suggested that differentiation of Roman Britain strands in the two subject could be achieved through having an option on 'Romanisation' in Classical Civilization, and a text-based option on 'Britain through Roman eyes' in Ancient History.
The Chair reported on recent developments:
Since the last SC meeting in February, the Hellenic and Roman Societies had been seeking detailed clarification from the University of London, but progress had been slow. The draft service agreement recently put before the Societies by the UoL was however reasonably specific, and represented a considerable advance on the memorandum of understanding, though some areas of wording were still in dispute. At the joint meeting of the Hellenic and Roman Councils on 26 May, it had emerged that the majority view was that the Drury Lane option was financially unviable, with a recommendation to negotiate on the basis of the service agreement. Whilst investigating what might prove to be a satisfactory short term agreement with the UoL, the Societies were also interested in investigating other longer term options, which might not necessarily be in London.
In discussion, it was noted that the failure of the UoL's planning application to Camden Council made it harder for the UoL to take a hard line in negotiating with the Societies. It was thus important to seek clarification on what space was actually being offered for the Library.
Prof. Rowe tabled a document dealing with the work of the Subject Centre since September 2006. Most activity had been concentrated around small projects, such as the funding of teaching resources for Byzantine Greek, and support for network events such as those on Preparing Future Faculty, Medieval Latin, Neo-Latin and Roman Art. He noted that the Academy was trying to promote an agenda of "employer engagement", though it had not specified what kinds of employers and employment were being referred to.
In the coming year, the key issues would be assessment and training of faculty. There was also a review of the Subject Centre currently in progress. Internal relations between the Glasgow hub, and the Subject Centres in Classics, Archaeology, and History had been difficult, largely as a result of the Glasgow Director's desire to freeze the budget at the same level, in spite of salary rises. This situation was wholly unsatisfactory because most of the work was done in the individual Subject Centres, even though staffing was concentrated in Glasgow; there was, moreover, a serious risk that activities would be curtailed due to financial constraints.
Prof. Rowe expressed his hope that the Classics Subject Centre would be able to bid for £9-10K of additional funds, if the Academy would agree to a redistribution of funds at a meeting of the Advisory Board on 24 June 2007.
It was agreed that CUCD would make representations on behalf of the Classics Subject Centre, if there was no satisfactory improvement in the financial situation.
Prof. Rowe thanked the Chair and members of SC for their support for the Classics Subject Centre; their continuing suggestions and input into its activities would be welcome.
In answer to a question, it was noted that the provision of support to projects undertaken in any given department would not mean that departments could restrict access to the results and materials of such projects, especially if hosted online: the spirit of Subject Centre activities had to be collaborative.
Dr Robson reported on the classical presence at the Language Show at Olympia in 2006, and reported that JACT was co-ordinating plans for this year's event, also at Olympia in November. It was agreed that CUCD would provide £100, to support the printing of leaflets on 'Learning Latin and Greek at University'. Dr Robson was asked to ensure that the leaflet would give equal measure of coverage to all departments.
The Secretary reported on the results of the recent survey of institutional and departmental attitudes towards language class sizes, which had been circulated with the agenda. Only twelve departments had responded, and only four had had to justify small classes to their institutions, which occasioned some surprise.
In discussion, it was noted that some universities were beginning to appoint Language Teaching Assistants, while it was noted that there were reports that some universities were reducing Latin and Greek. The importance of the Subject Centre's aim of mapping Classics provision in the UK was noted.
This was proceeding; there were possibilities that others might seek to join the Subject Centre in providing support. There was some discussion as to whether the Classics in the Marketplace emphasis on destinations was a more immediate aim than the wider project of mapping the subject provision. It was noted that the PR aspect of Classics in the Marketplace, represented by e.g. quotations from employers, was invaluable, though more detailed concrete facts on graduate destinations could also be extremely important. Statistics would help, since classicists needed to draw attention to their provision of skills to students which allowed them to proceed in a whole range of directions after graduation, especially as skills as critical thinking and sorting of information had not received due coverage and emphasis in the Leitch report.
It was agreed that CUCD and the Classics Subject Centre would work together in these areas.
The Treasurer reported that the balance of funds was £2330.83. Since February, £557 had been spent on the Bulletin, and £120 had been spent on statistics, as well as the usual travel expenses for SC members. Letters had been sent out requesting payment of subscriptions: six institutions (Bristol, Cardiff, Leicester, Nottingham, RHUL, and Warwick) had paid so far.
The website was up to date. Dr Lowe agreed to post the statistics forms on the website, and would update the list of external examiners.
The Editor reported that the next edition would not be printed in Leicester. Ideas for articles were sought. It was noted that a few departments had not received copies of the 2006 edition. The Secretary agreed to email departmental contacts to ask which departments were still awaiting their copies.
Dr Millett was thanked for sending out this year's request for statistical information; departments were encouraged to respond as quickly as possible. There was some discussion over the differences between the online and printed versions of statistical information for previous years. It was agreed that the Webmaster and the Bulletin Editor would liaise on the matter.
Dr Panayotakis reported on membership of the SC, noting that Prof. Hardie, Dr McHardy, Prof. Powell, and Prof. Rich would all come to the end of their three-year terms in autumn 2007. All were eligible to stand again except for Prof. Hardie, who had already served a prior term. Dr Panayotakis would investigate the willingness of the others to stand again, and would liaise with the Secretary regarding the elections which would take place at the November Council.
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