[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 118th meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, 9 June, 2007, 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 the Library
  6. Subject Centre
  7. Language Show
  8. Language Classes Survey
  9. Classics in the Marketplace
  10. Treasurer's Report
  11. Webmaster
  12. Bulletin
  13. Statistics
  14. Elections
  15. Status of Latin and Greek.
  16. Date of next meeting

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).

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Mike Edwards (Director, ICS), Peter Jones (Coordinating Committee for Classics), Paul Millett (Cambridge; Statistics), John Morgan (Swansea), Gill Partington (JACT), Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter), John Rich (Nottingham).

2. Minutes of Last meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 10 February 2007 were received and approved.

3. Matters Arising

  1. Item 4: Teacher training: Dr Panayotakis reported that the teacher training scheme in Glasgow was likely to go ahead in 2007-8; applicants had already been selected for the course.
  2. Item 4: CA2008: the idea of CUCD joining forces with the Classics Subject Centre as co-supporters of their panel on Learning and Teaching was approved. It was agreed that CUCD should draw the attention of departments to the poster session which the Subject Centre would be taking part in.
  3. Item 4: Metrics: There was no further news on the future of metrics.
  4. Item 4: Temporary Lecturers: It was agreed that the Chair and Secretary would work on the draft code of practice over the summer. Dr McHardy noted that she had been in discussion with Dr Green (Leeds), with a view to an article on the topic being published in the next Bulletin. There was also support for the idea that a senior academic might like to write a companion article on the topic, perhaps from a department which had extensive experience of temporary appointments.

4. Chair's Report

  1. The Chair had received a long response to his letter on recruitment to AHRC Panel and College recruitment from Tony McEnery. Prof. McEnery had acknowledged some of the problems with the website, and that policy on indicators of subject expertise might not be helpful. whilst at the same time being less concerned with the need to declare which members of panels might be demitting. He was nevertheless sympathetic to the role of Subject Associations.
  2. 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.

  3. The Chair had responded to the invitation to comment for the HEFCE review of the School of Advanced Study, which would report in September 2007. He had received no acknowledgement or reply.
  4. The Chair reported that the Arts and Humanities Data Service was going to lose its AHRC funding. The future of the digital image database was, however, secure.
  5. The Chair had been consulted by QAA on work-based and placement learning, but had not responded on the grounds that this was an area remote from the concerns of CUCD members. It was noted that Roehampton did have such a scheme, with students involved in museum placements, archaeological work, and schools. Prof. Rowe noted that he had been similarly consulted by QAA in connection with a code of practice for dealing with student complaints.
  6. The Chair reported that he had been invited to a round table session on the 'Framework for HE qualifications'.

5. Institute of Classical Studies and the Library

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.

6. Subject Centre

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.

7. Language Show

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.

8. Language Classes Survey

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.

9. Classics in the Marketplace

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.

10. Treasurer's Report

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.

11. Webmaster

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.

12. CUCD Bulletin

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.

13. Statistics

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.

14. Elections

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.

15. Status of Latin and Greek.

Dr Robson referred to reports that schools wishing to obtain specialist status in languages could not do so on the basis of provision in Latin and Greek. It was observed that the Dearing Report made no reference to Latin and Greek, but that informal leaks seemed to indicate a hostile view of the languages. It was noted that Dr Jones was aware of the issue.

16. Date of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting would take place on 13 October 2007, at 2 pm.


CUCD HomeBulletin ContentsRoyal Holloway Classics Dept
[owl]