[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 120th meeting of Standing Committee

Saturday, 9 February, 2008, 1.30 p.m.

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

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Welcome to New members.
  3. Minutes of Last meeting
  4. Matters Arising
  5. Chair's Report
  6. Co-options to the Standing Committee
  7. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library
  8. Temporary Lecturers
  9. Cuts to AHRC funding
  10. Response to HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  11. Subject Centre
  12. Secretary's Business
  13. Treasurer's Report
  14. Webmaster
  15. Bulletin
  16. Statistics
  17. CA/CAS Glasgow 2009
  18. Date of next meeting

Present: Robin Osborne (Cambridge; Chair), Bruce Gibson (Liverpool; Secretary), Patty Baker (Kent; Treasurer), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS), Steven Green (Leeds), Nick Lowe (RHUL; Webmaster), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton; Editor), John Morgan (Swansea), Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow; Elections), Christopher Pelling (Oxford), Susanna Phillippo (Newcastle upon Tyne), James Robson (Open; Languages), Christopher Rowe (Durham; Subject Centre).

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Elena Isayev (Exeter), Paul Millett (Cambridge; Statistics), Gill Partington (JACT), Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter), Jonathan Powell (RHUL)

2. Welcome to new members.

The Chair welcomed Dr Green and Prof. Pelling to the Standing Committee.

3. Minutes of Last meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 13 October 2007 were received and approved.

4. Matters Arising

Item 3: Teacher training: Dr Panayotakis reported that he had been in contact with the Education Faculty at Glasgow. The Teacher Training course would run next session, and the current plan is to offer six places, three in Classics / English, three in Classics / History.

Item 5: SQA Scottish Higher and Advanced Higher in Ancient Greek: Dr Panayotakis reported that the CAS had secured the support of Tam Dalyell in this matter, and that SQA had declared that it had no plans to withdraw provision of these qualifications in Classical Greek, because they meet SQA criteria for retention on education and cultural grounds. The tone of the letter to Dr Dalyell was extremely positive, and directed attention to the role of Latin and Greek in the Curriculum for Excellence program [for details see http://www.curriculumforexcellencescotland.gov.uk/outcomes/languages/index.asp].

5. Chair's Report

  1. Equivalent and Lower Qualifications: the Chair reported that a letter had been sent to Bill Ramell, MP, and John Denham, MP. After a bland reply from the former, which failed to address CUCD's concerns, a further letter to Bill Ramell had elicited a further similar response, though at greater length.
  2. ERIH: a meeting with the AHRC was due to take place on 27 February. Representatives from the subject associations for history, music, law, philosophy, and art history were also due to attend. It was noted with some concern that journals were beginning to adopt the ERIH classifications and to advertise themselves as A-rated; integrated action amongst UK subject associations would be essential.
  3. 'Beacons for Public Engagement': CUCD had been invited to a launch event for this initiative for enhancing public engagement with the university sector, which was not widely known of [further details can be seen at: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/sis/beacons.htm]. Of the six 'beacons', five were in cities which included CUCD departments (Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Newcastle). The Chair agreed to write to colleagues in the relevant departments [the Chair also wrote to the department at Bristol, since the two Bristol universities are acting as co-ordinating institutions for the beacons].
  4. AHRC panels: Prof. Powell had reported previously on the AHRC consultation on changes to the panel structure. The Chair had already written to AHRC, but had recently sent a second letter, since the outcomes reported by AHRC to Prof. Powell bore scant resemblance to the content of the meeting that he had attended on behalf of CUCD. This development was noted with general concern.

6. Co-options to the Standing Committee

Dr Panayotakis 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. Co-opted members were thanked for their continuing labours for CUCD.

7. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library

Prof. Edwards reported on developments. The review of the School of Advanced Study (SAS) by HEFCE had been very positive. SAS would receive funding until 2013, and, remarkably, Sir Ivor Crewe had recommended an increase of 10% in SAS funding.

Two areas of uncertainty remained. First, the University of London was now wanting to apply full economic costing to SAS. On these terms, SAS would be considered to be some £5 million in deficit: it was unclear what actions would need to be taken at this stage to address the deficit. Secondly, the separate review of library provision had not yet been published, but its recommendations had been made known. It was predicted that the published report would indicate that of the six national libraries which receive special funding (Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, LSE, Manchester, and Senate House Library), all would retain funding, except for the Senate House Library, which would lose up to £942,000 of special funding annually, less a sum, yet to be agreed with HEFCE, which would be set against the cost of library provision in certain cognate areas identified in the SAS report. There was a view that funding for some of the Senate House holdings regarded as relevant to SAS Institutes might be retained. It was also noted that nearby London colleges were publicly opposed to supporting the Senate House library with substantial finance, whilst at the same time relying on it for provision for their own students.

There were also proposals to end the top-slicing of funding; the money would be given to SAS, which would then spend it as part of a service level agreement with ULRLS. The importance of the need for the Societies to sign the service agreement swiftly, before the University changed any of the terms, was noted. It was noted that the report was not likely to recommend restoration of the previously managerial independence of the Institute library.

It was likely that the ICS would move back to South Block around Christmas 2008; if any delay ensued, Easter 2009 would then be the next possible date for the move. There would be a general entrance in the third floor lift lobby, and the ICS library, restored to exactly the space which it had before, would still have a separate barrier of its own. The Chair briefly reported on correspondence with the working party of the Hellenic and Roman Societies, requesting that it work closely with the Director of the ICS. Once again, the SC affirmed its support for the Director.

8. Temporary Lecturers

The draft protocol on temporary academic staff was welcomed, especially for its new sections relating to those on research contracts. There was some discussion of where to take the issue beyond CUCD, and it was agreed that the Subject Centre could play a role in the process of how to turn aspiration into standard practice. It was agreed to send the document to CUCD contacts, and to invite them to forward it to their HR departments; the Chair also agreed to send the document to UCU.

9. Cuts to AHRC funding

Though AHRC had received a 2.5% increase in funding, the impact of FEC had meant that the amount of money actually available had been reduced. AHRC had accordingly proposed reducing PG studentships available in the 2008 competition from 1500 to 1000, with 1325 as the proposed figure in the two following years; there would also be significant cuts in funding available for research leave and research grants, which would have a heavy impact on success rates in those competitions. The nature of CUCD's response to this was then discussed. There was general agreement that the loss of PG studentships was the cause for greatest alarm, though there was also concern at the cuts to research leave, and the effects of the sudden cancellation of the September 2008 round of the research leave scheme, and the effects of cutting grant funding on contract research staff. It was agreed that the Chair would write to AHRC expressing CUCD's outrage at the cuts to funding for studentships and for research leave, and that it would also be a good idea to approach the Leverhulme Trust to see if they would consider revising their policy and funding some PG studentships.

10. Response to HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The SC endorsed the draft response to HEFCE written by the Chair which had been circulated with the agenda.

11. Subject Centre

Prof. Rowe reported on developments. There was an enhanced budget for the current year, which would permit an extra £12000 of project funding, and enhanced funding for the next academic year was promised. A new web portal was now online, though still under construction [see http://www.hca.heacademy.ac.uk/classics/].

After July 2008, Glasgow would no longer be the base of the Subject Centre. It was hoped that some staff would move to Liverpool, where – according to current proposals – there would be a new temporary Director (0.3), for 2008/9, and a manager (0.2). For the period beginning in August 2009 there would be further negotiations. Archaeology, Classics, and History were all likely to enjoy enhanced funding, and the HEA was looking favourably on this scenario. It was possible that Classics and Archaeology would be together in Liverpool from 2009/10; the future location of History, who might decide to go it alone, was unclear. It was also possible that other subjects might be brought together with Classics and Archaeology.

The Subject Director thanked Prof. Edwards for his support for the Mapping Project. There had been three promising applications shortlisted from those who had responded to the contract advertisement. It was hoped that the Subject Centre money would enable the aims of Classics in the Marketplace to be covered on the tail of the Mapping Project.

There was some discussion of the new diploma system (the new Humanities, Languages, and Science diplomas which would be coming in from 2012), and the place of classical subjects in the scheme. The DCFS had suggested that the Languages strand was the appropriate one, but the SC was of the view that Classics should play a part both in the Languages strand and in the Humanities one.

12. Secretary's Business

The Secretary noted that he had received a communication from RAE 2008 with regard to CUCD endorsement of specialist advisers for the RAE sub-panels. Since the Chair was already a member of sub-panel 59, it was agreed that the Secretary would act on behalf on CUCD in approving such nominations.

Following an enquiry from Dr Isayev to the Secretary, there was some brief discussion of HEFCE bandings for undergraduate degrees. It was noted that whilst Classics was typically in the lowest band (D), some institutions had either been raised to band C funding, or were attempting to do so.

The Secretary reported that only one response to the LSE Public Policy Group survey for the British Academy on ' 'Maximising the impact of humanities and social science research' had been copied to him.

13. Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer reported the current balance as £4109.40. All institutions had now paid, bar Southampton. No bill for the Language Show had yet been received [this has now been received and paid (18.2.08)].

14. Webmaster

The website was currently up-to-date.

15. Bulletin

All Bulletins had been despatched.

16. Statistics

The Chair reported that Dr Millett was preparing to send out the requests for information to departments.

17. CA/CAS Glasgow 2009

Dr Panayotakis reported that he had been asked by the Subject Centre for a slot at the 2009 CA/CAS Joint Meeting. He asked for clarification as to whether CUCD would require a panel. It was agreed that CUCD would forgo a separate panel in 2009, and that it would support the Subject Centre Panel, though there was also a suggestion that in the future there could be some merit in organising a CUCD conference.

18. Date of next meeting

After some discussion, it was agreed that the date of the next meeting would be Saturday, 21 June, at 11.30 am.


CUCD HomeBulletin ContentsRoyal Holloway Classics Dept
[owl]