Present: Robin Osborne (Chair, Cambridge), Bruce Gibson (Secretary, Liverpool), Miriam Leonard (Acting Treasurer, UCL), Andrew Bayliss (Birmingham), Charlotte Behr (Roehampton), George Boys-Stones (Durham), Armand D'Angour (Oxford), James Davidson (Warwick), Glenys Davies (Edinburgh), Steven Green (Leeds, Elections Officer), Steve Hodkinson (Nottingham), Elena Isayev (Exeter, SC), Csaba La'da (Kent), Nick Lowe (Webmaster, RHUL), Neville Morley (Bristol), Henrik Mouritsen (KCL), Tim Parkin (Manchester), Phil Perkins (Open), Ian Rutherford (Reading), Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge), Anne Sheppard (RHUL), Daniel Stewart (Leicester).
Apologies were received from: Alan Beale (JACT Rep., SC), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS, SC), Matthew Fox (Glasgow), Stephen Halliwell (St Andrews), Peter Jones (Friends of Classics), Fiona McHardy (Roehampton, SC, Editor of the CUCD Bulletin), John Morgan (Swansea), Christopher Pelling (Oxford, SC), James Richardson (Lampeter), Ulrike Roth (Edinburgh, Statistics Officer), Catherine Steel (Glasgow, Classics Subject Centre, SC), Jakob Wisse (Newcastle, SC), Matthew Wright (Exeter, SC).
These were approved.
Item 3: MA Benchmarking. It was noted that SC had decided not to address this issue for the time being, in view of the diversity of M-level provision within UK Classical departments, and the rarity of MA benchmarks in the humanities more generally.
Item 4, i): European Reference Index in the Humanities (ERIH). Though this project had appeared to have run into the sand, there were renewed signs that a new index would be compiled: CUCD would need to maintain vigilance.
Item 4, iii): AHRC research leave schemes and panel structures. It was acknowledged that departments had been largely unwilling to co-ordinate deadlines and information for potential graduate students, and that local timetables within institutions were also a major hindrance. It was, however, agreed that it was not ideal to tell potential graduate students that they had only 48 hours in which to accept a place.
British Academy Small Grants. The Chair reported that there was pressure from BIS against the continuation of small-scale grant funding which was deemed to be excessive in terms of administrative costs. After discussion, it was agreed that the Chair should write to BIS urging them to allow this important line of funding to continue.
The Chair reported that the effect of the Browne Report and of the decisions announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review was effectively the introduction of an entirely free market for undergraduate degrees in all areas except the sciences and those other subjects such as nursing which were deemed to be socially significant. After discussion it was noted that the position of part-time students was unclear, as was the position for students in Scotland; there were also likely to be serious consequences for recruitment of students from elsewhere in the EU. It was agreed that CUCD should try to be involved in co-ordinated opposition to the likely loss of government funding to support teaching, which the Chair would be able to take forward through A-HUG.
There were brief updates on departments where posts had been reported as under threat. Dr Green reported that at the University of Leeds the UCU and the University had put forward a ground-breaking review process which would crucially involve consultation with key stakeholders. Council was unanimous in its view that CUCD was such a stakeholder and would need to be fully involved in the review process.
The ICS Director having sent apologies, it was noted in a brief discussion that there was some hope that the new head of the UoL Library Services was less committed to seeking convergence of libraries. There were however concerns expressed over the possibility that room charges in Senate House might adversely affect ICS activities.
It was noted that the new system of Home Office quotas for non-EU nationals were beginning to cause problems for departments making appointments. In discussion it was suggested that making 'international excellence' a requirement might be one possible strategy. It was agreed that CUCD should monitor the situation, and that departments which experienced such interference in making appointments should alert CUCD. It was also noted with relief that the appointment of non-EU PhD examiners was still unaffected by such quotas.
The Secretary, reporting on behalf of the Director, gave a summary of activities which had been planned up to May 2011. The Director was hoping that CSC would be able to offer some grant funding, and that projects involving more than one institution would be particularly welcome.
There would, however, soon be an announcement that funding for the network of subject centres outside the HEA headquarters in York would come to an end in July 2011. Though there might be some transitional funding available for the next academic year, the Director had noted that CUCD would need to consider how pedagogy in the discipline could be supported from 2011 onwards, and would be tabling a proposal to CUCD in the New Year. In discussion the possibility of such activities being based in the School of Advanced Study in London, subject to the possibility already noted of room charges, was cautiously noted, and it was agreed that CUCD would write to the HEA expressing grave disquiet at the end of financial support for the CSC.
The Treasurer was welcomed to her post. She reported that the current balance was £4158.43, though various travel expenses and the costs of the Bulletin were outstanding. Subscriptions for 2009-10 had not been collected earlier in the year but would be collected before Christmas, with 2010-11 subscriptions to be collected in summer 2011 in the normal way. In discussion it was agreed that a potential use for CUCD funds would be to help fill the gap following the end of HEA funding for Classics Subject Centre activities.
The Secretary reported that hard copies of the Bulletin would be posted to departments that had requested them, and that the electronic version would be placed on the CUCD website by the Webmaster.
The Chair noted that the new Statistics Officer would be revisiting the question of the how the statistics might be most usefully presented. In discussion, the increase in student numbers over the decade was welcomed. It was also suggested that employability data could become more and more important, though the difficulties in collected such information consistently were universally acknowledged.
Since the Elections Officer was himself a candidate for re-election, the Secretary acted as Elections Officer. He reported that there were six candidates for four ordinary vacancies on the Standing Committee: Dr Susan Deacy (Roehampton), Professor Edith Hall (RHUL), Dr Steven Green (Leeds), who was standing for election to a second term, Professor Christopher Pelling (Oxford), who was standing for election to a second term, Dr Edmund Thomas (Durham), and Professor Stephen Todd (Manchester). The elections were then conducted according to the Alternative Vote method laid down by the constitution. The Secretary agreed to count the votes after the meeting and to report to the Chair on the results. The Chair expressed thanks on behalf of CUCD for those whose terms on SC were coming to an end, Dr Fiona McHardy (Roehampton, Editor of the Bulletin) and Professor Jonathan Powell (RHUL).
It was agreed that the 2012 Olympics were an important opportunity for the Classics community, and that co-ordination between departments and / or subject associations arranging any activities was essential.
It was agreed that the next meeting should take place on Saturday, 12 November 2011 in the afternoon.