[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 130th meeting of the Standing Committee

Saturday 12 February 2011, 11 am

Senate House, University of London

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes of the last meeting
  3. Matters arising from draft minutes of Council meeting, 13 November 2010
  4. Chair's Report
  5. National Student Survey: the place of Ancient History
  6. Classics Subject Centre
  7. English Baccalaureate
  8. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library
  9. Treasurer's Business
  10. Formalisation of Banking Arrangements with HSBC
  11. Secretary's Business
  12. Website
  13. CUCD Bulletin
  14. Statistics
  15. Date of Next Meeting

Present: Robin Osborne (Cambridge; Chair), Bruce Gibson (Liverpool; Secretary), Miriam Leonard (UCL, Treasurer), Susan Deacy (Roehampton, Bulletin Editor), Mike Edwards (Director, ICS), Sarah Francis (Liverpool; Classics Subject Centre), Steven Green (Leeds, Elections), Edith Hall (RHUL), Nick Lowe (RHUL; Webmaster), Christopher Pelling (Oxford), Edmund Thomas (Durham), Stephen Todd (Manchester), Ulrike Roth (Edinburgh, Statistics), Catherine Steel (Glasgow; Classics Subject Centre), Jakob Wisse (Newcastle).

1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Alan Beale (JACT representative), Elena Isayev (Exeter), Peter Jones (Friends of Classics), James Robson (Open; Languages).

2. Minutes of the last meeting.

The minutes of the meeting of 9 October 2010 were received and approved. The draft minutes of the November Council (held 13 November) were also noted (though they would not come up for formal approval until the Council meeting of November 2011).

3. Matters arising from the draft minutes of the Council meeting of 13 November 2010.

There were no matters arising from the October minutes not covered elsewhere. From the draft minutes of the November Council meeting, two matters arising were discussed.

  1. Item 7: Threats to UK Classics Departments. Those present gave brief oral updates on their own departments and others known to them.
  2. Item 15: 2012 Olympics. It was agreed that the Olympics would until further notice be a standing item for the agenda. It was reported that various institutions would be holding events in 2012, and it was agreed that concerted publicity would be likely to be beneficial to the entire classical community.

4. Chair's Report

New members were welcomed to the Standing Committee.

  1. REF 2014. The Chair reported that the first meeting of Panel D would take place on 17 February. Members of the sub-panel had been appointed and would meet for the first time in March. Some of those who had been nominated would be appointed as assessors for the assessment phase at a later date. It was likely that there would be more uniformity in practice in sub-panels within Panel D than had been the case in RAE 2008; criteria would probably be published at panel level, though sub-panels would be consulted. The question of how impact might be weighted was also discussed.
  2. BA Small Grants. The British Academy had dropped its Small Grants scheme in response to pressure from BIS, and was instead offering mid-career fellowships (for those between 5 and 15 years after the award of a doctorate). It was noted that the expectation of BIS that HEIs would fund similar grants internally was ill-founded. CUCD had not made any protest in December 2010, but it was agreed that the Chair would explore the possibility of the issue being raised in a concerted way with other subject associations.
  3. Planned changes to student funding. The Chair suggested that the rhetoric that humanities disciplines were without utility had softened. Battles would need to be fought at the level of HEIs, especially in connection with issues such as student support (e.g. if bursaries were to be replaced with fee waivers, which would be of no direct immediate benefit to those who might have received bursaries).

5. National Student Survey: the place of Ancient History.

The recurrent problem of Ancient History being audited under History in the NSS on the basis of JACS coding was discussed. It was agreed that this was in general unsatisfactory for classical departments, though it was acknowledged that there were a very few potential exceptions. It was agreed that CUCD would first make representations relating to Ancient History, and second, if the first strategy did not bear fruit, that CUCD would investigate co-ordinating wider support from other subject associations with a view to mitigating the effects of similar anomalies.

6. Classics Subject Centre.

The Director apologised for not tabling a paper at this meeting, as promised in November: the HEA’s progress in articulating its new, York-based structure was slower than had been expected, and consequently it was unclear how much resource would be available specifically for Classics within the new framework. A letter seeking clarification was being sent by the Director to the HEA. While there was likely to be transitional funding in 2011-12, it was not clear whether or not current CSC staff would be involved after July 2011, and it would accordingly be desirable for CUCD to have more involvement in promoting pedagogy within the discipline. In discussion it was noted that the most desirable outcome would be some continuation of the programmes of activity that had been run in recent years. It was agreed that the Chair and Director would discuss the formation of an Education Committee of CUCD, which would be involved in lending support to similar activity and in dealing with the HEA at York. It was noted that teaching development grants would continue, but would be administered from York. The potential issue of HEIs deciding not to subscribe to the HEA was noted, and it was agreed that members of SC should as a first step investigate the position in their own institutions.

7. English Baccalaureate.

The Secretary reported on behalf of Dr Jones that the issues of the exclusion of Classical Civilization and the WJEC qualification in Latin from the English Baccalaureate had been raised in both Houses. Will Griffiths and others would be meeting the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) and the Minister of State (Nick Gibb) in early March in an attempt to reverse these decisions, and it was agreed that CUCD should send a supportive letter in the coming weeks.

8. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library.

The Director reported that the imminent move of the IHR from North Block (as part of the rolling plan of refurbishment) would mean some curtailment of office space; it was also likely that access to the IHR would be through the ICS, which might hinder the smooth working of the Joint Library. A wider discussion of possible future developments in the SAS also took place.

9. Treasurer's Business.

The Treasurer reported that a good number of subscriptions had come in from departments. The changeover of signatures for the bank account with HSBC was almost complete.

10. Formalisation of Banking Arrangements with HSBC.

It was agreed unanimously to adopt the RESOLUTION tabled, that CUCD should continue to bank with HSBC, and that the current Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, and their successors in these Offices, should be permitted signatories to the account, and that ONE signature from one of the above named Officers would be sufficient for signing cheques and conducting other business with the Bank.

11. Secretary's Business.

The Secretary reported from Dr Jones that Friends of Classics had commissioned a professional survey from YouGov on attitudes to classics within business; the results (which would feed into a new version of Classics in the Market Place) were likely to be released around the time of the launch of Classics for All on 15 March. Dr Jones had also noted that Classics for All had received some 32 applications for project funding. Those with suitable contacts who might become donors were encouraged to contact Clare Wilkinson, the fund-raiser for Classics for All.

12. Website.

Though the current absence of the CUCD pages online was only temporary, the Webmaster noted that hosting of CUCD's site by Royal Holloway was not without its difficulties, and that it would be a good idea for CUCD to consider having an independent website.

13. CUCD Bulletin.

Dr Deacy was welcomed and thanked for agreeing to serve as the new Editor. A wide-ranging discussion of the future of the Bulletin ensued. While there was some degree of support for retaining the option of hard-copy publication, it was agreed that there was nothing to prevent CUCD publishing online-only supplements to the Bulletin when it was deemed to be useful.

14. Statistics.

It was agreed that any change to the current pattern of seeking statistics from departments in the late spring, with a view to publication in the Bulletin in November around the time of the Council meeting would be unlikely to bring benefit.

15. Date of Next Meeting.

It was agreed that the next meeting of Standing Committee would take place on Saturday, 18 June at 2 pm.

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