[Council of University Classical Departments]

Minutes of the 134th meeting of the Standing Committee

Saturday 16 June 2012, 2 pm

Senate House, University of London

  1. Minutes of the last meeting
  2. Matters arising
  3. Chair's report
  4. REF
  5. CUCD Education Committee
  6. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library: future directions
  7. Treasurer's Business
  8. Proposed subscription increase
  9. Secretary's business
  10. Update from webmaster
  11. Bulletin
  12. Statistics
  13. AOCB
  14. Dates of the next meetings

Present: Robin Osborne (Cambridge; Chair), Susan Deacy (Roehampton, Bulletin Editor), Elena Isayev (Exeter), Miriam Leonard (UCL, Treasurer), Genevieve Liveley (Bristol, Education Committee), John North (Acting Director, ICS), Catherine Steel (Glasgow, Secretary), Edmund Thomas (Durham), Stephen Todd (Manchester).

Apologies for Absence were received from Alan Beale (JACT), Steven Green (Leeds, Elections), Edith Hall (KCL), Nick Lowe (RHUL, Webmaster), Christopher Pelling (Oxford), James Robson (Open University), Ulrike Roth (Edinburgh, Statistics), Jaap Wisse (Newcastle).

1. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting of February 2012 were received and approved with minor corrections.

2. Matters arising

Stephen Todd has written to Richard Puttock at HEFCE to request clarification over JACS coding and the NSS but has not yet received a reply.

Admissions: a straw poll of SC members present suggested that applications across the UK for Classics/Classical studies are static or up.

3. Chair's report

A meeting of subject associations with Rick Rylance (AHRC) had taken place over the funding of PG students, which had conveyed to the AHRC the level of concern across the Humanities over this issue. There is however little prospect of any immediate change in AHRC policy.

The British Academy's Research and Higher Education Policy document has now been published. It analyses the problems of PG funding well, but lacks positive suggestions. In particular, it does not explore the possibility of incorporating a Masters year into a 4-year UG degree, in the way that is done in many science subjects.

Key information sets: the Chair has been talking to other subject centres, who have considered the possibility of KIS by subject; responses to the prospect have been mixed, but it may be worth raising with HEFCE once KIS are in use.

Birmingham University is intending to close its Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity and re-establish Classics as a separate unit. It was noted that Michael Whitby and Ken Dowden had presented these changes as a positive development for Classics at Birmingham, despite the prospect of redundancies. It was agreed that the Chair should investigate further.

4. REF

No developments to report.

5. CUCD Education Committee

Genevieve Lively reported on Education Committee's recent activities. There had been a joint panel with JACT at the CA conference on school and university collaborations which had attracted a large audience. A symposium at Bristol in May had attracted 22 participants; feedback suggested that areas for further exploration included teaching on religion, empire and race; maintaining professional boundaries; on-line digital/resources. Overall, feedback had been very positive (an average of 4.8 out of a maximum of 5) and the long discussion sessions had been appreciated.

An early-career researcher session is being planned for early autumn and planned topics for it include interdisciplinary teaching; teaching toolkits; and effective use of IT.

The spring 2013 symposium will take place at the Open University on 'iLatin and eGreek': it was agreed that London would be a better location for it than Milton Keynes.

It was agreed that Education Committee should propose a panel for next year's CA conference on the impact of fees (including at PGT level).

Discussion was on-going with the ICS about collaboration, and Sarah Francis was working with Nick Lowe on the transfer of HEA web resources to the CUCD site.

Scott Burgess (Northumberland) has volunteered his services on internationalisation.

Susan Deacy reported on her work for the HEA (0.2 during June/July 2012), concentrating on collaboration with History and Archaeology, with particular focus on i) graduate teaching events; ii) annual teaching event; iii) web-presence iv) new teaching journal v) links with other organisations. CUCD welcomed the prospect of improving links with the HEA; Susan Deacy will liaise with Genevieve Liveley to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure effective use of HEA resources in the service of Classics.

6. Institute of Classical Studies and the Joint Library: future directions

John North introduced his discussion paper by explaining that the HEFCE decision on future funding of the SAS, which was due in December 2012, may now not be public until March 2013. There is, however, agreement that the ICS will go back to the third floor when the IHR leaves, though such plans remain contingent on the future funding situation. John North is also negotiating to restore the former management structure in which the Librarian reported to the Director.

It was noted that a robust case could be made for the ICS's national role: it funds events outside London; its publications are nationally and internationally important; 75% of users, and 40% of entries, to the Library are not affiliated to the University of London. Although the majority of ICS events (of which there were 165 in 2011-2012) are in London, podcasting would soon be introduced; and the importance of ICS seminar series in encouraging UK postholders to develop their research through thematic seminars was noted. It was agreed that it was important that the ICS did not compete with UoL Classics departments in activities which drew on identical limited funding streams.

It was agreed that the Chair would write in support of the ICS to the HEFCE review committee.

7. Treasurer's Business

The balance is £4708.88; and a bill for £400 is due from Education Committee for the Bristol symposium.

8. Proposed subscription increase

It was agreed that the subscription to go up with immediate effect (after many years at the same level) to support Education committee's activities: the Oxbridge rate would rise to £200, from £150; for departments bigger than 10, £100 (from £70); 6-9 FTEs, £75 (from £50); and £50 (from £45) for departments with fewer than 5 FTE staff.

9. Secretary's business

The results of the survey of SC members of research/teaching proportionality, which showed that Exeter's proposed figure of 20% for research was at the bottom of the range, were noted. It was agreed to return to this issue at Council.

SC recorded its advance thanks to Susan Deacy for attending the AHRC Subject Associations meeting

SC was informed of the possibility of a representative's attending the UK Universities' launch of its Research Integrity Concordat.

10. Update from webmaster

No report.

11. Bulletin

Susan Deacy reported on the progress of the 2012 Bulletin, which will include papers arising from the Teaching Sensitive Subjects events.

There was a brief discussion of the mode of delivery of the Bulletin. It was agreed to recommend to Council that the 2012 Bulletin be the last produced in hard copy and to ask whether there should be a move away from a single annual issue towards the publication of relevant material on the CUCD website as it became available.

12. Statistics

SC welcomed the inclusion in the 2012 statistics of (anonymised) high and low staff-student ratios as well as the average, and would ideally wish to see the data presented on a graph.

13. AOCB

In response to John North's request, it was agreed that the Chair of CUCD (or nominee) should sit on the ICS Advisory Council.

It was reported that the Roman Society had discussed at its Council meeting that morning the possibility of a meeting in the autumn to discuss the Triennial conference and its role in the broader research 'landscape'. SC welcomed this suggestion warmly and suggested that the day of CUCD council might be a possible date. It was noted that it was unfortunate that the Triennial had recently had management problems, which have detracted from academic success; the CA conference at present did not offer the same academic experience.

14. Dates of the next meetings

October 13th at 3pm. Council meets on November 10th.