Monthly Archives: August 2011

Good questions

I am thinking about meetings we could run next academic year. I would like to run a series of (semi-)working meetings to answer specific questions. These would look to draw together people who’ve done work in an area to present different approaches, debate relevant issues and try to establish good practice cases. A successful meeting could result in a short report or a findings booklet.

My question is: What are some questions, relevant to mathematical sciences HE in England and Wales, that would be good to answer? What issues come up in your teaching or assessment that you wish you had more information on or a good answer for?

I am not so interested in nebulous topics that we would only be able to scratch the surface of in a one day or half day meeting, but in more specific questions. I go to a lot of meetings where a multitude of issues are presented, lots of ideas are hinted at and questions are left hanging at the end of short presentations. I’m interested in whether we could explore some of these hanging issues and questions more fully in a more focused meeting.

Please make your suggestions in the comments below.

If you work for a HEFCE- or HEFCW-funded institution and would be interested in getting involved with a meeting around your question please say when you suggest a question so or email me p.rowlett@bham.ac.uk. You might be interested in attending a meeting if one is organised or even in helping arrange one. We would pay for running the meeting and publishing any resultant booklet. Helping run a meeting at your institution would just mean booking a room and catering, while we would do registrations etc. You might get involved in suggesting speakers.

My project is directed at England and Wales HE. If you are outside of this remit please still feel free to contribute questions.

I think by doing this we could produce a series of reports on specific questions that would be useful to future maths and stats lecturers beyond the life of the National HE STEM Programme.

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‘Developing Graduate Skills in HE Mathematics Programmes’ Interim Report

The following interim report was provided by Dr. Jeff Waldock on 15th April 2011, though due to an oversight it was not published here at the time. The booklet and further project details can be found on the Developing Graduate Skills in HE Mathematics Programmes activity webpage.

A workshop, ‘Embedding Graduate Skills in Your Mathematical Sciences Programme’, was held as a meeting for case study authors and other interested people at Sheffield Hallam University on 24th November 2010. 17 case studies were collected and compiled into a booklet – ‘Developing Graduate Skills in HE Mathematics Programmes – Case Studies of Successful Practice’ – which has been provided to the MSOR Network for design, printing and distribution. A series of six workshops to disseminate the findings from the booklet, and to discuss developing practice in other HEIs, are taking place in April and May 2011.

Culture of being a mathematician

Tony Mann (University of Greenwich) and Chris Good (University of Birmingham) are working on a project to produce teaching materials on “the culture of being a mathematician”. The project is supported by the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Project as part of the National HE STEM Programme, acting on a recommendation from the HE Mathematics Curriculum Summit. They would like to interview a small number of mathematicians on this subject, with a view to making the results available as a teaching resource. If you might be interested in taking part, please contact Tony Mann for more information.