The HE Mathematics Curriculum Summit took place at the University of Birmingham on 12 January 2011, operated by the Maths, Stats and OR (MSOR) Network as part of the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Project within the National HE STEM Programme. This brought together: Heads of Mathematics or their representatives from 26 universities offering mathematics degrees (about half of those in England and Wales); Education representatives from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Statistical Society, the Operational Research Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences; members of the National HE STEM Programme, sigma and the MSOR Network; and several individuals.
The day was chaired by Prof. Duncan Lawson and opened with a debate, in which Prof. Alexandre Borovik of University of Manchester proposed and Jon McLoone of Wolfram Research opposed the motion ‘We believe that memory, subject knowledge and technical fluency remain vital for undergraduate mathematicians in the digital age’. Following this, breakout groups discussed the topics: ‘We can’t let them graduate unless...’; ‘If maths students can’t communicate in writing or speak in public – is that my problem?’; and, ‘If most maths graduates “aren’t confident” in handling unfamiliar problems – should we care?’ After lunch the Summit received feedback from the morning discussions and an update on employer engagement activity from the Mathematical Sciences Strand by David Youdan. The Summit heard and discussed presentations from Prof. Jeremy Levesley on ‘Taking control of the assessment agenda’ and Dr. Neil Challis on ‘What do the students think about their Maths degrees?’ A final set of breakout sessions considered the topic: ‘Imagine there is £100k-£150k in total available to support curriculum development across the sector, how best should this be targeted and what are the priority areas?’
The Summit report contains reports on the debates, presentations and discussions held at the Summit and a summary of the recommendations made in the final discussion groups for priority activities in HE mathematics curriculum development. As well as being a record of current sector priorities, these recommendations will be considered when planning activities for the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Project.