Minutes of the LAGB AGM, held at the University of Manchester, 9 April 1999. 1. Apologies were received from the Meetings Secretary, Marjolein Groefsema. 2. President's Report. Copies had been made available in advance. RH took the meeting through the report point by point, and invited questions and comments. Point 3: it was proposed that CUP should be asked to revise the draft poster to make LAGB more prominent. Point 5: RH welcomed Chris Godwin, the recently appointed ESRC linguistics representative within MPLE, stressing how pleased the LAGB is to have a linguist representing the discipline. Point 5.2: the AGM supported the committee's decision to write a further letter pursuing the question of the lack of linguistics expertise on the ESRC Research Grants Board. Point 6.1: Grev Corbett was invited to speak, as the new chair of the linguistics panel for the 2001 RAE. He welcomed the list of agreed nominations submitted by the learned societies in linguistics, and noted that the panel was now being selected. However, there were various constraints to be borne in mind: for instance, there are issues of institutional coverage; ideally, each panel member should cover more than one area within linguistics; and different funding councils have an interest in panel composition. The panel should be announced this month, and will then suggest and publish its proposed criteria and working methods, which will be circulated to the learned societies for comments and consultation over the summer. Point 9: Paul Rowlett reported on the recent QAA meeting which he had attended as LAGB representative. It would appear that a revised TQA exercise will take place over the next 6 years, with Linguistics and Language and Related Study scheduled for review in the second half of this period. The exercise is likely to be based on discipline-specific benchmarking documents, although their composition, and the issue of when departments will be invited to submit programme statements, and what form these should take, is still under consideration. 3. Reports by other committee members. a. Membership Secretary: - Kersti Borjars reported that we currently have 527 members, a figure which is artificially low for this time of year because the list was updated late to take account of the revised JL costs recently agreed with CUP. This figure therefore does not seem to indicate a downturn. b. Assistant Secretary: - April McMahon encouraged members to inform their graduate students of the bursary scheme for conference attendance. Students in receipt of a normal grant (or unsalaried members) who have been LAGB members for at least 6 months at the date of the relevant LAGB meeting, and who are giving a paper, should receive half the cost of the whole conference package (about 55 pounds for the last two meetings) plus their travel costs within the UK. Students or unsalaried members wishing to attend but not giving a paper will be eligible for a bursary of half the conference package only, without travel costs, funds permitting: there is a maximum of 10 bursaries per meeting. Details on application for bursaries appear in each first circular. c. Treasurer: - Paul Rowlett reported that he had met with representatives of CUP and the editors of JL in Salford in late 1998. CUP were concerned about the number of JL subscriptions, and agreed to offer a half-price subscription rate for students. The LAGB has matched this reduction so that student membership with JL is now available for 20 pounds. CUP may also consider reducing the 31 pound charge for subscribing members and if so, this reduction will be passed on to members. Paul Rowlett also circulated last year's accounts, which showed a profit of 766.33 pounds. Although this was substantially reduced when compared to the previous year's profit, there were several reasons for this. First, the association has awarded 7 grants to members organising conferences, a total of 2100 pounds. Second, the monies from the Hertfordshire meeting, which were due last year, actually arrived the year before, artificially inflating that figure and deflating last year's. Since the association is nonetheless still in profit, it is not proposed to raise the subscription rate at this point. 3. Membership Secretary The President thanked Kersti Borjars, the retiring Membership Secretary, very warmly for her work and efficiency. He reported that David Willis had been nominated for the post, and declared that, since there had been no further nominations, David Willis was duly elected. 4. Abstracts for papers The President proposed that abstracts for papers could be considered by the committee not only for the next meeting but also for the one following. This might help overseas applicants who required funding e.g. from their home institution, and who currently encountered problems in arranging the necessary funding in the time between notification of acceptance of their abstract and the meeting itself. Further circulars would give details of this option, and applicants would be asked to make clear which conference their abstract was intended for. It was agreed to adopt this system for a trial period and report back to a future meeting. 5. Invited Speakers September 1999, York Bernard Comrie April 2000, UCL Mark Steedman Several nominations had been received for the invited speaker for the September 2000 meeting at Durham. The names of Geoff Pullum and Peter Sells had been carried over from a previous meeting (although the committee proposed not to continue the practice of carrying names forward in future; this was agreed). Further nominations had been received for Gert Webelhuth and William Labov. After a vote, it was agreed that Peter Sells should be invited to speak at Durham; if he was unable to accept, he should be invited for April 2001, and Geoff Pullum approached for the Durham meeting. Diane Nelson confirmed that she would be local organiser for the April 2001 meeting at Leeds. Members were also asked to bear in mind that the September 2001 meeting, at Reading, would be adjacent to the BAAL meeting, so that nominations for speakers might take that into account. 6. Future Language Tutorials September 1999, York Martin Haspelmath (Lesgian) April 2000, UCL Gillian Ramchand (Bengali) Nominations were sought for the language tutorial at Durham in September 2000. The committee nominated Guy Deutscher (Akkadian) and Victoria Rose'n (Vietnamese). Further nominations were received for Janet Watson (Arabic) and Francis Katamba (Luganda). After a vote, it was agreed to invite Guy Deutscher to give the language tutorial at Durham, and Victoria Rose'n for Spring 2001. 7. Proposed changes to the format of meeting. Ruth Kempson had suggested that three changes should be considered: a. publish proceedings of meeting b. hold only one meeting per year c. reduce the number of parallel sessions. The membership were asked to consider these issues through the LAGB list, and at the AGM. There was no support for a. or b., and it was agreed on c. that the current policy should be retained: parallel sessions should be reduced where the standard of abstracts received justifies it. Grev Corbett suggested that organisers of specialist conferences should be encouraged to hold these immediately before or after LAGB meetings, and it was agreed that larger conference grants might be awarded in such cases. The committee also proposed that suggestions for themed sessions within meetings should be encouraged. Where such a suggestion was received, it would be announced in the first circular. Abstracts could then be marked as for the general or themed session, and those for the themed session would be evaluated in the normal way, but would also be considered by the member originally proposing that themed session. It was also agreed that circulars should no longer contain particular encouragement to new institutions or those with newly established linguistics programmes to offer to host meetings, to allow alternation where possible between meetings at older and newer institutions. 8. AOB There was no other business. April McMahon Assistant Secretary 10 May 1999 April McMahon Department of Linguistics / Selwyn College University of Cambridge Cambridge, CB3 9DA, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1223 335830 Fax: +44 (0) 1223 335837 ============================== President's report, for LAGB AGM, 9/4/99 1. AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) Three committee members will be attending a symposium on 16/4 where AHRB wants to consult us about its plans for research funding in the area of Modern Languages and Linguistics. 2. ALSISS (Association for Learned Societies in the Social Sciences) I have attended various meetings which discussed plans for the new Academy for the Social Sciences. We decided not to nominate anyone as Academician. The Academy is to be launched in November. 3. CUP (Cambridge University Press) We have worked with CUP to design a CUP/LAGB poster for Linguistics, first proposed by Doug Arnold some years ago. A colour proof will be on display at the conference, and suggestions for (minor!) improvements will be welcome. 4. DfEE (Department for Education and Employment) I wrote to John Stannard, who is in charge of the NLS (National Literacy Strategy , aka the Literacy Hour, which is bringing grammar, and more, into all primary schools). My letter protested about the NLS glossary of technical terms, following a letter last year from David Denison which led nowhere. The result is a meeting on 26/4 with John Stannard and an officer of DfEE; I have been invited to bring along two colleagues from the LAGB. 5. ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) 5.1. I have had some email contact with the new ESRC officer responsible for linguistics in their MPLE (Management, Psychology, Linguistics, Education) team. His name is Chris Godwin, and his academic background is in linguistics (and Chinese), which is very good news (after our protests in previous years about the lack of linguistics expertise in MPLE). He hopes to attend the Manchester meeting and will be available for consultation. 5.2. I have protested (to Chris Caswill, Director of Research) about the lack of a linguist on the Research Grants Board since the end of Grev Corbett's term of office. His reply insists that there is one person (not two as reported earlier) who covers linguistics, even though we don't recognise that person as a linguist. In compensation he stresses: a. the relative success of linguistics applications, b. the relative size of the Research College for Linguistics, which will soon number 10. (This is a panel which advises on linguistics applications.) c. the situation will be reconsidere at the annual review in June. I haven't yet reacted to his reply (beyond polite acknowledgement); comments welcome. 5.3. We plan to update and revise our list of experts for ESRC. This will be done confidentially by the committee, but we welcome suggestions. 6. HEFC (Higher Education Funding Councils) 6.1. RAE: The secretary and I took part in a meeting of all the learned societies for linguistics. It was chaired by John Laver, as chair of the British Academy section for Linguistics. We agreed a list of 20 names with BAAP, PhilSoc and BAAL, from whom 10 were to be chosen as the new panel for linguistics in the RAE 2001 exercise. The chair of the new panel is Grev Corbett. We also nominated two names for the panel's list of International Corresponding Panel. 6.2. Minority languages. I also took part in a meeting chaired by John Laver, where the Academy, LAGB and PhilSoc expressed concern to Bahram Bekhradnia (HEFCE Director of Policy) about the dwindling UK resources for research and teaching in minority languages. We asked for HEFCE to intervene, but they (eventually) refused. They couldn't see how to decide which languages should be protected, and have a policy of non-intervention in academic matters. 6.3. Subject centres. HEFCE are providing significant sums of money for `Subject Centres' which will develop new and better ways of teaching at university, with each centre responsible for one broad range of subjects. (The Subject Centres will replace the CTI and LTSN centres which were specifically for developing the use of computers and technology in teaching.) The HEFCE money is on offer, but potential centres have to bid for it. In a preliminary paper it was suggested that Linguistics should be combined with computer science, but Mike Fraser (Oxford Univ computing services) contacted me with the suggestion that (as part of a more general response that he was preparing) we should push for linguistics to be included with modern languages. After consulting the committee I agreed, and this is now the official grouping (to which Area Studies has been added). It seems likely that this Subject Centre could get as much as 250,000 pounds per annum. More recently I have been approached by Prof Richard Towell, chair of UCML (Universities Council for Modern Languages), about a bid that UCML are coordinating to locate a centre for Modern Languages and Linguistics at CILT (Centre for Information on Language Teaching, in London) and Hull (where the relevant CTI has been located). I have attended one meeting about this proposal, and there may be another meeting before the proposal is submitted. My view was that we should support this bid - after all, there is no alternative! 7. HESA (Higher Education Statistical Agency) Some interesting figures from HESA show that Linguistics is equal to French in terms of total staff (888 vs 883), and way ahead of other languages (e.g. German 478); but we have half the total number of students (3835, vs French 7517, German 2988), especially among undergraduates (2028, vs French 6964, German 2632). We have far more postgrads than anyone (1807, vs French 553, German 356). 8. JL (Journal of Linguistics) We agreed that Mamoru Saito should be added to the editorial board, and to a change in the job title of Ewa Jaworska (Editorial Assistant becomes Managing Editor). 9. QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) The treasurer attended a meeting run by QAA to present their plans for quality assurance in HE. The main issue was benchmarking, where progress so far is mixed. QAA seems to intend to pursue this idea. 10. Nuffield Languages Inquiry After consulting members I made a submission on behalf of the LAGB, but apart from an acknowledgement I have heard no more. The Inquiry concerns our national (lack of) FL skills. Our submission stressed the need for coordination of FL and English teaching. I gather the Inquiry is likely to recommend Language Awareness teaching at primary school in its final report, due at the end of 1999. 11. RSLP (Research Support Library Programme) RSLP is an initiative funded by HEFC, with a consultation directed by Ronald Milne (in Edinburgh). He asked me for our views about library provision in Linguistics, which I sent him (after consultation). We have a diversity of views about how provision could be improved. Richard (= Dick) Hudson Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. +44(0)171 419 3152; fax +44(0)171 383 4108; http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/home.htm