Department of Film and Television Studies PG SSLC MINUTES 1 pm, 10

Department of Film and Television Studies
1 pm, 10th June 2015, A1.24
Chair: Barbara Ottmann
Minutes: Zoë Shacklock
Present: Alastair Phillips (AP), Barbara Ottmann (BO), Catherine Lester (CL), Elliot Nosworthy
(EN), James Taylor (JT), Stephen Gundle (SG), Zoë Shacklock (ZS).
Apologies: Richard Perkins, Ross Pearce
1. Minutes of Last Meeting
a) In relation to 3a), SG announces that the lunch for the MA cohort will be known as the ‘MA
Summer Lunch’. ZS and Claire Jesson will be organising the event.
b) In relation to 1d), the group agrees that the Millburn House Symposium was a success. JT
notes that the committee is currently collecting feedback from attendees on how the
conversation between the various Millburn departments might continue. CL suggests that
the Millburn House seminars need to be more widely promoted across the university. BO
draws attention to a joint Millburn SSLC meeting running concurrently with this meeting,
which plans to meet once a term in the coming academic year. SG is meeting with the other
Millburn House departments to discuss the Symposium and other interdisciplinary events,
such as the potential return of the Millburn Reception series. ZS explains that Cultural
Policy was not well represented at the Symposium, and asks if SG can gauge their interest.
SG asks if there is a network: BO and JT explain that there is interest from attendees, but
nothing official at present.
c) In relation to 4a), AP clarifies the teaching appointments: Ivan Girina will be teaching TOMI
in the Autumn and Karl Schoonover in the Spring; Louis Bayman’s position is currently
being advertised, and should be appointed in July. AP will assign teaching assistant roles
shortly and circulate this information to staff and students.
d) In relation to 4b), AP notes that TeachHigher has been officially disbanded. The university
remains committed to improving the quality of the teaching experience, and will be
undertaking different trial schemes with departments across the university, but Film and
Television is not part of this scheme. He states that the situation will need to be carefully
monitored to ensure that the department’s teaching goals are protected – that conditions
aren’t downgraded under the guise of ‘fairness’.
On behalf of the PG community, CL expresses gratitude for the department’s decision to
vote against the scheme, and asks if the reasoning behind this decision can be outlined. AP
explains the department’s position: decisions about teaching allocations should remain
within the department, because staff best understand the needs and requirements of the
their own students and colleagues. AP stresses that the PG community should always feel
free to raise any concerns about teaching.
BO reports on the follow up TeachHigher meeting held on the 4th of June, which focused on
encouraging conversations within departments about teaching conditions. BO asks
whether central University administration has contacted the department about
TeachHigher: AP confirms that it has not beyond the official press release. JT asks about the
timeline for teaching reform: AP reiterates that he knows little beyond the Insite press
release, which suggests a year’s worth of trial schemes.
e) With regard to 4c), AP seeks feedback on the definition of teaching duties. AP notes that
teaching in Film and Television has always referred to contact time and additional duties
(preparation, marking, office hours), and the pay rates include all of these duties. He states
that if the teaching trial schemes supported a more itemised form of renumeration, then
the department would respond in like, stressing that the department would not abide by
tradition solely for tradition’s sake. CL is still concerned that pay rates do not properly
reflect the high time commitment of the various additional duties. AP asks whether
guidelines were circulated for time investment in additional duties; CL confirms that in her
personal experience, there were no guidelines. AP will follow up with Helen Wheatley
about establishing such a framework. JT adds that while marking and preparation vary
between individuals, ‘additional duties’ also include more standardised time commitments,
such as attending lectures and screenings, and meetings with module leaders. AP reiterates
that the current pay system does seek to recognise the scale of these commitments, but he
is aware that it is demanding. He will consult with other Heads of Departments on their
practice. ZS raises Charlotte Stevens’ proposal to include teaching guidelines and
expectations in the PG Handbook; AP agrees that this is necessary, and will follow up.
f) In relation to 1a) and 1b), CL asks for a progress report. BO reports on 1b), the ongoing
locker situation: Tracey has contacted Estates to get replacement keys, but the problem will
not be resolved until the summer. As for 1a), BO will check the operational and software
status of each of the computers in A1.07, including the computers in the PG offices. AP will
collect the list and contact IT, but queries how regularly the computers are used and by
which students. ZS confirms that students beyond the Film and Television department use
the computers in the space. As an issue affecting the shared space, SG will raise the matter
in his meeting with the other Millburn House departments.
g) In relation to 1e), ZS wants the record to state that James MacDowell is doing an excellent
job at running the Twitter account. JT asks about the Twitter policy and the process for
contributing to the account. AP will ensure these are circulated.
2. Matters Arising
3. MA Matters
4. PhD Matters
a) JT seeks clarification on the policies surrounding MIRC, in terms of accessing the catalogue,
and loan periods and restrictions. SG believes that this was formalised and that there
should be an official document detailing the MIRC policy. CL reads from the email she was
initially sent on the topic, which was relatively vague. AP asks whether the concern is with
the system’s fairness and function, or the communication. JT confirms it is the latter, and
the issue is establishing clearer and more consistent guidelines for use. ZS adds that MIRC
was not part of the 2014 orientation for first year students, and suggests that it should be
included. AP stresses that the system is about self-responsibility, and that it is a waste of
time to police it. However, he notes that he is pleased to see it being valued by the
postgraduate community. SG and AP will consult with Adam Gallimore on what guidelines
should be added to the handbook.
b) SG outlines a proposal from Karl Schoonover to offer advice to PhD students on the
academic job market. This will take the form of a yearly workshop, probably in the spring
term, and will involve advice on CVs and letters of application, mock interviews, and other
related information. BO, JT, CL and ZS are unanimous in their praise for this proposal.
c) SG will be meeting with Zara Hooley from CADRE, and seeks feedback on how the institute
has operated this year. JT describes the relationship between Arts and CADRE as very
positive and productive, noting the Millburn House Symposium would not have taken place
without he support of CADRE. However, he notes that the publicity surrounding the
funding and training opportunities could be improved. ZS echoes this point, but clarifies
that the centre has been consistently excellent when she has made use of it. AP suggests
including CADRE in the induction for PhD students.
5. Postdoc Matters
6. PG Teaching Duties
AP states that these have been sufficiently covered in this meeting – see 1c) and 1d).
7. Library Matters
None – apologies from Richard Perkins, who is attending the concurrent joint Millburn House
8. Other Business
a) BO: The Students’ Union has published a code of conduct for SSLCs, which was circulated to
her, but is also accessible on the SU website. She states that the department has been
meeting most of these guidelines already, with the exception of uploading the minutes to
the Students’ Union portal page. She has directed them to the departmental website –
where the minutes are accessible – but the union representative is yet to reply. She notes
that there is no distinction in the guidelines between PG and UG SSLCs. SG asks for this
document to be circulated to him.
Close: 2:05 pm.