Posted by: Administrator | 04/11/2009

Alexandre Borovik: The LMS must speak with its own voice

Chris Budd’s post suggests that the LMS lost its independence in the way its policy responses are presented. There is still no explanation to the “Use of Maths A-level” debacle, when a joint LMS-IMA press release of 10 July 2009 prepared by the MPU (Mathematics Promotion Unit) clearly contradicted the position of the LMS Education Committee. It was as though MPU (which is 80% financed and housed by the LMS) operated as a de-facto agency for an outside body, ACME, Advisory Committee On Mathematics Education.

This is part of a more general pattern: over the last few years, a plethora of organisations were created, mostly for lobbying purposes on behalf of mathematics. The LMS financially supports some of them, sometimes to a considerable extent, but appears to have no influence over their output.

As Another Anonymous asked on this Blog in respect of the REF “impact” proposals,

“How about the LMS’s own response as a professional society?”

My answer to Another Anonymous: Council have delegated responsibility to an outside body, CMS (Council for Mathematical Sciences), to provide the final response to the consultation. No time has been set aside for Council to discuss the matter collectively. A committee of two has been constituted to discuss the response with the LMS Research Policy Committee, but as far as is known there is no plan to seek the LMS Council approval before the deadline of December 16.

This is an abnormal situation, and it has to be corrected. While working to speak with others where possible and contributing to preparation of responses of outside bodies and co-operating with them, the LMS should retain its own voice, widely publicise its own policy responses and base them on a wide consultation with the LMS members.

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