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1. In the Easter Term 1996 the General Board informed the University that, after consultation with the Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos and other bodies concerned, they had appointed a Committee to carry out a review of the Natural Sciences Tripos (Reporter, 1995-96, p. 733). The Review Committee reported to the Board towards the end of the Michaelmas Term 1997. After giving preliminary consideration to the Report, the Board agreed to refer it to Faculty Boards, Councils of the Schools, and other authorities directly concerned, together with the Admissions Forum, the Senior Tutors' Committee, the Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos, and Cambridge University Students Union. In view of the general importance of a number of the issues raised, the Report was also published in the Reporter for the information of the University (Reporter, 1997-98, p. 282), with an invitation for individuals to submit comments.
2. During the Easter Term 1998, the General Board resumed consideration of the Report in the light of the comments received. The Board noted that there was considerable support for a number of the Review Committee's recommendations, but that the responses raised a number of issues which would require detailed consideration. Given the nature of some of the points raised, the Board were of the view that it would not be appropriate for them to seek to resolve these issues themselves; they agreed instead that their role should be to consider what arrangements needed to be introduced to take forward the Review Committee's recommendations as expeditiously as possible, having regard to the comments received.
3. The Board noted that the Review Committee had proposed a new management structure for the Natural Sciences Tripos in the form of (i) a Strategic Committee, whose duty would be to maintain a strategic oversight of the Tripos and to advise the General Board as necessary, and (ii) a Management Committee, which would have responsibility for the detailed administration of the Tripos. While generally sympathetic to the view that it is not desirable to proliferate committees, the Board are satisfied that the future arrangements for the administration of the Natural Sciences Tripos will be best served by establishing a structure based closely on the model proposed by the Review Committee. As a first step in the process of creating such a structure the Board now propose the establishment of a Strategic Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos.
4. In addition to the permanent role envisaged for the Strategic Committee, the Board believe that the Committee would have an important initial task in addressing points raised in the responses to the Report of the Review Committee, in identifying unresolved issues, in consulting Faculty Boards and Departments as appropriate, and in bringing forward as soon as possible firm and specific proposals for changes in the Tripos in general accordance with the conclusions of the Review Committee. These proposals would be concerned with the overall structure of the Tripos, not with detailed arrangements for individual subjects. The General Board hope that, if the recommendations of the present Report are approved by the University early in the academical year 1998-99, the Strategic Committee will be able to begin their work before the end of the Michaelmas Term 1998, with a view to submitting to the Board proposals on at least some matters before the end of the Lent Term 1999. While this timetable may appear optimistic the Board believe that it is not unrealistic, given that the framework for change has been created by the Review Committee.
5. The Board are also of the view that one of the immediate responsibilities of the Strategic Committee will be to give detailed attention to the establishment of a new Management Committee along the lines proposed by the Review Committee, taking into account comments made by Faculty Boards and other authorities. Until a new Management Committee is constituted the present Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos will continue to operate. It is envisaged that the establishment of a new Management Committee and the discontinuation of the existing Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos will be the subject of a further Report to the University by the Board in the course of the academical year 1998-99.
6. The Board have given careful consideration to the constitution and the terms of reference of the Strategic Committee. They have concluded that the composition of the Committee should be broadly based on the recommendation contained in paragraph 8.6 of the Review Committee's Report, but with certain refinements in the light of comments received. The Board are firmly of the view that, because of the continuing importance of the Committee's role in maintaining a strategic oversight of the Tripos, it is essential that the Committee should be composed of persons of seniority who are representative of institutions directly concerned with the Tripos, that it should be chaired by the Vice-Chancellor or a deputy, and that the members should be appointed by the Board on the nomination of the Councils of the Schools of the Biological Sciences, the Physical Sciences, and Technology. In addition, the Board will appoint one member on their own nomination in order to provide some flexibility, which might, for example, be applied to ensure appropriate representation for certain areas of study not otherwise represented. Since it is expected that, after the initial period of their work, the Strategic Committee will not need to meet frequently, the Board do not consider it appropriate to include a student member on the Strategic Committee. However, student views will certainly be obtained by consultation, and the Board have no doubt that the new Management Committee, when constituted, should include provision for student members.
7. The Board propose that, in addition to the initial tasks described in paragraphs 4 and 5 above, the terms of reference relating to the continuing duties of the Strategic Committee should be based closely on those set out in paragraph 8.7 of the Review Committee's Report.
8. The General Board accordingly recommend:
I. That, with effect from 1 November 1998, a Strategic Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos be established, to be governed by the regulations set out in the Annex to this Report.
II. That, notwithstanding the provisions of proposed Regulation 3 for the Strategic Committee, the General Board be authorized to appoint members of the Committee in classes (b) and (c) to serve from 1 November 1998, as follows:
|(i)||to serve until 31 December 2000, two members on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences, two on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Physical Sciences, and one on the nomination of the General Board;|
|(ii)||to serve until 31 December 2002, two members on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences, two on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Physical Sciences, and one on the nomination of the Council of the School of Technology.|
22 July 1998
|ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor||N. J. MACKINTOSH||ADRIAN POOLE|
|JOHN E. CARROLL||D. H. MELLOR||KATE PRETTY|
|D. A. GOOD||A. C. MINSON||N. O. WEISS|
|JOHN A. LEAKE||MICHAEL PEPPER|
STRATEGIC COMMITTEE FOR THE NATURAL SCIENCES TRIPOS
1. There shall be a Strategic Committee for the Natural Sciences Tripos, which shall exercise a general oversight over the Natural Sciences Tripos.
2. The Strategic Committee shall consist of:
|(a)||the Vice-Chancellor, or a duly appointed deputy, as Chairman;|
|(b)||nine persons appointed by the General Board, four on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences, four on the nomination of the Council of the School of the Physical Sciences, and one on the nomination of the Council of the School of Technology;|
|(c)||one person appointed by the General Board.|
3. Members in classes (b) and (c) shall be appointed in the Michaelmas Term to serve for four years from 1 January following their appointment.
4. The Secretary of the Strategic Committee shall be the Secretary General of the Faculties or an Assistant Registrary or an Administrative Officer, as the General Board may decide.
5. The Committee shall meet at least once a year. It shall be the duty of the Committee:
|(a)||to keep under review the structure and the philosophy of the Natural Sciences Tripos, in the light of developments in the scientific world and other external changes that may affect the teaching of scientific subjects;|
|(b)||to keep under review the balance of the subjects covered by the Tripos and the numbers of students reading those subjects;|
|(c)||to conduct periodic reviews of the Tripos, covering such matters as in the Committee's view require consideration;|
|(d)||to consider any matters relating to the Tripos which may be referred to them by the General Board or by any of the Faculty Boards or other authorities concerned with the Tripos;|
|(e)||to advise the General Board on any matters arising under sub-paragraphs (a)-(d) on which they think the Board ought to be informed.|
6. The Strategic Committee shall have the right of reporting to the University.
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