Annex B
LMS Policy on Mathematics in Universities
1. Mathematics is a core subject in universities
(and indeed in schools); it provides a language and an underlying
structure for studies in all the sciences, in engineering, finance,
economics, management and in education studies.
2. By their very nature, all these subjects
develop; they are not static. The same holds good for mathematics,
which also is dynamic and not static. New mathematics is frequently
required by other disciplines, and indeed other subjects often
provide a stimulus for new mathematics, just as mathematics can
and does stimulate developments in the sciences and elsewhere.
3. There is a pressing (and recognised)
national need for graduates in mathematics and for graduates with
joint degrees involving mathematics, such as Mathematics with
Computer Science or with Management Science. Such graduates are
needed in schools, industry, the City, government service and
elsewhere, and of course, within Universities themselves.
4. For the reasons indicated above, it is
important that members of University departments of all kinds
should have ready access to active professional mathematicians.
5. Teaching of mathematical subjects is
intrinsically a personintensive activity; students must come
to terms with intellectually demanding concepts and the subject
is sequential, requiring good mastery at each stage. This requires
high levels of oneonone contact with active professional mathematicians.
6. Mathematics is often, even usually, a
component of study for a degree in many other fields, including
for example, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Management Science
and others. Such teaching of mathematics is often described as
"Service Teaching". It is essential that such courses
should be taught by those who are professional mathematicians
and who have (or are prepared to acquire) an empathy with the
other discipline, whether it be biology, chemistry, Equally essential
is that there should be close, friendly relations between the
mathematicians (usually the Mathematics Department) and the "receiving"
department, so that there is real agreement on both the mathematical
needs and the mode of teaching. In short, the students have to
be motivated as to the need for certain types of mathematics;
some students are happy with a study of mathematics "for
its own sake", but the majority are not and require motivation.
The needs of the students have to be paramount.
The guiding principle for successful "Service
Teaching" must be an academic one, with a firm adherence
to the good of the students' education. A resort to financial
considerations (as implied sometimes by a department taking on
its own mathematics teaching) is usually not in the best interests
of the students and is therefore unacceptable.
7. The changing patterns of preuniversity
preparation and the Government's wish to broaden access to higher
education will require greater, not less, time to be devoted to
the transitional period. Broadening access also requires potential
students to have appropriate access to courses. This objective
cannot be achieved if regions of the UK develop in which students
(such as those unable to study far from home, mature students
or those from less traditional backgrounds) have no local access
to mathematics at higher education level.
8. For the reasons given above, the London
Mathematical Society takes the view that every University should
have a sound and visible core of researchactive mathematicians.
Without such a core a University is incomplete.
Adopted by Council, January 2004
