December 2011 Webletter

Notes from the Chair

Welcome to the first Webletter from CPHC Committee, we hope you find it useful and of interest and we will be interested to hear your comments on the format in the CPHC mailing list. This has been created in response to requests from Members for more information on the activities of the Committee during the year, rather than just the updates that are provided annually at Conference. We consulted with members on the best mechanism for the provision of this additional information, and we received, not unexpectedly, a wide range of responses varying from plain text in ASCII format to the use of social networking technology. It became clear that for many members the use of the CPHC mailing list should be the primary mechanism for information, while others find the mailing list less useful. So in the end we have opted for this Webletter format, notified to the mailing list and just a click away, but also available to members by visiting the CPHC website. We intend to update the Webletter after each Committee meeting, with the most interesting information discussed at that meeting, and progress on the ongoing activities of the Committee, and an archive of the Webletters will be maintained on the CPHC website so members can catch up at any time.

News and Events

Consultations and Responses

Carsten Maple will identify any consultations and responses we are actively engaged in, in the Information Group Update, but I just wanted to explain the protocol we currently apply to coordinate with BCS and UKCRC on consultations and responses. Clearly, there are some consultations where we feel that CPHC is the relevant body to make a response, and in those circumstances we will notify BCS and UKCRC that we intend to do so, and Information Group will develop a response, in consultation with members, and the Committee will sign it off.

Further information

International Activities

As discussed at last year’s conference, Liz Bacon and I have been working on the development of a European version of CPHC, to enable greater coordination of our activities and cooperation with our European neighbours. This has received positive support from a number of existing groups across Europe, and from a number of institutions in countries where there are no such bodies. However, we have also had interest from well-known European countries like Australia and Kazhakstan! As a result, we have extended the remit of this work to be more international in scope, and the International Forum for Heads of Informatics and Computing (IFHIC) is currently being formed, with CPHC as the founder member. A website is under development, and more information will follow as we get this up and running.

Requests for Information and Support

There are frequent requests that come to the Committee for information and support from CPHC members, we filter out those that can be dealt with by the Committee, but we will use this section of the Chair’s Report to pass on those that we would request members to respond.

Further information

Research Activities

As members will be aware, CPHC have commissioned and carried out a range of relevant research each year, ranging from simple analyses of recruitment, graduation and employment statistics, through to more detailed studies on students, and on the decline in Computing numbers, all reported on the website and at Conference.

Further information

Conference, 10th – 11th April 2012

This year, conference will be held at York alongside the BCS Academy of Computing Symposium, on Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th April. Details on the conference will appear shortly on the website, and I would encourage as many as possible of you to attend, especially since this is such a significant year in HE. We will, as always, have reports from the major funding bodies and government agencies, and we will be discussing strategy to address some of the potential threats to our subject as a result of the new funding models and governance arrangements. The conference will, as usual, run for one full day from lunchtime to lunchtime, and we will attempt to pack it as full of content as we can. If you have any requests for particular sessions or information you would wish to see at conference, please email me at

Regional News


The Scottish Heads of Computing group has merged with the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance research pool. SICSA is a collaboration of Scottish Universities around Informatics and Computer Science research. There is a new education committee, contacts list and link to education from the website.

Exemplification Project:
Material is being developed for the new Curriculum for Excellence computing award for delivery in schools. The project will focus on the first three years of secondary school (S1,S2 & S3). Scotland’s colleges are developing material for S4 onwards.

Information Group

Information Group is driving forward with an initiative to provide members with new subject-specific research to help them develop strategies for implementation at a local level. It is expected that the information will also assist CPHC in lobbying activities. A working group has been established to organise research into areas that will help members in devising strategy to ensure strength of departments in the turbulent times ahead.


The LDG will run a one-day event to examine the NSS results for Computing (by subject and institution), to share experience and approaches, and to discuss possible alternatives. This will take place on 13th January 2012 in London, at Friends Meeting House on Euston Road. This is for those with strategic responsibility for teaching and learning, and the day will be conducted under the Chatham House Rule. Places are restricted to one per department.

In February, the LDG will conduct a “mapping” survey, to elicit and document the extent and type of enterprise/entrepreurship/digital innovation actvity within Computing curricula in the UK.

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