Two pieces of news yesterday.
The UK Higher Education Academy is closing 24 subject centres, including the subject centre for Maths, Statistics and OR (MSOR). Not everyone will mourn this, but it provided some alternative to the completely inadequate and largely wrong-headed internal training for new members of staff that my institution puts on. Our internal people have no idea that there is any difference between teaching maths and teaching, say, Victorian literature, and regard their courses as so important that they trump other departmental duties such as examining if there is a clash. I have ranted about this before. MSOR provided subject-specific advice and training, and did much else besides.
The Council for the Mathematical Sciences and the Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences, rather weakly, “note with regret” the decision to close MSOR. They hope that something else can be developed.
Much more serious was the news in the very next email: the world-famous Erwin Schrödinger Institute in Vienna is to close in early 2011, as a result of the termination of its funding by the Austrian Ministry of Science. Anyone who feels strongly about this should contact the minister responsible:
Dr. Beatrix Karl
Federal Minister of Science and Research
Minoritenplatz 5, A-1014 Vienna
Telephone: +43 1 53 120-0