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Annual Report 1998: Undergraduate School 1997-1998


Review by the Director

Role

The Undergraduate School is overseen by a member of the academic staff serving as Director and is managed by a full-time Secretary (Mrs. Veronica Forbes). The School organises the Department’s teaching programme for the Geographical Tripos, including the timetable, coursework, visiting lecturers, and the production of the Course Guide. The teaching programme is discussed by the academic staff at the annual Teaching Meeting, which is chaired by the Director and takes place during the Easter Term. There is also an Undergraduate School Committee which serves as a link between staff and students, and holds meetings every term. The undergraduate representation on this committee now totals five members - three each representing one year group (Part IA, Part IB and Part II), one being the Faculty Board student representative, and one representing the Cambridge University Geographical Society.

Changes in the Tripos

In 1997-98 the reforms agreed in the previous year were put into operation. The changes included a streamlining in the Part II teaching programme and reduction in the number of papers the students are required to take, from five to four. In addition the students now submit a more substantial dissertation in their final year, with a new word limit of 10,000 words. These changes are part of a general shift that has occurred in the Geographical Tripos, towards placing more weight on the submitted course work and therefore rather less weight on the written examination papers. In each part of the Tripos the submitted work now amounts to about one-quarter of the total marks.

Residential field classes

The compulsory Part IB residential field classes took place in the Easter vacation 1998 to the following destinations: Crete, Algarve, Mallorca. Fieldwork projects from these field classes form part of the submitted work for Part IB, and provide training in research techniques which assists students with their final-year dissertation.

The Part II dissertation

The compulsory dissertation is an opportunity for each student to carry out an independent investigation based on skills acquired during the course of the Tripos. The Department imposes very little constraint on either the topic chosen or the location of the study, other than restrictions that are felt to be desirable on grounds of feasibility, logistics, and questions of safety. Despite being unsupervised, the standard of achievement is generally very high, and this is reflected in prizes awarded by outside bodies. Deborah Johnson (Sidney Sussex) was joint winner of the Royal Geographical Society’s Alfred Steers Dissertation Prize for a dissertation in 1997 The Norwegian Open Air Folk Museum and its Role in the Preservation and Representation of Past Scandinavian Cultures. Nicola James (St John’s) was awarded the Historical Geography Research Group dissertation prize for 1998 for her dissertation Haussmannisation and Urban Aesthetics: the Contribution of the Impressionists to an Interpretation of the Public Spaces of Paris, 1853-1880.

Tripos results

In the 1998 Tripos examination there was overall a higher proportion of Firsts than in previous years, and there were no Thirds In all three Parts of the Tripos women gained proportionately fewer Lower Seconds than men, and also proportionately fewer Firsts, although at Part II level in particular the differences in performances between men and women were not substantial. The results are summarised in the attached Table.

Dr Tim Bayliss-Smith
Director, Undergraduate School 1997-98

Geographical Tripos Statistics 1997-98

Distribution of Tripos Results by Class


1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1
6
7.7%
6
7%
5
5%
3
3%
5
5%
2.1
51
65.4%
48
57%
53
58%
56
58%
51
55%
2.2
21
26.9%
30
36%
34
37%
36
37%
34
37%
3
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
2
2%
2
2%
Ordinary
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
Total
78

84

92

97

92

Part IB


1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1
10
12%
10
11%
4
4%
5
6%
7
9%
2.1
59
70.2%
57
63%
60
61%
59
68%
50
61%
2.2
15
17.8%
21
23%
31
32%
23
26%
23
28%
3
0
0%
2
2%
3
3%
0
0%
2
2%
Ordinary
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
Total
84

90

98

87

82

Part II


1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1
20
22%
15
15%
12
14%
11
13%
11
10%
2.1
50
55%
64
63%
57
65%
56
68%
71
68%
2.2
20
22%
20
20%
16
18%
16
19%
23
22%
3
0
0%
2
2%
3
3%
0
0%
0
0%
Ordinary
1
1%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
0%
Total
91

101

88

83

105

Gender Breakdown of Tripos Results 1998

Gender
1
2.1
2.2
3
Ordinary

PART IA

Female [50]
2
4%
35
70%
13
26%
0
0%
0
0%
Male [28]
4
14.3%
16
57.1%
8
28.6%
0
0%
0
0%
Total [78]
6

51

21

0

0
0%

PART IB

Female [45]
4
9%
34
75.5%
7
15.5%
0
0%
0
0%
Male [38]
6
15.8%
25
65.8%
7
18.4%
0
0%
0
0%
Total [83]
10

59

14

0

0
0%

PART II

Female [47]
9
19.2%
30
63.8%
8
17%
0
0%
0
0%
Male [44]
11
25%
20
45.5%
12
27.3%
0
0%
1
2.2%
Total [91]
20

50

20

0

1