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Do NOT Destroy the CISE Department
  • Petitioned Dean Abernathy, College of Engineering, University of Florida

This petition was delivered to:

Dean Abernathy, College of Engineering, University of Florida

Do NOT Destroy the CISE Department

    1. Petition by

      Save UF CISE


Today Dean Abernathy has proposed eliminating all graduate and research activity from the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, the flagship research university in the state. The department currently has over 610 bachelor students, 400 masters students,130 PhD students, and 32 tenure track faculty.

The CISE has a strong international research reputation and CISE faculty are actively engaged in funded disciplinary and interdisciplinary research programs as befits the flagship research university of the state.  CISE has 2 ACM, 4 IEEE, and 2 AAAS Fellows and 12 of its young faculty have won NSF Career Awards (CISE has 22% of all NSF CAREER awardees  in UF's  College of Engineering with about 13% of the faculty). 

Dean Abernathy’s justification of her proposal has been feeble at best. She has not addressed impact to students and faculty or middle and long-term revenue loss to the University, Gainesville, and Florida, due to attrition of faculty and decline in enrollment. The Dean jumpstarted her plan by giving notice to three CISE staff members within a few hours. If this was really just a proposal, why has she already started implementing it?


--- CISE brings in 17% of the College of Engineering’s revenue at only 10% of the college’s cost. Yet, the CISE department is the only engineering department singled out for cuts, which will irrevocably destroy our department.

--- CISE's 20% cut (about $1.4 million) would amount to less than 2% of the college of engineering's total budget, if spread across the board.


--- The software industry is currently experiencing massive growth, which makes
these proposed cuts all the more damaging, irrational,and reckless.

--- The fertile environment for software tech companies in Gainesville and Florida as a whole will be severely damaged.


--- CISE, the only department at UF engaged in Computer Software research, will become a teaching only department, and inevitably, its ranking, reputation and enrollment will plummet. The department currently has over 610 bachelor students, 400 masters students, 130 PhD students, and 32 tenure track faculty.


--- All CISE students in the Computer Engineering program, including all graduate students, expect to get a Software degree. Dean Abernathy's proposal will transfer these students to a hardware department (ECE). This will damage the value of their degree and employability. Software positions have a projected growth rate of 30%, 3 times the engineering average. Computer hardware positions has a projected growth rate of 9%, less than the engineering average of 11% (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

--- The CISE brand that students rely on will be damaged irreversibly because of its new status as a teaching-only department. Research will disappear from the CISE department. The value of all degrees given by the CISE department, including those already given, will be impacted irredeemably.

--- Students supported via a TA position will lose their support.


--- PhD advisors selected by the Dean will be moved to one of three unrelated departments (BME, ISE, ECE) or will be left in CISE as a teaching-only faculty member. In the worst case, they will leave the university.

THE ENTIRE FACULTY of the CISE department is united in opposition to this decimation.

Department Chair Gerhard Ritter blasted Dean Abernathy’s proposal today when speaking to the Gainesville Sun.


--- Sign this petition to indicate your support for the department in its struggle against these proposed cuts. You are encouraged to include your name and association in your signature.

Website: http://saveufcise.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/10/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SaveUFCISE
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/385735158126550/?notif_t=group_r2j

Recent signatures


    1. Support CISE Autonomy at UF | We need your support urgently.

      Save UF CISE
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for your support of Save UF CISE. We would appreciate your continued involvement and your prompt action: please pledge your financial support for an autonomous College of Computing at UF.
      Please visit our pledge site at:
      Thanks again!

    2. Reached 8,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • John Hopkins ELLICOTT CITY, MD
      • over 2 years ago

      Um, this is some kind of joke, right? If not, I'll give money to help make the boogeymen go away. But damage has already been done... CISE won''t be free under the current regime, and who wants to wait until they're gone? The dept. would probably languish in the meantime. Go independent now.

    • Douglas Denault POTOMAC, MD
      • over 2 years ago

      BS Mathematics 1963. This is absurd. I probably will not pledge money, what I will do is withdraw all financial support from UF. I can not tell if this is personal, between Eng and CS. What it is is stupid. If this is the level of of thinking in the engineering dept, I have a different idea of what to cut. I would certainly not want to drive over any bridges designed by the product of such "thinking"

    • Eric Chavez SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Wow really stupid move, when it's a needed field. Also shows that SEC schools are football only and merits the stereotype of a backwater part of the nation

    • Vikneswaran Gopal SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
      • over 2 years ago

      I have worked with a couple of the faculty at the CISE department - Paul Gader and Joe Wilson and their students. They are terrific people; very sharp, hardworking and are invaluable to sustaining the quality of academic work at UF.

    • Elena Kurenova BUFFALO/GAINESVILLE, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      Former gator


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