APRIL 11 2012 GAINESVILLE
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?
SINGLING OUT CISE
--- 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.
EFFECT ON ECONOMY
--- 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.
EFFECT ON DEPARTMENT STATUS
--- 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.
EFFECT ON STUDENTS
--- 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.
EFFECT ON FACULTY
--- 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.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
--- 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.
Save UF CISE started this petition with a single signature, and now has 8,367 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.