CISE Starvation – Not “across the board” after all

Dean Abernathy released an announcement  May 1,  reversing her previous position on the proposed budget cuts. The new plan  under consideration was to equally distribute the $1.4M budget cuts across all departments in the college.

Here is the report from The Gainesville Sun.

Link to Dean Abernathy’s letter.

Link to Dr. Ritter’s letter to Students.

We felt then that this could have been a victory for SAVE UF CISE. However, we had been through several unexpected turns in the last few weeks, so, borrowing from Dean Abernathy’s letter,  we announced that, “cautious optimism was under consideration.

Our caution was wise. The plan laid out out by Dean Abernathy on May 10 at a College of Engineering Department chairs meeting claimed to be an “across the board” 2.9% cut.  In the case of CISE, the 2.9% was taken from CISE base budget at the beginning of 2011-2012.  This amounted to $190,000. However, CISE has also been told that at least 2 positions that were included in the above base budget,  but were due to become vacant in 2012-2013 due to retirements etc. will not be replaced. This amounts to an over 8% recurring cut for CISE.
No other department has been slated to lose positions to the best of our knowledge. In fact, only one other department will lose even one position.

The new plan is decisively not an “across the board” cut. While less draconian than the “CISE dismembering plan” of Apr. 11, or the “Hostile takeover by ECE plan of Apr. 25,”  it is decidedly worse than any true across the board cut. The new proposal aligns well with the Dean’s CISE starvation strategy prior to  the April 11 attack.

We have come back to Square One.

You might ask:

What original analysis of the “state of the college” and of “growth areas”  led Dean Abernathy

to propose each of the plans that have been proposed this spring?

to move positions  out of CISE into other departments (this is clearly a recurring cut to CISE)?

to not let CISE  in on any of the 12 strategic plan hires so far?  

You might also ask:

What does the Dean propose to do when our interim chair steps down on July 1?

Will CISE areas get any of the remaining strategic plan positions, or endowed chair positions currently advertised?

What of the Harris Corporation endowed chair that is specifically earmarked for CISE and has been languishing for 3 years?

Our cautious optimism appears to be under consideration forever.

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7 Responses to “CISE Starvation – Not “across the board” after all”

  1. While I sincerely hope all that is said about the CISE department in Dr. Ritter’s message is true, given the “roller coaster” history, I am quite surprised at what he is conveying at this point, to say the least. The last time following president Machen’s announcement of a plan for a merger quoting Dr. Ritter and Dr. Harris, we all know what happened. We even know how things changed over a weekend. Keep in mind that this website and facebook have been essential to keeping CISE strong through all these times. I find this appeal premature. I request Dr. Ritter to further elaborate his stance or to let people make their own judgements on when to post what. I feel that this sends the wrong message and that it is a mistake.

    • Dr. Ritter has had many conversations with both Dean Abernathy and Provost Glover about how things will progress. It is my understanding that the “equal cuts” plan is the plan favored by the higher levels of administration. Yes, sure, anything could happen, but it is definitely the role of leadership to pass along information and to help shape how the public sees these things. Having now seen how negotiations actually occur, I understand that somethings are better said in person and not “broadcast” on the internet. So please drop on by and chat w/ dr. ritter or other faculty if you have questions. We don’t have all the answers (who does?), but i think dr. ritter’s email should set the tone of how we move forward, not necessarily that we expect 100% of it to come to pass exactly as stated.

      • SensibleGator May 3, 2012 at 8:10 am

        Dr.Lok, What checks are in/going to be in place to make sure that this does not happen again? From the time line of events it is clear that it has been going on for past 3 years. Are we going to say that if the new budget proposal goes through, all is well and go back to business as usual? Clearly the budget cuts to CISE are motivated by political rather than monetary/logical reasons. Last but not the least where is the accountability for all the time wasted and the agony all of us have been put through?

      • SensibleGator May 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

        I would love to come and chat with you and other professors, but unfortunately I am not in Gainesville, and I have been following this movement almost hour to hour everyday.

  2. I am deeply disappointed after reading Dr. Ritter’s letter. Let me explain exactly why…

    I can completely understand that it may not be suitable to put all available information on the internet. In fact based on the tone of the letter, I even agree that it is not desirable for any one other than the negotiators to know details of the negotiations now taking place.

    1. The “meaningful negotiations” that are being engaged in now have greatly been made possible because of the Saveufcise website. Without the content on this site (and facebook), which is the collective effort of several people in and outside CISE/UF there would not have been much (or any) basis for Dr. Ritter to get into a negotiating position (feel free to disagree).

    2. Further, knowing how the administration has repeatedly behaved in the past (they firmly believe in their original position even today – as stated in the Dean’s letter above), the negotiations can cease to be meaningful any more if this site is inactive (conceded, I don’t have any of the inside info that may *completely* refute this statement).

    3. In my opinion, the Gaineville Sun situation does not warrant this statement against the present or future content on this site and facebook (disagree, anyone?). It is a bad example for this appeal. BTW I have been active on Facebook throughout and have kept an eye on the content.

    4. The message appeals to stop all “negativism” and does absolutely nothing to acknowledge in the least bit – even indirectly – the undeniably indispensable role played by these media/the people who worked tirelessly to maintain them to save CISE. The wording of this letter, coming from a CISE leader, implicitly shows a lack of appreciation or even understanding for their efforts in this movement. In the process, it does very well to alienate at least some of the folks who worked very hard to give credibility to the movement in the eyes of the outside (UF) world and save CISE (I assure you that I know others who feels the same way – I made sure before posting this that it is not just me). Maybe now is a bad time to alienate those folks in order to establish unequivocally that CISE has “credible negotiators” (which is also important) to UF units. Or may be it is not… those folks have already done their bit and they will just be glad that CISE has been saved!

    • Yes, this angers some alumni and others who have contributed extensively to this effort online. It downplays and does not appreciate their role and projects his own effort as being more meaningful. Both are equally important. He should consider to undo the damage unless he really does not care much about their support any more. It seems to me that he just wants to appear to release the best statement that appeals to the people he is negotiating with at this point.

  3. According to the timeline document, CISE had 38 tenure-track faculty in 2010 (based on the voting on Sep. 8 2010). Since then, CISE’s faculty lines have been gradually removed by the dean without any justification. There are currently only 32 tenure-track faculty now based on the recent gainesville sun article.

    CISE reputation, teaching and research capability have been damaged significantly by the current CoEng administration in the recent years. Will CISE ever get their faculty lines back?

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