Letters from Industry

The following letters have been received from key players in the realm of Computer Science. We are very grateful for their willingness to offer their insight into this situation and to take action to support the CISE department.(So far) We have received letters from the following industry professionals, some of whom have preferred to stay anonymous:



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Date: Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Subject: CISE’s Influence on Google’s Recruitment at UF

To the Administration of the University of Florida,

My name is Kat Leung and I am Google’s Engineering University Programs Specialist for the University of Florida. We have actively recruited on campus for technical UF students for the past two years, and the CISE Department has consistently been the Department that we work with to recruit high quality engineers.

A large pool of our new graduate hires from UF hold a PhD. Under the new proposal, I understand that computer science research will be eliminated. Not only will this be detrimental to the research community, but it will cause us to reevaluate our recruiting presence on the University of Florida’s campus. Eliminating your software focus will make it very difficult for us to continue hiring UF students in the future.

We have hired great people from the University of Florida, and hope to continue to do so–but under the new proposal, this may not be possible. I hope that you will reconsider dismantling the CISE Department. It is an asset to your institution and to the computer science community at large.

Sincerely,
Kat Leung
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To all,

 

I am a 1993 graduate of the University of Florida, B.S. Computer Science. I take great pride in the University of Florida and frequently share in the academic success that our University has produced. I challenge people regularly to number of Rhodes scholars, number of grants, awards, etc. I also hire interns and summer job placements for my company.

Today I learned of the short-sighted decision to close the CISE department and in one grand wave of the wand, all of that pride is now put to shame.

Making the decision to close your CISE department and cut off research and graduate level programs in this field, in this day and age, is the equivalent of cavemen saying they want to invest less in the wheel.

It has made the rounds in TV, print, web, and more importantly across the many social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter. You have made the University of Florida a laughing stock in the academic and IT communities. What took many years to build, you have allowed to crumble in mere seconds. It reads: ‘Florida is not interested in putting students into technology fields’. While you can argue the number of courses that debunk that myth, the myth has now become common place and has gone viral.

If I am a technically savvy and high-performing high school senior, I have to question whether or not the University of Florida is committed to technology.

As a hiring manager at McKesson I routinely visit the University of Florida on recruiting trips. I most recently visited on January 23rd in the Reitz Union for the CISE workshop. We recruit because the top talent choses the University of Florida and because the CISE department turns out students ready to join the workforce. So not only are you diminishing the value of the degree, you are now saying the University of Florida is not interested in getting top talent and thus actual JOBS for students! In this economy to say you are investing less in a field that has one of the highest pay and placement rates is preposterous and un-defendable.

I implore you to reconsider and ensure that my degree in Computer Science is not de-valued, that the future of the CISE department remains strong, and the overall reputation of the University of Florida is restored before too much irreparable harm is done.

It is on the front page of Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/04/22/university-of-florida-eliminates-computer-science-department-increases-athletic-budgets-hmm/

and now has entered the non-academic world on sports illustrated

(http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/327859-florida-cuts-computer-science-adds-2m-to-athletics?xid=si_ncaaf)

Quotes from Dr. Zvi Galil, Dean of Computer Science at Georgia Tech:
… I can personally attest to the fact that CISE at the University of Florida, as it stands today, is a strong, vibrant, productive, and highly respected academic enterprise with many excellent—some world-class—researchers, and is therefore extremely well positioned to capitalize on the extraordinary growth in computer science and computing that we are experiencing today. This is the time for forward-looking research universities to invest scarce resources in computer science/computing—even at the expense of other engineering disciplines, if necessary—in order to ensure a vibrant, cohesive, and prominent computer science/computing presence and identity. This most certainly is not the time to scale back on computer science research and education.

Matt Ingram, PMP
Manager – Quality Assurance
Enterprise Medical Imaging
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Dear Dr. Machen,

I am a Senior Researcher at a top-tier industrial research laboratory in the Silicon Valley (California). I write this e-mail to you, both as an active recruiter and sponsor of MS & PhD engineering graduates from UFL both for my and for other companies in the Silicon Valley, and as a Florida Gator (PhD Computer Engineering, 2009) who graduated from the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering and spent some of his best student years there.It has come to my notice that the University of Florida’s Office of the President in cooperation with the Dean of the College of Engineering has decided to undertake steps which will effectively result in disbanding of all research activities in the CISE Department and transfer of all related research activities to the ECE Department. Furthermore, it is proposed to transform the CISE department into a Teaching-only department. This despite the fact that even though both departments have the term ‘Computer’ in their name, ECE is essentially a hardware/electrical engineering focused department whereas CISE focuses more on te software and inter-disciplinary aspects of Computer Science & Engineering.Pardon my blunt language Sir, but I hope you and your top leadership team at the University of Florida realize that by taking such an ill-planned ill-advised step, you will not only drastically degrade the quality of Computer Science & Engineering research being performed at your (AND MY) University but will also ensure the irreversible decline of the University of Florida from its current status as Florida’s Flagship Research University.

I MAY FURTHER ADD THAT SHOULD SUCH A STEP BE TAKEN DESPITE ALL PLEAS FOR RECONSIDERATION, YOU WILL NOT ONLY HARM THE FUTURE OF SO MANY YOUNG STUDENTS WHO ARE CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN THE CISE GRADUATE PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, FOR NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, BUT WILL ALSO ENSURE THAT NO PREMIER RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT WILL BE WILLING TO FUND ENGINEERING RESEARCH ACTIVITIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN THE FUTURE – GIVEN THE FACT THAT THE LEADERSHIP OF THE UNIVERSITY IS MAKING IT LOUD & CLEAR THROUGH SUCH ACTIONS AS THE ABOVE, THAT THEIR PRIORITY LIES IN RUNNING THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA AS A GLORIFIED COMMUNITY COLLEGE RATHER THAN A TOP QUALITY RESEARCH
UNIVERSITY WHICH WAS ONCE RANKED A PUBLIC IVY.

I AM EXTREMELY SORRY TO SAY THAT THE REPEATED COST CUTTING MEASURES THAT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED AND IMPLEMENTED BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT & RELATED ADMINISTRATIVE BRANCHES SINCE 2008 HAVE DEMONSTRATED NOT ONLY A COMPLETE LACK OF IMAGINATION AND LEADERSHIP ON PART OF THE UFL SENIOR MANAGEMENT BUT HAVE CREATED A STRONG IMPRESSION IN MINDS OF BOTH STUDENTS AND ALUMNI THAT YOUR SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM HAS NO STAKE OR VESTED INTEREST IN THE LONG-TERM FUTURE AND SUCCESS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA AS A TOP-TIER RESEARCH INSTITUTION.

Once again I apologize for such a strongly worded statement – please rest assured that it is not meant to offend anybody
personally but is rather intended to hopefully awaken the decision makers at UFL and to convey the anguish that we as CISE alumni feel at seeing Our Department where we conducted some of the best research of our lives, being degraded to the level of a Teaching-only department for short-term financial gain.

You are hereby requested to please reconsider your decision to take the above drastic measures and re-examine the cost cutting methods that are being employed and their long-term effect. I know these are difficult times for the University of Florida and the economy in general but blindly eliminating quality research activities for
short-term gains at the cost of long-term growth will only result in the demise of the University of Florida as a flagship research institution – that one would have been proud to graduate from and would have wanted to send their kids to.

With best regards,
-xxx

Senior Researcher
xxxxx Research Center

Palo Alto
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From Eric Hanson, a senior manager at Microsoft:

“Changing CISE to a teaching department will greatly reduce the ability to attract quality graduate and undergraduate students. The best students want to be taught by strong faculty in classes with other top students. The best people who want careers in computing will stay away from UF. This will hurt the Florida economy and diminish the stature of UF. Microsoft appreciates the ability to recruit UF students who have been trained by strong research-oriented faculty, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.”


One Response to “Letters from Industry”

  1. Dear All,

    The job market for computer science graduates has never been so hot. I know this because I am the Director of R&D at Identified.com, an analytics company specialized in career development and recruitment. One of the services we provide is matching recruiters with available candidates. We also study the job market very closely on a semi-real time basis using 100s of millions of indexed profiles.

    What we have found is that computer science is the hottest area for high salaried jobs. It is so hot that recruiters complain that there is less than 1 qualified candidate for every 5 job openings. It is so hot that recruiters who sign in a good number of candidates end up making more money than anyone else in the company (yes, sometimes even more than CEO). It is so hot that many large companies buy start-ups for millions for the sole reason of recruiting their talent. The trend is expected to continue to increase, and, by every reasonable analysis, even explode. The market in the future will require even more specialized computer scientists to deal with the massive data flood we’re heading into [1, 2].

    As you know, UF was subject to budget cuts which have been distributed over the different colleges. Among these is the College of Engineering, where CISE belongs to.
    Instead, the Dean of Engineering has decided to cripple the CISE department. I have tried to understand the dean’s argument to no avail:

    (1). Perhaps she noticed a “redundancy” between ECE and CISE. But as a matter of fact, the ECE department is *NO* way able to provide adequate preparation for many of the best computer science careers because it is hardware focused. Only a faculty with the diverse research experience as CISE can provide reasonable preparation. This will only be even more pronounced in the future as industry demands ever more specialized type of computer scientists.

    (2). Perhaps she noticed that there is “inefficiency” due to computer science graduate students who often drop out. When, in fact, these graduate students drop out to start the likes of Google. They drop out precisely because they are so much in demand that we need more of them!

    Considering that CISE produces 17% of the College of Engineering’s revenue at only 10% of the College’s cost, I am forced to conclude that this one of the worst decisions I have seen made by a dean. The type of response I outlined uses the necessary cuts to create an incentive for improvement. In contrast, the response that the dean has outlined deprives the economy, and society at large, from a very scarce human resource. Please demand that we do the right thing for our future.

    Regards,
    Mohamad Tarifi

    Director of R&D at Identified Inc.

    [1] http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2011/05/17/red-hot-the-computer-science-job-market/
    [2] http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/09/06/data-scientist-the-hot-new-gig-in-tech/

    There are many many more articles which you can find around the internet.

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