Q: I’m not in Computer Science or even engineering. Why should I care?
A: Dean Abernathy is only the first dean to submit a budget cut proposal. She is setting a dangerous precedent which other deans may follow. Her proposal uses a budget cut to to justify the destruction of a department. Your department may be next. Also, this is not even the first time she has done this. When the Nuclear Engineering program was absorbed by Materials Science and Engineering, most of the faculty left, destroying the department.
Q: What is wrong with merging computer science (CISE) with electrical engineering (ECE)?
A: First, the proposal does NOT merge the departments into a combined EECS department such as it MIT or Berkeley. Second, such mergers are highly questionable: see this post.
Q: What does Dean Abernathy’s proposal say?
A: For the full version of Dean Abernathy’s proposal, please see the official announcement here. The important points presented in the document (with no interpretation or speculation) are:
- CISE is the only department singled out for budget cuts.
- Nearly half of the budget cut targets solely CISE ($1.68M of $3.8M).
- All CISE TA positions will be cut. This accounts for $930K of the budget cut ($320K from the college-level budget and $610K from the department-level budget).
- Roughly half the CISE faculty will be offered positions in ECE, BME, or ISE where they may continue research.
- Faculty remaining in CISE will take over TA activities and focus on teaching and advising students only.
- CISE will become a teaching only department. The Computer Engineering BS, MS, and PhD degree programs will be moved to ECE.
Q: What would be the effects if the proposal goes through?
A: Obviously, we can only speculate as to what will happen. However, two things are extremely likely.
- Many faculty will choose to leave UF rather than stay in teaching-only positions. Teaching-only positions are academic suicide for researchers, and virtually all CISE faculty are research faculty.
- Many graduate students will not be able to afford to finish their educations. TA positions currently support about 60% of CISE PhD students, and for many of them TA positions are their sole support.
Q: Don’t budget cuts have to be made?
A: Yes, we are aware of this. The CISE faculty is working on alternative budget plans that do not unfairly target a single department. Under the rules of shared governance, the dean must consider alternatives before making such radical changes.
Q:I have suggestions on how to deal with this. Who can I contact?
A: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.