Dr. Zvi Galil, current Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, and Dr. Peter Freeman, the founding Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and former Assistant Director of NSF for Computer & Information Science & Engineering, both recently sent emails to Dr. Machen in support of the CISE department at UF. Both discuss why UF should be committed to a strong computer science department and the repercussions of removing computer science research from UF. The full emails from both can be read here.
The following is an excerpt Dr. Galil’s email concerning the quality of the UF CISE program, and the future role universities should take in promoting computer science:
… 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.
Dr. Freeman notes the potential damages caused by the break up of the CISE department in the context of current trends to promote computer science:
… On the basis of the information I have seen, while the cost reduction imperative you face is truly serious, dispersing a group of faculty that are very successful at getting NSF grants and Career Awards – a mark of their reputation with national peers – and thereby breaking up a productive and very important group seems to be ill-advised.
Such a move goes against the trends of consolidating computer-related disciplines into a larger unit, better integrating research and education, and strengthening computer science as a discipline because of its fundamental and growing importance to almost all fields of enquiry at a university. In addition, the collateral and immediate damage to current students and existing research efforts is bound to be substantial.