A formula for degrading a research University into a polytechnic

This is a letter from a concerned UF faculty member:

Dear Engineering Colleague:

As you know the  CISE department  (see Footnote 1 below) is being asked  to absorb a 20% recurring cut while no other Engineering department is being cut.
Please see https://saveufcise.wordpress.com  for details of the plan.Even if you believe the Dean’s rationale for this plan (See Footnote 2  below) and you believe that the cuts are recurring (see Footnote 3  below), as thoughtful intellectuals..
You would probably:

(1) Develop a temporary plan to handle the cut during a stop-gap period, while trying to ensure that any likely damage is reversible.

(2) During this stop-gap period, develop a phased long-term plan that includes revenue increasing measures and other permanent changes.

Please counter-propose alternative budget cut plans  by visiting https://saveufcise.wordpress.com


The Dean’s plan however ties the proposed cut to a drastic and immediate restructuring that would cause irreversible damage to the reputation of the college and the university and to the state for a long time to come. Please see https://saveufcise.wordpress.com to see the details of the impacts of the restructuring, and a sample of the huge global outcry from students, industry,  faculty members, and university administrators worldwide.


I am writing to you today to make you aware that this restructuring would serve as a formula and a precedent for something else that could affect your department as soon as next year.

Some state governors have already espoused their support for a model of future public education (with zero state support) whose key features are the following.

(1) Polytechnics (diploma mills taught by instructors on limited term contracts)  for producing a large number of undergraduates inexpensively;

(2) “Research”  equated to “Development, or Entrepreneurship” i.e., self-funded institutes, whose effort is invested toward a short-term deliverable or a profit bottom line. This excludes basic research or scholarship, of the type that resulted in the internet.

(3) A decoupling of (1) and (2): an individual is classified under the mission of (1) or (2), but not both. The combined teacher-researcher-scholar becomes unimportant. Ergo, basic research and scholarship are sidelined.

The Dean’s plan follows the above model.
(1) The plan degrades the CISE department to a polytechnic.

(2) Atleast 2/3  of the degraded CISE department’s faculty members are  excellent researchers with  academic honors, and  research programs funded by NSF and 4-5 PhD students per faculty member. They will have  zero office or computer systems staff or TAs to meet even their teaching  obligations, let alone their research obligations. The plan moves individual faculty members incoherently to 3 other departments.By these actions,  the Dean makes it very clear that scholarship in ones area of expertise does not matter. Basic research of the type funded by NSF does not matter. Only the ability to bring in contracts that fund all salaries and infrastructure of participants matters.
 This attitude is out of sync at a time when the federal government strongly backs basic research, NSF has received a strong increase in funding, and its CISE directorate has been targeted for more than 1.5 times NSF’s average increase.
As explained in a letter you may have received recently, this restructuring provides the formula to  directly attack on tenure and academic freedom, and a precedent for carrying out this formula. This letter can be found under the Impacts and Consequences link on https://saveufcise.wordpress.com
Thank you for reading this,
Yours sincerely,
A concerned UF faculty member

The  department currently has 32 tenure track faculty,  approximately 610 undergraduate majors,  400 masters students and 130 PhD students. It maintains an international research reputation as befits its status as a research department in the flagship research university of Florida. It has 2 ACM, 4 IEEE, and 2 AAAS fellows, and 12 faculty (22% of all faculty in the College of Engineering) who have received the prestigious NSF Career Award belong to the CISE department. The CISE faculty engages in substantial interdisciplinary research, the majority of which takes place in collaboration with the College of Medicine and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences within and outside UF. The department’s federal grant research expenditures are about $5 million per year, all of it on intelligent human beings, NOT on equipment, space or infrastructure (which software research does not need). The CISE department accounts for less than 10% of the College cost, and has the highest revenue/cost ratio of all the departments in the College.

Footnote 2: The Dean’s circle of supporters have based their justifications on factually incorrect statements and half-truths, and continue to do so today. These are pointed out under “Misrepresentations” link at https://saveufcise.wordpress.com

Footnote 3: This year, the  legislature as well as the Board of Governors has been insistent  in repeating that these cuts should be considered nonrecurring cuts. Maintaining reserves causes the legislature to target those reserves when cuts are assigned to universities.

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