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In Search of Administrative Transparency, Rationale and Accountability (and a recommended budget plan for UF Engineering)

Questioning  UF Administration’s Allocation of  Funds

During the May 29, 2012 “Open Faculty Forum about Budget Cut” called by the central administration, President Machen and Provost Glover were asked, among others,  several questions from this list,    based on an independent report on UF’s  reserves,  including those held by the University “proper” and  those held by the University’s various “discrete component units” including Shands;  including approximately half a billion dollars  categorized as “restricted expendable;” and over 100 million dollars held by the University “proper,” and characterized as “unrestricted net assets.”   Candid answers were not forthcoming.

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Dr. Paul Gader

Current CISE Status

-[ Updated June 7, 2012 ]-

The current Acting Chair, Gerhard Ritter, is due to step down on June 30. On Wednesday June 6, 2012,  Provost Joe Glover and Dean Cammy Abernathy announced that Dr. Paul Gader will be CISE’s new Interim Chair. A process for selecting a permanent chairman for CISE was also discussed. See previous posts on the topic below.

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Pledge your Financial Support for a College of Computing at UF

The SaveCISE community invites you, as a stakeholder in the success of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Department at the University of Florida (UF), to pledge your financial support to a specific future vision of the SaveCISE at UF campaign.

One of the options that has gained the most backing from external supporters is for the CISE department to transition into an independent College of Computing at UF with CISE at its core. Here is the link to the Foundation of a Vision for the College of Computing. This transition will need a fund.

Here we are reaching out to individuals and organizations interested in contributing financially to maintain a nourishing environment for Computer Science at UF through  a College of Computing at UF with CISE at its core.

WE ARE NOT COLLECTING ANY MONEY AT THIS TIME, ONLY PLEDGES. Through this form, we are assessing the level of support available from external donors who would be willing to contribute financially to our cause, in a time of need. So please pledge to our cause in a manner you can honor if the College of Computing – with CISE at its core – becomes a reality.

Here is the list of people who have pledged financial support to the College of Computing and have agreed to have their names publicized (more or less up to date).

Time since the pledging started:

The total amount pledged so far is:

Here is the pledge form (It contains background and recent events information).

Administrative Accountability

-[ Updated June 8, 2012 ]-

The SaveUFCISE community urges all stakeholders to demand accountability for  the events of the past 4 weeks that have caused severe damage to UF’s reputation among prospective students, parents,  concerned citizens, academics, alumni and industry partners, who might have considered joining or supporting the Gator Nation.  Start by calling for scrutiny of the sketchy  “final” 2012 budget cut proposal.

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Paying for Past and Preventing Future Damage

The SaveUFCISE community urges all stakeholders to demand accountability for  the events of the past 4 weeks that have caused severe damage to UF’s reputation among prospective students, parents, academics, alumni and industry partners, who might have considered joining or supporting the Gator Nation . The stakeholders are no longer so sure  that the Gator Nation respects basic research and scholarship integrated with teaching that is vital to a campus ecosystem; prospective faculty recruits are no longer so sure that the Gator Nation respects research faculty status or academic freedom, let alone tenure.

We call for a thorough, academic investigation to shine light on the people and events that caused or condoned the Apr. 11 Abernathy plan.

How could this plan be proposed within an esteemed and illustrious public institution of learning?

Who knew about the Abernathy  plan?  Since when? What were they thinking?  Were they thinking?

What was their analysis of the near and mid term costs and consequences of implementing the Abernathy plan?

What was their analysis of the near and mid term costs and consequences of even proposing the Abernathy plan?

What is meant by the assertion that the fallout  in the past 4 weeks, which will tarnish UF’s image for years to come, was based on misunderstanding?

Who misunderstood what? Thanks to the SaveUFCISE website,  stakeholders correctly understood both the details of the Abernathy plan and its consequences, despite the College administration’s continued misrepresentations of CISE’s performance,  references to “a few bad apples” among CISE faculty, persistent attempts to undermine accurate information presented by the SaveUFCISE community, and false reassurances and glib PR spin about the consequences of the plan.

How did those responsible react as the damage unfolded?

Have they accepted responsibility? Have they admitted  mistakes?

What steps will be taken to repair the damage caused by proposing the Abernathy plan?

What checks will be put in place so that such damaging proposals are not put forth in the future?

What is to prevent the College Administration from continuing to single out  CISE  for special harassment and starvation, as it has for the past 3 years (this could already begin with the details of the budget cut plan to be implemented in July when faculty and students are engrossed in research)?

What checks will be put in place to prevent  (perhaps escalated)  retribution for speaking out?

CLAS Forum May 3, 2:30pm, Reitz Auditorium

CLAS is holding a town hall forum/discussion about their budget proposal on May 3, 2:30pm, Reitz Auditorium

CLAS is facing 4% cut from their general operating budget, which includes supplies, travel funding, and grad student salaries. Join the forum and support our friends!

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.

CISE GATORS: A human chain around the earth to save CISE.

On Apr 15, we successfully built a human chain around the CISE building. Now, we plan to build a human chain around the earth to SAVE CISE. Please send the photo to and tell us where you are !

Our dear alumni just created an event called “A human chain around the earth to save CISE”, they plan to collect the photos with a “SAVE CISE” logo all around the world to create a photo WALL for showing their support.

The link to the facebook event is here, please check it out and Join!

Save AFA, Education, Journalism and Music Libraries. At Smathers Library, Room 1A.


Dean of Libraries, Judy Russell is holding a town hall meeting in Smathers Library Room 1A seeking input regarding a 5% budget cut to the libraries. This would include the closing of:

– Architecture & Fine Arts Library
– Education Library
– Journalism Library
– Music Library

For more info, see her 5% reduction plan at (page 45):

“The initial $295,000 cut for the University Libraries listed above could Continue reading

UFF (United Faculty of Florida) EVENT

UFF (United Faculty of Florida) EVENT

Rally and March to Stop the Cuts!

Come show your opposition to the budget cuts at UF which threaten to dismantle the Computer and Information Science Engineering department, slash jobs in the College of Liberal Arts and much much more! The administration has decided to deeply cut the budgets of entire colleges. We say No to the cuts, No to the layoffs, No to the demolition of entire departments and programs! Join us at the rally to send a clear message: Stop the Cuts!

for more information, see the event’s facebook page here.