Give your proposal (Enter it by scrolling to bottom of page)

On April 11th, 2012, Dean Abernathy released a budget cut proposal which, if ratified, would effectively dismantle the Department of Computing and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the University of Florida. The full version of the proposal can be found here.

NOTE: The Dean has agreed (in her recorded interview with students on Apr. 12, 2012), that the CISE department has the highest revenue/cost ratio for the college.

Although the Abernathy plan is off the table as of Apr. 25, 2012 (thanks to all the outcry from saveufcise supporters worldwide), CISE continues to be in a perilous situation, and alternative proposals continue to be solicited until May 7.

Constructive alternative proposals can be submitted until the now extended deadline of May 7, 2012 (announcement available here).

Scroll to the COMMENT link at bottom of page to leave your alternate budget proposals, ideas, or comments on the proposals posted here so far (including the Dean’s proposal)

Resources that are available are the following.

On the revenue side: revenue streams for each college are given in the UF budget book and RCM manual obtainable from UF Chief financial officer ; weighted Student Credit Hours (SCH)s are the primary source of revenue. Weighted SCH’s for departments can be computed using knowledge of student classifications and course registration data that can be obtained from the college or university, or analytical tools available at UF office of institutional resources .

NOTE: despite repeated requests since this Dean assumed office, these weighted SCH numbers for various departments have not been provided by the Dean; departments are to calculate these on their own from the above resources.The other smaller revenue stream is overhead and salary savings on external grants: again this revenue stream for the college is available in the UF budget book; the proportion of this revenue as well as the costs charged to this category in each department can be obtained from the departments. Direct research income/expenditures from external grants and specifically earmarked foundation grants can be excluded from calculations, since for each budget category within each such grant, income and expenditure must add up to zero.
On the cost side, the College of Eng E&G annual budget analysis documents provide cost splits per department (these can also be computed directly using the University budget book, and the knowledge of each department’s space, salary lines, and support unit costs).

A prevailing misunderstanding about the CISE department’s financials

We have approximately 610 undergrads, 400 majors and 130 PhD’s all served by 32 tenure track faculty members. The TAs are a critical component for discussion sections and most are both TAs and RAs,  on individual research grants,  Grants in 2010:  $5.5 million – all spent on researchers, or research assistants, almost nothing spent on equipment or technicians. Almost all faculty members are supported by active NSF or NIH grants, and twelve young faculty have won CAREER awards (22% of the college’s CAREER awardees). Among the senior faculty, there are 2 AAAS fellows, 4 IEEE fellows, 2 ACM fellows, most other faculty have won other awards and honors and have a presence on prestigious editorial boards and program committees. See CISE statistics here.

NOTE: The Dean has agreed (in her recorded interview with students on Apr. 12, 2012), that the CISE department has the highest revenue/cost ratio for the college. The cost of CISE TAs is included in CISE’s  cost.

Even without the Dean’s proposal, in 2012-2013, CISE would have only 30 tenure track faculty members, 3 non-tenure-track faculty, and 10 staff positions; which already represents an almost 8% cut of the CISE departmental budget from 2011-2012 (0.8% of the college budget), and during this year, no other department has seen a cut;   this cut has not been included in the Dean’s proposal, presumably because the 2 tenure track, 2 non-tenure track and 2 staff lines that CISE lost during 2011-2012 have been moved to another department, and hence do not represent a cut for the college overall.

After the above 0.8% reduction, CISE’s cost  is presumably at most 9.2% of the college’s total cost. In keeping with the nature of computing and software research, nearly all of CISE expenditure is on intelligent human beings, as opposed to equipment or space. The budget proposal indicates that it is harder to cut down on potentially inefficient usage of space, energy and equipment than cutting down on people (TA’s non-tenure-track faculty, and staff).


14 Responses to “Give your proposal (Enter it by scrolling to bottom of page)”

  1. The UF College of Engineering has not filled a number of strategic hiring lines, including Chaired Professor positions. The salary, benefits, and start-up associated with these lines should be sufficient to cover a large portion of the cut to the college.

  2. There are 266 tenure-track faculty members in the College of Engineering (as of 2010). A large amount of money can be reallocated if each tenure-track faculty member in the College of Engineering dips into their individual OH account to cover part of their salary towards department research. $5k per faculty member would yield $1,330,000.

    This has the benefit of being easily reversible if cuts are temporary. If the cuts prove permanent, then permanent sources of revenue can be leveraged in the longer term.

  3. One UF faculty already suggests two reasonable principles for dealing with the cut.

    (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.

    My daughters are in a swimming club. The club often needs raising fund for hosting swimming meets. We were then assigned certain quota for the fund raising. If we cannot execute it, we need absorbing it by denoting our own money. Why not we suggest the Dean do the similar thing. We can divide and conquer the problem by distributing the cut (based on certain formula) to all departments and let them to worry about how to implement their own quota. This is a temporary plan. Initially I think it might be difficult to be accepted since now every department is affected. However, if the Dean can manage it and let departments understand, united and resolve the problem together, like a family, I think it is a great achievement and shows true leadership.

  4. I would like criticize Dean’s imaginary model for future CISE department . I guess she wants to keep and grow the revenue generated by CISE undergraduate and MS students’ tuition but she wants to cut the cost on research that offsets the revenue to unprofitable. She wants resources focus on teaching such that CISE can profitable. It is obvious that she underestimates the significance of the research’s (i. e. reputation earned by research) contribution to the revenue. I was wondering what conditions should hold to make her model success? First we need to reestablish the reputation that can attract good students. I guess she has no idea the cost, the way, and the time needed to build such reputation. One thing is clear that she already immediately destroys the core value (research reputation) that leverages the tuition revenue. Therefore, CISE research must be preserved. We can counter-propose to keep at least 50% TA support (which is essential for research) and some research staff and distribute the reminding cut to other departments. It is NOT fair to cut so much on CISE.

  5. Patrick Morrison Reply April 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    It looks like dropping salaries over $200,000 in the College of Engineering down to $200,000 would cover, or more than cover, the shortfall. No one would lose their job, UF could continue to do CS research, 60 future teaching professionals could continue to train in this rather than take subsistence jobs, and the affected administrators and professors could get their salaries back as the situation improves. I find it hard to grasp that, when put under financial pressure, UF has to resort to cutting its research and teaching budgets rather than its administration budget. I hope that this great institution can remember the purpose it serves and live by the lights that serve that purpose best.

  6. John K. Schueller Reply April 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    The proposed plan for CISE is an ill-advised academic reorganization and repurposing. It is not justified, even by the current budget situation. It does not make academic sense.
    Speaking here to the budget issue, I believe that UF should first use more reserve funds and then reduce some of the expenditures outside of the colleges. This means that even good programs, such as the Faculty Enhancement Opportunity and collaborative research planning grants (just to name two of many), should be temporarily be suspended or greatly reduced to free up funds to reduce the budget cuts to the colleges.
    But when the COE budget must be reduced…
    Salaries dominate college budgets and therefore have to be a component of substantial budget cuts. There will inevitably be some attrition over the summer. In addition, the current on-going hiring, such as for the strategic initiatives, must be greatly scaled back. To account for inevitable imbalances, staff should be shifted and faculty may temporarily teach courses outside of their home departments. And operating expenses will have to be reduced, leading to the reduction of teaching assistants, etc.
    The gutting of CISE is a simple way to have a major budget cut. But this makes no sense for a flagship research university in the 21st century. The more-difficult-to-implement broader cut in the COE must be the alternative.

  7. Cut athletics funding in half.

  8. Why can’t we have a site dedicated to raising money to resurrect CISE? Alumni, private donors, and company donors could all contribute. As long as the money is appropriated to save CISE and not be interfered with by politicians or anyone else.

  9. Link Computer Science to the exploding health care budget (Medicare/Medicaid) in Florida. Local CS programs will reduce admin costs and prevent outsourcing.
    Look at the declining cost of breast cancer treatments as an example.
    Oncotype DX diagnostics test is a database that may save $250,000 per patient.

    Univ. of Florida cuts of CISE will short change the health care needs of of Florida.

    They will cut the most imporant research for the aging population of Florida.

    National budgets around the world are now being reallocated to handle the fastest growing budget item, health. Cancer care is the fastest growing disease in health care budgets.

    “Medical expenditures for cancer in the year 2020 are projected to reach at least $158 billion (in 2010 dollars) — an increase of 27 percent over 2010, according to a National Institutes of Health analysis, a 5 percent annual increase.”

    My main interest is to facilitate the early detection of cancer, with low false positives, to reduce the Medicare burden that cancer now poses in the US. Medicaid is now the single largest budget item in state budgets in the US. Cancer care is the fastest growing cost in Medicaid and Medicare.

    “Spending on cancer drugs has risen faster than spending in many other areas of healthcare in the United States.”

    Medicare Unable to Control Rising Costs of Cancer Care

    The public education budget in the US is now being cut by cancer costs.

    Medicaid Surpasses K-12 Spending in US State Budgets

    Could students project what portion of the national budget will be health care and cancer?

    How much of their future pay checks will they need to contribute toward health care/cancer?

    IBM is now building a Watson for Cancer at Sloan Kettering to reduce health care costs.

    New breast cancer tumor diagnostics reduce costs and create an opportunity for IBM to provide the genome community with Watson as a solution to tumor diagnostics data. The Oncotype DX test of Genomic Health (Redwood City, CA) was approved by Medicare 6/2010. Oncotype uses databases to cut breast cancer costs.,8599,2049826,00.html

    Wellpoint Health Care is now developing Watson for Health Care Insurance.
    Will Florida manage health care data or contract it out of state?

    If Univ. of Florida cuts CISE, they will short change the health care needs of Florida.

    They will cut the most imporant research for the aging population of Florida.

    Who will manage Watson for Cancer in Florida? Florida computer scientists or out of state contractors?

    My computer science degree has allowed me to pioneer new health care advances.

    I completed a thesis on mapping the Human Genome at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Henry Brown

    505 795-3680

  10. Most of the international graduate students in College of Engineering gets Achievement Award which amounts to around $450/credit hour…..And if we assume that there are 1000 such students across the college of engineering and each student takes 18 credits each year and you reduce the value of achievement award by $100 (the college pays the AA to the university financial services), then the college will directly save $1.8 million. Why not think carefully about this idea and implement it. The main reason why UF is the preferred destination among internationals is because of return on investment. Great research, good brand value of university and decent overall fees as compared to other state universities like PSU, ASU and NCSU all constitute to the return on investment. If we cut any one thing from those three you are losing all those international students in addition to the already decreasing reputation worldwide. But decreasing just a part of AA will not affect much to them but will save a lot for the college.

  11. The college of engineering should hold a reality TV show where one contestant (department) gets voted out each season by all those that remain in the competition. The dean gets 3 votes. Each time the surviving group will vote out a very prosperous member out of jealousy. That way the survivors’ struggle will only get worse with time. Sadly that’s the route this is taking.

  12. Here is how to find the 1.5 million “fat” in the dean’s office.

    While the proposal to dissolve UF CISE during the time when there is a national shortage on Software Engineers is uttermost absurd, I decided to analyze the public salary data in UF College of Engineering. To my surprise, I found several instances of extravagant compensation and recent expansion in the Dean’s Office in the College of Engineering. Based on the analysis, I found,

    1. The total salary in the Dean’s Office in College of Engineering (CoE) jump to 5.1 million in 2011 from 3.6 million in 2010. At the time when the dean is cutting the teaching and research activities in the college of engineering, this 1.5 million salary increase in the dean’s office appears to be very out of place.

    2. The FTE (Full Time Equivalent) in CoE Dean’s Office jumps from 55.42 to 72.43 FTE while other departments in the College of Engineering are cutting and laying off staffs and lecturers.

    3. From 2010 to 2011, several staffs in CoE Dean’s Office received double digits increase in salary. Some examples,

    Name & Title Salary 2010-03 Salary 2011-10 % increase

    MOORE TERRY 72,000 91,237.4 26.72%
    DICKRELL PAMELA 79,350 96,265.04 21.32%
    HEITMAN WILLIAM 150,000 180,147 20.1%
    NORTON DAVID 208,000 240,323.2 15.54%
    SANDER ERIK 139,302.75 153,581.14 10.25%

    4. According to, the average salary for a Dean of Engineering is $204,488 and the average salary for for Associate Dean is around $140,767 (, the UF Dean and Associate Dean in CoE receive salary way above the national average.

    ABERNATHY CAMMY DEAN & PROF $312,000 (305,760.00+6,240.00) *
    LAW MARK ASO DEAN & PROF $265,200 (160,180.80+105,019.20) *

    * received a portion of their 2011 salary from other academic units though they sometimes receive their entire salary from the dean’s office in prior years. Is this some kind of book cooking?

    5. While the accountants in UF Finance and Accounting department received around $70,000 average salary, several accountants in CoE Dean’s Office are receiving lofty salary around the range of 100K.

    Name Job Title Salary 2011-10

    If the college of engineering is truly facing the budget shortfall, why some departments inside the college is still recruiting staffs and faculties? If the budget shortfall is so dire that the college has to cut a solvent and well-respected Computer Science department, why is the college continue to hire so many staffs and faculties?

    IT Expert 0900326 19050000-EG-ELECTRICAL / COMPUTER ENG -


    AST/ASO/FULL PROF 0900421 19010000-EG-ENGINEERING ADMINISTRATION – 9 positions -

    University of Florida is facing unprecedented budget shortfall. It is only sensible that the administration focus on reducing waste such as the listed lofty compensation, rather than dissolving a profitable UF CISE department whose mission is a focus of our national initiatives. Based on the current proposal by the dean, the UF CISE will be disbanded in order to save 1.35M in the budget. Ironically, this 1.35M can be easily covered if the dean’s office did not increase the salary in her office by 1.5M between 2010 and 2011. Likewise, all the ongoing recruiting in other departments within the college does not make sense either if the budget is so short. The most absurd of all is that UF spend over 5 million dollar in salary, plus perks and benefit, in the dean’s office which provide neither teaching nor research, and the proposal they come up for 1.35 million cut is to dismember a profitable department? UF administration might as well cut off the dean’s office entirely.

    ** Please excuse my anonymous status as I personally know many friends in various departments in UF College of Engineering, though I am not an employee there.

    UF Salary March 18, 2010,
    UF Salary Oct. 27, 2011,

    I have a spreadsheet which I did the analysis. Is there an email for me to send?

  13. Dean’s plan was never motivated by fiscally responsible evaluation of the costs and revenues of the departments. Based on the RCM model which is what the university uses, CISE is doing very well – a fact even she agrees to. The plan was motivated by personal vendetta and “academic” cleansing.

    As the above post observes, Dean has mismanaged the budget by giving ridiculous raises to her own staff. Dean has emasculated the department chairs by moving fiscal issues from department to college. Publicizing ten to fifteen job openings at the cost of killing a department is simply inhumane.

    The surprising fact is that the college faculty are willing to continue to work with this dean. As one fine morning, history will be repeated to their department.

  14. Such an attempt to destroy a department like CISE, whatever the situation may be, seems to me totally ridiculous. The budgetary constraint, if at all that is true, should have been overcome by many other possible reasonable ways!! That would have been a much praiseworthy approach.

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