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).