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University of Florida to Cut CISE Dept Budget Drastically

By - Source: iReport CNN | B 26 comments

The University of Florida has come under fire for a proposal that would the budget for the school's CISE department take a huge hit.

Students at the University of Florida are currently protesting a restructuring proposal that would see the budget for the school's Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) department cut dramatically.

The proposal, announced by Dean Cammy Abernathy on April 11, would see all graduate and research activity from the CISE department removed and the department turned into a teaching only department. According to the Save UF CISE website, the restructuring would also mean all software-oriented Computer Engineering students (roughly 310 out of a total 610 CISE undergrads; 375 out of 400 masters students; and 130 doctoral students) from CISE would be moved to the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department. In addition to this, all teaching assistant support would be eliminated and 50 percent of the CISE faculty would be would be transferred to other engineering departments (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial System Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering).

Students say the CISE department's computer science research includes broad-based investigation in Computer Graphics, Intelligent Systems, Databases, Distributed Computing and Networking, Software systems, Data Mining, Human-Computer Interaction, High Performance Computing and Algorithms, and says these cannot be in an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Industrial System Engineering (ISE), or Biomedical Engineering (BME) department.

The cuts are a result of a decrease in state funding for the University of Florida. According to Forbes, Florida state legislators have cut the budget for the university by 30 percent over the past 6 years. Students continue to oppose the cuts, along with members of the CISE faculty. The petition on currently has nearly 7000 signatures.

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  • 7 Hide
    supall , April 23, 2012 6:22 PM
    Well, at least we now know the population of successful and high IQ students from this school are going to drop. It would be pure idiocy to cut back on the very research and technologies that students need to learn now for our future. There is only so much your sports can reinvent themselves.

    But what do I know, right? Our Universities are more inclined on making money rather than researching new technologies and pushing our students to reach further than before.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , April 23, 2012 6:24 PM
    I'm a graduating senior in the department at UF and I'am glad this story is getting more national attention. Thanks for posting this.
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , April 23, 2012 6:29 PM
    I hope this is corrected. surely needs to be.
  • Display all 26 comments.
  • 6 Hide
    Star72 , April 23, 2012 6:38 PM
    I'm sure it has nothing to do with their football program. :/ 
  • 0 Hide
    extremepcs , April 23, 2012 6:49 PM
    I read about this today... An estimated $1.7 million in savings, and the money is reportedly going to their athletics program. I have a feeling someone will step in and restore the department via a grant/donation. Bill Gates has done things like that in the past.
  • -4 Hide
    jayracer7474 , April 23, 2012 7:18 PM
    I just applied for a job at the ECE. With all the turmoil Im glad I didn't get the job, I am looking for something stable but this apprently wasn't it. Everything happens for a reason. Go Gators.
  • 0 Hide
    iamtheking123 , April 23, 2012 8:48 PM
    So what does this department do that isn't covered by Computer Science or ECE departments?
  • 1 Hide
    g00fysmiley , April 23, 2012 9:01 PM
    yea, the money would shift to their football program, because we all knwo how much useful tech and how good for humanity sports are x.x
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , April 23, 2012 9:08 PM
    As if any college can successfully support a real, up to date CIS degree program. I have yet to see a program that isn't using information that's at least 4 years old. UF is probably teaching their students how to administer Oracle 8, Solaris 7, Windows 2000, and Linux 2.2.
  • 1 Hide
    cybrcatter , April 23, 2012 10:22 PM
    It's a good habit to proofread your articles once or twice before publication.
  • 7 Hide
    freggo , April 23, 2012 10:23 PM
    I guess the football coach was asking for a raise so they needed to re-shuffle the budget.
  • -1 Hide
    f-14 , April 23, 2012 10:38 PM
    just do what all the other schools are doing, raise tuition to cover the expenses and have the state build new sports stadiums for the school. that's what the UofMinn. does.
  • 2 Hide
    bokuden , April 23, 2012 11:18 PM
    Keep those Women's Studies and Jewish Studies programs going, UF. You'll need something to keep Football U intact.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2012 12:19 AM
    I sincerely feel all this rudeness should be targeted towards Gov. Scott! He is the one who has been making these cuts. If not CISE, some other department suffers, and to me there is no area of science/engineering or education in general that we can afford to neglect - not at one of the largest public universities in the country. UF has the distinction of being a public university which has both - a stellar athletics program and a brilliant education program. Lets please join the fight against 'budget cuts' and Gov. Scott, so we can make sure that education doesn't suffer. But please let us not be rude and so short-sighted as to blame the Dean of petty politics. As a result of all these protests, I hope the department finds money from a donation/grant etc to survive and Rick Scott gets the importance of CISE in his head.

    I am an engineering student at UF and I think I understand fairly well the courses offered and the research work by CISE. I feel that most of the media reports are very biased, all of them voicing students concern or Save CISE website. I have a few points (and questions), please indulge me :

    1. Does anyone seriously think that the Dean decided to cut a major engineering department, one that brings much revenue and jobs, without any reasoning? She can't be that dumb!
    2. Almost all undergrad students and a majority of graduate students at CISE do not take part in any research work. Yet these are the people who are getting jobs in all those big companies. Is the Dean, then wrong in focusing on teaching efforts?
    3. Most of the startup ventures at Innovation Hub have been started by students who were not at all a part of the 'research effort'. How does focusing on teaching make any difference to it? As long as the same courses are being taught, albeit now with more effort from professors, aren't we increasing the quality of education?
    4. The TA budget, which is making the news has already been cut at CISE last year. CISE continues to be the only department in COE that guarantees TA for 10 semesters to all its TAs. This funding used to be for much longer, but it was changed last year due to cuts and students not graduating fast enough. Most of the other departments do not have this budget to be cut - the professors are already doing there work/grading in classes or have 1 TA (2 in rare cases) to help them out. I have not seen their teaching or research take a toll.
    5. I can tell you first hand that most of the other Engineering departments in the school, do not spend so lavishly on TAs. When are almost 3-4 TAs per TA in other departments. Before you start thinking that this improves the quality of education, think twice. There is little that is done to improve the diction, pronunciation and teaching methodologies of these TAs, most of whom are international students. Having heard it from my friends, I can say that they aren't upset about losing TAs who are difficult to understand in class.
    6. The Athletic Program budget - This one is being blamed for no good reason. UF sports isn't a sink of money. The athletic program, in fact, raises money separately and is very much profitable just like CISE. If by this campaign CISE raises money would they be willing to give it to some other program in the school? I don't think so.
    7. MindTree setting up office in Gainesville - Again, do we think that the Dean would have gone ahead and made a decision without taking this into consideration, costing revenue to the local community? I am not sure, but as an employer wouldn't MindTree be most concerned about what courses/skills the students are being taught? Whether you do those courses under the name of 'CISE' or 'ECE' how does it matter as long as the content is the same?
    8. I see an unclear plan of action by the Dean as the worst thing here. Why isn't the faculty or the students asking her to make that clear? What faculties are going to be kept in teaching CISE or moved to one of the ECE, IS, BioSciences etc?
    9. With the alternate proposal that the CISE students are going to present on, what is there plan? Even if they distribute the costs across all COE departments, the TA budget will definitely be affected, mostly leading to 1/2 year reduction in funding. Or do the TAs in CISE think that unlike last year, the faculty will take a cut in there pay checks?
    10. Since everyone is making a hue and cry about 'research', I want to understand how does moving the faculty to a different department adversely affect it? According to them they are already used to doing interdisciplinary research. Why is moving a professor from CS, who knows much about CS and uses it in his applied research in BioTech, to BioTech a bad idea? Why is no one looking at the positive sides of this, it might position these researchers to learn some things from applied sciences that they currently do not have?

    Just as these, there are several other issues I have with the way things are being dealt with. A researcher who draws conclusions without asking for facts and real data should not be called a researcher. I sincerely feel that the plan of action is the first thing CISE should request from the Dean. Why 50% faculty, what is the number, what is the basis of appraisal etc?
  • 3 Hide
    jprahman , April 24, 2012 2:46 AM
    It's ridiculous to be cutting something like the CS department. Of all majors, CS and engineering graduates are among the most demanded by employers and we are in great need of more engineers and programmers. What should be cut are the liberal arts programs. But that won't happen because everyone knows how vital poetry and theater is.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2012 3:41 AM
    What is CISE???
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , April 24, 2012 6:16 AM
    what they need to do is to get rid of those overpaid so called professors
  • 2 Hide
    nebun , April 24, 2012 6:17 AM
    SimonpixWhat is CISE???

    read the article again...i am sure you can find it
  • 0 Hide
    wantiao2013 , April 24, 2012 8:02 AM
    Very interesting, thank you for sharing!
  • 0 Hide
    dreadlokz , April 24, 2012 8:28 AM
    cut your own salary fool!
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