I'm currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Engineering at the University of Florida, and we're having a bit of a problem right now... The state recently passed a budget plan that cuts funding for higher education in Florida. The dean of UF's College of Engineering decided that the best way for us to absorb the blow is by executing the following plan:
- All of the Computer Engineering Degree programs, BS, MS and PhD, would be moved from the Computer & Information Science and Engineering Dept. to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. along with most of the advising staff.
- Roughly half of the faculty would be offered the opportunity to move to Electrical/Computer Eng., Biomedical Eng., or Industrial/Systems Eng.
- Staff positions in CISE which are currently supporting research and graduate programs would be eliminated.
- The activities currently covered by TAs would be reassigned to faculty and the TA budget for CISE would be eliminated.
- Any faculty member who wishes to stay in CISE may do so, but with a revised assignment focused on teaching and advising.
In short: our department (at least as we know it) is being decimated. Computer & Information Sciences & Engineering (one of 9 departments in the College of Engineering) is taking more than 50% of the cuts. If you're interested in reading the full proposal, you can access it here.
A vast, VAST majority of the students and faculty in the department are vehemently opposed to this plan, however the dean is already taking measures to implement it. This is the only proposal on the table right now, and she has not entertained our requests for alternatives. She sees it as an obvious (albeit drastic) solution to our budget problem, citing that many other universities have combined Computer and Electrical Engineering departments. I'll bet those universities didn't have to eliminate an established department to get there, though.
The budget goes into effect July 1, 2012 (this is non-negotiable), and the dean's proposal is currently set to be finalized some time next week. We don't have much time!
My question to everyone here is this: Are we overreacting to this plan, or are we justified? And could you explain why or why not?
It's obvious that CISE students will resist any cuts to our department, but I'm curious to see what other people in the field have to say. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. I will select the answer that saves our department.
Just kidding, I'll pick the one that best explains why this is a good or bad decision for the dean to make. Please note that anything you say can and will be used to further our cause (and we might track you down if you provide a compelling argument against us).