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concerns on Dean Abernathy’s vague proposal

15 Apr

{for people who don’t know what’s going around, have a look at http://saveufcise.wordpress.com/the-outcry/}

    Dean Abernathy posted her proposal (http://www.eng.ufl.edu/news/special-announcement-by-the-dean-cammy-r-abernathy/ on 14th of April) as “special announcement”. Keeping aside that this is the first time students got official access to the proposal, this 3 page proposal is so vague, without proper studies and references that I fear if it was grant request, it will be rejected by any NSF or any other grant agency. Without input from stakeholders or future cost/benefit  analysis it does not even stands as initial business plan.  We, students of CISE, don’t question her integrity, work ethics or good intentions, but that’s what we are scared of  that this is not well thought proposal.

      I would like to concentrate on the Key Highlights and Clarification section, especially the portion under “Key  considerations regarding proposed CISE restructure:”
      • It is stated that undergraduate is already co-administrated by the CISE and ECE, but fails to state that there was committee formed by Dean Abernathy that recommended how the undergraduate courses could be managed keeping the current structure intact.
      • The web post goes on to state that the restructure will allow elimination of the duplication. Mantra that there is duplication is being drummed without providing any proof. One would expect that this conclusion has been reached after a detailed study about the courses offered by both departments. Dean is not able to cite any such study. Infact she herself indicated the CISE faculty is not happy with it and now we know  CISE faculty has previously rejected merger with ECE, which indicates that they don’t believe there is serious overlap between the two departments especially in the graduate level courses.
      • Statement cites Georgia Tech where computer science is housed in engineering department. Again failing to tell that Georgia Tech has “College of Computing”  and “Interactive Computing” also. Further look at their Computer and Engineering College will reveal that they have sizeable computer science faculty.Whereas Dean Abernathy’s proposal will only move 10 or 15 computer science Faculty member ot ECE, even that she says will depend upon whom ECE wants to invite. Funding, grants and people politics might result in far fewer computer science faculty members in the ECE to offer a viable computer science program.
      • Third and fourth points, I am sorry to state, are totally unsubstantiated. With less than one third computer science faculty in ECE and all the current CISE students in ECE, how can you run a research program? Especially when half of the faculty will be Teach-Only position lingering in the halls of CISE, forced to teach without giving any facility to do research.
      I would request her reconsider her proposal, form committee of her peers (faculty members of ECE, CISE, ISE and BME) let them help her in making these decisions. I wish Dr. Abernathy good luck, because if she makes a wrong decision College Of Engineering will lose enrollment and thus great source of revenue and pride: that is their students. One hopes provost and president of UF will take a serious interest and save CISE.
      Thanks
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