University of Florida to dismantle CISE department

April 13, 2012 at 9:02 am 8 comments

Our Dean at the Georgia Tech College of Computing has sent this to all of the faculty, urging us to sign the petition. I don’t know anything about the politics of CISE and ECE at Florida, but this is a significant development in the history of computing education and the trend toward shutting down CS departments.

A message from Prof. Sartaj Sahni.

Dear Colleague,
The CISE (Computer and Information Science Department) at the University of Florida needs your help in its struggle to survive . In a nutshell, our Dean has decided to use the pretext of a budget cut to dismantle the department, something (actually, uniting CISE and ECE) she has been trying to do for the past 3 years but was unable to do because she couldn’t get the required votes. Now, she claims that with budget cuts, she doesn’t need anyone’s support.Given this history, it should be clear that the dismantling  is purely retribution for not  voting in favor of her earlier plan to unite ECE and CISE. Please see the information below for more details.

Please help by signing the petition ( and in any other way possible (e.g., email the UF pointing out the value/need for CS grads especially PhDs). Please inform your friends and ask them to do the same and spread the word. Keep in mind that if this dismantling is successful here, it could be tried by other Deans at other universities. Your department could be next!


Current Situation:
The Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Cammy Abernathy fired three staff members today, jumpstarting a plan to remove all research and graduate programs from Computer Information Science and Engineering Department (CISE).
If the University is targeting a department as profitable as CISE, with such high employment prospects (Bureau of Labor Statistics<>), which attracts great economic growth to the Gainesville area (, who knows which department will be next.
The GAU believes these actions establish a dangerous precedent of radical department cuts that impacts all Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff.
Plan of Action:
1.      Today, April 12th at 11:30AM: Join the protest at the Reitz Union Colonnade
2.      Today, April 12th at 2:00PM: Come to the Faculty Senate Meeting at McKnight Brain Institute Auditorium
3.      Sign this petition
4.      Follow us on twitter: @SaveUFCISE

The Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Cammy Abernathy, announced today that she will eliminate all research, graduate programs, and TAs from the Computer and Information Science Department (CISE).  Amazingly, she is targeting a department that brings in 17% of the College of Engineering’s revenue at only 10% of the College’s cost.
CISE Teaching Assistantships will be eliminated.  The CISE department will continue as a teaching-only department without teaching assistants. All CISE Graduate Assistants, who expected to receive a software degree, will be forced to move to a computer hardware department (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, ECE).  Some CISE professors, handpicked by the Dean, will be moved to one of three unrelated departments (BME, ISE, ECE).  This will drastically affect Graduate Assistants’ financial status and career prospects.
The Nuclear Engineering Department was eliminated last year with similar tactics.
The University of Florida has other cuts on the table:

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ria Galanos  |  April 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    This is so disappointing to hear. One of my female HS students was deciding between attending UF or Auburn to study CS. She chose Auburn about a week ago. Sounds like she made the right decision!

  • 2. compsci  |  April 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Time to fire the Dean, Chair, Provost and the Governor. This decision reflects what is the state of the higher command for the department. And make sure that none of them are replaced by anyone in Florida!

  • 3. A UF faculty member  |  April 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    These facts are correct. Please help — sign the petition, and contact our president (

  • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  April 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Stunning piece in Forbes. The athletic department at U. Florida is getting a raise (not a cut), greater than the cost of the whole CS department?!? That’s insane!

  • […] new article on the ongoing U. Florida debacle in Forbes is shocking.  The athletic department is not getting cut — it’s getting a […]

  • […] University of Florida to dismantle CISE department ( […]

  • […] art” perspective.  The Dean of Engineering at U. Florida is described below as saying that these changes would encourage more liberal arts students to study computer science which is what local employers […]

  • 8. Chris Michael  |  April 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Following the most recent developments as of today, I believe the actions must be taken to (quickly ) recover from the damage that has been done by the Dean to the reputation of UF. The announcements by Dean was completely shortsighted and was indicator of lack of leadership and management competencies on Dean’s part. She must step down.

    Faculties and Dept. Chairs should and must come up with a short and long term plan to recover the damage done to the image and reputation of CISE and UF as whole worldwide. Our industry partners definitely do not want to see all this from CISE and UF. Due to this damage, next thing I see happening is loss of confidence from top notch govt. research agencies and industry partners resulting in loss of research funding and collaborative project awards.

    This entire cliché was very badly rolled out by Dean. She must step down from her position for better of UF, as she has lost the credibility to lead the University and lost support from her constituents /stakeholders in UF and around the world.


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