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University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department 628

Posted by timothy
from the gator-fans-on-the-line dept.
DustyShadow writes "The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million. The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments. Students at UF have already organized protests, and have created a website dedicated to saving the CS department. Several distinguished computer scientists have written to the president of UF to express their concerns, in very blunt terms. Prof. Zvi Galil, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, is 'amazed, shocked, and angered.' Prof. S.N. Maheshwari, former Dean of Engineering at IIT Delhi, calls this move 'outrageously wrong.' Computer scientist Carl de Boor, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the 2003 National Medal of Science, asked the UF president 'What were you thinking?'"
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University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department

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  • not eliminated? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jank1887 (815982) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:22AM (#39769431)

    FTFA:

    The majority of students would be transferred to the hardware-oriented ECE department
    The CISE department would be converted to a teaching-only department
    50% of faculty would be transferred to other engineering departments (ECE, ISE, and BME)

    so, if it will be a teaching only department, that doesn't seem the same as eliminated. They'll move the engineering in with the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, and it seems leave CISE to teach programming.

  • Re:No problem! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jythie (914043) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:31AM (#39769511)
    Apparently the elimination of the computer science department funded a 2% increase in the athletics budget.
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:41AM (#39769621)

    They don't make money from ticket sales... they make money from ticket sales?

    Someone skipped logic 101...

  • Re:No problem! (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:44AM (#39769633) Homepage Journal

    Not at all. The sports program is independent and actually feeds millions of dollars into the school.

    Bringing sports into it may lead to discussion on cultural values - but the money spent by the school on academics and sports are not related.

  • by buddyglass (925859) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:48AM (#39769689)
    Separate budgets. Athletics pays its own way. Nuking the entire athletic dept. wouldn't create any additional money for CS.
  • Re:Don't be trolled! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cplusplus (782679) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:59AM (#39769789) Journal
    I think you're mistaken. Their athletic department costs the university over $100+ million per year, but only generates about half that in revenue (see this [businessof...sports.com] handy link). Maybe they couldn't come up with the head coach's bonus this year (he got something like $2.5 million)?
  • by Chillas (144627) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:05AM (#39769849)

    They do not make money. The median net loss of each of the Division 1A schools' athletic programs is in the vicinity of $7 million annually.

  • Re:not eliminated? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:12AM (#39769933)

    Indeed. TFA is very misleading and inaccurate opinion piece written by a contributor who usually focuses on healthcare issues. If you read the items he references in his hack job, you'll see that CISE program is not eliminated at all. The computer engineering programs are being moved from CISE to the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Graduate programs and research work will continue in computer engineering there. Most graduate programs and research work in CISE will be eliminated, but the computer science BS and MS programs will remain. The projected savings are $1.36 million out of a $4 million in cuts across the university.

    For what it's worth, this article is one of several opinion pieces carried by Forbes attacking this decision and all are full of inaccuracies and outright lies. Computer science research is being cut. The computer science programs remain. Computer engineering research remains but is moved into Engineering instead of CISE.

  • by Rostin (691447) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:16AM (#39769985)
    The majority operate at a loss, but many, including UF, do make money.
  • by mattbelcher (519012) <matt@nOSpaM.mattbelcher.com> on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:31AM (#39770111) Homepage
    This might have been true in the past but it isn't true of the current CS department. Since UF was designated a "Research 1" university, the CISE department has made huge strides to increase its research competitiveness. They have won 12 NSF CAREER awards for young faculty, received 11 best paper awards at major conferences in the last 5 years, and have quintupled their external research grant funding.
  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:36AM (#39770153)

    I don't get the outrage here. The article might just as well have positioned this as moving the education to the new Polytechnic. But that's not good for page views. So we get this opinion piece instead.

    Based on tuition and costs, there could be anywhere between 85-200 students covered by this department to get the $1.7M savings. And there is a Polytechnic being created in Tampa specifically for this kind of thing. Why invest in something that is going to be poached by your new University anyway?

    Meanwhile, just two days ago, Florida governor Rick Scott approved the creation of a brand-new public university, Florida Polytechnic University, to be located near the city of Tampa. In an unintentionally ironic statement, Gov. Scott said

            âoeAt a time when the number of graduates of Floridaâ(TM)s universities in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields is not projected to meet workforce needs, the establishment of Florida Polytechnic University will help us move the needle in the right direction.â

  • by Lluc (703772) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:37AM (#39770165)

    Computer science is a programme of study not an entire department.

    Only if you're at a bad school.

    For example, the University of California at Berkeley with its combined EECS dept? They're only ranked #1 in the 2010 US News ratings...

  • They do not make money. The median net loss of each of the Division 1A schools' athletic programs is in the vicinity of $7 million annually.

    Florida, in the football loving South Eastern Conference, is not one of them. They make a lot of money from football. Second, no tax funds go to the athletic program. All SEC schools fund their athletic programs separately from the main budget, and all of the athletic money comes from ticket sales, TV revenue, bowl payouts, merchandise, etc. Athletics takes not one single dollar from state appropriations in the SEC.

  • by roothog (635998) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:56PM (#39774409)

    You really have no idea what you are talking about do you? Find one significant program where CS is a separate department.

    Sure. From the 2010 US News rankings of Computer Science [rankingsandreviews.com]:

    1. Carnegie Mellon. Separate CS and ECE.
    1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Combined EECS. Separate CSAIL.
    1. Stanford. Separate CS and EE.
    1. UC Berkely. Combined EECS. Administratively split into separate EE and CS divisions.
    5. Cornell. Separate CS and ECE.
    5. UIUC. Separate CS and ECE.
    7. Washington. Separate CSE and EE.
    8. Princeton. Separate CS and EE.
    8. UT Austin. Separate CS and ECE.
    10. Georgia Tech. Separate CS and ECE.

    Need I continue, or is this enough evidence that maybe I do know what I'm talking about and that you should be quiet for a while?

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