I am an undergraduate Computer Engineering student at the University of Florida. In response to recent budget cuts to higher education in Florida, my department (Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering, CISE) could be undergoing some restructuring, namely the following:
- 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. (ECE), Biomedical Eng. (BME), or Industrial/Systems Eng. (ISE).
- 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.
The Dean of our college claims that eliminating research and TA support within the CISE department will have no effect on the quality of the education future students will receive. She also claims that existing research in the department will be unaffected, except that it will be moved to ECE, BME, or ISE.
As an undergrad, I don't feel qualified to challenge these claims. Therefore, I would like to hear your opinions:
- Will the quality of education in the CISE department be the same after this restructuring?
- Can software-oriented research take place in a department which, until now, has concentrated solely on hardware/electronics?
- Since only half of the faculty will be moved to a research department, half must remain in CISE and focus solely on teaching (with no TA support). Do you think these professors will remain at UF given the circumstances?
- Will the teaching-only CISE department be able to attract quality professors? Top students?
- Will employers value a UF CISE degree as much as they do now? [thanks for pointing this one out JeffE]
Faculty and graduate students in the department know exactly how these changes will affect them (and they aren't pleased!), however many of the undergrads are a bit uncertain. I (and the rest of us undergrads) would really appreciate any wisdom to help clear things up. Thanks in advance!