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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Machen tries to reassure students, faculty, amid budget outcry



The University of Florida has been flooded recently with a wave of protest over proposed budget cuts -- specifically to one of its computer engineering programs. We examined the issue earlier this week, giving it the PolitiFact treatment. Now UF President Bernie Machen is trying to clear things up, himself, issuing the following statement to the UF community: 

Every college and administrative unit across campus has been engaged over the past few weeks in identifying $38.2 million in spending reductions necessary to meet our FY 2012-13 budget. After five years of cuts, we have lost almost 25 percent of University of Florida’s state support. Finding the necessary cost savings has been increasingly difficult each year. This year is the most challenging yet as we work to do more with less and make the cuts in such a way as to preserve the quality of education at the University of Florida.

The key to educational quality is our faculty. In the past, we have on occasion relied on across-the-board spending reductions distributed among all the colleges and their departments, as well as administrative units. If we tried this approach again this year, the result would be significant faculty layoffs in several colleges.

With a goal of maintaining educational quality, Dean Cammy Abernathy and Provost Joe Glover developed a plan for the College of Engineering that would have preserved our excellent teaching faculty.

As many of you know, the proposal has been met with overwhelming negative response, much of which I believe has been based on misunderstanding. Nonetheless, it is clear that the University of Florida must figure out a way to make it through these financially difficult times in a productive manner. I am optimistic we can do that.

This week, the chairmen of the departments of Computer and Information Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering have come forward together with a framework of a new proposal that would help meet the college’s budget target. It also would address issues raised during recent discussions, namely, clarify and enhance degree offerings while preserving the research mission in both computer science and computer engineering, achieve efficiency in teaching and bring faculty workloads in line with other departments of the college.

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[Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:29am]


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