University Cuts Computer Science in Favor of Athletics
Florida hedging its bets to become worst state in the union.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: April 25th, 2012
midst a generation in which technology education is arguably at its most useful, the University of Florida has decided to cut its entire computer science department, eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in the program as well as cutting the graduate and research programs. If your jaw just dropped, don't worry, ours did too when we heard the news. The move will allow the university to save $1.4 million, but what is it losing in exchange?
Interestingly, the budget for athletics at UF is $97.7 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year. Naturally, some people are a bit ticked off, as the "money saving" venture of cutting CS has already been more than negated by the athletics funding.
Eliminating a popular and extremely useful course of study (and thus eliminating the possibility for those students to train for jobs without leaving the state) seems incredibly short sighted.
Students at UF have organized protests, and there's already a website dedicated to saving the department. And frankly, when other schools in different states are "amazed, shocked, and angered, as is Prof. Zvi Galil, the Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, you should probably take a step back and reassess this obviously ludicrous decision.
Perhaps we're a bit more invested after having spent time at a large university in Illinois, where the engineering school (which incidentally includes computer science) is among the highest ranked in the nation, but eliminating a popular and extremely useful course of study (and thus eliminating the possibility for those students to get jobs in that field without leaving the state) seems incredibly short-sighted. Even considering the missteps Florida has taken regarding education in the past few years, this is baffling.
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?"
Steven Salzberg of Forbes.com said, "The University of Florida is moving backwards while the rest of the world moves ahead," and we couldn't agree more. What's worse is that Rick Scott, Florida's rather preposterous governor, approved the creation of a brand new public university (Florida Polytechnic University, to be located near Tampa), just a few days ago.
His explanation for the approval?
"At a time when the number of graduates of Florida'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."
You know what won't move the needle? Cutting programs from huge state schools. Bad move, UF, and that's an understatement.