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­. of Florida Dean Proposes to Save Money By Revising Faculty Jobs to Focus on Teaching, Not Research

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professor in classroom

Credit: Southern Methodist University

The University of Florida College of Engineering is proposing to revise the assignments of some of its tenured faculty in the computer science department to focus more on teaching and advising and less on research in an attempt to save money in the face of state budget cuts. The plan calls for faculty to take on the responsibilities of graduate teaching assistants, and about half of the department's 30 tenured and tenure-track faculty would be required to refocus their efforts on teaching.

However, the plan is receiving opposition from faculty, students, alumni, and some outside groups. "Without strong research programs, undergraduate research becomes undergraduate projects," says the Computing Research Association's Eric Grimson. More than 5,000 people have signed an online petition denouncing the proposal. "The unprecedented conversion of a research department to a teaching department will seriously impact the University of Florida's ability to recruit faculty," says Georgia Tech dean of the College of Computing Zvi Galil.

State budget cuts are responsible for the College of Engineering having to trim more than $4 million, according to dean Cammy R. Abernathy. Although normally the cuts would be spread across the board, Abernathy says that strategy will drive the department down a path of mediocrity.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education
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