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U. of Florida Dean Drops Plan to Shift Faculty Focus From Research to Teaching

Facing a backlash from students and faculty members, a University of Florida dean has backed away from her plan to shift the focus of a computer-science department from research to teaching. Cammy R. Abernathy, dean of the College of Engineering, this month proposed eliminating the department’s graduate teaching assistants and research support staff as a cost-saving measure. The plan would have reassigned tenured and tenure-track faculty to focus solely on teaching. But on Wednesday, citing an “overwhelming negative response” to the proposal, the university’s president, J. Bernard Machen, said in a written statement that it had dropped Ms. Abernathy’s plan. Mr. Machen said that two department chairs in the college were working on an alternative strategy to deal with cuts in state funds.

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