Dean’s Special Message re. Proposal to Reduce or Cut Undergraduate Education Programs



March 2, 2009




Originally posted March 2 / updated March 11, 2009
Dear alumni, friends and supporters of the UF College of Education,
You may have seen recent news reports about the possibility of the UF College of Education becoming a graduate-level-only college, which could entail the elimination or significant reduction of our highly regarded undergraduate teacher-preparation programs in elementary education and early childhood education. UF Provost Joseph Glover has asked us—along with the College of Nursing—to prepare an analysis of the pros and cons of such a move as part of the university’s overall budget reduction planning process. I emphasize, though, that this is only one of several alternatives being discussed in dealing with budget shortfalls. At this time, we have not received any definite plan or timeframe for implementing any reductions in the undergraduate program.
As we have done during the entire budget-planning process, college administration will fully engage our faculty to jointly craft the two analyses covering the possible elimination or the significant reduction of undergraduate programs. Should we receive a directive to take either action, we must be able to specify to the Provost what new resources are needed to heighten our focus on graduate education and research aligned with the University of Florida’s overall mission. The college’s Faculty Policy Council will conduct a survey to obtain input on this matter and will discuss the results at an FPC meeting on Monday, March 16. I intend to share those analyses and our final budget reduction plan with the college community in an open forum on March 20, 2-4 p.m., in the Norman Hall Auditorium. Our final plan will be submitted April 1 to Provost Glover. No decisions about our budget proposals and the analyses will be made until President Bernie Machen reviews them with his cabinet and discusses the overall UF budget plan with the university’s Board of Trustees.
The possible elimination of our undergraduate teacher education programs has understandably stirred deep emotional reactions among many faculty, staff, students and alumni. As one response, a group of our teacher education faculty developed a passionate statement of concern, signed by 57 faculty members, and sent copies to President Machen, Provost Glover and me.
I strongly believe that maintaining a significant role in undergraduate teacher education is important for many reasons. I also recognize that we have strong graduate programs with increasing student demand whose needs must be taken into account when resources are very limited. As we have previously communicated, the College of Education in recent years has increasingly focused more on graduate education and research in keeping with the University of Florida’s stated mission. By the numbers, the college largely is already a graduate college—with about two-thirds of our 1,800-plus students pursuing degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels. This fact is not widely known outside of the college. Other education professionals we prepare, all at the graduate level, are principals, school psychologists, school counselors, research and evaluation specialists, and higher education administrators.
UF’s College of Education has rich heritage, more than a century in the making, of addressing the most critical education needs of the day. However this matter plays out, that tradition will continue. With our dedicated and committed faculty and the talented students we attract, we will remain a strong and vibrant college. We will keep you informed as budget plans emerge and later as important program decisions are made. We, of course, will honor commitments to our current students regardless of what occurs.
Whatever suggestions or opinions you have on this matter, please feel free to share them with me or Associate Dean Tom Dana ( We can help dispel any rumors and misunderstandings that may be circulating. Contact us with any questions or concerns. Also, visit our Web site ( regularly for announcements or news updates concerning the development or release of our budget plans and analysis reports.
Please be assured of our ongoing commitment to excellence and leadership in educator preparation and professional development, and in innovative and cross-cutting research on critical education issues. We look to you, our alumni, supporters and friends, for ideas and encouragement during these challenging times, and we greatly appreciate your support.
Catherine Emihovich, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
UF College of Education
College of Education, University of Florida
PO Box 117044 | Gainesville, FL 32611 | (352) 392-0728 |