When budget cuts happen at a University, usually they must eliminate entire departments, as you can't selectively fire tenured faculty within a department, outside of reasons like gross misconduct. Otherwise, you're picking some pretty serious fights with accreditors, civil courts, and faculty professional organizations (AAUP, etc.).
But why was computer science chosen? Usually, it's low-enrollment, low-income (from grants, etc.) programs like philosophy or entomology that fall under the axe, often at smaller campuses within a state system. Does the computer science department not bring in enough government grants and private development money? Enough tuition-paying students? A good enough track record with placing students in professional careers that make use of the education?
Is this part of a game of University - Legislature brinksmanship where the University is threatening to cut desirable programs in a thinly-veiled effort to shame the government into coughing up more money?
- Medicine is a complex, experience-dependent, field where you learn how to be a good doctor by doing actual clinical medicine and collaborating with others. Even quirky experts are expected to teach, show, and actively involve the next generation of interns.
- Medicine has overarching professional standards, including stringent practices for safety, hygiene, and record-keeping, that no one is above, not even the quirky experts.
- Even the mavericks understand that the goal is not feeding your own ego and sense of self-importance, or just working on intellectual exercises that interest you, but looking out first for the health and welfare of the patients (i.e., the customers).
However, a locally written story in the Omaha World Herald reports very different experiences in Nebraska. It quotes both state and local education officials that acknowledge that while there have been some problems with accessing inappropriate sites and downloading unauthorized software, the experience has been positive overall. All of these officials state that they plan to support additional laptop programs in public schools in Nebraska. The story states that, "...any negative issues the computers create pale in comparison to their benefits: higher test scores, better-organized students and more contact between students and teachers." One teacher notes that, "It's quieter, we have fewer discipline problems, and kids are more accountable because there's no paper trail and they can't make excuses about losing their homework..."
To head off any potential geographic snobbery, or misunderstandings about Nebraska, among coastal Slashdotters, it should be noted the state (along with other midwestern states like Iowa) consistently ranks in the top-10 for student achievement, while also ranking in the bottom-20 for per-student costs. So, what is Nebraska doing right? Is it all that midwestern work-ethic and and reinforcement of positive personal values in the students? Or does it simply come down the fact, as another teacher noted, that, "It's how the teachers use those tools that makes the difference?"