Provost John Meier Spearheads AI Exploration in Lafayette College’s Education

by | Sep 8, 2023

Lafayette College is embarking on an important effort to use artificial intelligence (AI) in education. Led by Provost John Meier, a group of faculty members and administrators has been assembled to explore the impact of AI in educational settings. Under the guidance of Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, Tracie Addy, the group has recently published a guide on Generative AI to increase awareness and understanding of AI technologies among faculty and staff.

During the summer, Provost Meier’s group gathered to explore the potential impact of generative AI tools on higher education. Seeking insights, the group attended a conference hosted by the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC), where they engaged with experts in the AI field and colleagues from other academic institutions.

Throughout their discussions, a significant concern emerged regarding the potential misguidance of non-native English writers through programs designed to identify ChatGPT cheaters. While ChatGPT is widely used by students, some reports have indicated mixed accuracy, particularly in subjects like Biology lab, as expressed by an anonymous junior. This has sparked a conversation within the group about fairness, accessibility, and the need to address unintended consequences of AI implementation.

To address these concerns, the group has proposed integrating AI into the Lafayette College environment. One suggestion is to incorporate generative AI into the curriculum, allowing students to explore and engage with this emerging technology. Simultaneously, the group aims to develop assignments that are resistant to AI manipulation, promoting critical and creative thinking while benefiting from AI assistance. Additionally, they are formulating policies to protect privacy and ensure transparency in AI use.

Recognizing the importance of inclusivity, the group encourages the Lafayette community to consider how AI tools can either enhance or hinder the learning process. Community members are urged to understand AI technologies and actively participate in the ongoing dialogue. By involving all stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff, the group aims to create a comprehensive plan that addresses concerns and maximizes the transformative potential of AI in education.

Provost Meier is confident in Lafayette students’ ability to responsibly use AI tools while maintaining academic integrity. By nurturing a culture of responsible AI use and providing clear guidelines, students can harness the power of AI while upholding high standards. The working group has developed a guide on generative AI literacy, comprehensive course policies, and privacy protection protocols as valuable resources for faculty and staff.

As the working group continues its discussions and research, there may be an expansion to include additional perspectives and expertise in the future. The group remains committed to leading the way in AI integration in education at Lafayette College.

In conclusion, Provost John Meier’s working group is making progress in understanding and addressing the implications of AI in education at Lafayette College. Through open dialogue, the publication of an informative guide, and thoughtful proposals, Lafayette is actively embracing AI in the classroom while upholding academic integrity. With the support of the Lafayette community, the college is ready to fully embrace the transformative potential of AI in education.