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FIU leads conversation on AI in higher ed
From left to right: Cyber Florida at University of South Florida Director Ernie Ferrareso, Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega, FIU Provost Elizabeth Béjar, University of South Florida Provost Prasant Mohapatra, and Barry University President Mike Allen, took the stage to discuss the role that academia plays in preparing the future workforce.

FIU leads conversation on AI in higher ed

The Jack D. Gordon Institute invited academic leaders to discuss policies, training and education to help students and faculty embrace the positives of the technology and guard against negatives.

February 5, 2024 at 9:30am

Industries worldwide continue to undergo a seismic shift after advancements in AI technology. Higher education stands at the forefront of this new chapter, navigating the training of faculty and students alike but also suggesting protocols to guard against misuse.

Traditionally, the student code of conduct across all Florida institutions addresses the consequences of plagiarism. The arrival of AI tools such as ChatGPT, however, has spurred a reevaluation of academic integrity as students are presenting work generated by AI as their own.

The challenges of AI transcend academia to impact government and the private sector. The frequency of deep fake audios, for example, has led to the spread of disinformation, and biases in AI product development have exacerbated societal biases.

Acknowledging the need for change, FIU's Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy spearheaded the Florida AI Policy Summit. Its goal: facilitate conversations across academia, government, technology and banking industries in Florida during the state legislative session to pass comprehensive policies to regulate AI.

Brian Fonseca, director of the Gordon Institute, was invited by State Representative Demi Bussata Cabrera to speak to members of the state’s technology appropriations subcommittee. He emphasized the need for serious conversation in advance of creating solid policy around a technology that will influence all sectors.

“Florida is now in a position where it has to acknowledge and reconcile the impact that AI is going to have on everything,” Fonseca says.

Academic leaders who participated in the summit emphasized that it’s no longer a question of whether academia should embrace AI, but rather how will academia navigate the integration of AI.

“Higher education needs to embrace a proactive stance, reshaping structures to address evolving job landscapes,” said Provost Béjar in discussing how academic institutions need to adapt curricula to integrate AI and prepare both students and faculty to use it.

"One of the strategies we've enacted is the facilitation of Al training for faculty, integrating it into our daily fabric, emphasizing the importance of assessment," stated Madeline Pumariega, the president of Miami Dade College. She spoke of how her institution began training faculty on the use of AI tools so they can then teach their students the correct and responsible way to use them. She drew the comparison to how students are taught how to properly cite their online sources, as educators are the ones to show them how to use the available resources appropriately, handling AI would be no different.

The Florida AI Policy Summit was made possible through the collaboration of the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, Cyber Florida at the University of South Florida, Miami Dade College, and Lab22c.

Read more: As part of FIU leadership on the topic, Gordon Institute Director Brian Fonseca wrote an opinion piece in the Miami Herald on universities' role in paving the way for responsible use of AI.