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Artificial Intelligence

Colby College Launches AI Institute

Colby College in Maine is establishing a cross-disciplinary institute for artificial intelligence — the first such major AI program at a liberal arts college, according to the institution. The mission of the Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence will be to "provide new pathways for talented students and faculty to research, create and apply AI and machine learning across disciplines while setting a precedent for how liberal arts colleges can shape the future of AI," the college said in a news announcement.

Set to open this fall, the Davis Institute will pull together faculty with expertise in AI from a variety of disciplines — computer science, genomics, sociology, English literature and more — to explore the use of AI in research and teaching. It will also partner with outside organizations and institutions to provide students with real-world research projects, internships and other experiential learning opportunities. And a new summer program will allow visiting faculty and students to work on AI projects and course development, and then share their research at their home institutions. Ultimately, the institute will be tasked with providing the next generation of students with the programming and design skills to "shape the capacity and influence of AI" as well as "influence policy decisions regarding the social and ethical implications of AI and its uses for the common good."  

"The Davis Institute will enable our faculty to transform their scholarship and teaching," said Margaret McFadden, provost and dean of faculty at Colby, in a statement. "AI is driving very dramatic shifts in virtually every area of inquiry. These shifts will have profound consequences for quantitative research and teaching across the sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and ultimately offer new routes to discovery. Our educational mission must include preparing students for a future in which AI is ubiquitous, and this institute will make that possible in a way that no other liberal arts college can do."

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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