California State University, Sacramento has launched a new artificial intelligence institute, with the goal of leading the charge in AI education.

CSU Sacramento President Luke Wood announced that Alexander “Sasha” Sidorkin, currently dean of the College of Education, will lead Sacramento State’s new National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Education. In addition to appointing Sidorkin, the school has also begun a cluster-hiring of computer scientists in the areas of AI and quantum computing.

“Sacramento State is the one and only public university in the capital of the state with the fifth-largest economy in the world, and we are acting like it,” Wood said in a statement.

In a press release, the school said the new institute will be the first of its kind in the California State University system and one of the first organized efforts among colleges and universities nationwide to advance the technology’s ethical, equitable, and accessible uses in education.

“Artificial intelligence technology will transform every part of our society, so it’s paramount that we’re considering its implications,” Wood said. “Every futuristic movie – like ‘The Terminator’ and ‘The Matrix’ – focuses on what happens when AI goes bad. The only way to ensure the fast-developing technology is properly harnessed for good is to be hands-on in the building of new policy, curriculum, and ethically incorporating AI into the classroom.

As the institute gets up and running, Sidorkin will lead the university’s integration of AI into teaching and learning, advising, business practices, and support services for students. The institute will use the power of AI to train Sacramento State students on how to use generative AI and the ethical application of these tools.

According to the school, the institute will encourage reimagining coursework utilizing AI to boost the success of underserved students and establish programs to share resources, ethical guidelines, and research on AI with other educators in K-12 and higher education.

The school further added that it is focused on graduating students who can advance the development of AI, and is completing the hiring of seven new faculty members in the Department of Computer Science with a focus on faculty who have expertise in AI and quantum computing.

“Our students and faculty should be on the cutting edge of technology that is having a tremendous impact and will continue to affect their lives,” Wood said. “Our commitment to this initiative will help ensure that and will ensure that some of the country’s best minds will be part of us fulfilling that commitment.”

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