Boston University (BU) recently released its AI Task Force Report, which includes a push for the university to “critically embrace” artificial intelligence (AI) technologies across campus.

“As AI continues to rapidly revolutionize and, in many ways, redefine the way we work and learn as a society, it is imperative that we innovate in education and research sooner rather than later,” said Kenneth Lutchen, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer ad interim.

“As a premier global research institution, educational innovator, and launching pad for future scholars and professionals, Boston University should lead the way in equipping our students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the future workforce,” he said.

Last fall, Lutchen commissioned the AI Task Force, which is led by Yannis Paschalidis, distinguished professor of Engineering and director of the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, and Wesley Wildman, professor of philosophy, Theology, and Ethics, School of Theology. Lutchen tasked them with assessing and making recommendations for the role of Generative AI (GenAI) in education and research at Boston University.

In a statement, Lutchen highlighted what he believes are the most important observations and recommendations from the report, including:

  • Instead of universally prohibiting or restricting the use of GenAI tools, BU needs to work to “critically embrace” the use of GenAI and acknowledge that learning and work in the future of virtually every discipline will be impacted by it.
  • The future workforce in any field will require individuals that know how to use AI. BU needs to embrace this and ensure its graduates are ready and competitive.
  • Every unit and department at the university needs to create AI policies consistent with the critical embrace concept and should inform students through syllabi of their GenAI policy for individual courses. Lutchen noted that in situations where the technology is not allowed, faculty needs to provide a clear rationale for why that’s the case relative to desired course learning outcomes.
  • Virtually all disciplines should work to support AI literacy and use among faculty and students, including being aware of how it can be used to enhance learning and research outcomes. Lutchen said that this ambition will require the university to develop creative approaches for providing such educational and experiential knowledge to students.

The Task Force is now focused on collecting feedback from the faculty community on the report takeaways and recommendations. Lutchen said that he will be engaging the Council of Deans soon to discuss areas for moving forward with the task force’s recommendations. The provost’s office expects that the school will stand up some initiatives to begin implementation in the near future.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs