Survey Reveals Majority of Institutions Lag in AI Policy and Curriculum Adaptation


In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming integral to various industries, including higher education. Despite the concerning gap in AI policy implementation and curriculum adaptation revealed by a recent survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed, this article aims to inspire by delving into the challenges and opportunities AI presents in higher education.

Survey Reveals Majority of Institutions Lag in AI Policy and Curriculum Adaptation

(Photo : PEXELS / Buro Millenial)

Policy Implementation: A Critical Need

Despite AI's transformative potential, the survey indicates that most higher education institutions have yet to develop policies governing its use. This is a significant concern considering AI's increasing role in teaching and research. The urgency of policy implementation cannot be overstated.

Gregor Thuswaldner, provost at Whitworth University and president of the Association of Chief Academic Officers, acknowledges the low percentage of institutions with AI policies but suggests that, for many, existing plagiarism policies may extend to govern generative AI use. This indicates a potential blind spot in addressing AI specifically, which could lead to misuse and ethical dilemmas.

READ MORE: High Point University President Advocates For Life Skills In The AI Era 

Curriculum Adaptation for the AI Era

The survey's findings are clear-only about one in seven provosts reported that their institutions have reviewed their curricula to ensure students are adequately prepared for the AI-driven workplace. This is a significant finding, as it underscores the importance of curriculum adaptation for the AI era. With AI set to revolutionize various industries, including education, institutions must equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in this evolving landscape.

Thuswaldner emphasizes the importance of preparing students for an AI-dominated world, stating, "AI is here to stay, and we cannot put our heads in the sand." He advocates for a shift in focus toward the learning process rather than the final product, suggesting that if AI can replicate tasks typically assigned to students, educators should reconsider the questions they pose.

Academic Integrity and AI

One of the most pressing concerns raised by provosts is the potential threat AI poses to academic integrity. The survey reveals that nearly half of the respondents expressed moderate concern, while 26 percent were very concerned about the implications of generative AI on academic integrity. This underscores the need for proactive measures to address these risks.

George Justice, provost at the University of Tulsa, highlights the importance of proactively addressing concerns about academic integrity. He notes that faculty members who ban AI without adapting their teaching methods risk fostering cynicism among students, leading to widespread cheating. Justice suggests that embracing AI in classrooms while emphasizing ethical practices and process-oriented learning can mitigate these risks.

Meeting the Challenge: Training and Support

Despite the challenges posed by AI, provosts are not without hope. The survey reveals that institutions are responding to the need for AI-related training. Nearly 80 percent of respondents reported that their colleges and universities have offered training in response to faculty concerns or questions about generative AI developments in the last year and a half.

Moreover, 45 percent of institutions already use AI for chatbots and virtual chat assistants, indicating a willingness to embrace AI's potential benefits. This demonstrates that support for AI integration is available. However, there is still a need for more comprehensive training and support, as evidenced by the 90 percent of provosts who reported that faculty and staff members have requested more training related to AI developments.

The survey findings underscore the urgent need for higher education institutions to address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI. Policy gaps and curriculum challenges must be addressed to ensure students are adequately prepared for the AI-driven future. By embracing AI responsibly, institutions can enhance the learning experience and prepare students for success in an increasingly AI-dominated world.

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