PBSC faculty prepare to teach artificial intelligence across the curriculum

Professors Marcela Wanderley, Ph.D., and Joshua Filina present their ideas for incorporating AI into life science courses. Click on image to see more photos in the Flickr album.

Palm Beach State College faculty have embarked on the challenge to incorporate artificial intelligence content into every area of study to prepare all PBSC students for an AI future.

The “AI Across the Curriculum” collaborative initiative between Palm Beach State and the University of Florida completed its first phase on May 25. The two-week immersive training, held at the Palm Beach Gardens campus, brought together 22 PBSC faculty members from five academic disciplines with UF experts to learn AI fundamentals, AI ethics, and how to incorporate AI strategically into existing courses.

These faculty members will next train their faculty colleagues during the upcoming academic year to use the pioneering techniques developed by UF to make AI understandable to educators, regardless of their area of expertise or if they have a computer programming or mathematical background.

“We are starting with our faculty first,” said Roger Yohe, Ph.D., vice president of academic innovation and strategy. “Within five years, our goal is to have every Palm Beach State student graduate with a working knowledge of AI, the ethics of AI, and the uses of AI in their majors because we believe this will touch every job.”

In the end, PBSC will have more than 225 faculty trained and actively integrating AI content and tools into existing courses across all academic areas.

The first week of the UF training focused on the fundamentals of what AI is, how AI works and what ethical considerations need to be accounted for when leveraging AI tools and technology. In the second week, the participants delved into the practical applications of AI in the five academic disciplines represented: business, education, health care, engineering and agriculture/life sciences. The training culminated in group presentations, which highlighted the different approaches taken, based on what was judged to be valuable for students in those pathways.

Jehu Chong, Ph.D., kicks off the business group’s presentation with colleagues (from left) Juliett Tracey, Ph.D., Debbie Beres, Jonathan Pernick and Brooke Coslett, DBA.

Brooke Coslett, DBA, a professor for the Bachelor of Applied Science degree program in Supervision and Management, was part of the business group.

“AI is transforming every aspect of business, from marketing and customer service to operations and finance,” Coslett said. “By learning about the latest developments and applications of AI, educators can effectively prepare their students for the future of work. My key takeaway is to build the AI-powered tools in my lectures and aim to continuously equip students to develop the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing work environment.”

Professor Nelson Daniel, Ph.D., part of the engineering group, previously thought it would be another 10 years before AI would be available to the public.

“AI will probably be the greatest disruption in education since the printing press,” said Daniel. “The genie’s out of the bottle, so to speak, and what we have to do in education, as well as business and industry, is to adapt, and I’m looking forward to those challenges.”

Juliett Tracey, Ph.D., and Kalisha Waldon, Ph.D.

Professor Kalisha Waldon, Ph.D., was part of the education group as a professor who teaches several courses for students planning to become teachers.

“AI is here. It’s all around us,” Waldon said. “I think it’s important for us to be trained in how to incorporate AI into our courses so that we can provide our students with the tools and the information that they need to be marketable and ready to use this knowledge in their future careers.”

The UF representatives were struck by how the PBSC faculty took what they had learned about AI and made it their own.

“It’s always remarkable to see how broadly applicable artificial intelligence is,” said David Reed, Ph.D., associate provost for strategic initiatives and the director of the AI2 Center at the University of Florida. “It doesn’t matter if you’re going into law enforcement or you’re going into business or into construction management. There are aspects of artificial intelligence that are relevant to everyone. The faculty here at Palm Beach State College have adapted what we’ve talked about to specifically the needs of their students, the majors that they’re going into, and how they might use it in their careers moving forward.”

PBSC’s Joshua Kanies, Ed.D, and Roger Yohe, Ph.D., with University of Florida’s David Reed, Ph.D., and Nico Rose.

Reed’s colleague, Nico Rose, assistant provost of teaching and technology at UF, added, “The amount of effort and energy that was put forth over the past two weeks has been beyond impressive. AI is a wave that is going to continue moving forward. Development opportunities like this one between the University of Florida and Palm Beach State College ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of that wave and that our students receive the most relevant curriculum in the context of what’s going on right now in society.”

Joshua Kanies, Ed.D., director of PBSC’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence and organizer of the training, is excited about what the faculty achieved in two weeks and the ideas that will come from it.

“We went from a baseline of having either very little or just basic knowledge of AI to leveling the playing field to where our faculty are ready to incorporate AI into their coursework,” Kanies said. “We hope to do more strategic professional development like this that builds the intersections between all the pathways.”

This collaborative initiative is made possible through the Partners in Innovation “Raising the IT IQ for All” federal grant that Palm Beach State received through U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, which was announced Jan. 17 at the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence on the Lake Worth campus. PBSC received $1 million in federal funding to train faculty and students in artificial intelligence as well as buy augmented reality, virtual reality and powerful virtual desktop equipment for its classrooms.

To see more photos, visit the Flickr album.

PBSC and University of Florida participants in the “AI Across the Curriculum” training at the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

Faculty and Staff Participants in “AI Across the Curriculum” Training:

Agriculture and Life Science
Joshua Filina, M.S.
Tamara Johns, M.S.
Marcela Wanderley, Ph.D.

Debbie Beres, MBA
Jehu Chong, Ph.D.
Brooke Coslett, DBA
Jonathan Pernick, MBA
Juliett Tracey, Ph.D.

Angela Adame-Smith, Ph.D.
Robbie Allen, M.A.
Danielle Campbell, M.S.
Sabrina Greenwell, Ed.D.
Eliana Mukherjee, Ph.D.
Dax Parcells, M.A.
Kalisha Waldon, Ph.D.

Oleg Andric, M.S.
Nelson Daniel, Ph.D.
Darmesh Patel, M.Arch.
Eva Suarez, Ph.D.

Health Sciences
Kacey Bishop, B.S.
Jennifer Medina, DMD
Nadine Sirota, Ed.D.

PBSC Support Staff
Center for Teaching and Learning:
Joshua Kanies, Ed.D.
Hope Matuella

PBSC Online:
Laura Bassett
Eva Cruz,
Robb Erwin
Christine Neubert

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