At Union, our vision is to prepare students to “lead with wisdom, empathy and courage, in ways large and small, today and across multiple tomorrows.”
That phrase is one I have uttered on countless occasions to prospective students and new employees, at events on campus and at gatherings of Union alumni across the country. It succinctly conveys our focus on preparing students for what they will encounter in the years after they leave Union, some of which we can foresee and much of which we cannot.
One of these forces – generative artificial intelligence (GAI) - has exploded into the public’s consciousness over the past year. It already has begun to disrupt the way we work and interact with one another and, I believe, has the potential to fundamentally change the world into which future generations of students will enter after they graduate.
We’re experiencing the beginning of the latest technological revolution and Union College is committed to leveraging our resources and embracing how best to responsibly harness GAI, both to better prepare students for multiple tomorrows and to position the College to thrive in a GAI-infused world.
The implications – both positive and negative – are daunting but I am confident we have the academic resources, culture, and perspective to prepare our students for this version of tomorrow better than most.
As you can see from the material featured on this website, our students have an array of opportunities to pursue their interests in GAI, and in artificial intelligence more broadly, at Union – whether choosing a double major in philosophy and computer science, conducting research alongside faculty from across disciplines, taking a class using AI tools and technologies, or using generative AI chatbots while working on their resume at the Career Center.
Faculty are sharing their expertise in AI as part of the Templeton Institute for Engineering and Computer Science, which for the next two years will host speakers and offer programming to advance our knowledge and use of AI tools and technology. Staff are learning to work responsibly with GAI, even as we explore how to use the technology to create better ways of operating.
An important part of our responsibility as an institution is to prepare our students to effectively navigate the ethical as well as technological pieces of this puzzle. Thanks to our distinct union of liberal arts, computer science and engineering, Union is well positioned to help students contemplate the ethics and practical implications of generative GAI from a holistic and interdisciplinary perspective.
I encourage you to learn more about how Union College is preparing to lead in the age of generative AI.
David R. Harris