Faculty and Staff Panelists Discuss AI in Higher Education

faculty from CSUM Cal Maritime faculty and staff served as panelists at an event sponsored by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Leadership Program at Diablo Valley Community College. From left to right (seated): Dr. Taiyo Inoue, Dr. Ariel Setniker, Dr. Sarah Senk, and Katherine Luce. Dr. Jase Teoh (middle standing) served as the moderator.


Cal Maritime faculty and staff delved into the transformative influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on higher education this month at the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce's Annual Leadership Program at Diablo Valley Community College. This year's theme was “Education and the Arts,” providing a compelling platform for exploring the potential and challenges associated with integrating AI technologies into academic settings. 

Moderated by Dr. Jase Teoh, who serves as Cal Maritime's senior director of Academic Technology, the panel featured a diverse range of voices, including Dr. Taiyo Inoue and Dr. Ariel Setniker, who are both math professors, Dr. Sarah Senk, who is a professor for the Department of Culture and Communication, and Katherine Luce, Instruction and Web Services librarian. Each panelist contributed unique perspectives on the intersection of AI and higher education. 

The conversation began by acknowledging the increasing role AI plays in educational landscapes. Inoue emphasized the power of AI not just in higher education, but also in biology, signaling the beginning of AI as the most powerful technology transformation in the 21st century that can revolutionize all facades of industry. Senk discussed incorporating AI in her classes. During seminars, for instance, she takes detailed minutes of the discussion, capturing each student’s contributions on a shared Google Doc. The class then feeds those notes into ChatGPT, tasking it with summarizing toplines or crafting arguments based on that collective input, that they must then critically evaluate. While she lamented the potential for lost skills, she discussed how the shifting landscape might lead to exciting innovations in how we teach writing.

Luce addressed the critical aspect of how to assess, evaluate, and curate resources as a librarian and leveraging AI in a responsible manner, which segues into the concerns surrounding ethical implications and potential biases in AI algorithms. Setniker, who is also a faculty professional development expert, underscored the importance of AI implementation, urging educational institutions to provide transparency and equity in their AI-driven initiatives. None of the software available out there test with 100 percent accuracy in AI detection, so care should be used when running a problem/essay through such mechanisms.

Their lively discussion resonated with the audience, consisting of leaders in the Contra Costa region (about 25 attendees), sparking reflections on the evolving role of educators and administrators in adapting to this technological paradigm shift. Attendees' evaluation indicated that this was the best panel session they have had so far and mentioned that they left with a deeper understanding of AI’s potential to revolutionize higher education while acknowledging the need for careful consideration of ethical implications.

As our academic institutions continue to navigate the integration of AI, this panel discussion serves as a catalyst for ongoing conversations on how to harness the power of technology responsibly. The insights shared during the event prompt us to ponder not only the possibilities AI offers but also the ethical responsibilities inherent in its implementation within higher education.

Dr. Jase Teoh contributed to this story.