Faculty present WC board with AI update
Weatherford College professors Marcie DeChiara and Jared Stewart addressed the Board of Trustees on the benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence during the board’s September meeting on Thursday.
Stewart covered the positives of AI for instructors, including time savings provided by automating tasks like lesson plans, thereby freeing up creative energy for mentorship and additional student support.
For students, AI offers instant access to virtual tutors to help summarize texts, clarify classroom concepts and rephrase lessons in their language for non-native English speakers.
DeChiara addressed how AI can harm academic integrity as students attempt to pass AI-created text as their own. Instructors face further dilemmas in detecting AI-written papers.
“We thought, in the beginning, we would be able to use AI against itself to detect AI writing,” she said. “That has not been the case. It cannot reliably detect itself.”
One way to counteract these pitfalls is for instructors to change their assignments.
“So we can be assured that students are learning at every stage as opposed to relying on technology to have a computer read what a computer wrote and then a human give a grade to it,” DeChiara said. “That is the worst outcome we could have with AI. Otherwise, it has great potential.”
The report also covered online resources developed by library staff to guide students on academic integrity when using AI and the development of an instructional hub set up by the information technology department to keep faculty and staff educated on the latest happenings in AI.
“I can tell you we’re on the cusp of this, and we’re doing a lot better than a lot of other institutions are in trying to think ahead about how AI fits into academia,” Stewart said. “I’m really proud to be part of this team.”
The board also tabled moving forward on adding a third irrigation well at the Weatherford campus, pending additional review to ensure the project is financially responsible.
In other business, the board:
- Approved the minutes from the August regular and called board meetings.
- Approved the financial reports ending August 31.
- Approved the quarterly investment report.
- Renewed a contract with HUB International Insurance Services for insurance coverages, loss control and risk management services.
- Approved the purchase of Cisco office phones to replace models no longer supported by company software.
- Approved a contract with Omnia Partners IT Products to add event scheduling components to the college’s intranet system.
- Approved the purchase of a new antenna system for The Coyote radio station from American Amplified Technolgies to replace a malfunctioning antenna.
In his September report, WC President Tod Allen Farmer:
- Congratulated Dean Kathy Boswell on her appointment to the Texas Board of Nursing.
- Announced that the grand-funded electric vehicle charging stations by the Alkek Fine Arts Center are now fully functional.
- Announced the volleyball’s current ranking as 8th in the nation.
- Announced the resignations of Crystal Pipher, coordinator of student relations and student resources; Christi Sanchez, vocational nursing instructor; Shanna Mello, legal services manager; Elliott DeWit, men’s assistant basketball coach; and the retirement of Dan Curlee, general counsel.
- Reported fall enrollment numbers of 5,574 students as of Monday, Sept. 11, as compared to 5,337 students last year. This represents a 4.4 percent increase. WC Wise County is up 16.3 percent with 499 students this year as compared to 418 this time last year.