DSI playing integral role in Vanderbilt University’s recently announced Initiative for the Future of Learning

Vanderbilt University unveiled June 7 its ambitious new Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative, a pioneering endeavor centered around the transformative potential of generative AI technology in education. As the university embarks on this groundbreaking initiative, key faculty members from the Data Science Institute (DSI) are set to play a pivotal role in shaping its direction and success.

Led by Jules White, Associate Dean for Strategic Learning Programs and Associate Professor of Computer Science in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, the Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative aims to explore the evolving landscape of generative AI, its applications, and best practices. The primary objective is to equip Vanderbilt’s students, faculty, and staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to harness the full potential of this cutting-edge technology.

At the core of the initiative’s implementation are several esteemed faculty members from the Data Science Institute.

  • Jesse Spencer-Smith, Chief Data Scientist and Interim Director of the Data Science Institute 
  • Charreau Bell, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, Senior Data Scientist at the DSI, and Faculty Director of Vanderbilt’s Undergraduate Data Science Minor 
  • Douglas C. Schmidt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering (computer science)  
  • Dana Zhang, assistant professor of the practice of computer science  

These DSI faculty members bring their extensive data science expertise to shape the direction and success of the initiative. Working collaboratively, they will develop educational programs for faculty and students, foster trans-institutional innovation, and engage with the wider data science community.

Dr. Dana Zhang expressed excitement about the initiative’s potential.

“This initiative will help guide the design of curricula for undergraduate and graduate students at Vanderbilt as well as assist researchers in exploring the application and impact of large language models (LLMs) in diverse disciplines at Vanderbilt,” Dr. Zhang said. “I’ll be working closely with other core faculty of this initiative to lead efforts on leveraging LLMs in course designs and collaborating with subject matter experts to identify effective approaches to incorporate LLMs in their research to increase productivity.”

Commissioned by the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, the Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative has received substantial support from Vanderbilt’s academic leadership.

Collaboration with the Data Science Institute faculty ensures that the Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative at Vanderbilt University remains well-grounded in expertise and scholarship. By actively engaging the data science community and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, the initiative aims to promote ongoing research and innovation across campus.

Through workshops, courses, and research opportunities, Vanderbilt’s initiative aspires to equip students and faculty with the skills necessary to become experts in generative AI. By embracing this transformative technology responsibly, Vanderbilt University seeks to unlock its full potential, making significant contributions to society, research, and education.

As the Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative gains momentum, the involvement of the Data Science Institute faculty ensures that Vanderbilt University remains at the forefront of technological advancements in education, fostering an innovative and transformative learning environment for generations to come.