ASU hosts equitable AI convening with 22 partner institutions

The university setting has risen as a space to explore, research and experiment around the potential impact of emerging technology. And today, artificial intelligence leads the way. 

From optimizing safety in air traffic control to advancing climate change research, providing writing support in the classroom and more — the use of AI spans nearly every discipline and field.

As AI-enabled tools and resources continue to surge in availability and adoption, ensuring equitable access is paramount. 

On Thursday, February 15, Arizona State University (ASU) hosted the Equitable AI Council, convened by Complete College America (CCA). The event brought together 22 member institutions – including national foundations, non-profit organizations and campus partners from two to four-year institutions – to ASU’s Cloud Innovation Center in Scottsdale for a day of collaboration. 

Discussions centered on the use of AI to further success outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk of being excluded and left behind. The group primarily approached the question of AI implementation into existing educational systems. However, there were also important discussions around rethinking and revamping traditional systems. 

“I know a lot of what we are talking about has to do with plugging AI into traditional academic systems that already exist,” said CCA Strategy Director Meacie Fairfax. “There's a part of me that wants to reimagine how you break up that experience across the two to four years to get that credential or degree, and break that traditional mold apart so that it builds in a lot of the competencies, skills and supports that our students and our institutions need.” 

The group consensus was strongly in favor of leveraging AI technology to help student success. However, a myriad of concerns were also raised – for example, how to best help students transition from collegiate life to the workforce and find gainful employment, and what can be done to help underfunded organizations lacking the resources for adequate AI implementation support.  

And, similar to current mainstream rhetoric, themes around data privacy, content ownership, and regulatory burden concerns surfaced. 

The group committed to being mindful and open to further brainstorming as the convening progressed to help identify potential opportunities and solutions to these concerns where possible. 

The convening follows the release of CCA’s newest set of resources for colleges and universities to better navigate generative AI. 

One such resource includes a new AI playbook called “Attainment with AI: Making a Real Difference in College Completion with Artificial Intelligence,” which explores the potential of utilizing AI to scale access to a college degree and the accompanying individual, societal and economic benefits. 

ASU’s Elizabeth Reilley, who leads a team of technologists focused on AI acceleration across the university, is part of the convening group.

"Our commitment to leveraging generative AI technologies transcends mere innovation,” Reilley said. “We see these tools as catalysts for empowerment and equitable opportunity. The Council on Equitable AI represents a pivotal platform for collaboration, aiming to transform these technologies into conduits of opportunity for all, rather than obstacles."

The rest of the afternoon was spent in discussions with student and faculty panels, bringing to life the discussion topics surfaced in the morning session. 

The group also got to explore the power of technology-enhanced experiences while touring Dreamscape Learn’s immersive virtual labs.