Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU Faculty Senate weary of AI, adjusts course syllabus language

In the final meeting of the semester on April 29, the Faculty Senate went over changes to fully remote learning, minor certificate additions, updates to IFP plans, and changed approach to AI technology
Kevin Wagner, (left) receiving a certificate from current Faculty Senate President, Kim Dunn (right) on behalf of Florida Atlantic University for his work as a member and past president of the Faculty Senate over the past year.
Gabriela Quintero
Kevin Wagner, (left) receiving a certificate from current Faculty Senate President, Kim Dunn (right) on behalf of Florida Atlantic University for his work as a member and past president of the Faculty Senate over the past year.

Instructors at Florida Atlantic University can now emphasize their own limitations on AI technology in the classroom, the University Faculty Senate decided unanimously on Monday.

At the last Faculty Senate meeting of the 2023-2024 school year, members passed a policy change that allows instructors to individually decide their approach to AI technology.

Additionally, the Senate discussed topics ranging from updates on FAU’s approach towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the deletion of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee. 

Recently, universities throughout the country have struggled to adapt to the rapid evolution and expansion of AI, affecting every single aspect of teaching and learning. 

When asked about the tools used to be able to tell when AI has been used, Dan Meeroff, who is the FAU dean of Undergraduate Studies, shared the unpredictability of these platforms. 

“There are some tools we can purchase that today may work, but that in a few short months will be completely out of date because the technology has advanced more rapidly than the want to detect its presence,” he said.

Meeroff introduced FAU’s intended approach to this rapid change, which seeks to allow instructors to state their individual limitations for AI in their syllabus. This will give them the opportunity to either encourage its use or prohibit it. 

He did call attention to the effects of false-positive AI use predictions, such as that used by the “AI Score” on Turnitin, the online platform used by the university that detects plagiarism and AI.

About 30% of Turnitin AI Scores falsely accuse students of plagiarism, according to Meeroff, which is why university faculty cannot fully decide on AI tools.

“Falsely accusing someone of doing something wrong is extremely dangerous,” Meeroff said. “For right now, that number is too high, which is becoming one of our major challenges.”

Meeroff further discussed how these individualized decisions will allow the university to provide more resources for staff and students in working with AI.

“I encourage faculty to discuss with colleagues to select their standings on AI use as [the university] will govern what content will be provided on the AI website; the more people choose one versus the other, the more information and resources will be provided for that,” he said.

Senate Removes Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

During the meeting, the Faculty Senate also approved the removal of the current standing DEI committee, which comes as a result of the state’s defunding of DEI programs, prohibiting university expenditures on behalf of such programs. 

However, the dissolution of the previous committee coincided with the proposal to establish the “Faculty Development, Success, and Retention” Committee. This new committee was intended to set annual goals for the University and deliver a report on faculty development, success, and retention to the school officials. Despite these intentions, the Faculty Senate rejected the introduction of this committee, and it will not proceed.

Updates to courses, majors, minors, and certificates

Kim Dunn, president of the faculty senate, also introduced a change to the university’s catalog, sharing that students can choose to complete their entire degree online. However, they can only do so once during their enrollment at FAU.

“This change is to allow [students] to change their form of attendance only once throughout their program, and any additional changes to their status would require a petition,” Dunn said.

The Senate also made changes to the General Education Program, formerly known as the Intellectual Foundations Program. The changes included replacing “Math for Liberal Arts 1” (MGF 1106) with “Mathematical Thinking and Context” (MGF 1130) and transferring “American History to 1877” (AMH 2010) from the electives section to the core requirements.

Some courses will also change categories from Global to Humanities, including “Intro to Caribbean and Latin American Studies” and “Music in Global Society.” Meeroff further stated that with these changes, there will be a need to redo various flight or course plans for all majors and a re-consideration of courses on behalf of students to adapt to the new introduction and reorganization of courses and categories. 

Dunn further introduced a minor and certificate in “Arts and Performance Entrepreneurship.” Kevin Wilt, head of the music department at the university, explained that the goal of this new introduction is to give students in creative fields the ability to further their careers through entrepreneurial skills. 

“This minor would give students who seek to go into freelance the experiences they might need to run their career as a small business,” Wilt said. “We already teach them how to be great creatives, but this gives us the chance to teach them to earn a living in doing that.” 

A new certificate in “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Cybersecurity” was also introduced during the meeting, explained by Michael DeGiorgio, Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who shared how the program will benefit students.

“This new certificate program is intended to help students get the background and familiarity with AI tools and technologies for designing cybersecurity solutions, which will aid and support workforce needs in this area,” DeGiorgio said. 

The Department of Science also introduced a multitude of new programs, including a new Honors Program in Climate Change, a new minor in Astronomy, and a new certificate, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Cybersecurity.”

Michael Zourdos, chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, also proposed removing the FLEX, or Foreign Language Exit, from the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. 

Other recognitions

Stephen Engle, NCAA faculty athletics representative, also shared the university’s various accomplishments in the world of sports, including a rise in student-athletes’ overall academic performance. Engle further shared the school’s sports teams’ national recognition, varying from the Volleyball team’s success at the National Invitation Volleyball Tournament to the Men’s Basketball team getting 21 straight sellouts.

Dunn also took the time to congratulate former president of the Faculty Senate, Kevin Wagner, for his service to the committees of the Faculty Senate.

“I would like to present this [certificate] to Dr. Kevin Wagner, who at Florida Atlantic University’s Faculty Senate, serves as an essential body representing the interests and concerns of the academic community,” she said.

Gabriela Quintero is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this story or others, contact her at [email protected]


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *