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Webber Co-Edits Al Themed Volume


by Jewel Caruso

Karen Webber, McBee professor emeritus and past president of Association for Institutional Research, served as special guest editor for The AIR: Professional File Fall 2023 volume along with Henry Zheng. 

The volume includes four articles on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics. Webber and Zheng write in their preface that they "briefly present some of the key factors that helped drive the development of AI and machine learning (ML) in higher education; we also include a focus on the implications and opportunities for IR and IE professionals." They note that the topic is rapidly evolving, but see the value for leaders to engage with the technology as they are already conducting important discussions about AI and ML involvement in higher education. 

Webber and Zheng writes, "We think it is important to forge ahead with some discussion, while acknowledging that some aspects of these new tools will change-- and will change rapidly." They continue, "As critical colleagues on our campus and in policy agencies, we need to be engaged with others on this topic right away."

Webber and Zheng believe that AI and advanced analytics can benefit students, and they identify four main areas of impaoct: institutional use, student support, instruction, and scholarly research. 

The book also highlights several critical criteria as "key stakeholders continue to explore the use of AI in educational and other academic endeavors." These include keeping a humanitstic view, aligning AI models to shared vision for education, using modern learning principles, prioritizing trust, informing and involving educators, and developing education-specific guidelines.

Webber and Zheng end their preface of the four articles stating how AI will continue to grow the world of higher education, and they are hopeful for positive impact. 

The volume is available at:

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Professor Emerita of Higher Education

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