University Part of Artificial Intelligence, Data Science Consortium

Through conferencewide collaboration, SEC universities partner on workforce development initiatives

The university is part of a new Southeastern Conference Artificial Intelligence Consortium, which is focused on ensuring that students graduate with the AI and data science knowledge to compete in an increasingly high-tech workplace. Adobe Stock image

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The provosts of the Southeastern Conference‘s 14 member universities have agreed to a broad collaboration centered around artificial intelligence and data science for workforce development.

Believed to be the first athletics conference collaboration to focus on artificial intelligence for workforce development, the SEC Artificial Intelligence Consortium is designed to grow opportunities in the fast‐changing fields of AI and data science, which are expected to be foundational for the future of industry, education and research.

“This consortium acknowledges the rapid advances and increased applications of AI and data technology in all sectors of society, and it ensures our students are prepared to prosper in a workforce in which AI is expected to play an increasingly important role,” said Jere W. Morehead, president of the Southeastern Conference and the University of Georgia.

“With this effort, SEC institutions are also answering the call from local, state and federal leaders who recognize the importance of enhanced training and workforce development to retain U.S. global competitiveness.”

Through the SEC Artificial Intelligence Consortium, member universities will share educational resources, such as curricular materials, certificate and degree program structures, and online presentations of seminars and courses; promote faculty, staff, and student workshops and academic conferences; and seek joint partnerships with industry.

The universities also will share best practices on ensuring that students graduate with the AI and data science skills that benefit the region and country, while also resonating globally.

“Being a member of the SEC not only benefits athletics programs; it expands the academic opportunities for faculty and students,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Mississippi.

“The Artificial Intelligence Consortium is a great example of how our affiliation with the SEC will benefit our faculty, our students and, ultimately, the companies who hire our students. Our participation in this consortium is a key step toward ensuring that our graduates are prepared for the careers of the future.”

The University of Florida is leading the conference effort and will provide other member institutions access to its HiPerGator supercomputer, one of the fastest in the country. The university recently launched an AI Across the Curriculum initiative that aims to ensure all Florida students develop a basic competency in AI, regardless of their fields of study.

“AI is changing nearly every sector of society, and the SEC is uniquely positioned to engage students, faculty and staff in one of the most transformational opportunities of our time,” said Joseph Glover, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Florida and chair of the SEC Provosts group.

“The combined strength of our institutions gives us the opportunity to advance in how we process the future of teaching and learning, research, and economic development and how we can provide leadership at this critical moment when AI and data science are changing the way we think about small tasks and big questions.”

Since 2011, the SEC has supported the teaching, research and service mission of its member universities through a variety of programs and activities, and specific SEC Artificial Intelligence Consortium collaborations will be announced soon.