Blake Wood
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The University of Illinois Springfield College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is part of a $25,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant aimed at helping public colleges and universities navigate the world of artificial intelligence.

The funding was awarded to Miriam Wallace, dean of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Emily Todd, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut University, through a partnership with the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

The project, “Developing a Public Liberal Arts Humanities Curriculum: Empowering Students to Navigate an AI World,” will help five public liberal arts institutions representing distinct regions of the country develop classes, units or short modules in humanities classes focused on the positive and negative aspects of generative AI.

“As public institutions that pride ourselves on accessibility and meeting regional needs, our students are in an excellent position to ask key questions that have become newly relevant —about human communication, about reflective writing practices and about access to digital tools and the risks of amplifying biases through large language learning modules,” Wallace said.

The grant will support collaborative curricular design by humanities faculty at UIS, the University of Mary Washington, Eastern Connecticut State University, Northern State University and Evergreen State College.

Participants will form learning communities and share progress first on their own campuses, and then meet in the summer of 2025 to share insights and experiences during a COPLAC workshop at Innovate Springfield, UIS’ business incubator in downtown Springfield.

“Innovate Springfield is proud to support this vital program,” said Robert Kerr, UIS executive director of innovation and opportunity. “The humanities are uniquely positioned to help guide a more thoughtful and ethical implementation of AI and help students understand the risks and potential it poses.”

As part of the grant, the institutions will also create open-access AI teaching resources, such as syllabus modules, readings, activities and assignments for all COPLAC institutions to utilize.

NEH Spotlight on Humanities grants are highly competitive. Out of 94 proposals submitted, only 22 grants were awarded.

Note: The grant is being administered by Eastern Connecticut University.

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