Professor Scott Alfeld teaching an open class about AI during Homecoming 2019.

Last updated February 2024

Amherst College launched the “AI Learning Lab Series” for faculty and staff in the Fall 2023 semester.  These sessions focus on teaching and learning and broader conversations about the future of education.

Jump To: Spring 2024Fall 2023Spring 2023

Gen AI and its Emerging Impact on Education

The rapid advance of AI in education is undeniable; it is no longer a matter of whether we will incorporate AI but rather how we will navigate its widespread influence on our educational practices. As the era of Generation AI (Gen AI) is already upon us, the college is keen to proactively address the challenges of teaching and learning in this new landscape and stay at the forefront of liberal arts education.

This series of sessions is designed to help faculty and instructional staff develop an understanding of AI and its implications for higher education, by providing a forum to connect with experts and fellow educators on a number of topics around the use of AI. Through these Gen AI focused discussions, we hope to better grasp curricular needs, address the challenges faced by faculty, and also generate applications for the classroom. When facilitating this AI Learning Lab, we aim to find the right balance between educating ourselves about ethical, privacy, and security concerns related to Gen AI and encouraging meaningful, responsible experimentation firmly rooted in the liberal arts framework. We also aim to foster connections with the work of the Gen AI task force and the ongoing efforts of the “AI in the Liberal Arts” (AILA) initiative.

Spring 2024 Sessions

For writers, as well as teachers and students of writing, the rapid emergence of generative AI raises profound questions about the value of human writing processes and practices. Join AILA and the Writing Center for this virtual event featuring Naomi S. Baron, author of Who Wrote This? How AI and the Lure of Efficiency Threaten Human Writing and Professor Emerita of Linguistics at American University. Professor Baron will build on her discussion of creativity in the book, incorporating developments over the past year, with a focus on the realm of writing, in this highly interactive session for the Amherst College community, facilitated by Jessica Kem, director of the writing center.

  • Interterm Workshop: How to Get What You Want From ChatGPT With Prompt Engineering

    • Facilitated by: ATS
    • Jan 16 & 18 - Seeley Mudd 209 and on Zoom, 1-4 PM

Fall 2023 Sessions 

[Jointly Sponsored by the Provost’s Office and IT]

These sessions were facilitated by a core team of members from Academic Technology Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Community Standards, Frost Library, and the Writing Center. A few faculty members served as advisors and also co-presented sessions. Participants had an opportunity to interact with experts in the field of AI, ask questions, and share their thoughts on how to apply AI concepts to their own teaching and research practice. Each session addressed specific aspects of AI possibilities/concerns and their corresponding implications for higher education. 

These sessions delved into subjects such as foundations of Gen AI, listening sessions to understand faculty needs, creative teaching methods using AI, privacy and ethical considerations, academic integrity, emerging teaching examples from the Amherst classroom, and strategies for responsible experimentation. 

The following sessions were held in the Fall 2023 semester:

On December 6th at 4:30pm, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI) and the AI in Liberal Arts (AILA) Initiative convened a panel of three professors followed by an open discussion with the Amherst community.  More Info

Spring 2023  

See also the Faculty Panel held in February 2023 in our other Resources for Faculty.