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

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

Amherst College is excited to launch the “AI Learning Lab - Lunch Series” for faculty and interested staff, this fall 2023 semester.  These sessions will focus on teaching and learning and broader conversations about the future of education.

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 lunch 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.

What to Expect

The sessions will be 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 will serve as advisors and also co-present one or two sessions. Participants will have 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 will address specific aspects of AI possibilities/concerns and their corresponding implications for higher education. Some sessions will feature guest speakers who can provide insight into these topics.

There will be approximately 10 lunch sessions. These sessions will delve 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. 


In most cases, faculty can choose to attend one of two sessions in a given week (both days will cover the same topic).

For the Fall 2023 semester, the following sessions will be held from 12:00-1:00 p.m. on the indicated dates, with lunch provided at in-person sessions:  

Upcoming Sessions 

  • Writing, Reading, and ChatGPTing: What do Amherst students think about GenAI?

  • ChatGPT One Year Later 

    • Hosted by: CHI and AILA

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



Past Sessions