BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (November 30, 2021) - 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, the SEC announced on Tuesday.
Believed to be the first athletics conference collaboration to focus on artificial intelligence (AI) 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, SEC 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. In addition, universities will share best practices on how to ensure students graduate with the AI and data science skills that benefit the region and country, while also resonating globally.
The University of Florida (UF) is leading the SEC-wide effort and will provide other SEC member institutions access to its HiPerGator supercomputer, one of the fastest in the country. UF 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 Dr. 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 Southeastern Conference 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.