By Kean Andrei A. Bagaipo | October 5, 2023
Confronting the advent of “borderless” digital technology in the 21st century, Silliman University (SU) President Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann said that the institution’s call for an artificial intelligence (AI) framework should “set SU up [in] the right direction.”
“We here at Silliman University can not just close our eyes to the fact that AI technology is upon us. So we have to know what [AI] is about and how [we can] best maximize the opportunities provided by this technology,” she said during the All-University Academic Convocation held Sept. 27 at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium.
Her message, titled “Moving Forward to the New Landscape of Education,” also revealed that a deans’ conference last Sept. 26 ended with a vote on integrating AI technology into the university framework.
To her, this “challenging period of change in higher education” led the university to outline “certain principles” on the university’s call for an AI framework that will help students and teaching staff to become AI literates through a literacy campaign.
“We all know that there are ongoing initiatives to make our institution responsive and agile in our delivery of teaching and learning in these current times. Some of these are retooling and upskilling for 21st-century education, and recently we include[d] AI (artificial intelligence) literacy,” she said.
In terms of policies, however, McCann said that student involvement would be necessary.
“From our perspective, it’s clear that this can’t be imposed from the top-down but by working closely with our students to co-create the guidance we provide in this regard,” she added.
She further emphasized the importance of equipping students and faculty with the necessary skills and promoting equal access as essential steps to guarantee the ethical and responsible use of AI. By doing so, she added that academic integrity can be ensured.
Other modernization initiatives
McCann also noted the Silliman Online University Learning (SOUL), the Dr. Mariano C. Lao Global Studies Center, and the establishment of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) division as recent digital initiatives that support all academic operational services.
Under her administration’s strategic planning for the next five years, the university recently built its senior high school building and modernized the library, which she labeled as a modernized approach to teaching and learning at SU.
Moreover, McCann highlighted the integration of the Service Learning Instruction Research and Community Engagement programs, which are educational endeavors that are the “community-grounded integrative approach and the borderless open-sourcing approach” to learning, respectively.“And so, for each one of us, as Filipinos and believers [in] Filipino traits, let us all be resilient and creative. Be a shaper and an influencer in this transformative age of education,” McCann said.