Colleges Race to Hire and Build for AI

Inside Higher Ed’s Susan D’Agostino’s recent article, Colleges Race to Hire and Build Amid AI ‘Gold Rush’,  was as thoroughly researched and thought provoking as any of her previous publications. In fact, I decided to paraphrase the article and use the facts she presented as a baseline for tracking and updating college and university initiatives to keep up with or get ahead of the AI trend. What that means is that I will update this piece periodically when I hear of additional initiatives worth noting.

Ms. D’Agostino notes that computer scientists willing to teach are in “short supply” and “innovation’s trajectory is rarely predictable.” She quotes ed tech analyst Phil Hill as stating “’it’s a gold rush where you don’t know where the gold mine is or how to get the gold.’” While that may be true, Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) has been a center of excellence for AI research since 1963, a contrast to the new institutes that are being funded.

Faculty Hiring

  • The University of Albany will hire 27 new faculty members, all specializing in AI, the largest cluster hire in the institution’s history. The 27 hires will span 20 departments in eight schools and colleges. Twelve will hail from computer science, data science and related areas. The remainder will draw from fields not typically associated with AI.
  • Purdue University will recruit 50 new AI faculty for its physical AI initiative.
  • Emory University will hire between 60 and 75 new faculty including an endowed chair for its AI Humanity Initiative. No more than 20 percent of the anticipated new faculty members will be computer scientists. The institution plans to embed artificial intelligence in areas such as health, social justice, business and law, and the arts and sciences.
  • The University of Southern California will hire 90 new faculty members for its $1 billion Frontiers of Computing initiative focusing on AI.

New Schools and/or New Buildings

New Institutes

New AI academic programs

At the time that I wrote about the UT Austin AI degree, I noted that Study Portals listed 126 online master’s degrees in artificial intelligence. I don’t plan to track degrees in artificial intelligence as much I hope to track initiatives to teach (and train, perhaps) students how to use AI in their professions. From my perspective, initiatives like those at the University of Albany, Georgia Tech, Emory, Purdue, and the University of Southern California are more notable for their goal of incorporating AI into wide curricular changes as well as the workforce. While skeptics have a right to share their concerns about whether the AI trend is hyped up too much, in my opinion, it’s too important to ignore.

As I wrote earlier, I’ll use the initiatives mentioned by Ms. D’Agostino as a baseline and update them from time to time.

Subjects of Interest


Higher Education

Independent Schools


Student Persistence