Engineering faculty to lead two new University Courses

School of Engineering faculty will lead two of the five newest University Courses, which are designed to promote new and creative trans-institutional teaching and learning and advance Vanderbilt’s mission.

The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be taught by Doug Fisher, associate professor of computer science and associate professor of computer engineering, with support from Haerin Shin, assistant professor of English.

Doug Fisher

The course will explore the exponential progress of AI across e-commerce, educational and research platforms, entertainment and more, and the potential for misuse. Students will learn aspects of intelligent, computational modeling and processing, and critically reflect on their learnings.

Robert Webster, associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, will teach From Academic Insight to Entrepreneurial Impact with support from Marie Thursby, adjunct professor at Owen Graduate School of management, who teaches “Innovation Realization.” Thursby already leads a popular two-semester course at Owen that teams up graduate students in engineering and with MBA and law students.

This course will team up engineering, business, law, science and medicine students to explore a technology from all angles and build innovative commercialization strategies aimed at making a winning pitch.

Additional support will be from Dr. Reed Omary, the Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; and Kathleen Gould, Louise B. McGavock Professor and professor of cell and developmental biology.

All courses feature lectures from experts, hands-on experiential learning, innovative classroom models, guest speakers and semester-long projects.

Robert Webster

The new University Courses are eligible to be offered during the 2018-19 and future academic years following approval by the relevant curriculum committees. Faculty members submitted 12 proposals, which were reviewed by either the University Courses Committee or the Multicultural Courses Committee.

The 2018-19 slate of University Courses is the third round of the initiative, which began with the 2016-17 academic year. During the first two years of the program, 25 faculty members and 291 students have participated in 11 University Courses, several of which have already been offered multiple times.

“University Courses bring the Academic Strategic Plan to life. We are educating the leaders of tomorrow, and in these courses, they will explore big questions facing society,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “Students will discover the rich benefits of innovative, multidisciplinary approaches as they delve deep into important topics through the coursework and as they participate in the discovery of knowledge.”

The other three 2018-19 courses will explore the impact of LGBTQ policies; protection of cultural heritage; and the intersections among primary health care, planetary health, climate change, social justice and policy.

Click here for more detail about the newest cohort of University Courses as well as those from the first two years of the program.