Vanderbilt University, Barge Design Solutions unveil collaborative initiative aimed at educating leaders on generative AI

Barge Design Solutions, an engineering and architecture firm, is collaborating with Vanderbilt University’s Future of Learning and Generative AI Initiative to educate executives on how to embrace and harness this groundbreaking technology in business leadership.

Jules White

To kick off the collaboration, Jules White, senior advisor to Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier for generative AI in education and enterprise solutions and professor of computer science, and Barge CEO and President Bob Higgins worked together to co-create a new course, ‘Generative AI for Leaders,’ which comprehensively addresses essential AI skills tailored for business leaders.

Hosted on Coursera, “Generative AI for Leaders” takes approximately four hours to complete and offers hands-on experience across various capabilities, including agenda architecting, proposal proficiency, leveraging AI for brainstorming, drafting effective communication, navigating HR dynamics, and executing seamless leadership transitions.

“Executive leaders can already see the transformative power and potential of rapidly developing AI systems,” said White. “This course offers them a deeper understanding of the technology, without getting bogged down in needless complexity. Our goal in developing this new educational series is to help leaders harness the remarkable capabilities of AI to accelerate their strategic and operational objectives.”

Throughout the course, White and Higgins provide a deep dive into generative AI to help leaders understand the underlying principles of this technology and learn how augmented intelligence acts as an ‘Exoskeleton of the Mind’ to enhance cognitive capabilities while boosting productivity. The course also addresses anxieties and skepticism related to Generative AI to help leaders understand how to successfully integrate the technology into their organizations.

Bob Higgins

“Generative AI is fundamentally transforming the landscape for business leaders and will unlock efficiencies and opportunities we can’t even imagine yet,” said Higgins, an alumnus of Vanderbilt School of Engineering and the current vice chair of the School of Engineering’s Board of Visitors. “Barge is honored to work with a leading-edge institution like Vanderbilt, and we believe this course represents a significant stride in bridging the gap between research and academia, and the business community. This collaboration will help strengthen future business leaders who may dream up the next revolutionary business or technology that changes the world.”

“Generative AI for Leaders” is the first course on the Coursera platform that speaks to an executive audience about generative AI. Due to this, Coursera included this course as part of its new GenAI Academy, which aims to improve executive and foundational literacy worldwide.

Krishnendu Roy, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering and University Distinguished Professor, praised the collaboration as a prime example of academia and industry working together to promote understanding of revolutionary AI technology among leaders in multiple fields and organizations.

“Jules White is one of the world’s foremost experts in generative AI technology,” Roy said. “Working together with Bob Higgins at Barge, they will help leaders solve real-world challenges with a promising technology that is destined to continue growing rapidly in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to the course, both parties are working together to establish a Generative AI Research Collaborative to identify and fund research projects to develop and test novel business opportunities and disruptive business methods involving generative AI.