WSU and WSU Tech Faculty Senates debate use of ChatGPT, talk new health science center


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ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) software have been heavily discussed lately, especially in regard to education. Other companies like Microsoft have announced plans to release their own versions of this technology, adding to the AI resources students could use for academics.

The latest Faculty Senate meeting combined WSU and WSU Tech, where faculty met to discuss the universities’ policies on ChatGPT.

Stakeholders from both institutions voiced support and concern in their statements.

Both Faculty Senate leaders said the university will not ban  ChatGPT as of now but will leave it to each professor’s discretion and monitor the issue moving forward. 

“We are trusting the faculty to figure out what’s the right thing to do as these tools evolve and as our students develop different needs for their career paths,” Susan Castro, Faculty Senate president, said.

Some were in support of this decision, viewing ChatGPT as a resource that should not be limited. 

“I think it’s a game changer for everybody, not only for students and faculty but for the world as we know it,” Linda Sessions, WSU Tech’s Faculty Senate president, said.

Others worried that the use of AI could lead to cheating and misinformation.

“ChatGPT makes up quotes for interviews, references and even bible passages,” Elizabeth Heilman, WSU senator, said in the Zoom chat. “OFTEN in my experience.” 

No concrete decisions were made in regard to AI at the meeting.

New Health Science Center

Senators also discussed plans for a new health science center in collaboration with WSU, WSU Tech and KU. 

The plan has been approved and the funding needed has been allocated to the project. Zach Gearhart, Wichita State’s chief of staff, spoke about the project and the plans moving forward for the center as well as the benefits of it. 

Gearhart said that a health science center would be a multi-disciplinary center that would improve healthcare education, allow for new research opportunities, and clinical trials.

“This is a new way of thinking about education and how to prepare students,” Gearhart said.

 Some staff members questioned the importance of funding this new center as opposed to maintaining current buildings that are older and haven’t seen renovations in years.

“We have enormous needs for the current buildings that are already in existence on our campus, particularly the buildings that serve the liberal arts and sciences,” Chase Billingham, at-large senator for WSU, said in the Zoom chat. “These buildings are nearly falling down in some ways.” 

Multiple Wichita State faculty discussed Jabara Hall flood damage, saying students complain about its appearance as well. 

Lainie Mazzullo-Hart, news and media relations director, said that Jabara Hall flooded in January before the start of the semester, and repairs were completed the following week. 

Mazzullo-Hart said cosmetic repairs will be done after this semester is over.

The next Faculty Senate meeting for Wichita State is on April 24.