Home Part of States Newsroom
Louisiana Higher Ed: Higher ed braces for AI, SU-Shreveport chancellor named 


Louisiana Higher Ed: Higher ed braces for AI, SU-Shreveport chancellor named 

Mar 24, 2023 | 2:58 pm ET
By Piper Hutchinson
Louisiana Higher Ed: Higher ed braces for AI, SU-Shreveport chancellor named 
Northwestern University entrance. (Courtesy of Wikipedia.org)

The Louisiana Illuminator takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state. Have a tip or want to submit a Louisiana Higher Ed news item? Contact [email protected].

Regents prep for artificial intelligence

Members of the Louisiana Board of Regents were briefed  Wednesday on the use of artificial intelligence on college campuses, prompting questions about the future of higher education. 

Tristan Denley, state deputy commissioner of Academic Affairs and Innovation, explained to the board how different forms of artificial intelligence are changing the way students approach their coursework. Denley walked members through several different AI programs, including ChatGPT, a chat bot that has prompted concern over its essay-writing abilities, and WolframAlpha, a program that can solve math problems and show its work. 

Denley pointed out that although there is some cause for concern, the use of AI is just the latest technological advancement in education and can be used responsibly. 

“When I was in school, we had log tables and sine and cosine tables,” Denley said. “Then we have this amazing piece of technology, the slide rule… And then the calculator.” 

Not everybody on the board was convinced. 

“What does that do to stifle imagination and initiatives to a student who is in a class and they have to present something?” board member Randy Ewing asked. “This thing can be good. It also can make a person lazy.” 

While the Regents did not take any action on the use of AI in higher education, they indicated they would continue observing its development and could consider issuing guidance in the future. 

Southern University Shreveport chancellor selected 

After several years without a permanent chancellor, Aubra Gantt has been selected as the next leader of Southern University Shreveport, a two-year historically black college. 

Gantt, a Shreveport native and a Southern University Baton Rouge alum, currently works as a clinician in a hospital setting. She has 25 years of experience in education, including an early career stop at the Shreveport campus. 

“It is good to be home,” Gantt said in comments to the Southern University System Board of Supervisors after members voted to approve her appointment. 

“[Gantt] is a product of Southern University and this community,” said Sam Gilliam, a Southern board member. “Southern and Shreveport are proving to be training grounds for leadership.” 

Anonymous cash for Northwestern 

Northwestern State University received an anonymous $100,000 donation to set up a scholarship in honor of a former business professor. 

The H.N. and Inez C. Towry Memorial Scholarship will award $5,000 annually for four years to a female business or education undergraduate. 

Towry was a Northwestern Faculty member for several decades following World War II. 

Drake Owens, executive director of the Northwestern State University Foundation, celebrated the scholarship in a press release. 

“I can’t tell you how much this means to Northwestern State University, having a scholarship of this size,” Owens said. 

Delgado partnership to produce auto techs

Delgado Community College has formed a partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA to develop a pipeline of future automotive technicians for the company’s auto dealerships.

MB Campus will be part of the Motor Vehicle Technology degree program at Delgado and offers students the opportunity to earn an internship at a Mercedes-Benz dealership. The partnership includes providing the college with exclusive equipment and technology.

“This program allows Delgado students to access Mercedes-Benz training in areas such as engine diagnostics and electrical systems,” said Donald Davenport, chair of Delgado’s Motor Vehicle Technology Department. “They will become experienced with the cutting-edge technology of today’s sophisticated motor vehicles.”

Delgado is home to the only automotive program in New Orleans to offer MB Campus as part of its curriculum.