OKLAHOMA CITY – Students at some of Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities will soon be able to pursue undergraduate degrees in artificial intelligence.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved artificial intelligence degree programs at Rose State College, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma on June 4.

While some universities have offered courses in artificial intelligence, these are the first degree programs in the state.

Trisha Wald, dean of the Dobson College of Business and Technology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, worked to start up the program at the university. Representatives at Rose State College and the University of Oklahoma were not available for comment.

While the degree program can begin in the fall for Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Wald said the late approval means some of the new AI classes may not be able to start until the spring.

Wald said she looked at similar programs in other states to create the proposed curriculum for this new program. While Wald said there are “not as many programs as you would think,” she was able to use their programs to determine what Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s program needed.

“It’s a multidisciplinary program, so it’s not just computer science courses,” Wald said. “We’ve got higher level math, psychology and philosophy courses, specifically on ethics. So it’s going to help us have more well-rounded individuals.”

Wald said the approval process took months and the proposal had to demonstrate workforce demand to the Regents as part of the proposal process.

Over 19,000 jobs in Oklahoma currently require AI skills, officials said. This number is expected to increase by 21% in the next decade.

“AI is rapidly emerging as a vital employment sector,” said State Regents for Higher Education Chair Jack Sherry in a statement. “New career opportunities in areas like machine learning, data science, robotics and AI ethics are driving demand for AI expertise, and Oklahoma’s state system colleges and universities are answering the call.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt said the new degree programs will allow Oklahoma’s students to be at the forefront of the AI industry.

“These degree programs are a great leap forward in our commitment to innovation in education and will position Oklahoma to be a leader in AI,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt in a statement. “AI is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially academics. I’m proud of the Board of Regents for ensuring Oklahoma’s higher ed students do more than just keep pace, they’ll lead the AI revolution.”

Source link