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Woehl and Wicktor awarded AI professional development scholarships

Mar 19, 2024

Two Valley City State University (VCSU) faculty members were recently awarded $1,000 scholarships through the Dakota Digital Academy to attend and participate in conferences or professional development experiences involving artificial intelligence (AI). The scholarships were established to encourage professional learning and AI implementation in college classrooms. Professor Katie Woehl and Professor Emily Wicktor sit on the steps in McFarland

Psychology professor Dr. Katie Woehl and English professor Dr. Emily Wicktor were given the awards. Woehl and Wicktor are two of 15 North Dakota University System (NDUS) faculty awarded scholarships.

“This is a great opportunity for our faculty members to learn more about AI and how it can be incorporated into their curriculums,” said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott. “Higher education will be transformed over the next few years by these new technologies. It’s important that we immerse ourselves in AI now to discover best practices so we can better prepare our students for our future workforce, which also will see new innovations through AI and digitization.”

To be eligible to receive the scholarships, faculty members had to submit the name of a conference or type of professional development event they would like to attend. They also had to explain how they would use that information to enhance classroom teaching.

Woehl will be attending a conference focusing on “Learning and the Brain: Teaching students to think, create, innovate, learn, and adapt for an anxious, AI age.” She will focus on sessions that can be applied to teaching and developing AI-focused professional development opportunities for VCSU faculty.

Wicktor will present at the Minnesota Writing and English conference this spring.  The conference theme focuses on questions of AI and LLM technologies as they connect to “New Visions in College Writing.”

“I will present my research project titled, “’To ask is to break the spell’: Neil Postman, the Huxleyan Warning, and Old-New Visions for College Writing in the Age of AI,” and my project will inform writing and research practices in VCSU’s first-year and advanced writing course classrooms,” Wicktor explained.

The Dakota Digital Academy assists students, businesses, industry and government in North Dakota and across the upper Midwest by adapting and meeting the rapidly changing demands and opportunities for information technology and cyber sciences. Its mission is to provide access to digital-cyber oriented education, training, certificates and knowledge produced by the collaborative North Dakota University System of 11 campuses, in partnership with select business and corporate partners.