By Rachelle Trujillo
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees’ three-day meeting from Nov. 15-17 featured discussions of ongoing construction projects across campus, budget matters, and notably notices of intent to offer new degree programs, minors, and certificates that will be further discussed early next year.
“Notices of intent are the first step in a two-step process, so this will come before the board again after further due diligence has been done on these various certificates and degree programs,” Treasurer Michelle Sullivan said.
The new proposed programs include a Bachelor of Arts degree in European Languages, Literature, and Film Studies; B.A. of Organizational Leadership Minor and Certificate; Pharm.D./B.A. Health Leadership Minor and Certificate; B.A. Agricultural Business Leadership Minor, Certificate, and Concentration; Nuclear Energy Science Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate; Master of Science degree in Preclinical Sciences; M.S. in Quantum Information Science & Engineering; Ph.D. in English and M.S. in Artificial Intelligence.
Sullivan noted that several of the proposed programs are largely direct results from student, community and industry feedback. The proposal of an M.S. in Artificial Intelligence specifically comes as UW and other institutions across the country continue to discuss the future implications of AI in the classroom and beyond. The program will aim to focus on advanced research of AI and equip students to apply AI technologies in various fields.
In a letter of support to the Board of Trustees, School of Computing Director Gabrielle Allen expressed her “enthusiastic support” of the program.
“Artificial Intelligence has become an integral part of various industries, revolutionizing the way we live, work, and interact with the world. It has applications in healthcare, finance, education, autonomous systems and more.
“Given the increasing demand for AI professionals, it is crucial that educational institutions like UW offer a comprehensive program that equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in this domain,” she wrote.
Allen outlined several reasons that she supported the program, including increased demand in the industry for AI professionals, encouraging research in the field for UW as a whole and contributing to statewide economic development.
In addition to the M.S. in Artificial Intelligence, Sullivan noted that a Nuclear Energy Science Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate would address the demand in the growing field locally and regionally, namely with the recent announcement of the TerraPower Nuclear Plant in Kemmerer two years ago.
“This is really in response to what was described as a lack of opportunity for UW students to have the background that they need to begin to participate in internships and other opportunities in the nuclear energy industry, both the developing industry here in Wyoming, but the current and existing industry in Idaho and other places,” Sullivan said. “This would begin to resolve that issue.”
The M.S. in Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Energy Science Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate, alongside many of the other programs, has a proposed timeline of being offered to students in fall of 2024.