Ferris introduces Artificial Intelligence

The information security and intelligence program received funds to start an A.I. program

Photo by: Benjamin Totten | Torch Photographer

Ferris’ Information Security and Intelligence program will offer a new curriculum to learn how Artificial Intelligence operates in the Spring 2021 semester. 

The Department of Defense supplied the ISI Program a grant of $385,000 to create more opportunities for students. $200,000 of that grant will go towards developing a new Artificial Intelligence curriculum. 

Greg Gogolin, the Director of Ferris’ cyber security and data science program, shared the importance of bringing such an advanced program to the university.

Gogolin said that Artificial Intelligence and data sciences are two subjects that are most likely to thrive and become prominent useful studies over the next few years. As cybersecurity transforms into a more complex field, Artificial Intelligence is one strategy to help people keep up with the growing complexity. 

“In this time of limited resources, it is important that we offer curriculum that is both valuable and unique,” Dean of the College of Business David Nicol said. “As a state institution, this enables us to most effectively utilize taxpayer funding, while ensuring that our students are gaining the most from their investment.” 

Ferris has been utilizing the $200,000 grant funds to create the most beneficial courses and resources for Artificial Intelligence. The ISI Program has already begun working on new courses.

Some courses in this new curriculum will incorporate “computer vision, deep learning and problem-solving that include interpreting massive and unstructured data sources,” Gogolin said. 

It is important to Gogolin that these new Artificial Intelligence courses deliver hands-on experiences to students, because that is one of Ferris’ strongest learning conditions. 

Nicol added that these new courses will present a different angle of focus and extension to the ISI Program. 

“AI is a logical addition to our programming,” Nicol said. “By offering it, as our students become more aware of their interests and skillsets, they will have an enhanced opportunity to pursue the career path that best aligns with those.” 

According to Gogolin, Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania and Ferris State University will be the only two colleges to currently offer a Bachelor of Science instruction in Artificial Intelligence. 

Both Nicol and Gogolin suspected that offering Artificial Intelligence courses will increase student enrollment at Ferris, especially in the ISI Program. This will also provide students with better qualifications when they enter the workforce.  

“The growth potential for someone choosing a career in AI is among the most attractive of any career field,” Gogolin said. “There is also an unusual opportunity to work in a field that can provide a dramatic benefit to a significant number of individuals in many different fields ranging from health care to implementations that have yet to be conceived.” 

When students received the news that Artificial Intelligence will be offered next semester, they were pleasantly surprised. Students were excited to learn that Ferris will provide such advanced technological learning opportunities for them. 

Gogolin mentioned that organizations that master Artificial Intelligence early will gain immense economic advantages. 

“AI leverages human capacity, enabling greater innovation and capacity,” Nicol said. “It’s utilization requires foundational knowledge which will be available in this offering.” 

Because Artificial Intelligence is still a relatively new range of study, Ferris wanted to add this curriculum straight away. The university strives to produce future innovators in the fields that need it most.  

“There is a very significant talent gap in the AI field,” Gogolin said. “Ferris has a proven track record as a university that has provided a leadership role in emerging fields going all the way back to the late 1800s when Ferris began producing pharmacists.” 

The other $185,000 from the Department of Defense’s grant will benefit the ISI Program in categories such as supplying student scholarships and cyber competitions. These improvements, along with the development of an A.I. curriculum, will help students in this field expand their abilities to succeed. 

Courses for the new A.I. program will be available in the spring 2021 semester for students to enroll in.