UI continues to explore AI and other emerging technologies to better serve faculty, staff, and students.
Monday, May 13, 2024

On the opening day of the annual University of Iowa HR and Business Conference, attendees were introduced to the program's theme by an unexpected guest.

Sophia, a human-like robot, joined David Hanson, CEO and founder of Hanson Robotics, via Zoom to discuss the current state of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can shape our future. Conference attendees asked Sophia questions and had a conversation with it about how AI could be used to enhance HR and business functions such as record keeping, resume screening, hiring, employee onboarding, and more.

"Empowered by Data: Learn how to use data and AI to fuel your work" was a virtual conference for human resources and business professionals to learn about generative AI, how to apply it in daily work, future applications for data analytics, and where it's currently used at the University of Iowa.

In addition to Sophia and Hanson, conference attendees learned from AI experts Patrick Fan, the Henry B. Tippie Excellence Chair in Business Analytics; Tamara Askew, practice leader for artificial intelligence in higher education at Deloitte; Jovana Davidovic, associate professor of philosophy at UI and chief ethics officer at BABL AI; and Manda Marshall, a senior IT consultant for the ITS Enterprise Services AI Productivity Solutions group at Iowa. A full list of conference speakers is available on this webpage.

A separate Senior HR Leadership/Research Retreat on Generative AI was held in February. HR leaders and staff in research administration learned from Deloitte about prompt engineering, AI policies, risks, use cases, and how it can be applied to our work at Iowa.

"I felt very energized after the retreat," said an attendee. "The most impactful insights had to do with all the ways we can use AI to customize and set parameters for what we need. I really want to keep brainstorming and learning more about how far we can take the technology and be ahead of the curve."

AI experts from Deloitte led the group through a course in the "rapidly maturing" technology that is generative AI. Deloitte describes AI as a technology that "can provide businesses with new opportunities to help improve their products and services, streamline repetitive tasks, and create new and innovative customer experiences."

The HR and Business Conference and the Senior HR Leadership/Research Retreat on Generative AI showcase the institution's interest in exploring AI and other emerging technologies to better serve faculty, staff, and students. It also supports the UI Strategic Plan 2022-2027 priorities around holistic well-being and success, which in part aims to assess the potential impact of innovative workplace strategies.

In response to an interest in AI among the HR community, the HR AI Steering Committee was formed to educate, strategize, and apply AI strategies on campus. Three teams within the committee are tasked with specific objectives.

  • Develop a strategic framework for deploying AI tools in HR operations.
  • Develop an approach to education and change management.
  • Research and explore the application of AI tools in HR operations.