Much of the work around generative AI happening in higher education to date focuses on individuals, centering on policies, workshops, exploration of  how individual faculty and students can/should/ought to use generative AI in teaching, learning, and research. Explorations at the system level are rarer, which is why SNHU’s efforts to explore what higher education looks like with AI as a feature rather than an add-on is unique. We need such explorations because a higher education system that serves its citizens well and addresses the kinds of complex societal challenges that we face today requires experimenting with different approaches, questions solutionism, and engages with the possibility that education futures aren’t prescribed.

I’m interested to see the results of this effort. SNHU is generally considered to be successful in answering the question “what does a university built for the digital age look like” while others have treated the digital as an add-on to operations they considered central. This is not to say that every institution should try to be a SHNU, in the same way that not every institution should try to be an Ivy. But we can all learn from a case study like this.