Arizona State University (ASU) is set to make history as the first higher education institution to form a partnership with artificial intelligence firm OpenAI. The collaboration, announced on Thursday, will provide ASU students and faculty with access to OpenAI’s most advanced version of ChatGPT.
Details of the financial agreement remain undisclosed, but the partnership’s primary objective is to enhance research and coursework at ASU via ChatGPT Enterprise, a version of the AI tool tailored for larger organizations rather than individual users.
ASU President Michael Crow expressed optimism about the collaborative venture in a statement, stating, “ASU acknowledges that augmented and artificial intelligence systems are here to stay. We hold a positive outlook on their potential to become valuable tools that aid students in learning more rapidly and understanding subjects more deeply. Our alliance with OpenAI mirrors our philosophy and dedication to actively partake in the responsible progression of AI learning technologies.”
The partnership comes with ambitious plans. Among other objectives, ASU aims to develop AI avatars that can act as study companions for students. The university also envisions creating a personalized AI tutor specializing in STEM subjects.
In February, ASU will invite faculty members to propose innovative applications of ChatGPT that could boost student success, promote groundbreaking research, and streamline organizational processes.
ASU Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick highlighted the significance of AI integration in his statement. “Research indicates that almost two-thirds of organizations are currently exploring AI integration actively. By granting access to advanced AI capabilities, these tools are democratizing the playing field, empowering individuals and organizations—irrespective of size or resources—to leverage AI for creative and innovative pursuits.”
ASU has a longstanding reputation for innovation. It has pioneered immersive virtual reality environments to replace traditional Intro to Biology courses and often draws comparisons to tech giants like Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to ASU officials, a course teaching optimal use of chatbots like ChatGPT is among the most popular on campus.
OpenAI’s Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap praised ASU’s innovative approach, stating, “Learning is at the heart of why so many users appreciate ChatGPT. ASU continues to spearhead innovation by incorporating ChatGPT into its educational programs. We look forward to learning from ASU and working towards broadening ChatGPT’s influence in higher education.””