Jason Gulya, Professor of English, Berkeley College

Jason Gulya is Professor of English and AI-Powered Communication at Berkeley College. He also works as a consultant with colleges, universities, and businesses. He has trained hundreds of faculty members how to use AI responsibly and efficiently. He has also consulted with more than a dozen colleges on incorporating AI into their classes and overall strategy.


ChatGPT came out in November 2022. Since then, many of us have spent countless hours playing with the newest AI programs. We tested prompts. We pitted the outputs of ChatGPT against those of competitors like Claude and Google’s Gemini. We played. We tinkered.

Maybe we even worked AI programs into our classrooms and assessments. These were important steps. We needed to play. We needed a space to see what this technology could do.

The problem, now, is that we’re starting to focus on the trees instead of the forest. In other words, we’re focusing on single, isolated experiments with AI and not thinking enough about the broader implications of this technology and how colleges can strategize for the Age of AI.

We need to move beyond tinkering.

We need to move towards strategic thinking.

In the long term, strategic thinking will involve:

  1. Returning to our mission statements
  2. Refining our value propositions
  3. Restructuring our colleges to make them more agile.
  4. Realigning our colleges with the demands of the workforce

But colleges don’t need to be there yet. Not fully, anyway.

In this article, I propose two specific steps for colleges to move forward. Step #1 is to create a pipeline for experimentation. Step #2 is to incorporate students deeply in the process.

Step #1: Creating a Pipeline for Experimentation

Colleges are strange organizational structures. They isolate innovation, not only because of its size but because of how its parts function almost independently of one another. This creates silos. Now, these silos have benefits: they allow professors and students a safe space for experimentation and thought-sharing. But they also have a major downside. They make it very difficult for innovation to snowball.

Imagine an adjunct professor who is constantly experimenting with new pedagogical techniques. They’re designing learning experiences specifically for their students. In most colleges, there are very few avenues that would allow that experimentation to expand. Adjunct professors (and professors in general) teach and research within their bubbles.

That is unless the organization creates a concrete pipeline for experimentation.

This means finding people who are already experimenting with this technology (whether they are professors, students, administrators, or staff), giving them a way to share their experiences and experiments, and then providing specific ways that they can build organizational momentum.

And reward them for it.

Step #2: Incorporate Students

Many colleges are surveying their students about what AI programs they are using, and how. That’s a great first step, as long as the college is working that information into their plans for the future. But it’s just a move in the right direction. Better, still, is to incorporate students into the process itself.

Having an open discussion about AI? Ask students to lead the discussion.

Developing a college-wide AI policy? Co-create it with students.

Create an AI Task Force? Put students on it.

Bring students into the process, and invite them to build with you. Doing this will help your college keep the students front and center so that you’re serving them while creating the college’s policies.

It helps ensure that we don’t miss our way as we design for the Age of AI. After all, we’re here to serve our students.

A Prompt to Get You Started

As it turns out, if we’re struggling with how to strategize, AI is a good place to start. We can use it to get unstuck. After all, it’s hard to think outside of college’s current ways of operating.

Here’s an example. I used Google’s Gemini Advanced to brainstorm a 2-year plan for colleges to go from a college that doesn’t use AI in any purposeful way to an AI-powered college that incorporates AI into its classrooms and everyday operations.

The full information is below so that you can run it yourself.

The Initial Prompt:

[Role] You are a professional consultant in Artificial Intelligence and higher education. You are an expert in how colleges can adapt to the Age of AI.

[Instructions] You are going to brainstorm with me. We will figure out a series of specific, concrete ways to get colleges from (1) knowing little about AI and not using it in any purposeful way to (2) integrating AI into the college’s operations and professor’s teaching. After this message, please provide me with a basic plan for getting colleges from (1) to (2) within 2 years. Make your suggestions concrete, specific, and actionable.

[Instructions, Clarification] In essence, you and I are going to build an AI university. This is not a university staffed by AI agents. This is a university that takes full advantage of generative AI to streamline operations, optimize student performance, create hyper-personalized student experiences that also balance social connection and community, and prepare students for a world where AI Literacy (the ability to use AI tools, but also think critically about them and to appreciate the social and ethical implications of those tools).

After running this initial prompt, the trick is to keep pushing the AI program until you have a 2-year plan that makes sense for your specific college and context.


This prompt is by no means exhaustive. But it does push us to think past the tools themselves and to build a strategy for incorporating AI into our colleges. Its outputs are a starting point.

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