Mustafa Akben named Elon’s first Director of Artificial Intelligence Integration

The assistant professor of management will lead AI integration across campus using six core principles Elon University helped establish last year to guide higher education’s role in the artificial intelligence revolution.

A co-leader of a campus artificial intelligence research team with a self-described “genuine zeal for teaching” has been selected to serve as Elon University’s first director of artificial intelligence integration.

Assistant Professor Mustafa Akben begins his new administrative role on July 1, 2024, following a competitive internal search.

Akben will lead the integration of artificial intelligence across Elon’s academic and administrative departments, building on six core principles the university helped establish last year to guide higher education institutions with a rapidly evolving and groundbreaking technology.

“Dr. Akben’s commitment to ethical AI practices and his proven ability to translate complex AI concepts into transformative educational experiences make him uniquely qualified to advance our strategic goals in Boldly Elon,” said Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book. “His leadership will mark a significant step in Elon’s commitment to serving as a global model for integrating AI into post-secondary education.”

Akben’s responsibilities as director of artificial intelligence integration include collaborating with faculty and staff members on:

  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive AI strategy to enhance curriculum, teaching, research, and administrative processes
  • Serving as a strategic partner to integrate AI technologies that promote ethical use and operational excellence across campus divisions
  • Leading the integration of Elon’s AI principles to enhance educational outcomes, promote digital inclusion, and ensure ethical research and teaching practices
  • Engaging with national and international AI experts and organizations to position Elon as a leader in ethical AI integration
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations to embed AI in ways that respect Elon’s Generative AI Statement and align with the institution’s mission
  • Documenting and advocating for AI best practices at Elon, shaping policies that ensure responsible AI application across the university

“I envision Elon as a thriving community where AI helps administrative functions and academic excellence, all while preserving human relationships across and beyond our campus, a trait that defines Elon’s identity,” Akben said. “I am excited to work across departments to find solutions that facilitate processes and create fresh, innovative, and welcoming experiences by partnering with faculty, staff, and students.

“More importantly, I am committed to fostering an open dialogue on AI that incorporates diverse perspectives and insights, which is essential to developing a responsible and inclusive approach to artificial intelligence.”

I envision Elon as a thriving community where AI helps administrative functions and academic excellence, all while preserving human relationships across and beyond our campus, a trait that defines Elon’s identity.

– Assistant Professor Mustafa Akben

Akben brings a wealth of expertise in deep learning, generative AI, and the ethical application of artificial intelligence. His primary research in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business has focused on how AI can transform human cognition and workplace behaviors. Akben’s professional journey includes significant achievements such as twice winning the SIOP Machine Learning and AI Competition and publishing influential research on the role of AI in management and organizational behavior.

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In coordination with colleagues over the past year, he also has helped organize multiple AI literacy workshops, conduct university-wide research, draft a white paper, and provide strategic insights to university leadership.

“The depth of Dr. Akben’s knowledge about artificial intelligence and the ways in which it influences our present as well as its capacity to affect our future is matched only by his enthusiasm for student learning,” said Rebecca Kohn, Elon University’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. “I am inspired by his forward thinking pursuit of curricular innovation and potential efficiencies that will be made possible by emerging technologies that will remain a part of our lives.”

Akben holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Temple University and has developed a range of AI-enhanced teaching tools and methodologies.

Members of the Search Committee for the Director of Artificial Intelligence Integration

  • Pat Donohue, Co-Chair, Deputy Chief Information Officer
  • Paula Rosinski, Co-Chair, Professor of English and Director of Writing Across the University
  • Haya Ajjan, Associate Dean of the Love School of Business and Gordon Professor of Entrepreneurship
  • Jeff Carpenter, Professor of Education and Director of Teaching Fellows Program
  • Ryan Mattfeld, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Antoinette Polito, Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Kelli Shuman, AVP for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Eric Townsend, Assistant Vice President for Academic Communications
  • Shannon Zenner, Assistant Professor of Communication Design