USF college focused on AI and cybersecurity could become a reality

The new college would be implemented in fall 2025 if approved by the USF Board of Trustees. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

A new USF college focused on artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and computing is up for approval and could come as soon as 2025.

USF is the first institution in Florida and among the first in the nation to announce plans to form a college dedicated to AI and cybersecurity, according to a universitywide email sent by President Rhea Law on Thursday.

“We can position Florida as a global leader in these fields by harnessing the collective knowledge and experience of our faculty, staff and students,” Law wrote.

An initial report on the decision will be provided in late spring, according to the proposed college’s FAQ page. It is unknown when the Board of Trustees (BOT) voting will be, but its next full meeting will happen on June 4.

Provost Prasant Mohapatra said USF spent time last fall exploring opportunities to enhance faculty collaboration. The disciplines of AI, cybersecurity and computing were all of great interest to faculty, he said.

“It seemed like the right time to bring a group of faculty together to explore what this could look like at the University of South Florida,” Mohapatra said.

Some of the visions for the new college are:

  • to offer a range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that prepare USF students for high-demand careers;
  • empower faculty to conduct scholarly research that leads to groundbreaking discoveries and technological advancements;
  • grow industry partnerships and promote ethical considerations and trust throughout the digital transformation in the world.

A task force with USF faculty members concluded that a new college would present a “unique” opportunity to leverage the expertise from all three USF campuses, according to the email.

The college’s structure is still being evaluated, and the employment of a new dean is up for discussion, according to the proposed college’s FAQ page.

If approved by the BOT, it would complement USF’s 13 existing colleges. 

The university will share more information as the plans progress, according to the email.