Wafa El Garah
Keynote Abstracts

Transformational leadership in higher education in the Age of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is conquering the world!  Recently AI has become the mainstream
discussion topic across different fields including higher education.  The rapid progress AI has
made in recent years present both opportunities and challenges. Breakthrough applications
such as Openai’s chatGPT and Tome.app have significantly disrupted higher education. 
Current advances in AI, which continue apace, have caught many educators and university
administrators by surprise leading to reactions that ranged from completely banning AI tools
within universities to issuing strict policies governing their use.  While some educators have
focused on the deleterious effects of AI, particularly in relation to its impact on academic
integrity, others have embraced changes wrought by AI and have extolled the benefits to
teaching and learning. They argue that AI brings a plethora of benefits to Higher education,
from personalized learning to streamlining heavy administrative processes to assisting in
academic research.  In any event, AI will continue to loom large for the sector, so Higher
Education needs transformational leadership that can keep up and cope with rapid
technological advancements.  
Higher education leaders need to make well informed decisions regarding the future uses
and applications of AI to realise its benefits, while also being mindful of its potential
pitfalls.   They need to draft strategies for its adoption and such strategies should address
questions regarding how to teach and prepare the next generations.  With the advancement
in computing power and AI applications, doubtless some of the jobs we currently train our
graduates for will be replaced. Considering the exponential pace of change, it could be
argued that Higher education in its current state is not sustainable and there is a need for a
paradigm shift.  This paper will challenge leaders and practitioners to revisit what is taught,
how it’s taught, and how students’ learning might be more authentically assessed.   The
pressing challenge is to envision a HE world where educators and researchers are preparing
for a world where AI can empower them rather than replace them.  This keynote address
will highlight the ways educators can prepare for that future by exploring how AI can
complement Higher Education at different all the way from strategic leadership to student

Wafa El Garah