WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota faculty member Michael Ratajczyk has been named to the Wiley Education Services Fellows Program and will collaborate on an artificial intelligence (AI) project, which is aimed at enhancing student engagement.

Using artificial intelligence, Ratajczyk — assistant professor of Business at the undergraduate College in Winona and program director for the university’s M.S. in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics program — plans to create a type of online chat box, where a student can ask questions 24 hours a day. The AI will be programmed to ask appropriate follow-up questions and then provide resources to best address the question.

“With our online M.S. in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics courses, it’s an eight-week environment where we don’t work with students face to face, and the content is very hands on, which can be challenging,” Ratajczyk said. “Additionally, because many of our adult students have day jobs, they may be completing assignments outside of regular office hours. The AI will be a resource to address that. Our goal is to get students the information they need without having to wait until their teacher logs in. It’s about getting them the information they need, when it is needed, instead of delaying their progress. Ultimately, it’s all about student-centered learning.”

Wiley Education Services Fellows are a small, select group of distinguished faculty, program directors, or administrators from the network of Wiley partner schools. The program aims to honor educators and advance their innovative work via collaboration with one another and Wiley.

The program officially began on Nov. 14, and the project’s duration is expected to last about a year.