Friday Wrap Up

In this Issue:

  • Full scholarships for study abroad in Africa in summer 2023
  • DC area events for alumni, parents, and families
  • Notice of road closure and water main repair
  • ChatGPT – what is it? and a few examples

Due to a web issue, yesterday’s Daily Deac did not go out as planned. We reset the software to send Friday’s post on Saturday and hope we will be back to normal functioning on Monday. Thanks for your patience with these unforeseen technical glitches – and here are a few tidbits of news for you. Have a great weekend, Deac families!

Full Scholarships for study abroad in Africa in summer 2023

A colleague of mine shared yesterday this terrific news about scholarships for summer study in Africa:

“A recent, extraordinary gift to WFU will provide 15 full scholarships for students to study in Africa in Summer 2023. Depending on program costs, these awards could be in excess of $10,000. There are six summer Affiliate programs that are eligible.
Interested students should apply for the scholarship via this link. They will also need to be accepted to the program of their choice (which have varying deadlines). All programs and deadlines are listed on the application.”

I can’t begin to imagine how lifechanging this kind of summer study could be for a student. I hope we have lots of Deacs who are interested.

DC area events for alumni, parents, and families

Families who live in the DC metro area were sent an email with some very exciting program offerings at our Wake Washington Center. There will be some back-to-the-classroom experiences on timely and complicated topics, a Galentine’s Day event (for all our Parks and Rec fans out there!!) among other things. Even if you don’t live in DC, if you will find yourself there any time this spring, see if any of their events align with your travels and sign up if you can. 

Notice of road closure and water main repair

Yesterday the campus received word of some changes to the flow of traffic (both car and pedestrian) as we work to make some repairs to a water main:

“WFU Facilities Campus Services teams are working to repair a water main along McPherson Rd at Maya Angelou Hall. McPherson Rd will be temporarily closed in both directions starting immediately until the end of next week as we procure the necessary repair materials (see attached campus map for clarification).” Read the full message here.

ChatGPT – what is it? and a few examples

You may have seen articles in the news about ChatGPT, which is an Artificial Intelligence chatbot that you can ask questions of, then it composes remarkably complex (and sometimes frighteningly accurate) text. Discussions of ChatGPT have been making the rounds in higher education with great frequency the last month or so. 

Before I go any further, let me state emphatically that students are held to the Honor Code at Wake Forest and they need to follow all of its guidelines and the instructions in the course syllabus from each of their faculty members (the syllabus should outline academic integrity expectations, in addition to assignments, homework, etc.). So I am not suggesting anyone use ChatGPT as an academic tool. I share this info only because this is a higher ed topic you might be seeing and wondering what all the fuss is about.

Here is an example of what ChatGPT can produce. I asked ChatGPT “Is there a relationship between trust and first person voice in corporate blogs?” (this was part of my dissertation, so I knew the subject matter well). This is what was produced in response:

  • “There is some evidence to suggest that using the first person voice in corporate blogs can help to establish trust with readers. This is because the use of first person pronouns (such as “I” and “we”) can make the content feel more personal and authentic, which can help to establish a sense of trust and connection with the reader. Additionally, using the first person voice can also help to convey a sense of transparency and honesty, which can further contribute to building trust with the reader. It is important to note, however, that trust is not solely dependent on the use of the first person voice, and there are many other factors that can influence the level of trust that a reader has in a particular piece of content or a company.”

The text was not a perfect response, but it was a surprisingly nuanced answer, particularly given the fact that this is not a topic that has thousands of web references. 

Then I wondered if ChatGPT could write the Daily Deac for me (not that I would give it up! I just wanted to see how it would do). Here are a few of my questions and ChatGPTs answers:

What is social life like at Wake forest University?

  • “Wake Forest University is a vibrant and dynamic community where students have a wide range of opportunities for social interaction and involvement. The university offers a variety of student organizations, clubs, and activities to join, including sports teams, Greek life, cultural groups, and service organizations. Additionally, there are frequent events, concerts, and other programs on campus that bring students together for socializing and having fun. Off-campus, students can explore the city of Winston-Salem and its many cultural and recreational attractions. Overall, Wake Forest provides a lively and engaging social atmosphere for its students.”

Describe the campus of Wake Forest University.

  • “Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and its campus spans over 340 acres. The campus features a mix of historic and modern buildings, including well-maintained brick and stone buildings, as well as contemporary glass-and-steel structures.
  • One notable feature of the campus is the quad, a large grassy area surrounded by academic buildings, which serves as a popular gathering place for students. The university also has several residence halls, academic buildings, and state-of-the-art facilities, including a student center, library, and athletic complex.
  • In addition to traditional academic buildings, the Wake Forest campus also features beautiful landscaping and green spaces, including a lake, gardens, and walking paths. Overall, the Wake Forest campus is well-maintained and provides a welcoming and attractive environment for students.”

This is a great example of ChatGPTs limitations. We don’t have a lake (we did many moons ago in Reynolda Gardens; it’s more of a marsh/wetlands now). And I am not sure what they are talking about for “contemporary glass-and-steel structures.” So even though much of this would work as a description, there are some glaring errors too.

What advice would you give to the parent of a homesick freshman?

  • “Encourage your child to get involved in activities on campus, such as clubs or sports, to meet new people and create a sense of community. Encourage regular communication, such as phone calls or video chats, with friends and family back home to maintain those relationships. Help your child to focus on the positive aspects of their college experience and the opportunities it provides, while also being understanding and empathetic about their feelings of homesickness. Suggest seeking support from the college’s counseling services if the homesickness becomes overwhelming.”

Explain whether parents of college students should help when they have problems at school.

  • “It is a personal decision for each family to determine the level of support they want to provide to their college student. However, many parents may find that helping their child through academic or personal difficulties at school can be beneficial for both the student and the parent-child relationship. Some ways that parents can help include: providing emotional support, offering practical advice, connecting the student with resources, and helping the student to develop coping strategies. It is important to note that while helping, it’s also important to allow the student to learn from their experiences and develop their own problem-solving skills.”

Again, some of what ChatGPT produced is advice I’d give, some of it might be slightly different than what I would say, and at least in the description of Wake, there were some flat-out errors. So it is an interesting tool, but it has its flaws.

It will be interesting to see how this technology evolves. For now, I feel pretty confident that my job as blogger is not in jeopardy 🙂