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Emory Center for AI Learning names Joe Sutherland as inaugural director
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Ashlee Gardner
Joe Sutherland

Joe Sutherland, a noted technology executive, public service leader and educator, has been named director of the Emory Center for AI Learning, a newly established center that will promote artificial intelligence (AI) literacy and community across Emory University. Sutherland will begin his role on June 1. 

With full programming starting in fall 2023, the Center’s mission is to enable Emory students, faculty and staff to take advantage of AI technologies through training, partnership and co-curricular opportunities, with the goal of catalyzing broad understanding and skill development in AI applications. The Center is integral to the university’s AI.Humanity and Student Flourishing strategic initiatives, which will cement Emory as a global leader in the understanding of productive, societally integrated and ethical artificial intelligence innovation. 

As the first director of the Center, Sutherland will assume a pivotal role in overseeing its daily operations, orchestrating strategic planning, and facilitating development and implementation of a range of co-curricular programming. 

Additionally, he will actively promote the Center's mission to enhance AI literacy at Emory University and foster collaborations with internal executive leadership as well as external partners, working closely with faculty co-leaders Cliff Carrubba, chair of the Department of Quantitative Theory and Methods in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and Lance Waller, professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in the Rollins School of Public Health. 

“We are delighted that Joe Sutherland has accepted the position of director for the new Center for AI Learning,” says Lanny Liebeskind, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “With his broad experience in technology, public service and education and commitment to Emory’s students, Joe will play an impactful role developing an AI-savvy community of students, faculty and staff and in empowering, educating and mentoring the next generation of leaders across the Emory community and beyond.” 

Sutherland’s professional background includes executive roles at Amazon and Cisco, public service at the White House and academic appointments at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and Emory. Sutherland currently serves as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University, and a fellow of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to that role, he was the director of CX Cloud Data, Insights and Growth at Cisco, where he led applications of artificial intelligence for their CX Cloud product portfolio.

Sutherland founded two startups: Peachtree AI, a professional services firm specializing in artificial intelligence integrations, and Prattle, a fintech company that uses natural language processing to forecast both the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions and the performance of publicly traded companies.

From 2011 to 2013, he served in the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance for President Barack Obama, traveling with the President in support of various policy initiatives. His research exploring the utilization of machine learning and AI in congressional policy, political behavior and development economics is published in top peer-reviewed journals, including the American Political Science Review, Political Behavior and Energy. 

Sutherland earned his PhD, MPhil, and master’s degree in political science from Columbia University and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this innovative Center and to continue to work with the impressive students, faculty and staff at Emory University,” says Sutherland. “Applications of AI are still in their infancy, and a center like this allows us to broaden the future of AI across all Emory constituencies so that everyone has a stake in the growth AI will bring.”

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