University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Initial Guidelines for Using Generative AI Tools at the University of North Dakota

Dear UND Community,

As we prepare for the 2023-24 academic year, the role and impact that Generative AI has—and will have—on our work in higher education is a topic of interest and debate on campus and throughout the sector. Since the emergence of the ChatGPT application late last year, the University of North Dakota has been a part of the growing array of institutions across the country studying the potential outcomes, real impacts, and possible unintended consequences of Generative AI on our mission.

Generative AI has captured higher education’s interest for its potential to facilitate research and revolutionize teaching. Along with the potential benefits of such technology, there are some challenges.  The challenges include our ability to measure student learning adequately and maintain research security and integrity. Data security is also of great concern due to possible violations of data privacy laws and data leaks. The impacts of generative AI for higher education are layered and continually evolving as the technology advances, raising questions about student learning and assessment, ethics, business processes and efficiencies, and the impact these new technologies will have on a changing workforce and our economic landscape.

Our work here at UND—and across the NDUS system—on Generative AI is ongoing and substantive. Through our participation in the system-wide AI Forum, UND is helping to lead a broad conversation on Generative AI’s potential impacts (both celebratory and worrisome). As these conversations unfold in the coming months, we would like to offer—in concert with a growing list of research institutions across the nation (see, for instance, the statements from Harvard University and Washington University in St. Louis), some initial considerations:

Initial guidelines for the use of generative AI tools

  • Understand Your Responsibility – Content created by generative AI tools can include factual errors or inaccuracies, fabrications, bias, or other unreliable information. It is your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of what is reported in your work. Review all material produced for accuracy, violations of copyright protections, and plagiarism. Document and be transparent about all uses of Generative AI—such clarity in citation and attribution is a critical aspect of any research product that uses Generative AI. Be sure to comply with academic and research integrity policies: review the  Code of Student Life and Faculty Handbook.  In the classroom, be clear about expectations for student use of AI in their coursework.
  • Guard Confidential Data – Data classified as private or restricted should not be entered into generative AI tools, including non-public research data, per SBHE 1202.3 Data Privacy Policy. When using these tools, do not disclose confidential, sensitive, or personally identifiable information. Do not disclose intellectual property that is not safeguarded. This caution extends not only to sensitive data generated and used as part of a research project but also to protected student data and student information.
  • Personal Security Starts with You – Be extra vigilant about potential phishing attacks. Generative AI is rapidly changing the phishing landscape, and AI has made it possible for bad actors to deploy newer, more sophisticated phishing attacks and other attacks on your personal data and identifying information. Report any questionable emails to University Information Technology (UIT) by clicking the Phish Notify button in Outlook/O365 or submitting a helpdesk ticket. Familiarize yourself with UND’s cybersecurity tools and services.
  • Reach out to UIT Before Procuring Generative AI Tools – As with any software purchase, submit procurement requests via Jaggaer regardless of the dollar value. If you have already purchased a generative AI tool, please let UIT know. Help us help you to protect yourself and the University. Safeguarding UND is everyone’s responsibility!

More information on generative AI and guidance can be found on the Generative AI FAQ web page.

As generative AI tools evolve, we expect these existing policies and guidelines to be modified or new policies to be created to align with the use of the technology. We will continue communicating with you to support your efforts to preserve academic integrity, security, and privacy at UND.

Sincerely,

Eric Link
Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs

Joshua Wynne
Vice President Health Affairs

John Mihelich
Vice President Research and Economic Development

Madhavi Marasinghe
Chief Information Officer