Provost encourages faculty to add AI clause in course syllabi

By Olivia Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

File Photo

Senior Vice President and Provost Marcella David told faculty members in an email to update their course syllabi with clear guidelines on the use of artificial intelligence technology — like ChatGPT — in classrooms and to foster in-class discussions on the tech tools.

  • In the long-term, David said departments should consider developing a consistent policy for using AI generators in and out of the classroom.
  • “The most important step for us to take right now is to begin a thoughtful conversation about AI-generated content,” David said in the email. “The barn door is open; the cat is out of the bag; the force has awoken. But is it a force for good or a disruptive force? The answer is … it depends.”

Digging deeper: The college’s AI Task Force has “jump started” the conversation by launching a resource page. This is the place where faculty and students can find best practices, articles, news, ideas and beyond as the technology continues to evolve.

For context: ChatGPT is a form of AI software — from OpenAI — which can generate essays, answer specific questions and converse with the user. Although the tech launched in November 2022, it has already sounded alarms in some schools and within higher education.

The memo comes approximately one week after the AI Task Force sent their initial recommendations to the provost, after many professors had the topic brought up in their classrooms, in both a positive and negative light.

The AI Task Force is made up of five faculty representatives and four staff members — three of which are from the provost’s office — and two students from Columbia’s Student Government Association.

  • “Columbia College Chicago’s track record of innovation perfectly positions us to be a leader in this space, and I look forward to the conversation as it continues,” David said.