New Task Force will Consider Generative AI and Teaching & Learning

Dear faculty and graduate instructors, Generative artificial intelligence has arrived, and many of us are experimenting with tools such as ChatGPT and DALL-E. Faculty and graduate instructors are eager to learn how this technology might be harnessed to enhance instruction and how to best ensure that students use these tools appropriately.  I have asked Brie Gertler to appoint a small task force to examine the implications of this technology for teaching and learning at UVA. Through a series of town halls and other gatherings this spring, the Generative AI Task Force will facilitate conversations among faculty and students about the role of this technology in teaching and learning. The task force will also review a broad range of sources to identify opportunities and challenges posed by Generative AI for teaching and learning, and will study how our peer institutions are responding to the emergence of this technology. This work will culminate in a set of recommendations about how UVA can leverage the opportunities and manage the challenges of this technology in the near term. In the coming weeks, we will share opportunities for you to contribute to the task force’s work. Generative AI also has the capacity to affect how the University pursues research, conducts operations, performs institutional analysis, and develops its technology infrastructure. The University will convene a second working group to determine how this technology could impact what we do in these and other areas. Although Generative AI is novel, its arrival does not call for revising the principles that inform how we teach and learn at UVA. In particular, the Honor System and its foundations – integrity and the community of trust – remain core to our values. The Honor Committee has provided the following helpful statement:  

Consistent with its traditional principles, the Honor Committee does not enumerate specific instances of Honor Offenses beyond the prohibition against Lying, Cheating, or Stealing. No by-law or constitutional change is required to make the use of AI an Honor Offense. This practice reflects the Committee’s recognition that individual professors retain the power to define what conduct violates academic integrity in their classroom. At its core, Cheating reflects a student’s breach of the boundaries set forth by his or her professor. 

As always, instructors should set clear expectations regarding the resources that are permitted in preparing assignments. If students are permitted to use ChatGPT, DALL-E, or similar tools, instructors should provide explicit guidance about how these tools may be used. As always, students must abide by those terms and must properly attribute their sources. Our understanding of Generative AI’s implications is still embryonic, and major advancements in the technology are on the horizon. The work of the task force will begin what is sure to be a long conversation, one that will continue as the technology evolves and as new pedagogical uses for it are developed. I hope that you will contribute to this conversation. Sincerely,  Ian  Ian Baucom Executive Vice President and Provost University of Virginia