GenAI and the Liberal Arts: Balancing Innovation and Ethics in the LSA Classroom

LSA Technology Services staff join others across the university in providing guidance and support around the use of GenAI in teaching and learning.
by Hetal Thaker, Senior Learning & Teaching Consultant; Pat Belden, Director of Web & Application Development Services

With comparisons to the birth of the internet, the sudden arrival of Generative AI (GenAI) in higher education has been met with both excitement and apprehension. The university and LSA have moved quickly to meet the moment.

Advisory Committee Formed

Over the summer, the U-M Generative Artificial Intelligence Advisory (GAIA) Committee–an advisory group including faculty, staff, and students from across the university–convened to analyze emerging artificial intelligence tools and services. The initial report from the committee is available on the Generative Artificial Intelligence website: Committee Report.

First-of-their-kind Custom AI Tools Released 

U-M has also developed its own set of GenAI tools, which are now available to all U-M faculty, staff, and students. According to the Generative Artificial Intelligence website, “The goal is to make GenAI tools equitable and accessible to all members of the university community, while also providing significantly more data protection than most other popular AI services.” UM-GPT, one of three custom AI tools developed by the university, provides a private, secure, and free version of the popular chatbot. This extra level of security ensures that sensitive university and student data does not become part of either U-M’s or OpenAI’s training data set. While this makes UM-GPT the safe choice for classroom and student use, anyone considering AI use should review the university’s guidelines of AI use with institutional data: Artificial Intelligence and U-M Institutional Data.

LSA Technology Services Provides Guidance and Support

LSA Technology Services has also been working to provide guidance and support to LSA faculty, staff, and students. Cathy Curley, Chief Information Officer of LSA, says, “We’ve had great interest from instructors over the summer to work with us in understanding the opportunities that generative AI tools can create in teaching and learning. I love the interest and partnership in learning new technologies together for the appropriate use and betterment of our LSA Community and am excited to work with more staff in LSA in how this technology may improve our effectiveness and efficiency in administrative activities”. 

Members of LSA Technology Services contributed to the Generative AI Instructional Resources page, which provides guidance on a range of issues related to AI use in teaching and learning, including redesigning assignments to be more AI-aware, strategies for discussing AI with students, and general information about the capabilities and limitations of AI in teaching and learning. 

LSA Learning & Teaching Consulting offered a workshop for LSA faculty called “ChatGPT: A Brief Introduction” as part of its fall workshop series. They also have a web page of further support: Guidelines for Using Generative Artificial Intelligence. These guidelines include suggestions for syllabus language, recommendations for classroom conversations about AI, and answers to frequently asked questions. To LSA faculty, Emily Ravenwood, Manager of Academic Technology Consultants, says, “My most important message is encapsulated in ‘explanations first,’ even if the adventure seems more urgent. The LLMs [Large Language Models] have some interesting potential for use in class activities, but the most important thing for liberal arts instructors, especially, to accomplish right now is helping both students and each other really think through the implications of these tools for teaching and learning and for their future work.”


As you begin to use the AI tools available to the university community, please reach out to us with your thoughts and ideas at to help us understand your needs for incorporating AI into teaching and learning, research, or any part of your work.


Release Date: 09/19/2023
Category: Innovate Newsletter
Tags: Technology Services
Technology Services Contact Center Chat