Internal generative AI committee introduces updated guidelines

Image of people using computers
Associate vice professor Trish McClaren sheds light on the committee’s drive to adapt to the new tech
Image of people using computers
Photo by: Dani Saad

In September, Wilfrid Laurier University created a Generative Artificial Intelligence Committee as a response to the rapid development of generative AI platforms (Gen AI) such as ChatGPT.

The committee has recently rolled out new guidelines to make the use of Gen AI clearer and more beneficial for students and instructors.

“We put the committee together because one day there was nothing, and then there was ChatGPT and everyone struggled to accommodate Gen AI,” said Trish McClaren, Associate Vice President Academic at Laurier and member of the committee.

The new Generative AI Committee has a professor from each faculty alongside representation from finance, legal, research, and HR departments.

McClaren states that this seeks to “answer questions and set policies that fit for everyone.”

While discussing some key points from the new guidelines, McClaren stressed that students should be aware of how the programs are being used as faculty members have the ability to use Gen AI in their courses however they desire. Each discipline and instructor will differ with how they use these tools.

“The most important message I need to get to students is to read your course outlines and assignment instructions because each instructor is going to have different methods,” said McClaren.

Instructors must be clear with students about how they can or cannot use Gen AI in their course to avoid academic misconduct cases. However, it is likely that some students will not heed these warnings.

“We know there are some students using it when they are not supposed to, but we have spoken to students that are not using it at all because the output of ChatGPT is not as strong as the work that most students would do on their own.”


Some professors are using ChatGPT as a learning tool by “putting in a question as a prompt and then critiquing the answer, which is often wrong. Some others are letting students use ChatGPT to generate primary drafts and point out what could be improved,” said McClaren.

While the future of artificial intelligence remains unseen, McClaren believes it will not replace individuals. “We are still going to need people to think and do the important work, and although we call it ‘artificial intelligence,’ it is not intelligent.”

Currently, McClaren is visiting individual faculties and professors to discuss guidelines and teaching methods alongside hosting workshops.

“We are in the process of setting up messages around campus and social media posts. Our Writing Centre and Transition Services have also started creating more in-depth resources for students,” said McClaren.

For more information about Laurier’s new Generative AI guidelines, please visit their website.

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