McMaster introduces provisional guidelines for employee use of AI

The university's new provisional guidelines aim to help employees use AI tools effectively and responsibly in their work, offering tools, resources and workshops.

Are you curious about using artificial intelligence at work but don’t know where to start?

McMaster University has released provisional guidelines to help employees use artificial intelligence (AI) effectively and responsibly in their work. For example, this technology could be used to help brainstorm ideas, summarize text, enhance presentations and analyze datasets.

The new guidelines offer a range of tools, resources and step-by-step processes designed to help employees consider how they can use generative AI tools at McMaster.

“The release of these new guidelines firmly positions McMaster as a leader in integrating AI across the institution,” said Matheus Grasselli, deputy provost and co-chair of the university’s new AI Advisory Committee, which is exploring how best to use AI tools..

“Having been part of many conversations about AI on campus, I believe the guidelines will bring clarity and direction for our faculty and staff as we learn more about this advancing technology and how it fits into our professional lives,” emphasized Grasselli, who is also a co-chair of the Future Workplace Strategy Committee.

Highlights of the AI guidelines for employees include:

  1. You may use generative AI in your work, but you should have a conversation about how you will use it with your supervisor first.
  2. Do not share confidential, personal, or proprietary information with an AI tool unless it has been properly assessed by the university.
  3. You should critically evaluate and verify content from AI tools to ensure it is accurate and unbiased.
  4. You should cite or acknowledge the use of generative AI in your work.
  5. Before using an AI tool for the first time, review its privacy policy and user agreement. You can consult with relevant departments such as the Privacy Office, Information Security and Legal Services if you have questions or concerns.   
  6. If you are thinking about entering into a contract for a new AI tool for your team or department, make sure to consult the appropriate IT governance committee first.

“I’m excited about the potential of GenAI and how it will be used  at McMaster,” said Gayleen Gray, associate vice-president and chief technology officer. and co-chair of the McMaster AI Advisory Committee. “We also want to balance its use with careful consideration to ensure we are protecting our data and privacy and the provisional guidelines were developed with that in mind.”

AI is one of many tools employees can consider to help manage their workload and deliver operational efficiencies, said Wanda McKenna, associate vice-president and chief human resources officer. and co-chair of the Future Workplace Strategy Committee.

“Human connection and the coming together of people will always remain at the centre of what we do.”

McMaster’s pan-university approach to AI adoption

The new employee guidelines were developed in partnership between the Future Workplace Strategy Committee, Human Resources and University Technology Services, and in consultation with other campus partners.

Recently, a new AI Advisory Committee was announced by the Provost to continue exploring how the McMaster community can use AI tools.

The operational excellence expert panel is one of three expert panels exploring AI use at McMaster, with the other two focusing on research and teaching and learning.

More information

To further guide employees, virtual workshop sessions will be held from April 9 to April 11 for employees and supervisors to better understand the new guidelines and address questions. Click here to sign up online.

The new employee guidelines build upon earlier guidelines released by McMaster for using AI in the classroom which have been adopted by other institutions through a Creative Commons licence.

For more information on generative AI and to access additional resources and support, please visit the Generative AI for Operational Excellence webpage.

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