Will Colleges Ban ChatGPT?

So far, most institutions of higher education have declined to ban the chatbot. Instead, they are releasing guidance about the role of artificial intelligence in the classroom and letting instructors determine their own policies.
2 min read

Share this Article

  • ChatGPT has opened up conversations about how artificial intelligence could and should be used at higher education institutions.
  • Several universities have created guides for faculty members to incorporate the tool into their curriculum.
  • Professors have very different approaches on how they want ChatGPT to impact their classrooms.

When ChatGPT was released in late 2022, institutions across the country wondered how the chatbot, which can whip up humanlike responses to prompts in seconds, will impact the future of education.

Public school districts across the country — including the largest district, New York City Public Schools — have banned students from using ChatGPT over cheating and plagiarism concerns.

But the question remains, will U.S. colleges and universities follow suit?

So far, higher education has taken a different approach. Instead of outright banning the tool, they are providing recommendations for staff and are allowing instructors to make decisions about how ChatGPT will be used in their classes.

Most universities have not made any sweeping changes to university guidelines. If policies are broad enough, like at Syracuse University, there is already an expectation that the work a student turns in is their own. However, universities are also encouraging each discipline, professor, and class to set guidelines.

At Yale, professors set course-specific artificial intelligence (AI) policies. The university's Center for Teaching and Learning created AI guidance to help faculty integrate AI into their syllabi while also setting limitations.

Faculty members across the country are balancing admiration over the bot's abilities to write entire essays, pass exams, and even code with their anxiety about how it challenges academic integrity.

While some professors like Ethan Mollick at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School are requiring students to use the tool in class, others are now requiring students to take in-person assessments, like Adam Purtee, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Rochester.

Still, others believe that introducing ChatGPT to students in the classroom is important since the tool will only continue to grow.

Shawn Daly, professor of international business and marketing at Niagara University in Western New York, considers ChatGPT as just the next tool in the "logical progression" from pen and paper, to calculators, to computers.

"They [students] now will spend the rest of their lives answering the question, what is your value added above the machine? And hence, it's our task as educators to be able to enable them to answer that question," Daly told Buffalo's local ABC news station.

Regarding concerns over plagiarism and cheating, some professors are using the classroom as a space for students to learn about the tool's limitations.

Jonathan Herington, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester, has incorporated the chatbot into assignments this semester that will challenge the bot's capabilities.

Steven Kelts, a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, believes that the best way to discourage cheating is to introduce the students to ChatGPT themselves.

"I don't believe any Princetonian — or college student in general — will be tempted to cheat with ChatGPT once they get to know it," he told The Daily Princetonian.

Even across one campus, professors have different approaches to integrating the tool.

On Tufts' campus, for example, students who take introductory computer science are prohibited from using ChatGPT, while some mechanical engineering students are permitted to use the tool as long as they submit a record of their interactions with the bot.

Robert Ausch, a professor in the psychology department at New York University, will not change the way he runs his classes in wake of ChatGPT.

"Life will eventually teach them that some shortcuts might work some of the time, but eventually if you can't do what you're supposed to be able to do, the world will notice," he told the Washington Square News.