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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Students now allowed to use AI for coursework in A&S classes unless otherwise noted

The university’s general AI policy remains in place for other undergraduate schools.
Swarada Kulkarni
A photo of computers in the Eskind Biomedical Library on Nov. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Swarada Kulkarni)

Students in College of Arts and Science classes are now permitted to use AI for coursework unless otherwise specified by the instructor. The university’s general AI policies still apply to Vanderbilt’s other undergraduate schools, which states that faculty should decide if AI can be used. 

A university representative told The Hustler that the new policy provides more flexibility to professors and ensures that expectations are clear in each classroom. The policy states that all instructors should provide AI guidelines in the syllabus. 

“The College of Arts and Science recognizes that AI is an increasingly prominent presence in the lives of our students and the world,” the representative said. “Given the breadth of disciplines and courses that A&S covers, it is important that we provide our faculty with the flexibility to establish a policy that advances the pedagogical and learning goals for their unique course.”

The representative added that College of Arts and Science Interim Dean Timothy McNamara spearheaded the policy change. However, the representative said faculty input informed this policy and gave insight into the best practices and potential challenges. 

According to the representative, the policy was shared widely with the A&S faculty but was not announced to students. 

“Faculty will determine the policy within their own classes; therefore, they will communicate their expectations directly to their students,” the representative said. 

The Undergraduate Honor Council, which adjudicates alleged violations of the Honor Code, may have to adjust its hearing process due to this policy, according to senior and UHC President David Mailman. 

“When adjudicating a matter, the UHC assesses the course expectations that were present and applicable at the time of the alleged violation to determine whether a violation occurred,” Mailman said. “The UHC is not responsible for setting academic policy; however, it does enforce the expectations in place. Any applicable university policy involving artificial intelligence would be considered during the hearing process.”

Faculty and students expressed the importance of integrating AI into A&S. 

“I think this is a great change for A&S. It really expands our resources and challenges everyone, teachers and students alike, to engage in deeper critical thinking,” first-year Benny Rogowsky said.

History professor Michael Bess said he views AI as an important tool for enhancing students’ creativity and research capabilities. 

“Advanced AI is part of our world now, and it’s important for Vanderbilt students and faculty to learn how to use it effectively and responsibly. In my own classes, I have asked students to use AI tools in crafting an essay on a book that they have read,” Bess said. “The next step is for students to write a critical peer review of the AI-generated essay, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the text.”

Bess also acknowledged the potential harmful effects of reliance on AI in the classroom.

“If those tools are used as mere shortcuts to getting assignments turned in, without engaging the students in serious and challenging ways, they can end up degrading the quality of a student’s learning experience,” Bess said.

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About the Contributor
Swarada Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Swarada Kulkarni (‘27) is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, she enjoys singing, reading books and exploring new restaurants with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].

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