GenAI Guidelines

San Diego State University has a principled and agile generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) strategy that supports responsible and ethical adoption among university employees. In adopting GenAI tools, SDSU employees should follow important considerations related to information security, data and personal privacy, compliance, copyright and protecting proprietary information, and accuracy and academic integrity. 

SDSU does not guide employees’ personal use of GenAI. While these guidelines are specific to professional work conducted at SDSU, they may also apply to adopting GenAI for personal use. 

The following guidelines are developed to guide university employees who choose to adopt GenAI tools as part of their job duties. Independent unit-level guidelines should not be produced in tandem with or to replace these approved guidelines.

Get professional GenAI training

Given the rapidly changing landscape of GenAI, SDSU professionals should stay informed about advancements in GenAI technologies and best practices for their ethical and responsible use, including regular training and knowledge-sharing. SDSU faculty and staff are encouraged to complete the Academic Applications of AI (AAAI) Micro-Credential and regularly seek additional skills development opportunities elsewhere.

Rely on professional tools, keep privacy in mind

Care should be taken to use only professional versions of GenAI tools

Never upload confidential, proprietary or embargoed information or data to public GenAI tools. Examples of protected information include personally identifiable information, such as a person’s name and details related to their educational or professional records, personal identification numbers, and medical or counseling records. Confidential university information and information related to academic research and integrity—to include research-related information held under embargo—also should not be added to GenAI tools as prompts. 

Never use existing copyrighted works – including existing scripts, messages, chapters, articles and similar content – to be edited and/or modified by GenAI tools without the express permission of the owner of said content. 

Seek Support as Needed

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SDSU GenAI Dos and Don'ts

No matter your level of comfort or expertise, SDSU faculty and staff are encouraged to complete the Academic Applications of AI (AAAI) Micro-Credential

If you have questions about Microsoft Copilot, SDSU’s preferred GenAI tool, contact the Information Technology Division via ServiceNow or (live online M-F during regular business hours) at the ITS Virtual Support Center.

Marketing and communications professionals can contact StratComm at [email protected] with questions.

Dos and Don'ts (PDF)       GenAI Guidelines (PDF)

GenAI should augment work 

Fully GenAI-generated content is prohibited at this time, and all generated content must be reviewed and fact-checked by a human editor. Such tools should augment work and not be autonomous. GenAI tools may be used in many ways, to include the following: 

  • Pre-writing or pre-production: GenAI tools may be used to brainstorm ideas and concepts, research topics, collect samples or examples, develop outlines, identify themes, or organize calendars and plans. 

  • Drafting content, aiding in efficiency or productivity: Some GenAI tools support generating content based on prompts, including initial and draft versions of scripts, letters, translations into multiple languages, descriptions, and social posts, as well as summaries, outlines, interpretations of data, and transcripts.

  • Editing: GenAI tools can edit and revise content based on style and tone and serve as a thesaurus to work or rework content sections.  

  • Revising: After original content is generated, many GenAI tools help identify and alter style/tone, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. They can also check for inclusive language and implicit bias but should not supersede SDSU’s editorial guidelines or brand guidelines.
  • Content testing: GenAI tools can help anticipate potential questions or concerns. 

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): GenAI tools may assist with keyword research to improve content readability, keyword usage and word relevancy, thus improving web page quality and performance.

  • Improve code quality: Some GenAI tools can improve computer code's overall quality and consistency, aiding debugging.

Ensure accurate, bias-free content 

SDSU professionals are encouraged to adopt GenAI tools appropriately and ethically.

GenAI-generated material must be carefully reviewed, fact-checked, edited, approved and managed by a human author. All work is to remain human-led. 

Ensuring accuracy and accurate representation is a core priority. GenAI technology is never to be used to deceive, spread misinformation, privilege any specific group or make claims that human sources have not substantiated. 

Be attentive to restrictions, state laws 

Do not use GenAI in confidential or sensitive meetings, including materials for documenting information outside approved university systems. California is a “two-party consent” state, meaning it is illegal to record a private conversation unless all parties consent to the recording, including digital recordings and transcripts, which certain GenAI tools can generate. 

Specific guidance for communications professionals 

For communications and marketing professionals, GenAI tools are not to be used to produce bylined or complete website content as original source material for SDSU. Such tools will not be used to create entire pieces of content. 

Do not post GenAI-generated or -edited photo or video content to news sites and news-related channels, including NewsCenter, unless used as an example and containing a specific cutline indicating that the content is GenAI-generated. 

To preserve journalistic integrity, do not share any GenAI-generated images with members of the media for publishing as part of news content. Communications professionals, in working with members of the media, should be aware of any GenAI introduced by the Society of Professional Journalists to help ensure that content provided to reporters is not in conflict with journalistic standards.