An End-of-Year Message From Me (and ChatGPT) 😁

Stephanie Fiore, Ph.D.

As I faced the blank page in writing this blog post, I struggled to decide what I could say to you, my dear colleagues, that would express both a sense of gratitude for the work you have done this (not so easy) year, a reminder to take some restful time for yourself that will recharge your batteries, but at the same time, urge you to prepare more fully for teaching in the era of generative artificial intelligence. So I went to ChatGPT and asked it to help me. I chuckled as I did it because I love to write and I still find it amusing to play with GenAI tools, but also, I kid you not, it was helpful in getting me started. So I will pull out some of the words it suggested to craft for you a heartfelt message of gratitude, care, and support.

Celebrate our shared achievements and the resilience that defines our community. Each of you has played a crucial role in fostering an environment of inquiry and excellence. ChatGPT isn’t wrong that you have yet again shown great resilience as we cope with shrinking budgets, a changing student body that poses new challenges, and the advent of generative AI tools in the teaching and learning landscape. And yet, the excellence of what you provide for our students is still intact, a testament to the care you demonstrate in the teaching work you do. Temple has recently admitted the most diverse student body we have ever had, which required faculty to discover new ways of teaching that can better support all students to meet their potential. I have been impressed with how many of you have responded by engaging with us to rethink your teaching and retool your practices. And, of course, there’s generative AI. So many of you sought our answers to whether and how you might harness the power of AI or simply think about teaching when AI is readily available. Students at Temple are fortunate to have caring and resilient faculty who continue to navigate these new challenges in order to meet our mission of educational excellence.

Rest and recharge. Wellness is integral to our professional effectiveness and personal happiness. You’re so right, ChatGPT! The time you take to rest and engage in restorative activities is time wisely spent. Having spent the majority of my career as faculty, I know all too well the never-ending work. My hairdresser once jokingly asked where my grading work was when I showed up once without a red pen and papers to grade in hand. I took my work with me to my kids’ swim practices, on longer car drives, and anywhere I thought I could squeeze in some stuff. And summer is sometimes the only time available to get research or creative work done when your teaching load is heavy. We are so wired for productive energy that we sometimes forget that rest is productive too. Enjoyment is restorative and gives us the oomph to keep working later on. So please do take some time to rest, recharge, and find your happiness. Resist the urge to fill every moment with chores.

Let’s dedicate some time to exploring AI tools and platforms. I agree wholeheartedly, ChatGPT! When you are again restored and ready to explore directions for the fall semester, I believe it is essential to do the proactive work in preparing ourselves and our students for what it means to teach and learn in the age of AI. Rather than taking a reactive stance that requires us to deal with cheating that is hard to detect–and therefore can erode the trust between students and faculty that is essential for learning to flourish–let’s grapple with the AI beast head-on. Even if you have a firm belief that you will never allow its use in your courses, it is essential that you learn about GenAI’s capabilities and test your assignments and assessments to discover how vulnerable they are to its power. Only from an educated point of view can you know best how to manage teaching and learning in the age of AI. Let us help you! We’re here all summer and happy to help. And, when you are ready to integrate AI in teaching and learning, we’re here for that too. Look for workshops and resources coming this summer, or make an appointment with one of our team.

I would like to thank my team for adjusting magnificently to meeting faculty’s needs despite having to do so with a smaller team (we too have been dealing with the budgetary realities). I feel so lucky to have my wonderful team – couldn’t do it without them! 

Thank you for your hard work, your dedication, and your inspiring commitment to our students and each other. Well said, ChatGPT! In addition, dear colleagues, I am sending you warmest gratitude for your engagement with the CAT. Best wishes for a restful and enjoyable summer

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