Guidance on the Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a helpful marketing and communications tool. University Relations aims to supply guidance for the present and will update this guidance as AI and its uses evolve.

This guidance does not address academic use by students or faculty. View academic guidance.


Artificial Intelligence is not new to the digital world. Traditional AI, like spellcheck or voice assistants, uses specific sets of rules and data to complete a task. Generative AI is focused on creating “new” content based on the information it receives. It can assist marketing and communications professionals at all stages of a project from development to release, both in writing and design. However, Generative AI is only as good as the information it receives, which means that fact-checking and close attention to meaning and implications are critical to its use as a tool.

At the University of Minnesota, AI is not a replacement for our marketing and communications staff. It is an augment to the work we do.

Appropriate Uses of Generative AI

There are many uses of AI that may kick-start a project, save time, or help with planning and organization. AI suggestions should always be reviewed before being finalized.  

  • Idea creation and brainstorming: Ask AI for new ways to write about a topic, how to best engage your audience, generate draft content, and more.
  • Research gathering: Find information to prepare for a project or bolster strategy. 
    • We recommend using it for introductory questioning and doing further research individually to corroborate or expand on its findings.
  • Organization: Create checklists and outlines, build content calendars, format a slide deck, or fit a document with proper headings and citations.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): AI can help analyze keywords, provide ideas on titles and metadata, critique and improve SEO performance, and review sites for readability and relevance.
  • Analyzing data: AI can help with interpretations of data summaries, generate hypotheses, and identify key trends and patterns based on descriptions of datasets. It can also be used for technical assistance for code creation and various data tools.
  • Cleaning web code: AI can help assist workflow by removing dead or duplicate code, deleting stale feature flags, and applying specified formatting standards.
  • Preparation: Ask AI to help you prepare for potential questions, responses, or etiquette for a meeting or interview. 
  • Productivity: AI can manage your workflow by drafting emails, writing copy, creating social media posts, and more.
  • Revision: Help edit for grammar, length, clarity, tone, and style.  
  • Transcription: Convert audio and video files into text.

Inappropriate Uses of Generative AI

At this time, AI is not recommended for some communications tasks. This list is not comprehensive and subject to change as we learn more about AI capabilities and security.

  • Official communications: Institution-specific content (e.g., relaying important information, leadership messaging) should not be formulated with AI. 
  • Uncredited use: Do not use AI content verbatim without citation or acknowledgment of its use.
  • Accessibility: Avoid developing alternative text or interpreting charts or graphs with AI.
  • Art with the intent to publish: AI-generated images, music, and video should not be published as work of your own or about people and places at the University. 
  • Data privacy: Do not provide AI engines with personal and sensitive University information. 
    • Do not use any Generative AI extensions in your browser.
  • Use as a sole source: Always fact-check. Do not use if the information needed should be more recent, as most engines pull information from before spring 2021.
  • Crisis communications: Information regarding the immediate health and safety of our community, including updates, triage, and after-care communication, should not be assisted by AI at this time.

Best Practices

The AI conversation continues to evolve. At this time, we advise you: 

  • Review, verify, and modify all AI-produced content.
  • Stay inside your domain of expertise or refer to a content expert whenever possible.
  • Ensure AI-generated content is accessible and complies with other communication best practices, data privacy policies, and appropriate use of UMN data. 
    • Check your chosen tool with OIT for data and privacy safety.
  • Be transparent in your use of AI.

Data Privacy and Security

The use of Generative AI is personal to each individual. The University is not entering into any contracts at this time until further institutional, state, and federal policies are established.

As such, no University data should be inputted into a Generative AI engine. All content provided to these systems are used to train them, increasing known and unknown security risks. Providing identifying information will be considered a data breach. Further questions about AI safety can be directed to University Information Security at

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