Message from the VPIT-CIO

By | October 27, 2023
Ravi Pendse
Ravi Pendse, vice president for IT and chief information officer (Joel Iverson, ITS Communications)

Dear colleagues,

It is hard to believe that we are already at the end of October. Fall semester is passing by so quickly.

I know many of you have seen the university’s recent update about the IT incident that affected our three campuses just as the academic year was getting under way in late August. I encourage you to review the information. I think it is safe to say that we have never been more aware about the importance of digital security and our role in protecting the university community.

As you all know, October was Cybersecurity Awareness Month. If you are interested in learning more ways to protect yourself online, our Safe Computing website has an excellent wealth of information about security alerts, our Sensitive Data Guide, and much more. We all have to do our part to help keep our community safe and secure. 

One of the things I am most excited about this semester is our ongoing work with Generative AI. We recently launched a new U-M Instructor Guide for Generative Artificial Intelligence to share best practices and tips for faculty when it comes to integrating GenAI into their classrooms. The guide provides a quick introduction to GenAI, impacts on teaching and learning, potential course and assessment redesign ideas, the limitations/bias of GenAI and ethical use, and five top action items for teaching in a GenAI era. 

Hopefully, you saw our article, “Building the world’s first accessible AI chat interface,” which shows what truly groundbreaking work ITS is doing with our custom AI services. Our U-M GPT tool was designed for accessibility according to international standards, optimized for usability with common assistive technology, and built without the barriers found in some other examples out on the web. It is imperative that everyone be able to use this tool, and I am proud of the effort that went into developing it.

U-M GPT had over 15,000 users in its first month, resulting in over 380,000 prompts. Have you tried U-M ChatGPT yet? If so, how are you using it? We have been compiling stories of how our community members are using our AI Services, so please feel free to send along any details on how you have been exploring our new tools. You can find regular updates on all things GenAI at U-M – including a new faculty video about using U-M Maizey – on our GenAI website.

I also want to highlight the U-M Diversity Equity and Inclusion Summit, which happened earlier this month, and marked the kickoff of the university’s new DEI 2.0 initiative. I think if you spend the time to explore the website and the recording of the summit, you will find some wonderful information that will both engage and challenge you. Diversity is a huge strength of our Michigan IT community, and it is something we should all embrace.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on what is going on in the world of Michigan IT and technology. Please reach out to me at with any thoughts, questions, or comments.

With gratitude,


Ravi Pendse PhD
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan