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On February 20, ITS expanded access to Copilot with Data Protection, Microsoft’s enterprise generative AI tool. Now all students, faculty and staff at UNC can use the institutionally scoped chatbot and productivity assistant. Copilot currently generates text with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model and creates images using DALL-E 3.

Microsoft Copilot

Copilot with Data Protection is a more secure alternative to consumer-oriented generative AI services like ChatGPT, Google Bard or the non-enterprise version of Copilot.

ITS enabled Copilot, then called Bing Chat Enterprise, at UNC on November 8, after Microsoft added the tool to existing faculty and staff licenses at no additional cost to the University. Microsoft recently added Copilot to student licenses at no additional cost.

Safeguarding information is the key benefit to using Copilot with Data Protection. When you use the enterprise version of Copilot, Microsoft does not store or view your chats. Your queries are encrypted, and Microsoft does not use UNC-Chapel Hill data or queries to train any of its models.

Generative AI for all Tar Heels

The expanded access to Copilot means that the entire Tar Heel community— students, faculty and staff — can use an institutionally-sponsored generative AI tool.

“There’s an amazing level of interest and excitement about generative AI on campus,” J. Michael Barker, Vice Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer, said. “Everyone wants to explore and learn. We’re glad to provide a common tool that helps folks become familiar with and interact with it in the easiest way possible.”

Across campus, Tar Heels are exploring generative AI and finding innovative uses for teaching, learning, work and play. With one centrally supported tool, faculty can focus their explorations of how Copilot can enhance their teaching and learning, without having to worry about what students can use. And now students now have equal — and free — access to a powerful AI tool for both text and image generation.

Michael Barker
J. Michael Barker

Start with Copilot

Tar Heels can access Copilot directly or as part of the Microsoft Bing search engine.

Before you start using Copilot, sign in with your UNC account. You’ll log in by using as your email address, as when logging into Heelmail or other online Microsoft 365 products. When you are logged into the enterprise version with data protection, you’ll see a “protected” badge next to your user profile picture.

Currently, Microsoft Copilot supports Microsoft Edge (desktop and mobile app) and Chrome (desktop). Microsoft Edge is the preferred browser.

Use Copilot responsibly

While Copilot with Data Protection has additional data safeguards that other generative AI tools do not have, you still have a responsibility to exercise due care over any data you submit to a third party. Protect the University’s and your own information.

When you use any generative AI tool, including Copilot with Data Protection, follow UNC’s generative AI usage guidance for students or guidance for faculty and staff.


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