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Vince Kellen

CIO, University of California, San Diego

Vince Kellen, CIO, University of California San Diego
Since becoming the University of California, San Diego’s (UCSD) CIO in 2016, Vince Kellen has led his team in several IT modernization efforts and played a pivotal leadership role in the university’s work to create its own in-house AI tools.

Among recent projects, he said, UCSD has worked to move its systems to the cloud and strengthened its cyber-security protocols and network access control measures amid an increase in cyber threats like ransomware. The university also recently launched its in-house TritonGPT, an open source large language model that can answer questions about the university and assist with things like editing and course content generation. The platform allows the university to have more control over its data, which Kellen pointed to as one of the main benefits of developing on-premises AI tools like TritonGPT and is one of the key goals of UCSD’s IT modernization efforts in general. He added that the university hopes to leverage AI tools to enhance instruction, streamline operations, and alleviate workloads for faculty and staff.

“For years, we’ve [also] run a machine learning cluster to support AI for students in classes so instructors can assign students AI machine learning work in their classes,” he said. “Students can come into our AI cluster and take advantage of that and apply that in their coursework, and that’s going to continue and grow into the future.”

Before his current role, Kellen served as an IT consultant, advising Fortune 500 companies on IT strategy, customer and marketing strategies, analytics, and data management. He also previously served as the senior vice provost of analytics and technologies for the University of Kentucky and as CIO of DePaul University. He said his experience taught him how to quickly mobilize teams as well as the importance of continued professional development as technology continues to advance and IT expectations change.

“IT teams have to be flexible to adapt and quickly reorganize. … In today’s world it’s all about personal agility and organizational agility,” he said. “Expectations are ratcheting up.”

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.