Filipino-Chinese psychologist named president of Cal State University Channel Islands

Richard Yao, Ph.D.

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Richard Yao, Ph.D., to serve as the fourth president of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI).

Yao, who identifies as a Chinese Filipino American, currently serves as interim president of CSUCI, a role he has held since January 2021.

“This is such an exciting time at CSUCI, especially as we approach our 20th year. Our university is primed for growth as we continue to increase graduation rates and confer more high-quality degrees that enrich the lives of the residents and the communities throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties,” said Yao. “I am so thankful for the dedication and expertise of our faculty and staff, who are continually striving to improve the success of our talented students. I look forward to working collaboratively with our faculty, staff, students, and community partners in leading CSUCI into our third decade.”

“During his time at CSUCI and throughout his career, Dr. Yao has been a champion of improving access and success for students coming from diverse backgrounds,” said CSU Trustee Wenda Fong, chair of the CSUCI search committee. “He is an innovative leader whose vision and experience make him the ideal candidate to lead CSUCI to even greater heights.”

Yao first joined CSUCI after he was appointed to the position of vice president for student affairs in 2018. In that role he led campus functions including Campus Life; Housing & Residential Education; Student Affairs Assessment, Data and Evaluation; Retention, Outreach and Inclusive Student Services; and Associated Students, Inc.

Yao is a licensed clinical psychologist who came to CSUCI from Nevada State College where he was the founding Dean of Students and the chief student affairs officer. He previously served as a senior lecturer in psychology for eight years before his transition into student affairs. He had also served as Chair of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Student Affairs Council, a group comprised of vice presidents of student affairs and other high-level administrators from across the state.

Yao earned a bachelor’s in Psychology and a master’s in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara.

Yao will immediately assume the campus presidency.

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