Richard YaoRichard Yao, Ph.D.

Interim President, CSU Channel Islands

Richard Yao, Ph.D., has been appointed to serve as Interim President of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) as of January 2021. Interim President Yao initially joined CSUCI in June 2018, where he served as the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Since coming to CSUCI, Interim President Yao has increased collaborations between Academic and Student Affairs programs to improve student success and worked to ensure that co-curricular programming was in full alignment with the academic mission of the University. He worked to demonstrate the relationship between Student Affairs utilization and academic success markers, and in collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office, helped lead a system-wide pilot program to develop a Student Affairs data dashboard and examine student demographics in relation to utilization of support services.  His  current interests include comparing student perception of learning with direct measures of student learning outcomes; examining the benefits and stressors associated with peer-to-peer support programs; examining enrollment cancellation policies for non-payment in relation to student demographics, progress towards degree completion and assessment of inequities; examining the impact of basic needs programs on student success; and navigating the legal, ethical, and psychosocial factors required to support students with psychiatric disabilities.

Prior to CSUCI, Interim President Yao resided in Las Vegas, NV for 23 years, where he was an active member of the higher education and mental health communities. Early in his clinical career, he worked with individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness, as well as transition aged youth aging out of the foster care system. Interim President Yao then focused primarily on forensic psychological assessments, with an emphasis on juvenile certification evaluations for the Juvenile Court and Public Defender’s Office, parental capacity evaluations for the Department of Family Services, and psychological disability evaluations for the Bureau of Disability Adjudication. Throughout this time, he also served as a full-time Psychology Lecturer with Nevada State College, which like CSUCI, opened its doors in 2002. He was eventually tasked with building out their Student Affairs programming and first served as the Director of Student Development before becoming their founding Dean of Students.

Interim President Yao earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University. 

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