Richard Yao

Richard Yao, Ph.D.

President, CSU Channel Islands

Richard Yao, Ph.D., was appointed as President of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) in January 2022. He previously served as the Interim President in 2021. President Yao initially joined CSUCI in June 2018, where he served as the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Since coming to CSUCI, President Yao has worked to ensure that all campus divisions and programs are fully aligned with the academic mission of the University, and that all members of the campus community understand and embrace their impact on improving student success.

President Yao is focusing on the long-term strategic vision for CSUCI, which is especially important as CSUCI enters its third decade. Academic programming is the main focus of this work, and in collaboration with the Provost and faculty leadership, CSUCI is engaged in the Charting our Course academic master planning process, which focuses on new program development; the distinctive features of a CSUCI education; improving post-graduate outcomes; and meeting regional industry, workforce, and service needs through our academic programs.

President Yao has also remained dedicated to reaching and surpassing the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals set by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. This work includes eliminating equity gaps, removing administrative barriers to education, and assessing post-graduate outcomes more rigorously. Inclusive excellence is a vital aspect of this work, and President Yao led the development and implementation of the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan (IEAP) Framework. The IEAP Framework better centralized and coordinated the many intentional diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) efforts happening across campus. This framework was used to create six Action Teams (professional development, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce, communication and government relations, campus climate and communication, data and assessment, and student access and success), which consists of faculty, staff and students from all levels and divisions across campus. This framework includes a collaborative budget planning and resource allocation process, with initial funding disbursed in Spring 2022.

As the Vice President for Student Affairs, President Yao 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.  

Prior to CSUCI, 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. 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 Senior Lecturer of Psychology 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.

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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