Dr. Richard Yao

President, CSU Channel Islands

About Dr. Richard Yao

Richard Yao, Ph.D., was appointed to serve as President of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) in January 2022 after serving in the Interim President role since January 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 ensured that the campus is well equipped to face the imminent challenges the University faces while also focusing on the future and what can be accomplished as CSUCI enters its third decade. He has been committed to supporting industry needs and maintaining consistent collaborations with the community to strengthen the region's close connection with CSUCI.

President Yao's priorities include promoting inclusive excellence, and he led the development and implementation of the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan (IEAP) Framework to achieve this goal. The IEAP Framework helped to document and catalog the many intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts happening around campus. This framework was used to create the Inclusive Excellence Action Teams (IEAT), formed by members of the campus community, who created plans with activities to increase the DEI efforts on campus.

In partnership with Academic Affairs and Provost Mitch Avila, and to increase the efforts towards academic excellence, President Yao has also helped to implement the Charting Our Course planning exercise, used to innovate the academic programs offered and reimagine the degrees to further consider how the campus community can best support its students to graduation and beyond. President Yao is also utilizing the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals set by the CSU Chancellor’s Office to support students through to graduation and post-graduation. Using new funding allocated for this purpose, he will be leveraging these funds to increase student retention, increase financial support for students, and increase customer service satisfaction for students and campus partners.

While serving 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 joining CSUCI, President Yao resided in Las Vegas, Nevada 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 from 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 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.

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.

[Source: https://www.csuci.edu/president/biography.htm]