Press Release Leadership

Richard Yao Appointed President of California State University Channel Islands




​​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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About the California State University

The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 56,000 faculty and staff and 477,000 students. Nearly 40 percent of the CSU's undergraduate students transfer from California Community Colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 132,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter. ​​