November 23, 2023
You are here:  Home  >  Higher Education  >  Current Article

CSUCI’s interim president named to permanent post


Richard Yao, the interim president of California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, will serve as the university’s fourth permanent president, the university announced Jan. 26.

Richard Yao

The California State University Board of Trustees appointed Yao as the new president of CSUCI, the university announced Jan. 26. He will immediately take the post of campus president, a position he’s filled on an interim basis since January 2021.

In the CSUCI news release announcing his new role, Yao said he is looking “forward to working collaboratively with our faculty, staff, students and community partners in leading CSUCI into our third decade.”

Yao said it’s “an exciting time” at CSUCI, especially as the Camarillo-area university approaches the 20-year anniversary of its founding.

“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,” he said.

Yao joined CSUCI in 2018 as vice president for student affairs. In that role, Yao led campus functions, including housing and residential education, student affairs assessment, data and evaluation, as well as retention, outreach and inclusive student services. In 2021, he took over as interim president, after the previous president, Erika Beck, took the top job at CSU Northridge.

CSU Trustee Wenda Fong, who chaired the search committee for a permanent CSUCI president, described Yao as “an innovative leader whose vision and experience make him the ideal candidate to lead CSUCI to even greater heights.”

Yao has been a “champion of improving access and success for students coming from diverse backgrounds,” Fong said.

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 earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in clinical psychology from Eastern Illinois University. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara.

CSUCI has more than 7,000 students and 1,200 employees, according to the university.