President's Office

Chief Diversity Officer Appointment

March 15, 2016


To the Campus Community:

During my welcome back address at the start of the 2015-16 academic year and at numerous other opportunities, I shared the news that CSUN was conducting a search for its first Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Reporting to me directly, the appointee will work with the university community to develop and implement collaborative plans and programs that educate and encourage the campus to adopt diversity, equity, inclusion, educational and employment opportunity, and cross-cultural proficiency as core values. The CDO will also lead our newly established Commission on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives.

I am pleased to announce that following a rigorous search, Dr. Raji A. Rhys has been appointed as the CDO, effective April 18, 2016. Dr. Rhys received tremendous campus support from students, faculty and administrators who met her during the process. Prior to this appointment, she served as Assistant Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Arizona, where she also served as Special Advisor to the President for Diversity, and as Program Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director of the Diversity Resource Office in the Office of the President. She has also held positions at San Jose State University and the University of San Diego.

Nationally recognized for her work, Dr. Rhys was twice elected to the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers Executive Board. While at the University of Arizona, she launched the university's first executive diversity office and helped the university realize increases in faculty and student diversity. Dr. Rhys is a product of the California State University, having received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Chico State. She also holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and a master's in Psychology from the University of Maryland.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the search committee for its diligent and successful efforts. The search was chaired by Vice President William Watkins and the committee's members included Anamarie Dwyer, Professor of Theatre; Sheila Grant, Professor of Psychology; Jorge Reyes, President of Associated Students; Judy Schmidt-Levy, Counselor, University Counseling Services; Adam Swenson, Faculty President; Stella Theodoulou, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Robin Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs, who provided administrative support to the committee.

Given the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion, I look forward to Dr. Rhys joining us at CSUN and ask that you join me in giving her a warm welcome when she arrives.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
California State University, Northridge