Asian-American Leadership at MSIs

According to the American Council on Education, only 1.5 percent of college and university presidents are Asian Pacific Islander Americans. While Asian Pacific Islander Americans lead all other racial minority groups in the percentage of full-time tenured faculty at 7 percent, they occupy just 2 percent of chief academic officer positions and 3 percent of deanships. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 10 Asian-American leaders working at or with MSIs.

1. Renu Khator, President of University of Houston

Renu Khator holds the dual titles of chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of UH. The UH System’s first woman Chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, she assumed her post in January 2008. As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities. During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private support. Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Prior to her appointment, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution.

2) Henry T. Yang, Chancellor of University of California, Santa Barbara

Henry T. Yang was named UC Santa Barbara’s fifth chancellor in 1994. He was formerly the Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, where he also served as the dean of engineering for ten years. Dr. Yang is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has received a number of recognitions for his research, teaching, and public service, including seven honorary doctorates and the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal from the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2008 he received the Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

3) Frank Chong, Superintendent/President of Santa Rosa Junior College

Frank Chong, Ed.D., was appointed by the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees as its new Superintendent/President effective January 2012. Dr. Chong becomes only the fifth superintendent/president of the school in its 93rd -year history. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Chong was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Dr. Chong’s professional experience spans every level of education and politics. Prior to assuming the Laney College presidency, he served as president of Mission College in Santa Clara, CA. and Dean of Student Affairs at City College of San Francisco. He was an appointed member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998. From 1987 to 1991, he served as special assistant to Willie L. Brown, Jr., the Speaker of the California State Assembly.

4) Loretta P. Adrian, President of Coastline Community College

Dr. Adrian has been as an educational leader for over twenty years. In collaboration with Coastline’s faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders, some of Dr. Adrian’s outstanding accomplishments as president include the completion of a strategic planning process for the College, the enhancement of the College’s integrated planning process, and the practice of evidence-based decision-making. She has promoted leadership development and led the college through financially challenging times in an atmosphere of inclusiveness, mutual respect, open and transparent communication. She is sharply focused on student success and the practice of a “students first” philosophy. Prior to joining Coastline, she served as the vice president of student services at Skyline College in the Bay Area from 2005-2010. As the chief student services officer, Dr. Adrian provided leadership for a comprehensive array of student service programs aimed at facilitating student success and fostering a strong connection to diverse students.

5) Vince A. Sales, Vice President for University Advancement at California State University, Sacramento

Vince currently was appointed Vice President for University Advancement at California State University, Sacramento, effective August 1, 2012. Prior to this assignment, Vince served the same institution as Associate Vice President for Development since 2009. Vince has also worked for Stanford University as Director of Development – Asia/Pacific, which allowed him to work with major and principal gifts donors in the region. He also has held development positions at San Francisco State University, including stints as Campaign Director; Director of Development, Major & Planned Gifts; and, Director of Development, Corporations and Foundations. In addition to his work in higher education, Vince has served as executive director for the Asian AIDS Project and provided consultation services for a number of non-profit organizations, including CompassPoint, Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Asian Pacific Fund, and Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.

6) Leroy M. Morishita, President of California State University, East Bay

Leroy M. Morishita is the fifth president of California State University, East Bay. He was appointed to the position in January 2012 by the CSU Board of Trustees, after taking office on July 1, 2011 as the Interim President. He came to Cal State East Bay from San Francisco State University, where he served as Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer. A native Californian, President Morishita holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Counseling from San Francisco State University. He also received a Doctorate in Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Morishita has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, as an educator and administrator. He first worked in the California State University system from 1978 to 1981 as Counseling Coordinator and Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Francisco State University.

7) Patricia Akemi Neilson, Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership, College of Management, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Patricia Akemi Neilson is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership, College of Management, University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to her work at UMB, Dr. Neilson served as an academic dean at North Shore Community College. Dr. Neilson’s research interest is in the underrepresentation of Asian-American senior administrators in higher education. As part of the pipeline effort, Dr. Neilson serves as a faculty member in the Leadership Development Program in Higher Education (LDPHE) and has mentored promising APAs. Patricia was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and relocated to Massachusetts 24 years ago. Dr. Neilson’s recent publications include Voices of the Future: Emerging Leaders, S. Penney, and P. Neilson, (Eds.) (University of Massachusetts Boston, 2009), and Next Generation Leadership: Insights from Emerging Leaders. S. Penney, and P. Neilson, (Palgrave Macmillan. 2010).

8) Noki Seekao, Director of Student Life and Chief Student Conduct Officer at the California College of the Arts

Noki Seekao is currently the Director of Student Life and Chief Student Conduct Officer at the California College of the Arts. His Thai immigrant parents’ aspirations and the guidance of wonderful mentors greatly influenced his love of higher education. For the past 9 years, his primary mission in the field of student affairs is to foster opportunities and initiatives that educate and engage students to become leaders in their communities. His passion has been made visible in his work as a mentor to those in need, an advocate for those with no voice and an educator for those seeking positive change. Noki also served as President of the California College Personnel Association (CCPA), a state division of ACPA, College Student Educators International. Noki has a M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, and a B.A. in Psychology & Social Behavior and B.A. in Studio Arts from the University of California, Irvine.

9) Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Vice President of Student Services at Mt. San Antonio College

Audrey Yamagata-Noji currently serves as Vice President of Student Services, Mt. San Antonio College. Audrey received a Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University, and a master’s degree in counseling and bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She is a licensed marriage, family and child therapist. Additionally, Dr. Yamagata-Noji is serving as President of the Board of Trustees for the Santa Ana Unified School District. First elected in 1987, Audrey served for three consecutive terms on the School Board through 2000. In November 2002, Dr. Yamagata-Noji was elected to the School Board for a fourth term. In addition to her involvement with APAHE, Dr. Yamagata-Noji is a trainer for Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc (LEAP). Together with co-coordinator Henry Gee, Audrey directs the annual Leadership Development Program in Higher Education – a partnership effort between APAHE and LEAP.

10) Abe Ali, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at Kern Community College District

Abe Ali has led Kern Community College District’s Human Resources operations for the past five years as Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. His 18 years of HR experience includes four years as Human Resources Manager and, later, Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Equal Employment Officer for a total of 10 years with Redwoods Community College District in Eureka, CA. Abe’s experience includes serving as lead management negotiator for faculty and classified organization collective bargaining, developing and managing personnel policies, and taking the lead in organizing district-wide staff development and staff diversity programs. Abe is Past President of the Chief Human Resources Officers Consortium for the California Community Colleges – representing 72 districts, and 112 colleges. Abe was also co-chair of the Commission for Legislation and Advocacy for the Association of California Community College Administrators.

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