Chief Diversity Officer 2016-2023

Dr. Kathleen Wong(Lao) Chief Diversity Officer

Kathleen Wong(Lau), Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae [pdf]  

Biography [pdf]

Kathleen Wong(Lau), Ph.D. (she/her/hers) served as San Jose State's inagural chief diversity officer from the summer of 2016 through January of 2023, when she left SJSU to serve her alma mater at CSU East Bay as University Diversity Officer. Wong(Lau) lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, providing vision and direction for university-wide efforts to ensure a welcoming, safe climate for every member of our community and serving as a liaison to community partners and constituents on a wide array of diversity initiatives. She reported directly to the President, and will served on the president's cabinet. 

Wong(Lau) joined San Jose State from the University of Oklahoma where she served since 2014 as director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). Her noteworthy accomplishments at Oklahoma included launching faculty training institutes on inclusive teaching, and administrator training on management and leadership for diversity and innovation. In addition, she designed and led an inaugural, mandatory, five-hour Freshmen Diversity Experience training for more than 5,000 students. She also consulted with other academic institutions, with an emphasis on helping faculty and staff support underrepresented and first generation students.

Earlier in her career, Wong(Lau) served as a tutor and advisor for Upward Bound and as a bilingual education counselor for the TRIO program, where she encountered and directly addressed the challenges facing underrepresented groups in higher education. She also served as an assistant professor of intercultural communication at Western Michigan University from 2005-2012, and has actively consulted with Michigan State University on diversity issues since 2012.

Wong(Lau) received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from CSU Hayward (now CSU East Bay) before completing a dual master’s/doctorate program in communication with an intercultural concentration at Arizona State University. She was named in 2015 by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of Women’s History Month's "Top 25 Women in Higher Education," contributing to transformation and change in the United States.

A California native, Wong(Lau) grew up in the East Bay where her parents still live. She and her partner have two teenage children and four rescue dogs. Bilingual since childhood, she speaks fluent Cantonese.