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Chico State

Chico State Hires New Chief Diversity Officer

Joseph Morales sits at a table smiling with his hands clasped together
Photos courtesy of Joseph Morales

After a months-long nationwide search, Chico State has selected Joseph Morales as its Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Morales will join the campus community on January 17, 2023, in a visionary role that will work to advance and center equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts across the University.

His priorities in this position will include strengthening relationships and serving as a liaison between the University and current and historically marginalized communities on campus and within its service area, especially Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color; creating opportunities for 360-degree communication that engages diverse, intercultural, and intersectional campus viewpoints and identities to promote sharing, learning, and action to improve Chico State; offering recommendations to campus administrators and leaders to assist them in resolving complex EDI issues, and in adopting policies or practices to reduce barriers to educational and workplace access and outcomes; and seeking internal and external funding to advance EDI strategic initiatives.

“I am grateful to the search committee for their work to bring three strong finalists to campus,” said Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson. “I look forward to the progress Chico State will make on our equity, diversity and inclusion priorities under Dr. Morales’ leadership.”

Morales brings to Chico State an impressive background in equity, diversity and inclusion work from University of California, Irvine, where he has served as a member of the leadership team in the Office of Inclusive Excellence since 2013. His responsibilities include advancing student success, deepening and expanding UCI’s relationships with other Minority-Serving Institutions and advocating for inclusive excellence locally, regionally and nationally.

Morales began his educational path at a California community college as a first-generation, low-income student. He earned a PhD in ethnic studies from University of California, Berkeley, and is a founding faculty member of the Cal State Long Beach/Long Beach Unified School District Ethnic Studies Initiative.

With a stout belief in the power of education to transform lives, Morales said being selected to serve as Chico State’s new CDO is both an honor and a dream come true.

“My personal experience, my trajectory through higher education, and my previous work as a professional shape my daily life, help me to think always from an empathetic point of view and drive me to put equity-minded values and practices at the center of higher education’s mission,” he said.

Additionally, for the first time in University history, as CDO Morales will be part of the President Hutchinson’s Cabinet, providing counsel and collaborating with her administrative team. This move further underscores Chico State’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, which was spelled out in the University’s Strategic Priorities unveiled in 2019.

Through this Strategic Priority, the University community is dedicated to cultivating and nurturing a welcoming and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff; addressing real-world issues of equity, diversity and inclusion; and promoting hiring and retention that contributes to a diverse and inclusive community, while also advocating for the elimination of equity gaps.