Dr. Bobbie Porter Named CSUDH’s First VP and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
In keeping with CSUDH’s commitment to social justice, equity, and educational access, Bobbie Porter has been named the university’s first vice president and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.
“Education changed my life,” she said. “If you look at the statistics, there’s no way I should be where I am today. But I’m here. My mission is to help anyone that’s choosing education as that bridge, as that gateway to a better life. I want to help create the conditions so students can do that—so they don’t just survive college, but they thrive in it. And then they go out and change the world!”
Porter sees the newly created position as essential to the university’s mission. “The idea of a chief diversity officer is relatively new,” she said. “A lot of institutions are grappling with how to close equity gaps for students of color. But it’s hard to try to do this work in a substantive and transformative way if your diversity practitioners aren’t in the room where decisions are being made, where they can hear the issues as they come up. Only then can they help shine a light, and call attention to the fact that these are actually equity issues.
“I love the idea that this position now lives here, because it only can help further advance this work. That’s a huge part of the core mission of CSUDH!”
Porter’s initial goal at Dominguez Hills is to listen and learn. “Every campus has its own personality, its own history, its own traditions, its own general assumptions. I know I can’t come in and say, ‘This is what I did at my last job.’ I have to learn from the people who have been here—students, faculty, staff, everyone. What drives you? I want to know everyone else’s mission and how we connect with that. How do we join together to create the shared vision for how this work will be realized in the coming years?”
Although she’s only been on campus for a short time, Porter already feels that she’s made the right choice in bringing her talents and enthusiasm to CSUDH. “I really felt an intuitive sort of draw to the institution. I’m drawn to the history and the origins of this campus,” she says. “I see myself in these students. I mean, I just survived undergrad. I don’t want that to be anyone else’s story. It’s easy to maintain my light and my passion when I feel so personally connected to the student story here.”
Porter is a double graduate of the University of Memphis, with both a BA in Communications and a Doctorate of Education in Leadership. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Tennessee State University.
Porter arrived at CSUDH in July 2022 after four years as chief diversity officer and assistant vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Prior to CSUF, Porter served as the chief equity officer for the Tennessee Board of Regents, the state’s 46-institution university, community college, and technical college system. Porter also held leadership roles within the Institutional Equity Office at Tennessee State University and coordinated education and outreach efforts for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
Porter has already drawn inspiration from CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham and the school’s new strategic plan. “I’m very inspired by the concept of Going Far Together and the opportunities there. I’m really excited about that. If I, as a newcomer to campus, can rely on this plan as the blueprint and the heartbeat of CSUDH, then I know I’m in the right place.
“Those five pillars (thriving students, thriving educators, culture of care, equitable access, and pillar of the community) align with a lot of my personal values. I see myself contributing to that very well. I already feel like I’m at home. I’m happy that I’m here and I’m ready to get to work!”