Dr. Wong of SWCHRS Named Outstanding Woman Leader

Kathleen Wong, director for Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies

Kathleen Wong, director for Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies

Kathleen Wong(Lau), director of the University of Oklahoma’s Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, has been named by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as an outstanding woman leader in its March 2015 issue.

Wong(Lau) is among 25 women that the magazine identified who have made a difference in the world by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges and exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills.

The daughter of working class Hong Kong immigrants, Wong(Lau) has experience in intercultural and diversity consulting and training in the higher education, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. Wong(Lau) joined the center, a program of the University of Oklahoma Outreach, in June 2014. She is currently focusing on funding development, project management and program growth, including the highly successful National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE).

“We are very excited that Dr. Wong(Lau) has made this prestigious list of women leaders. Her commitment to inclusion, diversity and social justice are an asset to the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and central to the message of the University of Oklahoma as an organization,” said Belinda Biscoe, associate vice president for outreach at the University of Oklahoma. “We are very proud of her hard work in promoting equity and human rights.”

Wong(Lau)’s extensive experience includes consulting and training in diversity and inclusion in the corporate sector serving as a lead qualitative researcher and facilitator trainer for the University of Michigan Multiversity Intergroup Dialogue Project. She currently serves on the board of Campus Women Lead, a multicultural women’s leadership initiative started by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). In this role, she develops curricula and facilitates training for women’s multicultural leadership with a focus on women of color and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Wong(Lau) also has published research and opinion pieces on structural inequality within higher education and best practices for addressing multicultural leadership for social change within institutions.

Wong(Lau) received her bachelor’s degree at California State University in intercultural communication and her doctorate in communication from Arizona State University. As a graduate student, she worked with the associate provost to develop the Asian Pacific American Studies department at ASU, as well as developed and taught a co-curricular intergroup practicum course for undergraduates working with underserved Yaqui Indian youth. In addition, she served full time as program staff under the provost in the Intergroup Relations Center working with diversity initiatives for faculty, staff and students and received a Ford Foundation research grant on women of color faculty in higher education.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Wong(Lau) and her impressive diversity background leading our team at the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies,” said James Pappas, vice president for outreach at the University of Oklahoma. “Outreach is dedicated to transforming people to ensure opportunities for all and Dr. Wong(Lau) is at the forefront of that mission. Her initiatives in advancing human rights and social justice not only benefit OU Outreach and the university family but the community as a whole.”