Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, talked about how her past – both personally and professionally – will impact her leadership priorities at UNO in her first interviews with Omaha-area media since officially becoming Chancellor.
In an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, Li mentioned that it will take 100 days for her to evaluate the University of Nebraska at Omaha and set her goals for the future. Li fully assumed the chancellorship on Thursday, July 1 becoming the first woman of color to serve in the role and the first Asian American to hold an executive leadership position in the NU system.
Li has coined “Hit the ground running” as her mantra in both her personal life and career.
Due to Li’s modest upbringing, she empathizes with students who struggle financially and likes to work one-on-one with students to find ways for them to pay for each class.
That approach is how she improved Florida International University’s College of Business graduation rate. According to the Omaha-World-Herald, during her first year as Dean of the College of Business the graduation rate was 29%, but today that graduation rate rests comfortably at 71%.
“To me, every single student is a student. Not a number,” she said in the interview. “We’re going to work very hard to serve this community. We want them to have a high-quality education. We want them to graduate without a lot of financial stress and burden.”
The Omaha World-Herald also published an editorial saying that no one leader can bring about improvement on their own and that progress will require a team effort from faculty and staff.
KETV reported on UNO Chancellor Li’s dedication to getting ready for the fall 2021 semester by connecting with students. Li mentioned that part of her strategy is keeping college accessible and affordable to students.
"Sitting in front of you is someone that is really a product of scholarship," Li said. "Without a scholarship, I cannot graduate from college, let alone PhD. or anything like that."
The KETV Chronicle interviewed UNO Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., regarding her new role as Chancellor, the upcoming semester and how much Li has already learned regarding UNO as a community.
"UNO has a very strong core identity, we know who we are. We are an urban university and our goal is to serve students that will work hard to get here,” Li said.
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About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.