The Search For UNO Chancellor Might be Over


April 9th, 2021

Priority candidate for UNO Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., answers questions during a forum in the Thompson Alumni Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Photo by UNO

OMAHA – Last week, it was announced that Dr. Joanne Li had become the priority candidate for the position of chancellor at UNO.

The announcement of Li’s candidacy comes nearly six months after current chancellor Jeffrey Gold declared he would be stepping down from the position.

Li is currently finishing the first week of her 30 day vetting period for the position. She has participated in 11 forums in the past four days.

At her student-oriented forum on Tuesday, Li answered questions on everything from student involvement to diversity to community outreach.

One thing she kept coming back to in this forum was her belief in the importance of teamwork, not just with her colleagues but also with the students she would be overseeing should she be hired.

And I believe sharing governance is actually kind of like enlightening to a lot of operations that we’re going to take on as a university, because after all, all the innovation, or the new ideas actually coming out from the student body.

Li is currently the dean of Florida International University’s College of Business. When she assumed that position in 2017, the school had a graduation rate of 29%. This year, that rate is projected to be approximately 70%.

We also understood it’s not like one size fits all, because every single university is unique with their challenges, with their strengths.

If confirmed, Li will be the first woman of color to serve as UNO chancellor, as well as the first Asian-American to hold an executive leadership role in the history of the University of Nebraska system. She would assume the position on July 1.

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