To the Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Nebraska at Omaha:
I am thrilled to share with you today that after a national search, I have selected Dr. Joanne Li, dean of the College of Business at Florida International University, as the priority candidate to serve as your next chancellor.
We launched this search five months ago with the goal of finding the right person to continue the remarkable upward trajectory that you all have built for UNO. In Dr. Li – “Jo,” as you will come to know her – we have found that person. I am grateful to the search advisory committee, led by Dr. Elliott Ostler, for their diligent work in helping us recruit and consider a deep, talented and diverse pool of candidates from which to choose..
Dr. Li’s candidacy offers a historic moment for our university. If selected, she will be the first woman of color to lead UNO, and the first Asian-American to hold an executive leadership role anywhere in the University of Nebraska system.
Of course, she stood out to us for many reasons. As a first-generation college student whose own life and career have been shaped by caring teachers and mentors, Dr. Li has a profound appreciation for the role and mission of public higher education. She has articulated a particular excitement for UNO’s metropolitan mission and the unique role that UNO plays in educating a diverse student body, growing Nebraska’s workforce and engaging the community of which it is part.
Beyond that, Dr. Li brings an impressive resume, including 15 years of experience in higher education with roles at the faculty and administrative levels. A summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University and Chartered Financial Analyst, Dr. Li has built a strong record of advancing student access and success, diversity and inclusion, and academic excellence at every institution where she has served.
At FIU, the fourth-largest public university in the country, she has led improvements in student graduation rates, developed programs to serve the changing needs of the student body, and implemented key strategies to diversify the faculty and staff ranks in the business college. The College of Business is Florida’s largest business school and its programs rank among the best in the country.
As required by state law, Dr. Li’s candidacy is now subject to a 30-day public vetting period that will include campus visits where stakeholders will be able to meet Dr. Li, ask questions and hear her vision for UNO. The open forums begin Tuesday and I hope you will take time to attend at least one session. Forums will be available in both in-person and virtual formats. Each forum is generally targeted to a particular constituent group, but you are welcome to attend the forum that best fits your schedule. A complete schedule is available here.
At any point during the 30-day vetting period, I invite you to share your feedback with me by using the submission form on our website. Dr. Li’s complete application materials, including her curriculum vitae and cover letter, are also posted on the site and I encourage you to take a few moments to review them.
I could not be more pleased with the interest that the UNO chancellorship generated nationally – a credit to your good work. I believe we have found a candidate who can build on your success and lead UNO into its next chapter of growth and success. I can’t wait to introduce you to Jo and have her share her vision for Nebraska’s metropolitan university.
Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska, and I look forward to seeing your feedback.
President, University of Nebraska System