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Diversity key for UNO chancellor priority candidate Joanne Li

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 19:46:39-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) could make history with its next pick for chancellor.

Dr. Joanne Li, who currently serves as the dean of the College Business at Florida International University, would be the first woman of color to lead UNO.

Li said if she gets the job, it would show that university leadership truly cares about diversity.

“You are sending a statement to the world of what it really means to embrace diversity and inclusiveness,” said Li.

Li also hopes to bring diversity to campus by bringing in non-traditional students, students of color and taking on more students that can’t always afford college themselves.

“We as a community have to work hard to make sure we have the ability to reach in and reach out to that group...maybe providing scholarships, maybe providing financial resources and let them recognizing their potential,” said Li.

UNO is searching for a new chancellor as Dr. Jeffrey Gold is leaving to focus on his job leading the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).

Li was named a priority candidate last month and is currently in the required 30-day public vetting period. She'll spend the week doing forums with students and staff in Omaha.

Li, who grew up in Hong Kong, said she brings a resume of international experience and would like to grow the number of international students at UNO. She also said she'll help UNO’s current student body.

"When confirmed, I would love to bring the world to Omaha,” said Li.

Dr. Li also said the pandemic has taught us to use space differently and she wants to embrace online learning and give students more opportunities to take online classes while also making sure that in-person learning opportunities are still alive.