Joanne Li first came to the United States from Hong Kong as an international student. She earned an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in finance from Florida State University before embarking on a career as a faculty member, editor, financial executive and, most recently, the dean of the Raj Soin School of Business at Wright State University in Ohio. In May of 2017, Li returned to the state of Florida, her daughter and husband by her side, to serve as the dean of FIU’s College of Business, where she is also a professor of finance and the Ryder Eminent Scholar.
What are your priorities for the College of Business? My top priority is to grow a strong sense of community within our large urban university. We at the College of Business want to take a holistic approach with regard to students’ academic, professional and social activities. Our soon-to-be- launched BizPASS will encourage their participation in events such as visiting lectures and career-building opportunities using a point system. Through calculated student engagement that rewards good habits and an openness to exploration, we hope to enhance students’ career skills, build their professional networks and foster a sense of loyalty and commitment to FIU and one another — all of which will follow and benefit them after graduation.
Are there any specific goals you are shooting for in the coming years? We want to tell the story of the FIU College of Business to a wider audience. We have top national rankings — U.S. News & World Report ranks our undergraduate international business #7 in the country, the Real Estate Academic Leadership journal ranked our faculty’s real estate research #1 nationally and #2 globally, and HR.com ranks our human resources program #1. Soon enough all Fortune 500 companies will be actively recruiting our graduates.
What are the college’s strengths and how do you plan to capitalize on them? With over 10,000 students, FIU Business has an economy of scope. This scale allows us to provide a wide array of programs, particularly in the graduate arena. We’re also moving forward into new programs, such as the Impact MBA in a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and a new Doctor of Business Administration program that offers a next step to high-level executives seeking advanced insights into global business.
You’re still new to FIU. What stands out to you? People at FIU are genuine and welcoming. I feel at home here. We have a diverse faculty and student body that are bilingual, even trilingual, and international. This leverages the mission of FIU in a unique way — seeing things from diverse perspectives is part of our DNA.
What are you enjoying about life in South Florida? I love the coffee, the culture and, most of all, the people here. Miamians are very warm. I love all the hugging and kissing.