Alumni Feature: Kevin Li
Kevin Li is nationally recognized for his work as
dean of instruction at Wilbur Wright College, one of the City
Colleges of Chicago. He is also one of thousands of community
college students who have transferred to Roosevelt University
to complete an education and achieve the career of his dreams.
“I didn't always know what I wanted to do,” said Li, who emigrated
alone from Hong Kong as a teen to study at Harold Washington
College, one of Chicago’s City Colleges. “But I always knew I’d have
a better chance for my life by getting through college,” he said.
At Harold Washington, Li took economics and liked it. Then one
of his professors told him about a scholarship opportunity at
Roosevelt and Li applied, obtaining scholarships at the bachelor’s
and then the master’s levels.
“I had a wonderful experience. I felt at ease at Roosevelt and I
like to tell people that some of the best years of my life were at
the University,” said the Roosevelt graduate who received a BA
in economics in 1995 and an MA in economics in 1997.
After graduation, Li took a part-time position conducting institutional
research at CCC. From there, he moved into a series of
full-time director posts in research, planning and technology
at CCC before transferring to Wright College, first as associate
dean and now as dean.
Today, he is giving back to community college students whom
he hopes will follow his example of finishing their education
and pursuing their dreams. “Roosevelt instilled in me a sense
of justice and equity,” Li said. “I felt then and still feel today that
community colleges are the social equalizer that allows working class
kids, like myself, to have an opportunity to get ahead.”
Working with faculty at Wright, Li has introduced a program called
Math on Demand that helps unprepared students get ready for
university-level math. Learning communities he started with the
support of faculty, which links up courses and students from different
disciplines through a common theme, also enables commuter
students to create a community on campus and make friends.
The winner of the National Council of Institutional Administrators
2012 Outstanding Instructional Leadership award, Li explains his
commitment to students best. “At the end of the day, I simply want
to return a gift that I was fortunate to have,” he said. “I want them to
have the same opportunity I was given.”