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Jessica Li


Research Interests

As a scholar in the field of human resource development, my primary interest is to unleash human potential within their work, community, and societal context. Individuals and organizations are experiencing changes brought by globalization, technology advancement, economic development, and shift in workforce demographics. Both individuals and organizations should understand the impact of these changes and develop strategies to cope and move forward. 
From the perspective of the individual learners, she is interested in investigating how the Internet and mobile technology can potentially change or have changed people’s learning and communication behaviors in teams, virtual teams, communities of practices, and virtual communities of practices to develop strategies to influence and enhance learning outcomes and promote performance improvement. From the perspective of the organizations, she is interested in examining corporate learning practices, such as the use of corporate university or talent development and management as an overarching strategy to develop systematic processes that include mentoring and coaching, career development, learning and development, and work redesign to enhance employee development, retain talent, and improve organizational performance. As a scholar with extensive international experience, she also conducts research in China and other countries for comparative studies to promote cross-culture understanding. She is interested in the impact Chinese economic development has on employees’ work-related values and attitudes and generational differences. She also belongs to a team of international scholars that study and compare human resource development issues among BRIC countries.

Research Description

Jessica Li is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education and Director of the Bureau of Educational Research, and Professor of Human Resource Development in the Department of Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership. 

Jessica is a seasoned human resource development professional with decades of working experience in both business corporations and academic institutions. She is fluent in English and Chinese and capable of working collaboratively and effectively in multicultural and diverse environments. Her professional skills include creating coaching and mentoring programs, overseeing talent management and retention strategies, establishing corporate universities, and developing leaders. In addition, she is an accomplished practitioner and researcher with strong people and leadership skills. 

She is regional editor for the Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management and a member of the editorial board of three core journals in the field of Human Resource Development. She was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Human Resource Development International, the theme lead for education and workforce development, Discovery Partners Institute, University of Illinois System, a past member of the Advisory Board of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the Chair of the Education and Workforce Development Working Group, Discovery Partners Institute, University of Illinois System, a member of the board of directors at the Academy of Human Resource Development from 2014 to 2018, and the dean’s fellow for faculty development and diversity initiatives from 2014- 2016. Jessica also worked as a senior research fellow of The Conference Board and is affiliated with the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies. Before joining the faculty in Illinois, she taught at the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, and the North China University of Technology. Before becoming a professor, Jessica worked as a business executive for Motorola, Raytheon, and Nokia. Her Ph.D. is from Pennsylvania State University.

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Dean for Research, College of Education
Director, Bureau of Educational Research, College of Education
Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Professor, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
Professor, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

Recent Publications

Li, J., & Yeo, R. K. (2024). Artificial intelligence and human integration: a conceptual exploration of its influence on work processes and workplace learning. Human Resource Development International, 27(3), 367-387.

Xu, X., & Li, J. (2024). A profile of college students’ mobile learning readiness: An integrative literature review of studies from 2007 to 2021. International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, 18(1), 49-73.

Li, J. (2022). More than a phone call away: Sustaining positive work behaviour. Strategic HR Review, 21(4).

Yeo, R. K., & Li, J. (2022). Blurring of Boundaries Between Work and Home: The Role of Developmental Relationships in the Future of Work. In R. Ghosh, & H. M. Hutchins (Eds.), HRD Perspectives on Developmental Relationships: Connecting and Relating at Work (pp. 305-332). Palgrave Macmillan.

Yeo, R. K., & Li, J. (2022). Breaking the silence of psychological impact while working from home during COVID: implications for workplace learning. Human Resource Development International, 25(2), 114-144.

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