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Jessica Li

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Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership


351 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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Jessica Li


Jessica is a seasoned human resource development professional with more than 25 years of working experience in both business corporations and academic institutions. She is fluent in English and Chinese and capable of working 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. She is an accomplished practitioner and researcher with strong people and leadership skills. Jessica is currently an associate professor of Human Resource Development and the Director of the Human Resource Development Program. She is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal Human Resource Development International, regional editor for the Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, and the theme lead for education and workforce development, Discovery Partners Institute, University of Illinois System. She was 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 at Illinois, she taught at the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, and the North China University of Technology. Prior to becoming a professor, Jessica worked as a business executive for Motorola, Raytheon, and Nokia. Her Ph.D. is from Pennsylvania State University.

Key Professional Appointments

Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Interim Director, Bureau of Educational Research, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Interim Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Research & Service

As a scholar in the field of human resource development, my primary interest is to unleash human potentials 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, community of practices, and virtual community 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.


Li, J., & Hrubec, D. (2021). A review of our three-year editorial experience: 2019-2021. Human Resource Development International, 24(4), 353-358.  link >

Li, J. (2021). Resilience, the spirit of the year 2020. Human Resource Development International, 24(1), 1-2.  link >

Lin, Y., Li, J., Gertner, Y., Ng, W., Fisher, C. L., & Baillargeon, R. (2021). How do the object-file and physical-reasoning systems interact? Evidence from priming effects with object arrays or novel labels. Cognitive Psychology, 125, 101368. [101368].  link >

Cho, Y., Li, J., & Chaudhuri, S. (2020). Preface: Women Entrepreneurs in Asia: Eight Country Studies. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 22(2), 115-123.  link >

Cho, Y., Li, J., & Chaudhuri, S. (Eds.) (2020). Women Entrepreneurs in Asia: Eight Country Studies. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 22(2).

James, M. X., Colemean, X. Y., & Li, J. (2020). Comparison of cross-generational work values of the millennial generation and their parents in the People's Republic of China. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 41(5-6), 611-626.  link >

Li, J., Ghosh, R., & Nachmias, S. (2020). A special issue on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on work, worker, and workplace!? Implications for HRD research and practices in time of crisis. Human Resource Development International, 23(4), 329-332.  link >

Li, J., Cho, Y., & Chaudhuri, S. (2020). Conclusion: Learnings From Eight Country Studies on Women Entrepreneurs in Asia. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 22(2), 227-235.  link >

Li, J., Huang, M. T., Hedayati-Mehdiabadi, A., Wang, Y., & Yang, X. (2020). Development and validation of work ethic instrument to measure Chinese people's work-related values and attitudes. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 31(1), 49-73.  link >

Li, J., Ghosh, R., & Nachmias, S. (2020). In a time of COVID-19 pandemic, stay healthy, connected, productive, and learning: words from the editorial team of HRDI. Human Resource Development International, 23(3), 199-207.  link >

Li, J. (2020). Join the fight against poverty: utilizing HRD practices to support pathways to sustainable employment and decent work. Human Resource Development International, 23(1), 1-4.  link >

Li, J., Sun, J. Y., Wang, L., & Ke, J. (2020). Second-Generation Women Entrepreneurs in Chinese Family-Owned Businesses: Motivations, Challenges, and Opportunities. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 22(2), 124-136.  link >

Li, J., & Zehr, S. M. (2020). The wellbeing of communities, large and small: a ponderance of HRD. Human Resource Development International, 23(2), 103-107.  link >

Li, J., Wong, S. C., Yang, X., & Bell, A. (2020). Using feedback to promote student participation in online learning programs: evidence from a quasi-experimental study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 68(1), 485-510.  link >

Ju, B., & Li, J. (2019). Exploring the impact of training, job tenure, and education-job and skills-job matches on employee turnover intention. European Journal of Training and Development, 43(3-4), 214-231.  link >

Li, J. (2019). Celebrating the beginning of the next 20 years. Human Resource Development International, 22(1), 1-3.  link >

Li, J., Han, S. H., & Fu, S. (2019). Exploring the relationship between students’ learning styles and learning outcome in engineering laboratory education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43(8), 1064-1078.  link >

Li, J. (2019). Frame your research in the field of HRD and with cultural sensitivity: important considerations for publications in HRDI. Human Resource Development International, 22(2), 113-115.  link >

Yeo, R., & Li, J. (2019). From Narrow to Open: Improving Learning Readiness through Learning Orientation. International Journal of Human Resource Development Practice Policy & Research, 4(1), 1-15.  link >

Li, J. (2018). Editorial 21(2)–HRDI. Human Resource Development International, 21(2), 71-73.  link >

Li, J., Hedayati-mehdiabadi, A., Choi, J., Wu, F., & Bell, A. (2018). Talent management process in Asia: A multiple case study. European Journal of Training and Development, 42(7/8), 499-516.  link >

Wang, F., Liu, L., Yu, Y., Li, G., Li, J., Shafie-Khah, M., & Catalão, J. P. S. (2018). Impact analysis of customized feedback interventions on residential electricity load consumption behavior for demand response. Energies, 11(4), [770].  link >

Zavyalova, E., Alsufyev, A., Krakovetskaya, I., Lijun, W., & Li, J. (2018). Personnel development in Chinese innovation-active companies. Foresight and STI Governance, 12(3), 43-52.  link >

Elliott, C., Li, J., & Ghosh, R. (2017). Human resource development international: A celebration of the journal’s first 20 years. Human Resource Development International, 20(5), 347-349.  link >

Huang, W. D., Jacobs, R. L., Kuchinke, K. P., Li, J., & Oh, E. G. (2017). Human Resource Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Performance Improvement, 56(6), 38-48.  link >

Li, J. (2017). Ethical business cultures in China. In Ethical Business Cultures in Emerging Markets (pp. 81-109). Cambridge University Press.  link >

Li, J., Wang, Y., & Wu, F. (2017). Leadership and Leadership Development in China. In A. Ardichvili, & K. Dirani (Eds.), Leadership Development in Emerging Market Economies (pp. 73-91). (Palgrave Studies of Internationalization in Emerging Markets). Palgrave Macmillan.  link >

Li, J., & Herd, A. M. (2017). Shifting practices in digital workplace learning: An integrated approach to learning, knowledge management, and knowledge sharing. Human Resource Development International, 20(3), 185-193.  link >

Mehdiabadi, A. H., & Li, J. (2017). Toward a framework for developing computing professional ethics: A review of literature. Paper presented at 2017 International Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management, ASEM 2017, Huntsville, United States.

Sun, J. Y., & Li, J. (2017). Women in Leadership in China: Past, Present, and Future. In Y. Cho, R. Ghosh, J. Y. Sun, & G. N. McLean (Eds.), Current Perspectives on Asian Women in Leadership (pp. 19-35). Springer.  link >

chung, C. H., Angnakoon, P., Li, J., & Allen, J. (2016). Virtual HRD and national culture: an information processing perspective. European Journal of Training and Development, 40(1), 21-35.  link >

Han, S. H., Seo, G., Li, J., & Yoon, S. W. (2016). The mediating effect of organizational commitment and employee empowerment: How transformational leadership impacts employee knowledge sharing intention. Human Resource Development International, 19(2), 98-115.  link >

Hedayati Mehdiabadi, A., & Li, J. (2016). Understanding Talent Development and Implications for Human Resource Development: An Integrative Literature Review. Human Resource Development Review, 15(3), 263-294.  link >

Li, J. (2016). Technology advancement and the future of HRD research. Human Resource Development International, 19(3), 189-191.  link >

Alagaraja, M., & Li, J. (2015). Utilizing institutional perspectives to investigate the emergence, rise, and (relative) decline of corporate universities. Human Resource Development International, 18(1), 4-23.  link >

Cho, Y., McLean, G. N., Amornpipat, I., Chang, W. W., Hewapathirana, G. I., Horimoto, M., Lee, M. M., Li, J., Manikoth, N. N., Othman, J., & Hamzah, S. R. (2015). Asian women in top management: Eight country cases. Human Resource Development International, 18(4), 407-428.  link >

Hu, E., Li, Y., Li, J., & Huang, W. H. (2015). Open educational resources (OER) usage and barriers: a study from Zhejiang University, China. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(6), 957-974.  link >

Korte, R., & Li, J. (2015). Exploring the organizational socialization of engineers in Taiwan. Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, 6(1), 33-51.  link >

Li, J. (2015). Connecting the dots: Understanding culture differences is the key in customizing HRD research and practice around the world. Human Resource Development International, 18(2), 113-115.  link >

Wu, F., Xia, J., & Li, J. (2015). 培训迁移研究的国际视野——个体特征、组织环境与系统设计. Modern Educational Technology, 25(8), 12-18.  link >

Huang, J., Ouyang, Z., & Li, J. (2014). Human resource development in China. In The Routledge Companion to Human Resource Development (pp. 447-456). Taylor and Francis.

Li, J., & Zahran, M. (2014). Influences of emotional intelligence on transformational leadership and leader-member exchange in Kuwait. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 14(1-3), 74-96.  link >

Li, J. (2013). Web-based technology and the changing landscape of HRD. Human Resource Development International, 16(3), 247-250.  link >

Li, Y., Li, J., & Sun, Y. (2013). Young faculty job perceptions in the midst of Chinese higher education reform: The case of Zhejiang university. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 33(3), 273-294.  link >

Yeo, R. K., & Li, J. (2013). Beyond SERVQUAL: The competitive forces of higher education in Singapore. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 25(1-2), 95-123.  link >

Yeo, R. K., & li, J. (2013). In pursuit of learning: sensemaking the quality of work life. European Journal of Training and Development, 37(2), 136-160.  link >

Ardichvili, A., Jondle, D., Kowske, B., Cornachione, E., Li, J., & Thakadipuram, T. (2012). Ethical Cultures in Large Business Organizations in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(4), 415-428.  link >

Huang, W. H. D., Li, J., & Lin, M. F. G. (2012). Game-based virtual-world environments to engage lifelong learners in open courseware for open learning. In V. X. Wang (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Technologies for Improving the 21st Century Workforce: Tools for Lifelong Learning (Vol. 1, pp. 76-97). IGI Global.  link >

Li, J., & Fu, S. (2012). A Systematic Approach to Engineering Ethics Education. Science and Engineering Ethics, 18(2), 339-349.  link >

Lui Abel, A., & Li, J. (2012). Exploring the corporate university phenomenon: Development and implementation of a comprehensive survey. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 23(1), 103-126.  link >

Li, J., & Huang, J. (2011). A review of the Ninth International Conference of the Academy of Human Resource Development (Asia Chapter) in Shanghai, China: Workplace learning and sustainable development for individual, organization and society. Human Resource Development International, 14(4), 493-502.  link >

Li, J., & Madsen, J. (2011). Business ethics and workplace guanxi in Chinese SOEs: a qualitative study. Journal of Chinese Human Resources Management, 2(2), 83-99.  link >

Li, J., D'Souza, D., & Du, Y. (2011). Exploring the contribution of virtual worlds to learning in organizations. Human Resource Development Review, 10(3), 264-285.  link >

Li, J., & Abel, A. L. (2011). Prioritizing + maximizing: The impact of corporate universities. T and D, 65(5), 54-57.

Li, J., & Yeo, R. K. (2011). Quality of work life and career development: Perceptions of part-time MBA students. Employee Relations, 33(3), 201-220.  link >

Yeo, R. K., & Li, J. (2011). Working out the quality of work life: A career development perspective with insights for human resource management. Human Resource Management International Digest, 19(3), 39-45.  link >

Li, J., & Madsen, J. (2010). Examining Chinese managers' work-related values and attitudes. Chinese Management Studies, 4(1), 57-76.  link >

Wang, G. G., Li, J., Qiao, X., & Sun, J. Y. (2010). Understanding the Corporate University phenomenon: A human capital theory perspective. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 10(2), 182-204.  link >

Li, J., & Madsen, J. (2009). Chinese workers’ work ethic in reformed state-owned enterprises: Implications for HRD. Human Resource Development International, 12(2), 171-188.  link >

Li, J., Brake, G., Champion, A., Fuller, T., Gabel, S., & Hatcher-Busch, L. (2009). Workplace learning: The roles of knowledge accessibility and management. Journal of Workplace Learning, 21(4), 347-364.  link >

Li, J., & Nimon, K. (2008). The importance of recognizing generational differences in HRD policy and practices: A study of workers in Qinhuangdao, China. Human Resource Development International, 11(2), 167-182.  link >


Learning Technologies (CI 484)

Organization Development (EPOL 570) Addresses the history, concepts, theories, and techniques of Organization Development as applied in Human Resource Education; emphasis on creating, managing, and sustaining system-wide change in public and private organizations; organized around diagnosis, implementation, and evaluation of individual, team, and organization-wide interventions.

Thesis Seminar (EPOL 591) Designed to take students through the entire process of proposal development, this course is intended for masters or doctoral students who are ready to prepare a thesis or dissertation proposal. Students will learn to use a systematic and comprehensive approach to develop the research proposal and how each step in the research process is related. This thesis seminar course is designed as a writing workshop to guide students through the planning and writing stages of an early research project, dissertation, or other scholarly research. Through structured activities and targeted readings, students will develop a draft of their research proposal (e.g. the first three chapters of the dissertation). This course requires students to devote considerable time in reading, writing, revising, and reflecting on segments of the proposal draft. Moreover, students will act as critical friends for their peers by providing feedback to fellow students’ proposal drafts. During this process, students will develop an appreciation of scholarly practice and prepare for the research mile stones in their graduate programs.

Organization Development (HRD 530)

Management of HRD (HRD 533)

International HRD (HRD 536) Course is designed to provide insights into international HRD at macro and micro levels. Course will cover: cross-cultural issues in international HRD; design and delivery of international HRD programs; HRD practices and programs in different regions of the world; national HRD programs; expatriate training and training in multinational corporations.