UMass Boston

Graduate Program Administrator Impacts McCormack’s Public Policy and Public Affairs Education Mission

01/24/2023| Adam Mooney

The McCormack School’s ability to deliver and be recognized for its high quality education begins with professional staff responsible for outreach to and recruitment of budding thought leaders in policy and global studies. Jack Li, Graduate Program Administrator for Outreach and Recruitment at the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs (DPPPA), is a “double Beacon”—that is, he graduated from UMass Boston with a BA and MBA in management, specializing in marketing and information systems. Li assumed his DPPPA role at the start of the 2021–2022 academic year. Before that, Li was an Office Assistant and Program Assistant in the Dean’s Office. Next month, he enters his sixth year at McCormack.

Jack Li, Graduate Program Administrator

Li recently observed that his McCormack journey began by "pure chance": He needed a job as an undergraduate, and McCormack happened to be hiring. His growing interest in public sector work dovetailed with McCormack’s policy orientation, giving him the sense that McCormack would be a good fit. “Little did I know,” Li said, “that working one year as a work-study student and experiencing the sheer welcomeness from staff and faculty alike would make me want to continue working here for the foreseeable future.” As DPPPA Graduate Program Administrator for Outreach and Recruitment, Li’s key responsibilities include developing strategies for outreach to and recruitment of prospective students in the Public Policy MPA and PhD programs. This enables him to be a “McCormack ambassador” for student success and high-caliber education, while furthering UMB’s demonstrated commitments to students and institutional diversity.

Doing this, Li said, involves several outreach and recruitment platforms with related promotional materials and outreach initiatives. The latter includes hosting exhibition tables at local and regional conferences. For example, last November, Li and his colleagues were at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. In December, the DPPPA team could be found at the New England Women’s Policy Conference at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. “Conferences are a chance to listen to a prospective student’s story, assess their needs or interests, and give advice on the benefits of our programs,” Li said. “Being an alum of UMB, I possess the unique opportunity to share my own graduate experiences with applicants.”

As a first-generation college student, Li regards UMass Boston highly and, in particular, values the support system offered to its community. “Throughout my academic journey, it felt rewarding getting to network and collaborate with so many students from different cultures,” he recalled. “From the staff to the faculty, each member played a role in giving students the attention and resources they needed to succeed.”

Moving from being a student supported by UMB staff and faculty to becoming a staff member himself, Li strives most of all to “pay it forward.” His reasoning? “McCormack has always treated me like family,” he said. As he salutes the School for its commitment to fostering the next generation of municipal leaders and policy makers, Li also wants “to help applicants, incoming students, and alums experience the supportive environment I was so fortunate to be a part of.” He continued, “I want to play a major role in giving people an opportunity to learn about our high-quality policy education and commitment to public affairs. Ultimately, I want to be a part of McCormack and UMB’s evolution.”

The success of UMass Boston, after all, is reflected in part through those alumni who champion and embody the spirit of the University and dedicate themselves to refining its image not only as the most diverse university in Boston but Boston’s “best kept secret.”