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Yachao Li, Ph.D.

headshotAssistant Professor

Office: Kendall 218
Tel. 609-771-2783
Office Hours

Yachao Li (he/him/his), also known as Bruce Li (Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2018; M.A., Rutgers University, 2015), is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Public Health at The College of New Jersey. He is an award-winning teacher-scholar with expertise in interpersonal communication, health communication, communication theory, and research methods.

Dr. Li’s research focuses on how LGBTQ+ individuals and couples communicate their identities, manage relational challenges, and build resilience in a heteronormative society. His work also explores the role of relational communication in reducing health disparities among people of color (POC), women, and other underserved groups. Moreover, he conducts interdisciplinary research to understand the functions of emerging social media in addressing social issues, such as tobacco use, social stigma, and health literacy. Dr. Li’s scholarly work has been published in journals such as Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, Tobacco Control, and International Journal Environmental Research and Public Health. His book, Navigating Remarkable Communication Experiences of Sexual Minorities, received the 2021 National Communication Association (NCA) Interpersonal Communication Division Gerald R. Miller Book Award. He also won the 2020 International Communication Association Interpersonal Communication Division John Garrison Award and Top Paper Award, and the 2019 Communication Studies Article of the Year Award. His research on the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on same-sex couples has been featured in the Time magazine.

Dr. Li teaches classes in areas such as interpersonal communication, health communication, public health campaigns, sexual communication, and research methods. Beyond the classroom, he is dedicated to mentoring students on independent studies and collaborative research projects. Dr. Li has also developed and presented teaching workshops to share his pedagogical strategies both on campus and at teaching symposiums. He has received several awards in recognition of his teaching, mentoring, and pedagogical development.

Dr. Li currently serves as the Vice Chair Elect for the NCA Caucus on GLBTQ Concerns. He is an editorial board member of the Southern Communication Journal and the Atlantic Journal of Communication. He is a paper reviewer, panel chair, and committee member for regional, national, and international professional organizations and conferences. Dr. Li has also designed and facilitated programs on campus and in the local community, such as Safe Space Training, sexual health education, and substance abuse prevention workshops. He has been recognized by the university and several professional associations for his service.

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