Our #newtoACC series welcomes new faculty to our Austin Community College Riverbat family.

Lei Ji
Photo taken in Museo del Novecento, right next to Milan Cathedral, in Milan, Italy. The background painting is “Rosso fiore della Cina” (Red Flower from China) by Gastone Novelli.

Meet Lei Ji, ACC’s new Economics Professor!

What inspired you to apply to teach at Austin Community College?

I love teaching and have been teaching for a decade. ACC is the perfect place to balance the work that I like and my life.

Three words that best describe you?

Cheerful, compassionate, proactive

As an instructor, how do you create a classroom culture that intentionally welcomes and supports students from different racial/ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds?

Honestly, I have never “intentionally” do anything for equity. I truly believe that everyone is equal, and everybody deserves a good education, so I just do it as an instinct. Growing up, I saw how my father, a professor in a community college in China, helped the “at-risk” students to catch up and achieve more in their lives. In high school, I saw my math teacher go out of his way to help students. I believe this is just what a teacher should do. In my own classroom, I create an interactive environment such that everyone has the chance to answer/ask questions and teach each other. Every student gets personal attention, and the opportunity to “show off” what they know. I also work with students after working hours, during the evenings and weekends.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to become a scientist, and I am a scientist now — a social scientist (economist). I am a naturally curious person and always like to understand why. My job at ACC is to help people to ask better questions, and teach people the possible ways to find the answers.

If you could take any ACC class, what would you take? Why?

Psychology. For three main reasons.

  1. Psychology is closely related to economics. For example, to have a better marketing strategy, you need to know your consumers better. To make better policies, you need to anticipate how people might react to your policy.
  2. To understand my students better — where they come from, why they make such choices, and how can I help them better.
  3. To understand my child better, to become a better mother.

What is the #1 piece of advice you give to your students?

Most of the students might just forget about all they learned right after the final exam, but, as an economist, I always try my best to let the students remember one thing, the most important thing in economics and life: Opportunity cost. You can’t have it all. For every single choice you make, you need to pay the costs, either explicitly or implicitly. Every life decision, just like every government policy, no matter how beautiful it looks, has a cost behind it. When you make choices, be aware of those costs, and make conscious choices.

Welcome Lei Ji to ACC!

Post a comment below or email Lei Ji at lei.ji@austincc.edu.