Dear Members of the Yale Community,
We are delighted to announce the appointment of John Whelan as vice president for human resources, effective August 1, 2021. John has dedicated his entire career to supporting the most important asset of any organization: its people. With experience implementing innovative HR strategies at public and private universities and in industry before that, he will ensure that Yale will continue to recruit and retain the very best to advance the university’s mission of education, research, scholarship, practice, and preservation. John will join the university operations team that Jack leads.
John comes to Yale from Indiana University, where he spent seven years as the chief human resources officer and is currently vice president for human resources. His accomplishments include implementing a comprehensive strategic plan and redesign of HR operations to improve effectiveness in staff recruitment, retention, and professional development. He created a diversity, equity, and inclusion taskforce to review HR practices and policies before launching DEI initiatives to support an inclusive and equitable workplace. The 325 HR professionals he leads at Indiana across seven campuses serve over 22,000 people.
Over the past year, in efforts that mirror our own at Yale, John collaborated with colleagues across Indiana University to address anxiety related to economic uncertainty and other challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. With the goal of keeping as many people employed as possible, his team launched a work initiative that allowed staff members to shift their jobs temporarily to areas that most needed staffing in response to the pandemic. He also created online opportunities for members of the community to stay engaged with one another and the university.
John earned a J.D. in labor and employment law and B.A. in American studies from the University of Notre Dame. After graduation, he focused on HR because he wanted to understand all aspects of a workplace and support the people whose talents and commitment are essential to the success of an organization. He wanted to be part of efforts to help people, business operations, and communities thrive. Prior to moving to Indiana University, he took on increasingly complex leadership responsibilities in HR for the Gillette Company, Bristol Myers Squibb, University of Notre Dame, and Baylor University.
A nationally recognized and awarded leader, John is at the forefront of HR practice. He recently served as the chair of the board for the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. In October, the association will formally present him with its highest honor, the Donald E. Dickason Award, in recognition of his exemplary leadership in his field. He also serves on the board for the American Research Universities Human Resource Institute and has mentored scores of HR professionals at all career stages.
John is excited to come to Yale and address the transformative potential of our academic strategy and the exciting possibilities of working with Yale’s partners in New Haven to benefit our shared community. To realize our goal to tackle the most critical problems facing humanity, we need a topnotch workforce who feels that they are well supported and belong at Yale. John’s experiences in building equitable workplaces that encourage innovation and excellence will be invaluable to these efforts. Of course, everything we do is deeply connected to our home city. John appreciates that our partnership with our neighbors strengthens Yale and New Haven.
John will be taking the helm of Human Resources at a crucial time for our university. In the coming months, thousands of faculty and staff will transition back to on-campus work after sustaining Yale’s mission remotely for more than a year. As a community, we will have to reestablish the way we work with one another. Although we are all looking forward to the end of the pandemic, there will be a period of adjustment. With John’s leadership, we can build on what we have learned over the past year to ensure that the changes ahead will be positive and that we will support one another in the recovery phase of the pandemic.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Associate Vice President Donna Cable for her exceptional leadership of Human Resources during this interim period. She is a terrific partner to both of us. We also would like to convey our thanks once again to Janet Lindner for serving Yale with distinction for over two decades before retiring from her role as vice president for human resources in December 2020. In addition, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our HR staff. They have worked around the clock to provide workplace guidance, health and safety information, policy updates, and creative means for us to stay connected during the pandemic. John will benefit from their resilience and expertise, and he is looking forward to working with the team.
Please join us in warmly welcoming John to our community!
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Jack Callahan Jr.
Senior Vice President for Operations