University of Illinois official named new head of Pitt HR

James W. Gallaher Jr., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will join Pitt on Dec. 1 as vice chancellor of Human Resources.

Since Cheryl Johnson’s departure in July 2019, leadership of Human Resources has been a bit in flux. David DeJong was quickly named interim vice chancellor for HR after Johnson left and then dropped the interim label in September of that year.

In May 2020, DeJong also took on the role of acting senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations after Greg Scott went on extended leave and eventually left Pitt. The acting title was dropped in February 2021, and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced that he was “restoring the original organizational structure with Human Resources reporting to the senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations.”

Mark Burdsall, assistant vice chancellor of consulting services in HR, stepped up to the role of acting deputy vice chancellor for Human Resources in May 2020, but DeJong and Gallagher made clear that a full search would be conducted for a permanent vice chancellor for HR.

That search led to Gallaher, who served as executive director for strategic initiatives in the human resources department at Urbana-Champaign, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system.

The job included succession planning, professional development and other campus level initiatives including the Return to Onsite Operations committee, which focused on rethinking work on the campus post-pandemic. He also led the development and integration of a newly formed unit, which includes HR strategy; dual career program; employee development and learning; marketing and communications; and campus well-being services.

Additionally, he served as a clinical assistant professor in the Human Resource Development program. In this role, he advised doctoral students and served on early research and dissertation committees in addition to teaching select courses.

He also has worked as vice president of human resources, diversity, and wellness at Butler University in Indianapolis and chief human resources officer at Eastern Michigan University. Gallaher started his career in human resources at General Motors in Detroit, where he served in various roles including labor relations, global organizational capability, leadership development, training and evaluation, and organizational development.

Gallaher received his Ph.D. in human resource development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also earned his MBA and master of education degrees. Additionally, he holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University. He also is a veteran and holds an associate of applied sciences degree from the Community College of the Air Force.

— Susan Jones


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.