Administration and Finance Focus

Administration Finance & Focus


Friends, colleagues bid farewell to Joan Nelson

After 12 years of dedicated service to the University of Houston, Associate Vice Chancellor/Vice President of Human Resources Joan Nelson has left the University.

On Oct. 11, friends, colleagues and co-workers gathered in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library for a farewell reception to say their goodbyes and to share a laugh or two.

Prior to the reception, the following message was emailed to all UH faculty and staff:

Dear Colleagues,

It is with mixed emotions and immense gratitude that I announce that Joan Nelson has accepted an external appointment as Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Rice University, effective November 1. Joan’s last day at the University of Houston will be October 12.

Joan’s incredible service as Associate Vice Chancellor/Vice President Human Resources at the University of Houston is the epitome of what an inspirational and visionary leader can aspire to be through innovative solutions, collaborative teamwork and an intrinsic passion for service excellence instilled in her team and everyone she encountered.

Since joining the University in 2010 as Chief Human Resources Officer, her signature achievements include financial management and budgetary accountability for multi-million dollar cost-savings initiatives in the workplace environment, leading to the prestigious two-time designation of the University of Houston as the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Best Colleges to Work For.”

Through astute business acumen, her leadership has resulted in streamlined, strengthened and centralized efficiency of critical Human Resources processes and procedures in support of the University’s Mission, Vision and Tier One strategic goals, notably the following improvements for Faculty & Staff:

Spearheading the launch of the ProPel initiative, a new succession planning program to ensure minimal disruption in transitioning staffing of critical positions within the organization;

Strengthening the performance management process, creating an online performance appraisal tool and enhanced rating scales;

Incorporating best practice methodology to streamline improvement opportunities of competitive talent acquisition, training and retention by reducing the time to fill vacant positions and increasing the prospective candidate pool among Hispanics, African Americans and female applicants overall; and

Implementing System-wide strategic human resources programs, inclusive of four universities and six teaching centers encompassing more than 13,000 employees, leading System policy administration of all payroll and human resources information system (HRIS) initiatives.

Moving forward, the University has embarked on a national search during this transition period as it is our top priority to find the best individual to continue this positive momentum, and we will be sharing more information about the search in due course.

While Joan’s charismatic personality, enthusiasm and motivational spirit will be deeply missed, please join me in thanking Joan for her 16 years of steadfast commitment and dedicated service excellence.



Jim McShan
Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President
Division of Administration and Finance