May named chief human resources officer for UAB

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Janet May 492 closeJanet L. MayJanet L. May will become the next chief human resources officer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham following a national search.  

May, who also has served in HR leadership roles at Texas Tech University, New Mexico State University and Pima Community College, comes to UAB from the Houston Community College System where she serves as chief human resource officer for a complex enterprise that serves more than 80,000 students and 6,000 employees across 600 square miles in Houston, Texas.

Brian D. Burnett, Ph.D., UAB’s senior vice president for Finance and Administration, says May brings extensive experience in higher education and a demonstrated commitment to excellence to the role.

“Janet is well respected in her field and among those who have worked with her,” Burnett said. “She is a lifelong learner and servant leader with broad and deep experience that will serve UAB well.”

“Janet is well respected in her field and among those who have worked with her. She is a lifelong learner and servant leader with broad and deep experience that will serve UAB well.”

May recently received the 2021 Distinguished Service Award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), on whose board she served for 10 years, in the roles of secretary, chair-elect, chair and past chair, and — for three years — as the Western Region representative to the national board of directors.

She will lead UAB human resource units responsible for ensuring a positive employee experience at each point along the employee continuum, including recruitment, benefits, compensation, employee relations, employee wellness, and organizational learning and development, in addition to overseeing the campus consultants and the division’s communications and support services, information systems, service center, records administration, compliance, and the Employee Assistance and Counseling Center.

“I am excited to begin work with a university so clearly committed to its mission, its shared values, and the faculty and staff who made it possible for UAB to be recognized as Forbes’ No. 1 Best Large Employer and No. 4 in Diversity,” May said. “The more I learned about UAB and the more people I met, it was clear this is a special place. It is an honor to be selected to maintain and advance the standard of excellence that has been set, and I look forward to calling Birmingham and UAB home.”

May holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from McMurry University and a Master of Arts degree in higher education administration from New Mexico State University.

She will begin work full time at UAB on Nov. 1, succeeding Alesia Jones. Jones, who announced her intent to retire in February after 27 years at UAB — including 12 as CHRO — extended her tenure to help UAB employees safely navigate the pandemic with the support and resources needed. 

“Alesia has expertly guided HR through tremendous institutional growth during her 12 years as CHRO, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” said President Ray L. Watts. “I am grateful to her for making a seamless HR leadership transition possible, and I look forward to Janet’s building on the momentum Alesia and her team have built.”

Burnett credits the search committee led by Chief Communications Officer Jim Bakken and executive search firm Korn Ferry for helping identify May as the next leader for UAB Human Resources. 

“There was great interest in this position from highly qualified HR professionals across the country,” Burnett said. “I want to thank the search committee and Korn Ferry for their work in leading this successful search.”