BCom, MCom Hon DSc (UNSW), PhD (Illinois), Hon Doctor of Letters (Singapore Management University)
Having completed ten years as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of New South Wales in July 2002, John Niland now serves on a number of corporate and community boards. These include: the Centennial Parklands Trust, as Chairman; the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University; the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong; and Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL). He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
In recent years, John Niland completed terms as Chairman of the UNSW Foundation; Chairman of Research Australia Limited; Chairman of the Australian Peace Scholarships Trust; Chairman of realestate.com.au Limited; and as a director of Macquarie Technology Ventures Limited.
Prior to becoming head of UNSW, John Niland was the University's Foundation Professor in Industrial Relations and served periods as Head of the School of Economics, Head of the School of Industrial Relations and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Economics. He has also held academic positions at Cornell University, the University of Illinois and the Australian National University.
John Niland was President of his world professional body, the International Industrial Relations Association, 1989-1992, earlier having been President of the Industrial Relations Society of Australia. In the late 1970's he served a term as President of the Australian University Staff Associations and in the late 1990's he served as President of the Australian Vice-Chancellor's Committee (AVCC).
He has been a mediator of labour disputes in the US, and has done extensive work in conflict resolution theory and practice, particularly collective bargaining in Australia. He was editor of the Journal of Industrial Relations for 17 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
Beyond university life, John Niland has spent periods in management roles in the Australian steel industry, and as the Chief Executive of the State Pollution Control Commission and then as the Chairman of the Environment Protection Authority. He has served on the Australian Universities Council, the Technical and Further Education Council of Australia, the Boards of St Vincent's Hospital and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Foundation, and the successful Sydney Olympic bid's Building Commission. He has also been a member of the Prime Minister's Science Engineering and Innovation Council, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, the Australian Technology Park Limited, and Chairman of Unisearch Limited.
In the 1992 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Emeritus Professor Niland became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to industrial relations; and in 2001 became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), for services to education.