St. Pete Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock planned on stepping down from his position Dec. 31. However, after former USF President Steven Currall’s sudden resignation Aug. 2, he delayed his departure until June 30, 2022.
“President Currall initially asked if I would consider staying longer,” said Tadlock. “When Interim President [Rhea] Law came on board she asked me the same thing, so the search process that needed to be implemented to fill [Currall’s] position would be finished properly, and I agreed.”
Tadlock’s decision to remain on the administrative board this year was also influenced by the fact that, like Currall, the search for his eventual successor for the position is still in the beginning stages.
“These searches typically take most of an academic year,” said Tadlock. “There was concern with President Currall leaving and the search not starting that a longer period of time would be needed to complete the search process.”
With Tadlock’s contract extended, he is working to fulfill his duties as chancellor for one final year. Tadlock said he decided to step down from his administrative duties to return to working with students as a faculty member in the St. Pete campus’ College of Education.
The search process for Tadlock’s replacement will follow a process similar to Currall’s, he said, where a search firm will conduct a national search.
The only major difference is the president, rather than the Board of Trustees (BOT), is the final hiring authority for the position of regional chancellor and will submit their candidate of choice to the BOT for approval.
Although Tadlock is not allowed to influence the selection or search process in any way, he said the ideal replacement would be someone who can bond with the diverse population of St. Petersburg and be successful in recruiting potential new donors and affiliates.
“[A good leader] would need a deep understanding of a community like St. Petersburg,” said Tadlock. “St. Petersburg is a distinctive place with this strong culture, with a very deep connection between the city and the campus.
“Someone coming here would have to have that understanding of town-gown relations at a very deep level and have to demonstrate that in various areas. They would have to connect with and represent people from a very diverse array of backgrounds with all kinds of beliefs, hopes and dreams.”
Currently, there are two vacant positions for interim campus deans and an opening for the interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice provost position.
Sridhar Sundaram, campus dean of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, left for a dean position in California, and Catherine Cardwell, former interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice provost, retired. Tadlock said he will prioritize filling these vacancies with suitable candidates before the end of his extended contract.
Other goals for the year included fulfilling an academic set of priorities at the St. Pete campus and ensuring a smooth transition for his eventual successor.
“I’ll be involved in filling faculty positions and continue to invest in research and teaching labs,” said Tadlock.
“I’ll also continue to work in the community with all of the various friends of this campus to make sure everything is set up and ready for the next person coming into this role, and I’ll be here to hopefully help transition them and help them meet all of these people and places and get acquainted before the end of June.”
Tadlock and Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor for the Sarasota-Manatee campus, will participate in the search process for Currall’s replacement and provide input to the search committee, which they also helped organize.
While Tadlock’s plans to return to the classroom may have been slightly delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, he will continue performing his duties to the St. Pete campus for one final year until the time to pass the baton arrives.
“Friends of the campus who want to invest themselves in its well-being will continue to create outstanding opportunities for students,” said Tadlock. “It’s a mutually beneficial process that will give students something here they can’t get anywhere else.”