USF St. Petersburg Chancellor Out

Sep 16, 2017

University of South Florida St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska is out after four years on the job. 

USF President Judy Genshaft never mentioned Wisniewska in a statement she sent to USFSP faculty and students Saturday afternoon:

Dear USF St. Petersburg Faculty and Staff:

I know everyone has experienced many challenges as a result of Hurricane Irma, and I hope you and your families are doing well. Your safety is our highest priority.

During this difficult period, a transition in leadership at USF St. Petersburg has occurred, and I wanted to inform the University community. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Martin Tadlock, Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at USF St. Petersburg, will serve as Interim Regional Chancellor.

Dr. Tadlock is an excellent choice to lead the institution. Since joining USF St. Petersburg, he has demonstrated strong leadership skills and he is committed to advancing the teaching, research and service missions of the institution. Dr. Tadlock is dedicated to student success, he understands the USF System, and he values the St. Petersburg community. During his tenure as Regional Vice Chancellor, he has been able to enhance student success initiatives and international partnerships, and brings a more focused approach to the Strategic Enrollment group.

Additionally, I am pleased that Dr. William Hogarth has agreed to return to assist Dr. Tadlock as a member of his leadership team. Dr. Hogarth previously served in multiple positions; he is a former Interim Regional Chancellor of USF St. Petersburg, Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, and Dean of the College of Marine Sciences. He is highly regarded and knows our community well.

This leadership team shares our absolute commitment to the success of all of our students, faculty and staff.  I am confident that we will not lose any momentum in moving USF St. Petersburg forward. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Judy Genshaft

USF System President

ORIGINAL POST 9/15, 11:15 P.M.

USF media/public affairs manager Adam Freeman confirmed the decision in a statement to WUSF News late Friday night: 

We can confirm Sophia Wisniewska is no longer in her position as Regional Chancellor of USF St. Petersburg.  Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Martin Tadlock has been named Interim Regional Chancellor.  We will be providing an update to our community in the near future and we will share that information with you as soon as it's available.  We will not be commenting further at this time.

Wisniewska joined USF St. Petersburg in 2013 after holding a number of leadership positions in the Penn State university system. She also served as dean and CEO at Temple University Ambler for six years.

Sophia Wisniewksa talks to WUSF's Mark Schreiner in September 2013, shortly after she was named USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor.
Credit USF St. Petersburg

With Wisniewska at the helm, USFSP received its largest gift ever, $10 million for the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. That school is based in Lynn Pippenger Hall, which opened earlier this year. 

In addition, the USF campus located in downtown St. Petersburg is close to adding another residence hall as part of the campus' 10-year Master Plan Update to have 10,000 students enrolled by 2025. 

The USF Board of Trustees was scheduled to take up the proposed new hall at a meeting earlier this month that was postponed by Hurricane Irma. 

USF reported that the enrollment for 2016-17 included 4,717 undergraduate, graduate and non-degree seeking students.

In the past year, USF Trustees had repeatedly questioned Wisniewska about the USFSP graduation rates. While USF's Tampa campus has 70 percent of its students graduate in six years, the St. Petersburg campus has a six-year graduation rate of 38 percent. 

With Wisniewka's departure, both of USF's regional campuses are now under interim leadership. 

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor, Dr. Sandra Stone, resigned this past March, citing a family issue. She was also under pressure from the Board of Trustees for missing fundraising goals for the past six years. 

There, Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Terry Osborn is serving as interim Regional Chancellor while a national search for a replacement is conducted.