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University Beat

USF Asks St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Tadlock To Delay Retirement

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USF Communications and Marketing
Martin Tadlock, left, regional chancellor of the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus, is considering whether to delay his resignation by six months following USF President Steven Currall's departure announcement.

Martin Tadlock was asked to postpone his departure as regional chancellor of the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus until June 2022.

At the start of the year, the University of South Florida announced that Martin Tadlock would end his term as regional chancellor of the school’s St. Petersburg campus on Dec. 31.

He was poised to step down to focus on teaching and research as a tenured professor in USF’s College of Education.

But following Steven Currall’s surprise announcement last week that he’s retiring as USF President, Tadlock has been asked to remain in his post until next year.

“President Currall did speak with me, and has asked that I stay as regional chancellor through June 30 of 2022, which will allow a year of dedicated time for people on our campus and in the community to participate in the search process for a new regional chancellor,” Tadlock said at a Thursday St. Petersburg City Council meeting.

According to the university’s initial announcement, a search for Tadlock’s successor was supposed to begin in the spring, but was delayed due to high turnover in other administrative positions.

Currently, six of the 19 members of the USF President’s Cabinet are serving in their positions on an interim basis.

At the start of the year, both Paul Sanberg, Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise, and Joe Hice, Vice President of University Communications and Marketing, stepped down from their positions. Haywood Brown, the Vice President for Institutional Equity, accepted a new role at USF Health a few months later.

Replacements for three other positions — Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Vice President for USF World, and Vice President for Administrative Services — have also yet to be announced.

“There's other vice presidential searches in the works in USF along with this (regional chancellor) position, so there's a lot of movement,” Tadlock said. “This search was in line to be launched behind those other searches. It takes a long time to get those things set up.”

The process of finding a new regional chancellor will likely be further delayed by Currall’s resignation, as the university prioritizes finding a new president.

On Monday, USF Board of Trustees Chair Will Weatherford announced his recommendation of Rhea Law to serve as interim president until the official search process begins.

Tadlock was named regional chancellor of USF’s St. Petersburg campus in August 2018 after previous roles as interim chancellor and regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. He has been an educator for over 30 years.

At the city council meeting, members praised Tadlock for his commitment to education and St. Petersburg.

“You've been just such a gift to our city and a gift to everybody on the campus,” Council Chair Ed Montanari said. “And I know you're just deeply loved by so many people and we can't thank you enough for all that you do.”

“Thanks. Tell my wife, please, because I had to talk about staying until June 30 with her,” Tadlock replied with a chuckle.

Tadlock said he has not made an official decision about postponing his Dec. 31 resignation to next June, but city and university leaders are hopeful he will.

“I want to join the list of cheerleaders to urge you to stay on the campus,” Montanari said. “Your university needs you, but our city needs you too. I know you're going to think long and hard about what your future holds, but I hope you stay.”

“I haven't signed anything yet,” Tadlock said. “There's a perception on our campus that that's a done deal and I'm staying in, but I'm just letting you know, the conversation has happened and we are talking.”

At the meeting, Tadlock also reported that the St. Petersburg campus’ enrollment numbers are rebounding following declines brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately 768 first-time-in-college students are slated to start classes in the fall, up from 421 last year.

“768 takes us back to pre-consolidation levels three years ago, which is where we wanted to be,” Tadlock said, referring to the process that brought the accreditation for USF’s three campuses together.

Of those new college students, approximately nine percent identify as African American and 18 percent identify as Latinx.

“We're not where I want us to be, but it takes us back to fairly close to where we were three years ago in that percentage of diversity coming in,” Tadlock said.

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