University of South Florida Interim President Rhea Law announced her selections for the USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Search Committee Monday, combining St. Pete business and community leaders with several university representatives.
Current Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock originally announced he would step down at the end of this year from the role he has served in since 2018. Following President Steve Currall’s sudden resignation in July, Tadlock announced his decision to stay and lead the campus until June 2022.
Tadlock, well-respected both on campus and throughout the St. Pete community, said he hoped to provide continuity amid a search for his replacement and following high-profile departures at the university.
“Fueled by our standing as one of the nation’s fastest-rising universities in the realm of research productivity, student success and the positive impact we have on the communities we serve, USF is moving on a fast track into a bold and exciting future,” said Law in a prepared statement.
“Today, our university stands poised to take its next step toward excellence, as we seek an impassioned, inclusive, and visionary Regional Chancellor for the USF St. Petersburg campus to provide effective strategic leadership that advances the quality, reputation and ambitious goals of the university.”
Law assigned Thomas Smith, Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean, to chair the committee. Alison Barlow, Executive Director of the Innovation District, was chosen to serve as vice-chair. USFSP sits in the heart of St. Pete’s Innovation District, and Tadlock has enjoyed a close relationship with the organization and the surrounding community.
Law also selected Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, for the search committee.
Barlow said their selections will ensure that the business community, along with other organizations surrounding the downtown campus, will have a voice when selecting the new leader.
“I think the key is that USF St. Petersburg has such a close tie into St. Petersburg as a community,” said Barlow. “Both the city itself, and also the business and nonprofit community.
“And they’re recognizing that is a key aspect of the new leader who will be part of those conversations, and those events and initiatives.”
Barlow noted the work Tadlock has put into building relationships and his enthusiasm to pursue collaboration opportunities. She said they will look for someone with the same characteristics that Tadlock has displayed over his tenure: an ability to build trusting relationships, a willingness to have hard conversations, and someone who takes a creative approach to solve problems.
“Someone who is humble, who can listen intently,” added Barlow. “And then also – because I am from the Innovation District – creative and innovative in their thinking about how to solve challenges that we’re facing.”
Barlow said with all the changes surrounding the university’s leadership, creating a positive culture and establishing stability should be at the top of the new chancellor’s priorities. She believes they should also learn about the relationships and initiatives that are already in place “as quickly as possible.”
Law wrote that USF has also contracted with the same firm handling the search for a new president, SP&A, to assist with this process. This allows the university to better align the timelines for hiring both candidates, she said. The firm will also work with the committee to finalize a position description and recruit “a robust and diverse” pool of candidates.
“In this formal charge to the Search Committee, I ask each member to play an active role in tapping your own professional network to identify, recruit and encourage applications from qualified individuals,” said Law.