Editor’s note: This week, the newly appointed interim regional chancellor Martin Tadlock hosted two forums for faculty and staff, and on Monday, he met with students. The following statements were sent to campus employees and students.
Message to Faculty
I’m glad to see you all here and that you and your families are safe – and that Hurricane Irma is behind us. It’s been an eventful two weeks.
You’ve read the media reports. There are different perspectives about what happened during the storm and why. At the end of the day, the transition in leadership was a decision made by President Genshaft. We must respect that decision and move forward by providing a sense of stability for our students.
Although I joined the USF St. Petersburg community 14 short months ago, this is home. Not a house, but a home. While anyone can build a house, a home is created through relationships built upon agreements, disagreements, compromise, and a thread of values and beliefs that lead to unity of purpose. The purposeful focus on students and the importance of close working relationships at USFSP are what drew me here. They are what keep me here.
We live in a time of change in education and in society in general. Sometimes we can anticipate those changes; other times we can’t. Regardless, as a community we weather those changes, we serve our students, we serve our region, and we rely upon each other to grow personally and professionally. That is what we do.
With this change in leadership, please keep in mind that our success as a university is measured by the success of our students, and the success of our students is dependent upon how well we function as a community of faculty, staff, and administration. After 36 years in education, I have seen time after time that the success of a middle school, high school, college or university is dependent upon those who dedicate themselves to the success of others. No one person can insure the success of an entire community. Our success is rooted in the work of many people here. The people you know and work with most closely are the same and will not change.
USFSP has accomplished a lot over the last few years and we must continue to build on that good work.
Our freshmen continue to tell us that USFSP was their first choice. Our retention and graduation rates are on the rise. With SWIRL included, our 6-year graduation rate is 60% for the 2009 cohort. Our fall-to-fall Academic Progress Rate jumped by 10 percentage points. Retention currently is up by about 6 percentage points. This is incredible progress and an indication that the work of so many in this room is making an impact. By coming together as a team, we’ve improved student success in new ways. By working together – and putting our students first – our persistence initiatives are producing outcomes that ultimately, will ensure that we meet the benchmarks necessary to qualify for critical funding from the Board of Governors.
As we enter this new school year, USFSP remains in the Top 25 Southern Regional Public Universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The new rankings were released last week and we can be very proud. Earlier this summer, we earned a Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education. We are entering into the process for renewal of our Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. And, the Kate Tiedemann College of Business is preparing for re-accreditation of its business and accounting programs by AACSB International.
Additionally, the Honors Program will double in size. We have six new international partners in China and Malaysia resulting in: four recent grads working in Weifang, China at an international college and at Behai College this year; at least three professors going abroad to teach a short course in China or Malaysia next summer, all expenses paid; and semester-long tuition and housing scholarships for two USFSP students to study at Huaihua University in China each year.
Our institutional priorities will remain the same. We will continue to move forward to gain final approvals for our new residence hall. Extensive renovations are planned for Davis Hall, and we will continue to look for opportunities to acquire additional space to accommodate growth. If you haven’t been over to the new “Edge District,” be sure to drop in. It’s a great new space for our students and a nice addition to our waterfront.
As we move forward, our relationships with partners in the community will become that much more important. At USFSP, our students have unique opportunities to engage in experiential learning, whether that’s participating in research, internships, civic learning or study abroad. More than 200 students participated in our Research Symposium last spring. Ensuring these opportunities can differentiate us – and you – from the pack.
At the end of the day, despite this week’s changes, we are all here to ensure that this university is an incredible place for students to realize their dreams – and for each of us to grow as mentors and leaders.
Before we get to your questions, let me wrap up by underscoring that we have great people here.
We have hard working, dedicated staff who love this place, incredible researchers, outstanding teachers, and administrators who are here to serve and help others be successful. We will continue to work closely to fulfill our goals in strategic plans for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, the Nelson Poynter Library and our Diversity office.
We will continue to mature and flourish as a separately accredited regional university with a distinctive identity within the USF System. While humbled to serve in this interim role, I appreciate President Genshaft’s confidence in me and in all of us to build upon the incredible progress we have made here at USFSP.
Message to students
I hope that you are back to your daily class schedule and that you and your families are safe now that Hurricane Irma is behind us. For your convenience, we have a quick reference to hurricane-related resources available on our website.
It’s been an eventful week. On Monday, Student Government President David Thompson and I hosted a student forum in the University Student Center to talk about my role as Interim Regional Chancellor for USF St. Petersburg. I wanted to share a little of our conversation with you if you were unable to attend.
With the change in leadership at USFSP, I want you to know that our success as a university is measured by the accomplishments of our students, our faculty and staff. After 36 years in education, I have seen time after time that success is dependent upon those who dedicate themselves to the success of others. No individual can ensure the success of an entire community.
We have great people here. We have hard-working and dedicated staff who love this place, incredible researchers, outstanding educators, and administrators who are here to serve and help others be successful. The people you know in your classes, in your on-campus job or in your organization are the same as they were.
While news coverage was trained on Irma last week, we received some news of our own that I’d like to share with you. USFSP remains in the Top 25 Southern Regional Public Universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. We also jumped up six spots on the Southern Regional Public and Private Universities list to #66.
As I shared on Monday, we have plans and priorities in place that will continue to move USFSP forward. While humbled to serve in this interim role, I appreciate President Genshaft’s confidence in all of us to build upon the incredible progress we have made here at USFSP.
Starting in October I‘ll be hosting Campus Conversations and hope you’ll consider stopping in to talk. I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue with you.