By Timothy Fanning
USF St. Petersburg has found its new top academic officer.
Olufunke A. Fontenot, a criminal justice professor with an administrative background will begin as interim chancellor of academic affairs Dec. 1.
She will fill the role left by Martin Tadlock, who became campus leader after his predecessor was forced to resign for her handling of the evacuation of dorms during Hurricane Irma.
Tadlock praised her in an email to faculty Tuesday for her experience at regional state universities, including two historically black institutions.
He also said that Fontenot received highly favorable reviews during the registry screening process and a visit to the campus last week.
Fontenot is serving as associate provost at Albany State University in Georgia. Tadlock said she is on loan from Georgia State College and University, where she worked as a professor of criminal justice and administrator since 2002.
She has graduated from University of Pennsylvania, Yale Law School, Cambridge University and the Nigerian Law School.
In her letter of interest to USF St. Petersburg she touched on challenges facing higher education, including declining state funding, shifting demographics, student debt and issues surrounding student access and graduation rates.
“As a young university not yet bound by entrenched traditions,” she wrote, “USFSP can bring a refreshing innovativeness and newness to addressing these challenges.”