USF St. Petersburg campus Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock has received the 2021 President’s Award from the NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. This special NASPA honor is presented to a college or university president or chancellor who has, over a sustained period, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting the institution’s student affairs staff and initiatives. This award is the highest honor NASPA bestows on a college or university president or chancellor.
Tadlock was unanimously chosen for the award by the NASPA board and will be honored in March as part of the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference.
“I congratulate Dr. Tadlock on this outstanding recognition of his career-long focus on the needs of students,” said USF President Steven Currall. “At USF, Dr. Tadlock’s leadership of our St. Petersburg campus has strengthened our commitment to helping students pursue their graduation and life goals.”
Tadlock has spent more than 40 years in a variety of education and educational leadership positions throughout his career. He has fulfilled roles as a middle school teacher, a professor, a program coordinator, a director of a national center for education, a dean, an assistant vice-chancellor and a provost.
“An award is never about one person,” said Tadlock. “At the same time, I was flattered that a group of people believed so much in what we are doing that they invested the time in submitting a nomination. It’s humbling.”
He has been the regional chancellor at USF’s St. Petersburg campus since August 2018, and served as the interim chancellor since September 2017. In this role, Tadlock oversees and ensures the overall excellence of the campus.
Under his leadership, the campus adopted a comprehensive focus on elevating the achievement of students, uniting the academic affairs and student affairs departments together and setting up systems to intervene proactively to ensure students succeed and graduate on time. This resulted in a dramatic 9-percentage-point increase in the campus’ academic progress rate and an even higher climb in first- to second-year retention rates, or the percentage of students who attend college freshman year and return to the same college the following year, from 75 percent in 2017-2018 to 87 percent today.
“As a leader, Dr. Tadlock transformed the culture at USF’s St. Petersburg campus by making students and their success a top priority for all,” said Susan Churuti, a USF St. Petersburg campus advisory board member. “By emphasizing transparency and open dialogue, he has kept morale high even during these trying times for higher education, and motivates faculty and staff to keep their focus on students to offer them the best possible college experience.”
Tadlock has helped to institute a number of other key student-focused initiatives during his tenure that have proven widely successful, such as:
- Launching the Innovation Scholars Program, which provides job shadowing opportunities for incoming first year students by matching
them with companies and professionals in and around downtown St. Petersburg. The program
is believed to be the only one of its kind in the state of Florida,
- Creating several successful programs aimed at attracting and retaining high-performing
students, and offering them unique leadership opportunities while connecting them
with prominent alumni,
- Initiating small group excursions between faculty and students to connect them with
their interests as they start to explore majors,
- Creating an academic success coordinator position responsible for weekly data review
and coordinating outreach to deliver information that addressed students’ needs from
financial aid to advising,
- Working closely with colleagues across USF to support campus’ enhancements, including
a new 375-bed residence hall that opened in August 2020.
“It’s not about an initiative or a specific program, it never is. It’s about building upon a more than 50-year legacy of caring people who understand that this university campus belongs to the people and is deeply connected to the city of St. Petersburg and its residents,” said Tadlock. “I am most proud of how our faculty, staff and students reflect that understanding in the choices they make every single day.”
The NASPA President’s Award has been given to Janet Napolitano from the University of California, John Broderick from Old Dominion University and Rehnu Khator from the University of Houston in recent years.