The search for St. Pete’s next regional chancellor was condensed from 17 to nine finalists in a meeting conducted between executive search firm SP&A and the campus’ 17-member search committee on Monday.
Candidates selected for interviews were chosen from three levels, ranging from those the committee and the recruiting company considered to be the most, moderately and least qualified for the position. Following individual reviews of each applicant’s academic, research and administrative profiles, the committee narrowed the pool of finalists.
The motivation to create the search committee began when Martin Tadlock, the current regional chancellor of the St. Pete campus, announced that he was transitioning to a teaching position at the College of Education at the end of the semester of spring 2022.
Members of the search committee tentatively plan to interview each of the candidates individually between 9 a.m. and noon on April 27 and 28, according to SP&A search managing partner Alberto Pimentel. During the interviews, candidates will be asked about their commitment to the roles described in the job profile via a list of questions that he says will soon be finalized by the search firm.
“We are going to do this interview process mainly because we want to take advantage of the fact that candidates are interested, and most importantly, we want to take care of the fact that we still have students and other people on campus who need help. leadership,” Pimentel said.
The first candidate accepted for an interview was Kanika Tomalin, vice president of strategy and chief operating officer at Eckerd College. While she doesn’t hold an extensive academic profile like many other finalists in the group, Tomalin’s past efforts to improve community engagement on campus may provide her with an unconventional edge, according to Jason Matthis, CEO of St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.
“If you’re thinking about community relations and the ability to execute plans effectively, Kanika would be a great fit,” he said. “Having run the city of St. Petersburg as deputy mayor for eight years, her administrative skills…and political sensitivity are quite impressive.”
He later added that Tomalin had helped form various partnerships between the St. Petersburg community and USF in the past, such as founding the USF St. Pete Innovation District and stimulating of the commitment between the university and the partnership of the city center of Saint-Petersburg.
Bjong Yeigh, the second finalist selected by the committee, is currently the third chancellor of the University of Washington Bothell. Because her university has already gone through the consolidation process, Yeigh may have the skills and experience to manage communication and financial relationships between each of USF’s campuses, according to Judy Genshaft Honors College Associate Dean Thomas Smith.
Thomas Burns, who has been provost of Belmont University since 2011, was chosen for the third interview slot. Given Burns’ previous role as acting president of the US Naval Works College before becoming provost at Belmont, dean and senior associate vice president for USF Health, Usha Menon said his military background could help him. managing USF’s administrative networks.
Andrew Hamilton, the fourth nominee selected, has served as associate vice provost for student success and dean of undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2019.
Sharing similar commitments with Hamilton in terms of expanding student success, Melissa Gruys was chosen for the fifth interview slot given her previous experience as Dean of Purdue University’s School of Business. Fort Wayne.
The sixth nominee selected, Carl Goodman, could play a transformative role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among the student body, given his experience in supporting historically underrepresented students in as associate provost of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, according to Smith.
A common concern shared by many committee members was that candidates might misunderstand the unique nature of the roles associated with the current position of chancellor at USF.
St. Pete’s Dean of Students, Jacob Diaz, said that to avoid any confusion or conflict that may arise between applicants, the search firm should make it clear that the chosen applicant will have no direct decision-making authority. finance on the St. Pete campus at the following meetings. .
After advocating for the expansion of the STEM program and degree program offerings while in college, Menon said Robert Smith, the seventh candidate and president of Valdosta State University, could help. to drive the development of many of USF’s growing areas of innovation, such as financial technology and health sciences.
The final two candidates selected for interviews, Christian Hardigree and Alan Shao, were chosen by the search committee for their non-traditional candidate profiles. Although he is Dean of Hospitality and Dean of Corporate Partnerships respectively, having unique qualifications could help broaden the perspective of the university, according to Matthis.
“Given that this is a very typical chancellorship, a non-traditional academic perspective would add a dynamic component to community building and add energy to relationships,” he said. “Unique skills and abilities would really be accentuated by a candidate with a more diverse range of experiences.”
Members are expected to come to a consensus on a final group of two or three candidates following their one-on-one interviews with the candidates, according to Pimentel. Once notified of their acceptance, he said those selected will have a week to prepare before traveling to St. Pete’s campus to interact with students, faculty and administration.