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USF St. Petersburg's interim leader not a finalist for permanent post

The interim chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg was passed over on Tuesday as an advisory committee advanced three other candidates in the search for the school's permanent leader.

Bill Hogarth, the director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, interviewed for the post on Monday but did not survive the committee's Tuesday vote.

Instead, the 18-member panel selected Sophia Wisniewska, the chancellor at Penn State Brandywine in Media, Pa.; Ron Brown, the senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at Wayne State University in Detroit; and Ralph Rogers, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind.

USF System President Judy Genshaft will select the new chancellor. Advisory committee chairman Frank Biafora, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, cautioned that the three finalists were technically recommendations to Genshaft.

"She might ask who was the fourth (choice), she might ask who was the fifth," Biafora said.

There's also the possibility that Genshaft's choice might not accept the position. For instance, a representative for the search firm hired by the university said Brown is in the running for another job.

Hogarth was unavailable for comment after the committee voted Tuesday. But at his interview, he acknowledged that the process was "somewhat awkward."

"I know so many of you," he said.

Hogarth repeatedly told the committee that he hadn't accepted the interim post in July to gain an advantage.

The next chancellor of USF St. Petersburg will spearhead a five-year plan for the university, and in interviews USF professors and administrators stressed a need to define a vision for the downtown campus. The campus also will likely try to find a home for its burgeoning business school, a concern brought up by several committee members.

When the finalists are approved by Genshaft, an independent firm will conduct background and reference checks. The three likely will be invited to visit the campus, where they would undergo additional interviews, school spokesman Tom Scherberger said.

It's unclear when Genshaft will make her decision. "She is going to take her time, I can tell you that, and be very thorough," Scherberger said

But until a replacement is named, Hogarth remains at the reins.

Contact Lisa Gartner at lgartner@tampabay.com.

USF St. Petersburg's interim leader not a finalist for permanent post 01/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 6:42pm]

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