New face coming to marine program

But USF officials say the appointment is temporary.

Published November 21, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Once again, University of South Florida officials are appointing someone temporary to fill a top post - but for a significant length of time.

William T. Hogarth of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will spend the next two to three years as interim dean for USF's College of Marine Science, filling the post to be left vacant when longtime dean Peter Betzer retires next month, officials announced Tuesday.

USF president Judy Genshaft recently named vice provost Ralph Wilcox to fill the provost position for 21/2 years while USF seeks a permanent replacement for outgoing provost Renu Khator, who leaves after this year to lead the University of Houston.

But the temporary appointment of Hogarth comes on the heels of faculty criticism that USF administrators haven't done enough to entice a top dean candidate to the College of Marine Science, one of USF's signature programs.

USF administrators have searched without success for a permanent hire for months. State budget woes and uncertain politics are only exacerbating the challenge of replacing Betzer, who is credited with building the college's national reputation and helping recently land a research partnership with SRI of Silicon Valley.

USF earlier this year negotiated with two highly regarded candidates but couldn't come to terms with either one, and faculty blamed a lack of money. They say a top-caliber dean would demand more faculty positions and better lab space to bring the signature program to its next level. USF administrators say they can do only so much, given budget constraints brought on by the flagging Florida economy.

The College of Marine Science, located in St. Petersburg, has about 31 faculty positions and offers graduate degrees. Under Betzer, who earns $191,568, the college grew and became known for working with engineers who collaborated with other scientists to create high-tech sensors and other innovations.

Hogarth has served as the assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Marine Fisheries Service since 2001. He'll begin at USF on Jan. 15.

Hogarth earned his doctorate at North Carolina State University, and his master's and baccalaureate degrees at the University of Richmond.

A national search for a permanent dean will begin "near the end of the interim period," according to USF officials.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at svansickler@sptimes.com or 813 226-3403.