Gordon Emslie, WKU’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, is a finalist for the provost position at the University of Alabama.

While Emslie did not wish to comment at this time, President Gary Ransdell said Emslie told him about the opportunity last week.

“Gordon told me about that last week, when he learned that he had been invited to meet with them,” Ransdell said. “He told me about it as soon as he knew about it.”

Emslie worked at the University of Alabama in Huntsville previously, and Ransdell said he had a strong reputation there.

The University of Alabama’s previous provost, Judy Bonner, moved into the presidency, Ransdell said.

“So my hunch is when she was provost at the University of Alabama, she knew Gordon pretty well,” he said. “He was invited to be a candidate and allowed his name to go forward.”

Ransdell said he wasn’t surprised to learn of their interest in Emslie for the position.

“I would be more surprised if, having been in that system for 20 some years, if he wasn’t invited to be a candidate for that job,” Ransdell said.

They have discussed the opportunity a few times, and Ransdell said he asked Emslie questions about the process.

“He’ll go and he’ll listen and if it moves along and he’s the preferred candidate, I’m sure we’ll talk about it again,” he said. “Good opportunities come along to good people who are doing a good job, and no one should be surprised that Gordon Emslie would be an attractive target for other institutions. Now, whether he’ll choose to do it if offered remains to be seen. We’ll just see how it plays out.”

Emslie has been WKU’s provost since July 1, 2010. Between his current position and previously working for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Emslie worked at Oklahoma State University.

“He’s just one of a group of individuals that they would like to talk with,” Ransdell said.

According to Alabama’s Channel 13 news site, Emslie is one of four candidates and will be going to the University of Alabama on April 23 for an on-campus interview.

Ransdell does not know when Emslie will hear back about the job, and said Emslie most likely doesn’t either, since it’s something the search committee probably doesn’t even know yet.

“It is what it is,” Ransdell said. “It’s not anything that I’m concerned about. I wouldn’t be surprised if offered, if he turned it down, and I wouldn’t be surprised if offered, and he took it. And I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he were the preferred candidate, again, given his stellar record as a scholar and administrator in that system.”