Provost finalist for new UCF position

Joanna Williams

Provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs Gordon Emslie announced in an email Friday that he is a finalist for the provost position at the University of Central Florida.

In the email, Emslie said he has enjoyed his time at WKU, but the UCF position was “an opportunity not to be missed.” 

UCF is currently the nation’s second largest university, with an enrollment of 59,740 students. As provost, he would be responsible for the academic leadership of the university and partially responsible for the university’s annual budget, all of which are responsibilities he currently has at WKU. 

Emslie is one of three finalists for the position. He will have a UCF campus open forum today that will take place at 3:15 p.m., according to UCF’s website. 

Emslie declined to comment to the Herald. 

This isn’t the first time Emslie has been a finalist for a provost position at another university. Last April, it was announced that he was one of the final candidates for the provost position at the University of Alabama. 

President Gary Ransdell said he learned that Emslie was a finalist for the position at the end of last week. Ransdell said while he was not expecting to hear the news, Emslie’s decision to throw his name in UCF’s hat as well as Emslie’s selection as a finalist did not shock him.

“Obviously I’m not surprised by them wanting him,” Ransdell said. “I encourage all of our vice presidents to be loyal here but also perform at a level that makes any institution impressed. I don’t worry about losing good people. That’s just the nature of the business we’re in, and it doesn’t surprise me at all with Gordon. He’s very effective at handling financial matters at an academic perspective.”

Ransdell went on to say that if Emslie is selected and takes the position, he will not attempt to prevent Emslie from accepting the job. 

“That’s pure speculation, and if it’s something Gordon wants to do I’ll certainly not stand in his way, or in any way seek to inhibit or try to block that,” Ransdell said. “That’s just not a professional thing to do. If this is something he wants to do, I’ll support him any way I can. If he wants to continue to be our provost, I’ll support him here as well. I enjoy working with him, so I’ll try to help with whatever is best for him.”

Emslie joined WKU in 2010 after previously working for Oklahoma State University as associate vice-president for Research and dean of the Graduate College, according to his curriculum vitae. 

Since being named provost, he has formed a retention task force, restructured the hiring process for instructors and professors, and created a “Colonnade” general education curriculum.