Emslie a provost candidate at University of Alabama

Taylor Harrison

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 recently told him about the opportunity, when he learned he had been invited to meet with them.

“He told me about it as soon as he knew about it,” he said.

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.

Cathy Andreen, director of media relations at the University of Alabama, said they have an interim provost, Joe Benson, who is also the vice president for research.

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. The other candidates are Dave Francko, who is currently the associate provost and dean of the graduate school at the University of Alabama, Pam Whitten and Kimberly Espy.

Andreen said she is not privy to how the search committee will make their decision.

“An announcement went out to our faculty and staff because each candidate will do a brief presentation that’s open to faculty, staff and students to come and listen to it if they’d like,” she said.

She doesn’t believe there is a set date to announce the new provost, but the last candidate will speak at the university on April 30.

“I really don’t know the timetable after that,” she said.

Ransdell said the University of Alabama invited Emslie to interview for the job and Emslie agreed to move forward.

Ransdell said he wasn’t surprised to learn of their interest in Emslie for the position, and he would be more surprised if he hadn’t been asked after working in Alabama’s system previously.

Ransdell and Emslie 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.

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.”