University of West Florida names Gary Liguori as next Provost

by | Jan 9, 2023


  • The University of West Florida announced its selection of Dr. Gary Liguori as its next Provost
  • Liguori succeeds George Ellenberg, who is returning to an academic faculty position
  • The university told The Capitolist that Liguori was chosen from a pool of 73 candidates 
  • The search process included an interview, a series of open meetings with forums and candidate presentations, and an opportunity for leadership and the campus community to meet with candidates
  • Liguori will play a role in enacting the university’s recently-approved five-year strategic plan to advance research initiatives and further academic achievement

University of West Florida President Martha D. Saunders announced on Monday that Dr. Gary Liguori has been selected as the institution’s next Provost. Serving in the role, Liguori will function as the institution’s chief academic officer.

Liguori succeeds George Ellenberg, who in June 2022 announced that he intended to step down as provost at the end of the calendar year and “return to his home discipline” of history and philosophy academia.

The provost works closely with the president and vice presidents, academic deans, and student services to provide the continuation and development of academic programs and learning opportunities for UWF’s student body.

“The foundation created at UWF by President Saunders is incredibly strong and has the University making significant gains each and every year. I’m excited to be part of that trajectory, and to help bring to fruition the goals set forth in the current strategic plan,” said Liguori.

Prior to his appointment, according to UWF, Liguori was the inaugural dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Health Sciences where he directed seven health-related academic departments and six external clinics.

UWF told The Capitolist on Monday that 73 qualified candidates for the provost position were winnowed down to a final four, including Liguori, by the Provost Search Committee.

The university also said that Liguori was chosen following a process that included an interview, a series of open meetings with forums and candidate presentations, and an opportunity for leadership and the campus community to meet with candidates and submit feedback, before Saunders made her final decision.

In September, the university proposed a five-year strategic plan that was approved by the state Board of Governors.

The plan utilizes a student-centered outlook seeking to advance research initiatives and bolster student and employee recruitment, which Liguori will now play a large role in enacting.

The plan aims to strengthen UWF’s commitment to research and community engagement while positioning the University as a catalyst for economic growth within the Northwest Florida region and the state at large.

The outline further includes focused goals surrounding advanced academic programs, a higher allocation rate of student scholarships and grants, employee success and retention, and infrastructure growth.

The approved plan additionally refines focus on the expectations and ambitions of current and future faculty members. Listed indicators of success include external awards and recognitions, professional development opportunities, and percentage of successful national searches, among others.

University ambitions also include a higher rate of faculty research published in peer-reviewed journals, recognition for faculty creative activities, and creation and development of patentable inventions, licensable technology, copyrightable works, and trademarks.

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