If there is a hint of legitimacy in asking for Kirschenmannâ€™s resignation as director of the Leopold Center it swirls around the issue of administrative duties.
From an email sent to graduate students in the sustainable ag program at Iowa State by Interim Dean Wintersteen
The new arrangement is meant to allow Dr. Kirschenmann to focus his excellent work and service, while placing the main administrative duties in the hands of another nationally recognized authority in sustainable agriculture, Dr. DeWitt.
This is just a snippet of a longer, very carefully crafted email. It is the only statement in the email that seems like it could be a hint at the possibility of a real story.
That being said, even if this is true a whole series of questions regarding the abrupt nature of the move, the involvement of an interim dean, the lack of involvement of the board, the appointment of an interim director for a two year term, and so on remain unanswered.
If you have a good (and well liked) visionary who isn’t up to par as a manager there are much better ways of dealing with the situation than sending the interim dean to fire them on short notice.
I remain agnostic on the matter for the time being.
Update: In a forthcoming post I will make an argument that Kirschenmannâ€™s forced resignation is not related to this point, but rather appears to be politically motivated.