The resignations are a direct response to Chancellor Linda Katehi’s decision to begin the search for a replacement Dean of the College two years prior to the end of Van Alfen’s term, rather than waiting the conventional final year to begin the search for a replacement.
“Because I cannot support this decision by the campus leadership, I believe that the proper course of action for me is to step down from my administrative post,” states MacDonald’s e-mail to colleagues.
MacDonald originally planned to retire in July 2012, but he was convinced by Van Alfen to maintain his position until July 2013 to help advance the College and several initiatives. In light of Katehi’s decision, MacDonald said that Van Alfen’s departure renders his agreement to prolong his departure “moot.”
Interim Executive Director of Strategic Communications Barry Shiller explained that Van Alfen’s contributions will not go unacknowledged.
“Dean Van Alfen was a terrific leader for UC Davis for almost 14 years; under his leadership, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has made great progress. His and Professor MacDonald’s contributions to the University are greatly valued,” he said.
“The chancellor requested that I serve until a replacement is found, but given her decision to replace me before the end of my term, I feel I must resign,” he stated in his e-mail.
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Neal Van Alfen and James D. MacDonald in review, according to the UC Davis website:
- Served as dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since 1999
- Appointed to a third term as dean by the Chancellor in 2009
- Editor of the Annual Review of Phytopathology
- Served as president of the American Phytopathological Society
- Chaired the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council
- Founder of the Agricultural Biotechnology Communicators group
- Joined the Department of Plant Pathology in 1978
- Appointed chair of the Department in 1995
- Named executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1999
- Received the California Association of Nurserymen Research Award in 1989
- Received the Teaching Excellence Award of the American Phytopathological Society in 1998