Education

Formerly lauded Iowa State professor resigns after complaint of 'prohibited' conduct

Kevin Amidon previously earned 'outstanding teaching' honors

Two students sit on the grass in front of Curtiss Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Gazette File Photo)
Two students sit on the grass in front of Curtiss Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Gazette File Photo)

A former Iowa State University world languages and cultures professor — who in recent years received “outstanding teaching” awards — has resigned following a complaint he engaged in “conduct prohibited by the faculty handbook.”

Kevin Amidon’s resignation became effective a week ago, according to a settlement with Iowa State and the Board of Regents — which he signed in late June, committing to pay him the remainder of his $78,604 salary through the end of the budget year.

Although the settlement didn’t detail allegations against him, it noted Amidon disputed charges made against him and an investigation “was halted by this agreement before any final recommendation was made.”

The Winterset Madisonian — in the Iowa community about 70 miles south of the Iowa State campus in Ames — reported in April 2018 that Amidon was arrested on suspicion of damaging another person’s car with a sledgehammer.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office was called March 21 about a man who had entered private property after following the homeowner for several miles and then damaged the homeowner’s vehicle with a sledgehammer, according to the newspaper.

Deputies eventually booked Amidon into the Madison County Jail on suspicion of criminal mischief, according to the Madisonian. He and the victim did not know each other, according to the report.

When The Gazette reached Amidon by email, he declined to comment for this story except to say, “The situation has been amicably resolved.” When asked whether the faculty conduct complaint was related to the incident in Winterset, Amidon again declined to comment.

His resignation from ISU, per the settlement, does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing, and Amidon was given more than a month to leave campus — as he was asked to return any and all property, keys, electronic devices, and other materials by Aug. 9.

The off-boarding process was to wrap up Aug. 16.

Amidon, according to the contract, agreed not to sue and not to apply for another job at ISU, where he has worked since 2002 as an assistant and associate professor of German Studies.

He recently took a new job as director of the Honors College and associate professor of Modern Languages at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.

Amidon, according to his website, received an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and a master’s and doctorate in German Studies from Princeton University. He served as a lecturer at the University of Michigan between 1999 and 2002, before moving to Iowa State.

From 2003 to 2004 he was a postdoctoral fellow of the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universitat Berlin. While at Iowa State, he served as an affiliate member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and in 2014 and 2015 was honored with “outstanding teaching” awards.

“Since 2002, Amidon has distinguished himself as an exemplary scholar-teacher of German language and culture,” according to the ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which in 2014 reported Amidon’s portfolio included 14 “meticulously designed new courses and remarkably high evaluation averages.”

“His dedication to student-centered learning goes far beyond his classroom, as he works tirelessly on individualized undergraduate and graduate research projects, honors courses, and independent studies,” according to the report. “He is also an internationally recognized scholar, whose research infuses his classes with interdisciplinary approaches, and whose curricular and extracurricular endeavors have been acknowledged nationally as a pedagogical model.”

• Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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