2008-12-31 / Front Page

Former NSCC President Young Leaving N.C. College Job Due To Staff Discontent

Betty Young Betty Young Betty Young, former Northwest State Community College president, announced that she will begin searching for a new job after serving 15 months as president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, Ashville, N.C.

In a memo to the A-B Tech campus community dated Tuesday, Dec. 23, Young cited "discontent" on campus and "dissatisfaction" with her leadership style.

"As we approach our 50th anniversary, I don't want to see the discontent of people who make up our A-B Tech Community get in the way of progress," Young said in the memo.

"Therefore, I will begin my search for a new opportunity to provide leadership where my talents may better match the needs of the organization.

"For me, it is like the biblical story of cutting the baby in half and both mothers lose. I don't want to see division, I want to see A-B Tech remain whole and to be great."

She said she will begin her search immediately.

NSCC

Young was president at Northwest State from 2003 until Aug. 2007. Her tenure was marked by many notable steps forward, including increased use of the Internet and creation of satellite campuses.

But there was also rancor on the NSCC campus, best illustrated by contract negotiations with the Northwest State Community College Education Association. The negotiations lasted more than a year, and were only concluded after she left NSCC.

She was also remembered for the Lessons for Leno tour, a motorcycle trip to Burbank, Calif., to meet with Jay Leno, a comedian and late-night talk show host. Leno had been making community colleges the butt of his jokes.

Despite some press reports, Young did not actually appear on Leno's Tonight Show, instead meeting with him on the set after a taping.

Thomas Stuckey, who replaced Young in the president's office, said in an earlier interview, "Betty was a change agent. That's not an easy role. She played a very significant role at Northwest State."

He acknowledged there was good and bad during Young's term in office.

Discontent

In her memo to the A-B Tech community, Young listed several accomplishments, then asked, "So, with so much being accomplished, what has created a sense of discontent among some people of A-B Tech?

"Have we moved too quickly, is there not enough buy-in, is it my style of leadership?"

"My leadership style may be described as more business-like or entrepreneurial… I think out loud with people, and look for dialogue and open debate to be influenced, to flush out the best ideas, and how to get things done…

"I have not always felt like I was getting the input I would like, which may be our culture and may reflect a difference in my leadership style," she said.

A report posted on the website of the Citizen-Times newspaper of Asheville said Young's decision to seek another job came after two special meetings of the college board of trustees, "including a 6 1/2-hour marathon meeting Monday (Dec. 22) attended by Young. The meetings were closed because they address personnel issues," the website stated.

At NSCC, Young was paid $119,000 a year. At A-B Tech, she was earning $190,104, the Citizen-Times reported.

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