A-B Tech president resigns to take college president’s job in Houston

Dr. Betty Young, inaugurated as president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in May 2008, will officially leave the college on Friday to become president of Coleman College in Houston, Texas. Her departure ends a short tenure marked by upheaval at the college.

A-B Tech’s trustees announced that they had accepted Young’s official resignation during a special meeting on campus Thursday afternoon; Young had announced in December that she wasn’t going to renew her contract and planned to resign.

Reading a prepared statement, Board of Trustees Chairwoman Carol Peterson said that Richard Mauney, the executive vice president of finance and information technology services, would serve as acting president until trustees appoint an interim president. Trustees named a presidential search committee last month to seek a permanent successor to Young.

Trustees announced that the school would buy out the rest of Young’s contract, which ends June 30. She’s paid an annual salary of $190,104. The college will pay $91,808.35 for the remainder of her current contract.

After the announcement, Young said she was excited about her new post.

“They’re looking for a leader to grow things, and that’s what I do,” said Young, adding that the school plans to increase enrollment, expand its campus, start new programs and improve student retention.

When asked to assess her time at A-B Tech, Young said: “I didn’t come here to serve as a transitional president. I turned up the rug, and I saw some new opportunities.”

Young cited a list of accomplishments, including offering students online access to grades; a focus on student retention; the start of 24/7 online tutoring; the introduction of a writing lab; the addition of a full-time advisor for transfers to Western Carolina University; the activation of an emergency call system on campus; and the start of early college on A-B Tech’s Madison County campus. Young said she was most proud of increasing the diversity of the college’s faculty and staff.

“There’s a lot of opportunity left” for improvement, Young said, noting that the college was ranked second from last among the state’s community colleges in terms of online learning.

Two months ago, Young announced her plans to resign, citing “discontent” and “division” on campus. Faculty, staff, trustees and Young have said little publicly about the situation, but at least part of the controversy surrounds institutional changes Young was pushing.

Young will take the helm of Coleman College, a member of the Houston community-college system. The college specializes in health-sciences programs and is located at the Texas Medical Center.

A-B Tech has a $54 million budget and serves a mostly part-time student body — nearly 18,000 continuing education students and about 9,400 curriculum students. Young was inaugurated in May 2008 as the college’s fourth president. The first woman president of the college, Young replaced K. Ray Bailey, A-B Tech’s president since 1990.

Young was president of Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, for four years before being selected to lead A-B Tech.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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