The Hocking College Board of Trustees granted President Betty Young a bonus at the end of the board’s meeting Monday evening.
Although the Trustees did not disclose the amount during the meeting, and only announced the decision after a closed-door executive session, Trustee Chair Andy Stone said Wednesday that the Board of Trustees did vote on the matter in open session, and granted Young a $70,000 bonus.
That raise is equal to 35 percent of her base salary, which is $200,000. Young was granted a $25,000 pay raise and a $37,500 bonus when her contract was renewed by the board in 2017.
“Dr. Young has moved the college forward on a number of fronts, and we are being recognized at the state and national level for the innovative approaches we are taking,” Stone said. “Some examples over the past year include increasing College Credit Plus enrollment by 25% by expanding to five new school districts, delivering 9,304 credit hours to future Ohio college students (current secondary students), which will save these students and families over $1.7 million from not having to pay for these courses later. She (Young) has worked on regional economic development including repurposing plans for the Hocking Correctional Facility and opened makerspaces in both Nelsonville (woodworking) and Logan (welding).”
Stone listed other accomplishments by Young as well, including a new water park at Lake Snowden Park and moving forward on several capital projects.
However, no one can credibly argue that Young hasn’t cut a controversial figure since she was hired on by the college in 2014. Under Young, the total number of full-time professional bargaining unit members (full-time faculty and professional staff members) at Hocking College had slid from 158 in January 2015 to just 40 as of May 2018. The college had seen big enrollment declines since 2010; however, in recent years, those numbers have somewhat stabilized. That’s largely due to a huge increase in college-credit-plus students (high-school students earning college credits).
As The NEWS has previously reported, in fall semester 2017 the college reported its first increase in enrollment in years, from 2,956 in fall 2016 to 3,391 in fall 2017, although that was largely due to a substantial increase in CCP students. That CCP number shot up from 91 students in fall 2016 to 832 CCP students in fall 2017, and up again to 1,110 students in fall 2018.
In recent months, Hocking College has lost – or is losing – a number of high administrators, including several in the past month. They include the director of Hocking’s new cannabis-testing program; the college’s CFO (chief financial officer) who’s leaving this month; and the director of the Hocking College Foundation, among others. The college also is facing difficulties in recruiting, partly connected to changes in demographics and other factors that are adversely affecting community colleges around the country.
Still, Stone touted Young’s hand in adding a variety of new programs at Hocking College.
“She opened the cannabis lab, one of only two in the state – this bold move sets Hocking apart as a leader educating young people in this emerging field,” Stone wrote. “She’s brought in millions of dollars in grants, state capital funding, gifts and entrepreneurial revenue. She’s opened several new programs and established several new and renewed partnerships – the exchange program with the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute, the Western Hospitality Institute in Jamaica, and an MOU with 88 Tactical to deliver coursework, just to name a few.”
Stone added that Hocking remains “financially stable” and is continuing to provide high-quality education at a “very affordable price.”
“The board wants to keep Dr. Young – she is a sought-after 21st century higher-education leader,” Stone said. “We believe she earned the bonus we granted, and look forward to working with her in the future.”
Union representatives with the Hocking College Education Association (the union representing faculty) said Wednesday they will be calling an "emergency meeting" in response to the bonus being awarded by the Board of Trustees.