N. Joyce Payne, who was named chairman of the University of the District of Colmbia board of trustees last night, was the fourth member of the board to call for the resignation of former university president Robert L. Green. It was a move that did not surprise colleagues, who describe her as an outspoken advocate of judicious spending habits.
Originally appointed to the board by Mayor Marion Barry in 1979, Payne has remained sympathetic to the Barry administration over the years but has maintained a largely independent voice on the board, particularly in fiscal matters.
Payne was on the losing side when she opposed the university's purchase in 1982 of a $335,000 house to serve as the residence for the UDC president. She also has taken exception to plans to hold classes off campus in leased spaces that she considered too expensive.
"She was always very businesslike, very frank and honest," said former board member Estelle Taylor. "She was independent and strong-minded and she seemed to be knowledgeable about how the operations of the university should be carried out. I did not get the impression that she was affiliated with any particular group."
Payne, who sometimes drew heat because of her independence and outspokenness, did not return repeated telephone calls yesterday.
Payne is not well known outside the academic community, where she has concentrated her expertise in issues affecting blacks and women.
A graduate of D.C. Teachers College with a doctorate in education administration from Atlanta University, Payne, a Washington native, is director of the Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
After working as a counselor at Dunbar High School, Payne took a job in 1972 teaching communication at UDC and helped develop instruction for bilingual students. She later became assistant director of Howard University's Center for the Study of Handicapped Children and Youth.
Payne briefly was a consultant to the D.C. Higher Education Licensure Board. In 1978 she was hired as assistant to the director of the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs and the following year she became a "senior issue specialist" for the White House Conference on Families and traveled around the country lecturing on affirmative action and racial and sex discrimination.
In 1978, Payne delivered a paper on "sexism in education" at the Conference on Sexism and Racism in Education at Atlanta University. That same year, she addressed a conference of the National Urban League in Los Angeles on affirmative action in higher education.