In a February 1, 2012, discussion with the UNC Economic Transformation Council, UNC President Tom Ross noted the value of the University in addressing the state's economic challenges: "People want help from anywhere they can find it to help them find a way out of the crisis. UNC is perhaps the best institution to figure that out. We have people thinking about economic development. People doing research that can develop new technologies and new ways around old problems. People advising communities and companies in how to be more competitive. A key part of our job is get more connected to the state in all those ways."
UNC's Strategic Directions report, "Our Time, Our Future," noted that the University can and must play a critical role in the state's future: "UNC connects campuses to companies and communities, forming bonds between the University, the state and the world that create value in the form of art and science, new products and processes and new innovations. As our global economy creates and destroys jobs at lightning speed, UNC must look for ways to serve as an innovation bug, making the discoveries and growing the discoverers who can lead and shape our state and its economy going forward."
Charged with making this vision a reality, the UNC Economic Transformation Council consists of members appointed by each UNC chancellor to carry out the campus response to the economic transformation priority. This group meets quarterly in order to share ideas, launch initiatives, quantify accountability metrics, and evaluate progress toward long-term capacity building throughout our state.