UNC system leaders have formed a broad advisory group that will help shape the future of the state's public universities.
Serving on the planning group are UNC chancellors, UNC board members, education leaders, business leaders and GOP leaders in the legislature -- House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger.
The appointments were announced this morning by UNC President Tom Ross and Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors.
Among the business leaders are Art Pope, CEO of Variety Wholesalers, a key Republican donor and sometime critic of the university system. Other business people on the panel are Bob Ingram, retired executive with GlaxoSmithKline, AT&T President Cynthia Marshall and Lew Ebert, president of the North Carolina Chamber.
Education leaders include retired UNC President Bill Friday and N.C. Community College System President Scott Ralls.
Others are State Treasurer Janet Cowell and Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. Four chancellors will serve on the committee, including UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp.
A separate fact-finding group is led by Fred Eshelman, a Wilmington pharmaceutical executive and member of the UNC board. A report by his group will be presented to the UNC board in January. "We are going to be brutally critical of the data," Eshelman said.
Ross said his goals are: set degree attainment goals for the universities; improve academic quality; serve the people of North Carolina; maximize efficiencies at the campuses; and ensure an accessible and financially stable university system.