One month after criticizing the state's universities for not offering courses that landed students jobs, Gov. Pat McCrory spoke of innovation in a conference at N.C. State University.
McCrory refused to answer reporter's questions, but in his speech, he said the state's public schools need to lead in innovation, adapt to new technologies and offer online courses.
"And we're going to have to do it quickly," he said. "I'm already seeing the for-profit institutions doing this and they must have a market because their night classes are filled up."
McCrory praised the state's research universities for leading the way. In an interview last month with conservative radio talk show host Bill Bennett, McCrory questioned liberal arts programs like gender studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, saying they did not help students find a job.
The governor's comments on Tuesday were well-received, even by those from UNC.
Kevin FitzGerald, the UNC chief of staff, said, "From every indication that I have, he's been consistently supportive of education in the state and we feel very fortunate and lucky to have his support."
N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson steered clear of criticizing McCrory, but did offer a defense for liberal arts courses.
"We feel very strongly that comprehensive education with a strong grounding in the liberal arts is critical to their long-term success," he said.
McCrory is a big proponent of vocational training. His first bill he signed into law helps increase access to vocational training at the high school level.