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$3 million gift launches program to educate professors of manufacturing

STANFORD -- A long-range program to strengthen manufacturing education in American universities by creating a doctoral degree in manufacturing has been launched at Stanford University with a lead gift of $3 million from the Sloan Foundation.

The program is aimed at producing 50 new "Professors of Manufacturing" in the next decade.

Organized jointly by the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Business, the program is designed to help develop manufacturing programs at universities across the nation by providing a new cadre of faculty with special academic backgrounds. It is estimated the total cost of the new program, which will offer its first doctoral courses in the 1992-93 academic year, will be about $20 million over a period of 10 years.

"The lead gift from the Sloan Foundation will start us toward our goal of defining manufacturing as an academic discipline and will help Stanford become a significant force in raising the stature of manufacturing as a profession," said Business School Dean A. Michael Spence. He and Engineering School Dean James F. Gibbons announced the Sloan gift jointly on Friday.

"There are truly exciting problems to be addressed in manufacturing," said Gibbons. "By working together on these issues, the Schools of Engineering and Business hope to provide new perspectives on manufacturing that will address both the use and development of new technologies, as well as how manufacturing enterprises are organized and managed."

The Sloan gift is one of a series of grants made recently by the Sloan Foundation to American universities for programs to improve manufacturing education. At present, there is a nationwide shortage of faculty members with specific interests in manufacturing.

The new professors produced at Stanford are expected to fan out across the country over the next decade, joining departments of industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, operations research, plus schools of business and management or new departments of manufacturing.

The Stanford program will take advantage of existing academic work by admitting students into doctoral programs in either business or engineering. It then will provide these students with special courses, research environments, experiences, and other opportunities designed to increase the depth and breadth of their knowledge and interests in manufacturing.

During their study, the doctoral students will become familiar with Stanford's existing Manufacturing Systems Engineering (MSE) Program and the dual MBA/MSE degree option, both prototypes for master's-level manufacturing programs. This will enable new professors to bring strong manufacturing capabilities to their new institutions.

The Stanford/Sloan program in manufacturing is being spearheaded by SIMA, the Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association, a joint venture between the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Business. Encouraging talented faculty members to develop special interests in manufacturing is part of the association's goal. In addition, it seeks to develop innovative research in manufacturing and to create strong master's-level programs.

Charles A. Holloway, associate dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School of Business, and William C. Reynolds, chairman of the department of mechanical engineering, are co-chairs of the association.

"We expect that applicants to the Ph.D. program will have at least an undergraduate degree in engineering or science and a demonstrated capacity for graduate education," Reynolds said. "In addition, they must have some industrial knowledge, preferably including experience in a manufacturing activity."

A key feature of the program is that graduates will receive a significant start-up grant, including money and equipment, to help them when they join university faculties. The new manufacturing professors also will have opportunities for contact with industrial leaders in manufacturing and, where appropriate, access to company sponsored research projects.

Work will begin immediately to develop doctoral courses to be offered for the first time in the 1992-93 academic year. "Our program will combine existing knowledge in several disciplines as well as new knowledge acquired through field research in industry," Holloway said. "We believe that advances in the last decade in both academia and industry make it possible to offer students from engineering and business a curriculum that has the rigor and conceptual depth required to teach and make advances in research at universities and, at the same time, address issues that are important to manufacturing enterprises."

The Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association now works with an Industrial Advisory Committee, made up of companies that have made contributions to the program both in cash and in the form of technical assistance, special equipment and other assistance to research programs.

Current corporate partners are Ford Motor Co., Alcoa, Apple Computer, Boeing Co., Digital Equipment Corp., FMC Corp., General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hughes Aircraft Co., IBM Corp. and Lockheed Corp.


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