The University Record, February 20, 1995

$5 million Tauber gift establishes business, engineering institute

By Keith Decie
Business School

A new institute designed to give the resurgence of American manufacturing an additional shot in the arm will be established here with a $5 million gift from Michigan manufacturing executive Joel D. Tauber.

The Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute, approved by the Board of Regents last week, will develop a new breed of executive combining advanced capabilities in both engineering and business management. Industry analysts agree that overcoming the traditional, long-standing separation between engineering and business is a vital next step in improving efficiency and competitiveness in manufacturing.

"When I was invited to take over a manufacturing business almost 30 years ago, I had to develop my own training program, because what I learned at business school didn't prepare me to understand the whole organization," Tauber said. "I worked with people in various parts of the organization--on the business side and on the manufacturing side--and I came to realize that a comprehensive approach was a crucial and much more effective way of preparing for this kind of business."

The Tauber Institute will combine the strengths of the top-rated Business School and College of Engineering, and also will include active partnership with private industry. The U-M's location in the cradle of American manufacturing gives students and researchers easy connections to important industries. An industrial advisory board will provide guidance and support for the program.

"People with knowledge of both manufacturing and other disciplines of business are in short supply," said Business School Dean B. Joseph White. "Graduates of the programs associated with the Tauber Institute will be the 'bridge people' companies need. They will be equally comfortable on the factory floor and in corporate headquarters. They will be prepared to play a major role in the continuing resurgence of U.S. manufacturing companies."

"Joel Tauber's support of Michigan's manufacturing agenda is of central importance to our curriculum," said Glenn F. Knoll, interim dean of the College of Engineering. "The Tauber Institute's combination of business and technical knowledge will prepare Michigan engineers to meet the global challenges of America's manufacturing industry. Joel Tauber's vision for Michigan's contribution to manufacturing excellence is assured by his extraordinary gift."

Multiple degree programs at the Tauber Institute will allow students to develop specific capabilities and advance individual career goals. The Master of Engineering in Manufacturing degree gives engineering students the business skills they need to advance in management. The M.B.A. with Manufacturing Concentration adds engineering education to traditional management training. Two joint-degree programs, providing complete training in both management and engineering, also will be offered. The Engineering Global Leadership Honors Program, a five-year program for undergraduates that leads to both bachelor's and master's degrees, includes a business management core along with significant study of a foreign culture.

"Companies hire M.B.A.s and spend six months to two years on training before they can go into manufacturing operations," Tauber said. "Graduates of this program will be custom-trained and will have outstanding capabilities. That saves companies training costs and gives them people ready to move directly into manufacturing. There has been a real shortage of this kind of talent."

Michigan is one of only a handful of universities with sufficient depth in both business and engineering to develop this type of collaboration, according to White. He said the multiple degree approach is expected to become a new standard for hybrid education and training programs.

The Tauber Institute also will support applied, practical cross-functional research. Research projects will be developed jointly by business and engineering faculty who will form close, long-term relationships with selected companies, according to Knoll. The first Institute research fellowship teams will be announced in March.

The Tauber Institute succeeds the Michigan Joint Manufacturing Initiative (MJMI). MJMI, which Tauber was involved in developing, accepted its first students in 1993 and is already the largest program of its kind.

"Mr. Tauber's gift is a major commitment, which ensures that this new approach to professional training will be an enduring part of the business and engineering curriculum at Michigan," White said.

Tauber heads three companies based in Southfield, with combined annual revenues of $460 million. He has a 40-year history of dedicated community service, including local and national leadership positions with organizations such as the United Jewish Appeal, the United Israel Appeal and United Way, and has devoted significant energy to his family. Tauber holds two degrees from the Business School--a B.B.A. (1956) and an M.B.A. (1963). He also is an attorney and received his J.D. from Michigan in 1959.