x'16.1' (22.1): Engineering Research Institute

From: Jeff Ogden 

Sent: Mon, May 29, 2017 11:23 am

Subject: Engineering Research Institute

The work on MIDAC was done by the Willow Run Research Center within U-M's Engineering Research Institute. I was curious about where the Engineering Research Institute was located within the administrative structure at U-M. So I did a little poking around and found an article that contains the answers. It is complicated as arrangements changed over time. 

In 1946-47 the Engineering Research Institute started out as the Aeronautical Research Center within the Department of Engineering Research of the College of Engineering and Architecture. In 1948 the the activity was renamed the Engineering Research Institute, still within the College of Engineering, but with somewhat of a larger University-wide focus. By 1951 when the work on MIDAC started, the Engineering Research Institute was "a University enterprise responsible for the administration of contract research in engineering, the physical sciences, architecture, forestry, and such other fields as might appropriately be included.”  The institute was governed by an "Engineering Research Council with the Assistant Provost as chairman; other members were the Dean of the Graduate School, ex officio, and six members of the University Senate appointed by the Regents on the recommendation of the President, of whom at least three were to be members of the faculty of the College of Engineering."

   -Jeff

The following is taken from "History of the University of Michigan College of Engineering Research Institute”

http://um2017.org/2017_Website/History_of_Engineering_Research_Institute.html

In 1946-47 the University acquired by lease the Willow Run Airport and the several buildings adjoining it. This made possible an extension of instructional and research facilities, including space for the construction of a supersonic wind tunnel, a rocket test site, and turbine- and jet-engine test stands. A separate division of the department [the Department of Engineering Research within the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture], originally known as the Aeronautical Research Center and later as the Willow Run Research Center, was established at Willow Run.

The Director served as chairman of the Administrative Committee until 1948, although its duties had been assigned unofficially to a financial control committee in the late twenties. The Administrative Committee as such was discontinued in June, 1936 (R.P., 1932-36, p. 855), and the Executive Committee of the College of Engineering, together with the Vice-President in charge of business and finance, was given charge of the department. This action was taken in conformity with changes in the administration of the College, when the Executive Committee for the Engineering College was formed (R.P., 1932-36, p. 775).

In 1948 the Engineering Research Department was reorganized as the Engineering Research Institute “maintained, in conjunction with the College of Engineering … for the purpose of organizing and conducting research in the fields of engineering and the physical sciences” (R.P., 1945-48, p. 1132). The Executive Committee of the Engineering Research Institute was then created, consisting of the Dean of the College of Engineering as the chairman, the Director of the Institute, four members of the faculty of the College of Engineering, the Vice-President in charge of business and finance or his representative, the Dean of the Graduate School or his representative, and two members of the faculty of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, representing the field of the physical sciences.

In March, 1949, the Regents approved a plan to reconstitute the Engineering Research Institute as a University enterprise responsible for the administration of contract research in engineering, the physical sciences, architecture, forestry, and such other fields as might appropriately be included. A new board was to serve, not as an administrative committee, but in the making of general policies. The Aeronautical Research Center was continued as part of the Engineering Research Institute, under its jurisdiction.

This plan was adopted in May, 1949, by the establishment of the Engineering Research Council with the Assistant Provost as chairman; other members were the Dean of the Graduate School, ex officio, and six members of the University Senate appointed by the Regents on the recommendation of the President, of whom at least three were to be members of the faculty of the College of Engineering. The Council was to be a general policy board, and the administrative direction of the Institute, except in connection with the Aeronautical Research Center, was placed in the hands of the director.

In 1950 the name of the Aeronautical Research Center was changed to the Willow Run Research Center of the Engineering Research Institute, and its administration was placed in the hands of a director who was responsible to the director of the Engineering Research Institute. 

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