TheMichigon poily-Wednesday, June 17, ,1Qh-Page 3%
Engin. School plans co-op
By JOHN ADAM
Daily staff writer
In what appears to be a shift in policy, the new dean
of the College of Engineering, James Duderstadt, is
moving ahead with plans to establish a cooperative
education program for engineering students.
Such an education program would allow students
both to attend classes and hold down a job in their
field of industry on alternating semesters. Co-op
programs are already offered on a small scale by a
few departments, but Duderstadt said he believes
"it's appropriate; to address (the co-op issue) in a
"We have to accommodate those students who
want co-ops," said Duderstadt, who said he hopes to
have a co-op program set up by January, 1982.
This change is sure to please both engineering
students and industry. According to the Michigan
Technic, a publication published by University
engineering students, there is a definite interest
among students in a co-op program.
From the students' viewpoint, a co-op program of-
fers practical experience to complement the
theoretical knowledge gained in school. As Associate
Chairman of Aerospace Engineering Harm Buning
said, "It helps tremendously in the motivation of the
student. The co-op program is part of an educational
experience and not just a summer job."
New program to
BUNING, WHOSE department has a small co-op
program, said about 75 percent of the people who ap-
ply are placed, working for such institutions as
NASA, Lockheed, and the Air Force.
From industry's point of view, the co-op program
provides potential employees. "It's a very important
aspect of Bechtel Corporation," said James Smith,
employment manager at Bechtel Power Corporation
in Ann Arbor. But he added that students also get
benefits from the experience, probably more than
from summer work experience.
Bechtel currently has about 75 co-op students in its
program from 10 universities throughout the Mid-
west. Some schools even give credit for working, said
Smith, adding that currently there are no University
students working at Bechtel through a co-op
"BEING ONE OF the best engineering schools, it
would behoove them (the University) to have a co-op
program," said Smith. Asked if Bechtel would par-
tially subsidize the costs of such a program, Smith
said, "there's no question about it (that they would
subsidize). And I've talked to other companies that
feel the same way."
The expense of administering a co-op program is
what has kept the University from implementing the
system before, officials said. As Associate
Engineering Dean Maurice Sinnott said: "The
students come through every three years and push it,
but it costs too much to run."
Richard Wilson, chairman of Industrial and
Operations Engineering, said there is room for par-
tial co-oping but that "finding co-oping opportunities
for 4,000 students is a bit staggering."
Duderstadt agrees "it will cost something," and he
said he doesn't foresee large numbers of students
taking part in the co-op programs because students
are more interested in finishing early (the co-op
program adds at least a year onto a student's
schooling) to get the lucrative salary offers.
"I can't imagine it would be over 5 percent par-
ticipating (in the co-op program)," said Duderstadt,
who downplayed the decision as a major change in
Decline in building
area's slow economy
By MARK GINDIN
Daily business reporter
A leading economic indicator -
residential building permits -
registered a 51 percent drop since last
year in southeastern Michigan, accor-
ding to a report issued by the Southeast
Michigan Council of Governments.
The effects of the drop in housing
construction is being felt by a slowdown
in business, said Richard, Fry of F-P
Development Co., Inc., a local con-
struction and architectural fim.
"BUSINESS SUCKS," said Gene
Katz of Argo Development Corp. Argo
is presently building only one house, far
below the business level of previous
years, Katz said.
Pat Lehotsky of Lukes Homes of Ann
Arbor said her company has had to lay
off workers, reduce purchases of
materials, and reduce overhead costs
to stay in business. "We are holding our
own, "she said.
Most companies and government of-
ficials blamed high interest rates for
the building slowdown. Interest rates
primarily determine business activity,
said a spokesman for R.E. Davis Con-
struction, and high rates mean it is
harder for consumers to buya house.
"I WOULD speculate that the interest
rate is a cause of the drop in housing
because it is harder to geta mortgage,"
said Jack Donaldson, director of the
city Building Department.
"Commercial construction has not
dropped," said Donaldson, while
alterations and additions to present
housing have increased. It would be
impossible to determine the future im-
pact on the city as a result of the decline
in housing permits, Donaldson said.
However, a building contractor can-
not live on just alterations, additions,
and other "little jobs," said Katz of
Argo Construction, who said his firm
supports three families.
THE CITY IS trying to make the
situation look good by implying the
numbers of issued permits balance,
Katz said. "If you think the auto in-
dustry is bad, we are worse," he said.
The lowest full-year total of residen-
tial building permits in the twelve years
of records kept by SEMCOG was recor-
ded in 1980. The number of permits -
10,562 - issued in 1980 is 51 percent
below the 1979 figure of 21,526 permits.
Katz termed 1978 a "good year," 1979
a "not so good year," 1980 a "horrible
year, and 1981 is worse."
THE SEVEN counties of
southeastern Michigan were included
in the report issued recently by SEM-
COG with Washtenaw County
registering a decline of more than 33
Ann Arbor has registered a 53 percent
decrease in new housing units since
1978, according to figures from the city
Because of the drop in permits issued
in the area, firms report an increase in
competition. "Detroit companies have
been bidding" on contracts usually
filled by local organizations, said the
representative from Davis Construc-
THE INTEREST rate has reduced
housing starts 14 percent on the
national level, according to a report
released yesterday by the Commerce
The seven counties in the SEMCOG
region are Livingston, Macomb,
Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair,
See SLOW, Page 4
"'y0Noto Dy JACLIE BELL
A different view of the State Street area is presented from the roof of the
Maynard Street parking structure.