Title: Using lean Six Sigma methodology to empower students for executing departmental initiatives

Authors: Ertunga C. Ozelkan; Jonathan Mayhorn

Addresses: Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA ' Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA

Abstract: Continuous improvement philosophy is a fundamental principle for creating a sustainable system, and education is no exception. Universities have been implementing continuous improvement processes as part of accreditation requirements for many years. One of the main challenges, especially for small growing programs is to identify resources to carry on these continuous improvement initiatives along with the ongoing teaching, research and administrative activities. In this paper, we present an innovative approach in which students are involved in the improvement of the departmental processes and execution of initiatives using a lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology as part of their course projects. Several case studies are presented from the systems engineering (SE) program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The outcomes show that both students and teachers can benefit from partnering together in their course projects to design and deploy systems that improve their department.

Keywords: lean six sigma; LSS; active learning; applied learning; experiential learning; project-based learning; higher education; continuous improvement; systems engineering; student empowerment; departmental initiatives; universities; accreditation requirements; course projects.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSCA.2014.067548

International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 2014 Vol.8 No.3/4, pp.176 - 202

Received: 15 Mar 2014
Accepted: 31 Oct 2014

Published online: 14 Feb 2015 *

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