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The Use Of Six Sigma To Improve The Quality Of Engineering Education

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Perceived Quality of Graduate Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1195.1 - 7.1195.18



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Paper Authors

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Richard Shell

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Ali Houshmand

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“The Use of Six Sigma to Improve The Quality of Engineering Education”

Mira Lalovic, Richard L. Shell, Ali A. Houshmand

Graduate Student, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Cincinnati / Professor of Department of Mechanical and Industrial University Engineering, University of Cincinnati / Dean of Goodwin College of Evening and Professional Studies, Drexel University


One of the most powerful business strategies for improving quality is Six Sigma, a breakthrough methodology [25]. If implemented properly this methodology provides maximum value to an organization [34]. The Six Sigma approach is to improve the quality of a process and profitability of the business by reducing the number of defects through the application of statistical methods [15] [16]. The methodology is designed to capture and use many of the tools used in quality control, process control, and continuous improvement. It applies to far more than just industrial processes - it applies to product design, engineering, any commercial process, and customer service [28]. Service-based processes have even more opportunities for improvement than manufacturing operations [3] [10]. This is especially true for academia. A college, like a business organization, must compete for its customers. Many college administrators have not been sensitive to outside customers such as parents, employers, graduate schools, and society, and the impact that they may have on the quality in education. These matters are considered in the model.

The Six Sigma Way

Six Sigma is in many ways a powerful regeneration of quality ideas and methods. Except that the Six Sigma way is revealing a potential for success that goes beyond the levels of improvement achieved through the many TQM1 efforts. The objective of Six Sigma performance is to reduce or narrow variation to such degree that standard deviation of variation can be squeezed within the limits defined by the customer’s specification. For many products, services, and processes that means a potential for enormous improvement. The statistics associated with Six Sigma is relatively simple. To define Six Sigma statistically, two concepts need to be defined: specification limits and normal distribution.

1 TQM – Total Quality Management “Proceedings of the 2002 American society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Shell, R., & Houshmand, A. (2002, June), The Use Of Six Sigma To Improve The Quality Of Engineering Education Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11165

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