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Using Design for Six Sigma Practices to Develop a “Rose” Belt Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Tools of the Trade

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1611.1 - 22.1611.11



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Paper Authors


Craig G. Downing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Craig G. Downing became the Interim Department Head of Engineering Management at Rose-Hulman of Institute of Technology, as of July 2010. Prior to that, his teachings assignments focused on delivering graduate-level instruction in the Operational and Quality aspects of Engineering Management. Dr. Downing has over 15 years of experience providing instruction in the areas of Manufacturing, Management, and Mathematics at the post-secondary level. Additionally, he has amassed 12 years of industrial experience, four years as a Process Engineer and eight years as a private consultant and researcher. His interests are rooted in Industrial-Academic relationships, Quality Management System Development, and Production/Operations Management. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

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Using Design for Six Sigma Practices to Develop a “Rose” Belt Course  Craig G Downing  Rose‐Hulman Institute of Technology  Abstract Due to the well‐documented benefits of Six Sigma methodologies in many successful and competitive organizations, the adoption of Six Sigma continues to expand within and outside of traditional manufacturing and service organizations.  As such, the Engineering Management department of Rose‐Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) set out to develop a 10‐week Rose Belt course.  The class will provide students with fundamental knowledge, quality tools, and practical experience using the DMAIC (Define‐Measure‐Analyze‐Improve‐Control) process.  The intent of the course is not to supplant other forms of certification (white, yellow, green, or black belt).  Rather, the goal is to use a project‐based approach so that students gain valuable insight into the organizational (operational) improvement process, as well as experience using Six Sigma tools (qualitative and quantitative). It is the author’s belief that these experiences will reduce the amount of time required by students/graduates to begin engaging in “live” Six Sigma projects upon completion of the course.  In the absence of a universally accepted or practiced body of knowledge, the DMADV (Define‐Measure‐Analyze‐Design‐Verify) methodology was used to design the course.  Previous uses of similar industry‐focused quality management tools, such as Quality Function Deployment (QFD), have been used to redesign engineering education curriculum with notable success.   Our objective was to correctly identify and assess the technical concepts and non‐technical skills industrial practitioners most frequently encountered when leading or participating in successful Six Sigma projects.  This information will serve as the critical‐to‐quality (CTQ) components of the curricula. In addition to using credible process redesign techniques, input was gathered from a comprehensive representation of industries ranging from automotive to telecommunication and bio‐pharmaceutical to transportation (logistics).  The diversification of respondents enhanced the survey results and face‐to‐face interviews.  Data captured reflected organizational leadership from the “shop‐floor” to the “top‐floor.” The common thread among all respondents was that they represent organizations and individuals who have successfully implemented or participated in Six Sigma initiatives.  More importantly, their efforts have driven positive cultural change and creation of effective business processes resulting in innovative solutions to eradicate inefficiencies in their operations.  As such, the balance of this paper will outline the work in progress by the author and the effort to utilize Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) methodologies to design a graduate‐level course that reflects Rose‐Hulman’s tradition of academic excellence and industrial relevance.  

Downing, C. G. (2011, June), Using Design for Six Sigma Practices to Develop a “Rose” Belt Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18611

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