S&T students offered Black Belt certification

Posted by
On September 23, 2016

Missouri S&T professor Beth Curdney will lead students toward their Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

It’s all about making them more attractive to industry.

Students in Missouri University of Science and Technology’s engineering management and systems engineering (EMSE) department have the chance to earn Six Sigma Green Belt and Six Sigma Black Belt certification. The certifications are indicators of expertise in process improvement. Missouri S&T is the first university selected by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) to offer Black Belt certification.

Missouri S&T professor Beth Curdney will lead students toward their Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

Missouri S&T professor Beth Cudney will lead students toward their Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Cudney is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

The Black Belt combines course work with an experiential learning project, which could make the students more attractive to any company that needs to reduce costs and improve efficiency, says Dr. Beth Cudney, a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Cudney, associate professor of EMSE who earned her doctoral degree in engineering management from S&T in 2006, is a big reason why the certification is being offered. A member of IISE for 23 years and a Black Belt with 10 years of experience in the automotive industry, Cudney also helped develop Lean and Six Sigma training. And next May, Cudney will be the chair of IISE’s annual international conference.

She knows people, to put it mildly.

“Last fall, I was able to work with IISE to start offering the IISE Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) certification to students in my Engineering Management 4710 Quality course,” she says. “To provide the certification exam, my course materials were reviewed and approved by IISE according to the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge.

“Over the past two semesters, 52 students have been certified as SSGB. Engineering Management 4710 is a core course that is offered every semester, and that makes it a good place to start offering certification.”

The median annual Six Sigma Black Belt salary is $102,945 as of Aug. 29, 2016, with a range usually between $93,797 and $110,667.

To earn Black Belt certification, students must complete Engineering Management 5710, pass a certification exam and complete a Six Sigma Black Belt project. The project must completed individually and conducted with an industry partner in which advanced statistical tools are used to reduce variation in production and improve efficiency. As companies improve their efficiencies, they become more profitable.

Common statistical tools utilized in a Six Sigma project include hypothesis testing, regression analysis, design of experiments and statistical process control. Students must be able to document and quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate the process improvement for their projects.

“In the end,” Cudney says, “the student must achieve significant improvements in a process that is validated by quantifying the variation reduction and financial savings.”

Cudney and Tina Agustiady, a Master Black Belt at Masonite, published Design for Six Sigma: A Practical Approach Through Innovation in June by CRC Press.

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