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UB, Stony Brook business-minded centers form partnership to boost industry

From left, TCIE’s Operational Excellence Director Peter Baumgartner with continuous improvement instructors from Stony Brook University, Teresa Goodfellow and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Robert Kalbach.

By Tracy Puckett

Release Date: October 26, 2017

UB TCIE "really are leaders in mixing instructional design and technology for industry. We’re very pleased to be partnering with them."
Patricia Malone, executive director
Center for Corporate Education at Stony Brook University

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Two university centers on opposite ends of New York state are striking up a synergy to bolster industry.

Professional development courses from the University at Buffalo Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) are now being offered by the Center for Corporate Education (CCE) at Stony Brook University. The three courses distill the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, which are aimed at improving an organization’s operations.

TCIE and CCE were formed for the same purpose: to increase the competitiveness of companies by strengthening performance. Both centers operate under the umbrella of the State University of New York (SUNY) and extend education to the working adult.

The cross-SUNY agreement provides CCE with the following TCIE programs, along with supplemental training for Stony Brook staff members who will facilitate them:

  • Certified Lean Professional: Participants are educated in the Lean method of saving money and reducing waste by identifying unnecessary processes
  • Certified Six Sigma Green Belt: Participants’ problem-solving abilities are enhanced as they engage in the data-driven, industry-tested Six Sigma system for process variation reduction
  • Certified Six Sigma Black Belt: Participants acquire advanced mastery of Six Sigma.

CCE Executive Director Patricia Malone became acquainted with TCIE 20 years ago when tailoring Stony Brook’s services to address shifts in the manufacturing and defense industries – two primary clients of CCE. Malone viewed TCIE as "a fabulous example of how SUNY should be connected to industry."

"As the years have gone by, our work seems to be in parallel," Malone said. "I was interested in how Tim (Leyh, TCIE executive director) has taken a deeper dive into quality manufacturing improvement programs and launched hybrid models with strongly aligned curriculum."

It was not until this year – after Stony Brook was designated in 2016 as the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for Long Island – that resource-sharing discussions materialized. The statewide MEP system provides growth and innovation services to small- and mid-sized manufacturers throughout the state. When considering her university’s new stewardship role, Malone thought of TCIE, an outreach arm of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).   

"I am absolutely delighted that our two centers are capitalizing on TCIE’s investments in creating impactful workforce development programs," said Liesl Folks, dean of SEAS. "This is an exemplary partnership that demonstrates how SUNY collaborations can more powerfully serve our communities."     

Courses are being marketed to CCE’s conventional audiences, as well as electronics and pharmaceutical companies, among other sectors. Multiple formats are available for the programs: traditional classroom, a blended delivery mode mixing classroom with online learning, and a one-on-one model featuring web-based education with individual mentoring.

Hybrid models allowing 24/7 access to materials were particularly attractive to the CCE team for a number of reasons. Malone pointed to today’s fast-paced business climate, which limits the time employees have for sharpening their skills. Even for companies that allocate training, an on-site class requiring a minimum amount of students is not always the most practical or economic solution. The adaptable nature of TCIE’s programs provides options.

"I commend Tim and his team in developing such a robust curriculum and such high-level content," Malone said. "They really are leaders in mixing instructional design and technology for industry. We’re very pleased to be partnering with them."

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