Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the historical development of Lean Six Sigma and to identify the relevant opportunities for the application of Lean Six Sigma within the university setting. The paper also discusses the challenges of Lean Six Sigma implementation in higher education, as well as the cultural changes necessary to provide an appropriate climate for its long-term success. Design/methodology/approach – The paper contains a comprehensive discussion of the development of Lean Six Sigma over the past three decades. Additionally, the paper describes how Lean Six Sigma may be applied in the university setting to improve processes in curriculum delivery; business and auxiliary services; admissions and enrollment management; and research. Findings – Lean Six Sigma can be applied to facilitate process improvements in curriculum delivery; business and auxiliary services; admissions and enrollment management; and research. While obstacles to Lean Six Sigma implementation exist, the process improvements and resulting cultural changes are worthwhile and noteworthy. Research limitations/implications – The paper serves as a guide for how Lean Six Sigma processes can be utilized in the higher education setting. Other researchers and practitioners may use the paper as a practical orientation to Lean Six Sigma in the university setting. Originality/value – Due to the unique culture of higher education, the application of Lean Six Sigma to university processes has been sparse. The paper provides a needed orientation as to how Lean Six Sigma may be applied to improve some of the more important functional aspects of the university.
- Higher education
- Lean six sigma