Campus: Northridge -- February 15, 2006

Association Establishes Endowments at CSUN to Help Educate Students in Quality Management

A $20,000 endowment from the American Society for Quality (ASQ), San Fernando Valley Section 706, has added momentum to Cal State Northridge's efforts to bolster its quality management programs in the College of Business and Economics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The endowment, which is divided equally between the two colleges, provides the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management (engineering) and the Department of Systems and Operations Management (business), the fiscal opportunity to take a look at their offerings in quality control and management and revamp or coordinate their efforts where needed.

"Between the two departments, with systems and operations management emphasizing the undergraduate educational needs, and our focus on the graduate side, the endowment helps the university position itself to respond to a growing demand for people trained in the area of quality," said Bonita Campbell, chair of the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management.

Richard Gunther, chair of the Department of Systems and Operations Management, said the departments plan to use interest from the endowment to provide scholarships to students interested in studying quality.

"There is a lot of flexibility in the endowment that allows us to come up with innovative ways for improving the program," Gunther said.

The American Society for Quality is the world's leading authority on quality management. With more than 100,000 individual and organizational members, the association advances learning, quality improvement and knowledge exchange to improve business results, and to create better workplaces and communities worldwide.

Diane Kulisek, a deputy regional director for the society, said many local and regional members are Northridge alumni and were looking for a way to further ASQ's relationship with the university and to support its quality-related programs. She added that the society already supports the college of business' Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement Education as well as an ASQ Student Chapter at CSUN.

"Many of our members are from the business and engineering colleges, so we wanted to find a way to help both colleges," said Kulisek, herself a CSUN alumna. "It was suggested that we make two endowments with the understanding that the two departments involved would work collaboratively to achieve our ultimate objectives: to enhance the education available about quality management, systems, standards and technology while promoting the economic case for quality. Our intention is to further encourage this collaboration by continuing to build on these endowments."

Paul Buckley, current chair of the San Fernando Valley section of the society, said the society's members appreciate the fact that many Northridge students work part-time while going to school full time.

"This is really a way for us to help them along the way to further their education," Buckley said.

Campbell explained that people who work in the quality profession play a vital role in nearly all aspects of society, from consumer products to business and governmental operations.

"Whether you are purchasing a drug, a computer or an automobile, go to a hospital or visit a bank, all those services are subject to evaluations according to certain quality-related standards, warranty and liability issues," Campbell said. "The success of a product or service depends on those standards and how well they are upheld.

"People who understand and are trained in the issues of quality control and management are in high demand by businesses and other services," she said. "What we are trying to do is fill those needs."

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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