Oakland University
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BIS degree with Lean focus offers students a unique opportunity

The Oakland University bachelor’s of integrative studies (BIS) program offers students the unique opportunity to customize their degree specifically to meet their career goals.

"Integrative studies allows students to design a course of study utilizing courses from many departments," said Anne Jackson, BIS program coordinator at Oakland University-Macomb.

According to Jackson, this program is very beneficial for students interested in Lean because the flexibility of the program helps them design their own major in Lean without there being an official major or minor in place.

Students within the program are also connected with a faculty mentor who helps them devise their plan and guides them throughout the program.

Matt Szczesiul, whose previous career was in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, is currently in the integrative studies program focusing on Lean entrepreneurship.

“I was completely captivated by the concept of Lean,” Szczesiul said. “I would like to develop for myself the concept of applying Lean principles to develop startup companies.”

Nick Hilliard recently graduated with a bachelor’s of integrative studies focusing on Lean. He took mostly business classes and minored in human resources.

“Human resources is huge with Lean,” said Hilliard. Last summer, he took HRD 304: Lean Principles and Practices in Organizations, where he learned Lean skills and terminology.

“Lean is something you can teach, but you also have to get experience with it,” Hilliard said, who gained experience with Lean through HRD 304 when his class worked as a kaizen team to improve OU’s grade change process under the guidance of Professor Mark Doman.

“[Professor Doman] was absolutely fantastic,” Hilliard said.

Hilliard has used his knowledge of Lean principles from HRD 304 to complement his study of business.

“The great thing about Lean is that you can tailor it to all types of businesses,” he said. “It is a different approach for businesses that works.”

Lean focuses on making processes within a company more efficient and can be used in a variety of industries, including health care, manufacturing, service and education.

Szczesiul also took HRD 304 and is now working as an intern in Henry Ford Hospital’s performance improvement department.

“It’s a very good learning opportunity,” he said.

According to Szczesiul, the hospital is extremely complex and at an early stage of Lean implementation. He reports to Greg Boos, a Six Sigma master black belt.

Involved in a wide cross section of projects, Szczesiul has assisted in observation, gathering information, conducting surveys and data entry. He has been involved in projects that aim to bridge the silos within the hospital, including one involving the interaction between out-patient oncology and the hospital pharmacy department.

Hilliard said that he would like to use his degree to help businesses save time and money as well as retain employees, resulting in a better economy.

His advice to other students interested in focusing their integrative studies on Lean is to take as many Lean classes as they can and learn how they can apply Lean principles in business.

For more information about the BIS program, visit www.oakland.edu/bis. For more information about Lean courses, visit www.oakland.edu/lean.
The Oakland University bachelor’s of integrative studies (BIS) program offers students the unique opportunity to customize their degree specifically to meet their career goals.

Created by Melanie Zynel (mczynel@oakland.edu) on Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Modified by Rachel Zynel (rezynel@oakland.edu) on Friday, January 20, 2012
Article Start Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2010