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Academic Programs and Courses

Oakland University's Schools of Business Administration, Engineering and Computer Science, and Education and Human Services are involved in the curriculum to teach Lean learning practices.

The philosophy behind Lean learning curricula focuses on how businesses are seeking graduates who not only possess the skills and knowledge associated with a degree but also have a firm grasp and background in business practices to provide direct value to the customer and give their organizations a competitive edge.

The application of Lean learning principles, systems and practices has proven to be one of the most successful approaches to transforming an organization to world-class levels, but this is not accomplished overnight or with short-term remedies.

It starts with the ability to think in a Lean way. And what better place to introduce Lean learning than through a university setting in thriving Oakland County.

Oakland University now offers a Graduate Certificate in Lean Leadership.

Student Projects
Undergraduate and graduate students implement Lean principles and practices through student projects in Lean classes. Students working individually or in teams use Lean tools (i.e. process and value stream mapping, kaizen events, Lean assessments) to develop and provide performance solutions for companies.

Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to work in summer paid internships that will greatly enhance personal resumes and create employment opportunities. The Pawley Lean Institute has partnered with various organizations that participate in the summer internship program. An opportunity to implement Lean principles and practices in a business environment to provide solutions for organizations.

Student Projects/Internships provide a significant enhancement to the student learning experience including:

  • A learning environment using student projects, co-ops or internships
  • Providing an environment where students and faculty conduct research and collect data
  • Have student and faculty team assess the need and design as well as develop and implement a performance solution to a problem
  • Kaizen a process or product and provide improvement solutions
  • Participating in a real-world Lean implementation project
  • Experience using Lean principles, practices and tools

For more information, contact the Pawley Institute at [email protected].

Coursework in Multidisciplinary Approach

Oakland University coursework includes a variety of coursework to support Lean from the business, engineering and education and human services including:

POM 3000 - Survey of Operational Management

Course introduces students to the operation of both manufacturing and service organizations. Topics included are capacity planning, facility location and layout, production control and scheduling, and quality assurance.

POM 3430 - Operational Management

Study of operations of manufacturing and service organizations including introduction to operational design and control issues, production control and scheduling, and quality assurance.

POM 4400 - Process Management

Course introduces quality management as it relates to operations management. Specific concepts, decisions, and quantitative analysis techniques encountered in quality management are highlighted.

POM 4480 - Project Management

Coursework examines project selection, project plan elements including state of work, scope statements, budget, role of project manager, leadership style, schedule development, and risk management. Project monitoring and control as well as project termination is examined as well.

HRD 3600 - Lean Principles and Practices in Organization

Focuses on the application of systems theory as it relates to lean implementation on the human component of an organization.

HRD 4600 - Lean Kaizen in Organizations

A comprehensive learn/do experience on how successful Lean Kaizens are conducted. Focus on Lean philosophy, tools and techniques, teambuilding, methodology, organization change, and presentation/facilitation.

HRD 4610 - Lean Green Belt

Taken in conjunction with HRD 304, HRD 404 or POM 480. Students who achieve a 3.0 GPA or higher in one of these courses and successfully completes the required field experiences, case analysis, and assessments will earn a Lean Green Belt Certificate of Completion.

ISE 4483 - Production Systems and Workflow Analysis (Engineering students only)

Design issues to control the flow of material in manufacturing systems from forecast to finished product. Topics include planning and disaggregation, inventory control, MRP, JIT, scheduling, project planning and resources balancing, lean principles, supply chain, and facilities planning.

ISE 4484 - Flexible and Lean Manufacturing Systems (Engineering students only)

Technologies and concepts that make manufacturing systems flexible: CAM, Group Technology, Computer Numerically Controlled machining, robotics, material transport, lean manufacturing, etc.

ISE 4485 - Statistical Quality Analysis (Engineering students only)

Fundamentals of statistical quality control, control charts for variable and attribute data, statistical tolerance and sampling plans. Fundamental of design of experiments and applications to product/process design.

ISE 5581 - Lean Applications and Application (Engineering Graduate Class)

Prepares students with knowledge and skills related to the understanding of lean theory, rules/principles, concepts, tools and supporting systems based upon interdisciplinary perspectives and instruction. Coursework is focused on applying Lean principles in any operational setting. Focus will include sustainable process improvement in an organization, applying tools and techniques of continuous improvement including Six-Sigma, improving organizational performance, fundamentals of Lean and Continuous Improvement, and utilizing Value Stream Mapping for operational excellence.



  • Benefit from interdisciplinary principles and concepts that promote Lean thinking
  • Learn from theory combined with practice
  • Expanded capability with Lean thinking concepts and interdisciplinary principles


  • Participate in internships, research or applied learning


  • Better prepare new professionals to succeed in the workplace
  • Practical underpinning for theory-based education
  • Increase marketability



  • Create academic programs to reflect systems paradigm and higher order learning
  • Provide additional teaching mechanism through Lean understanding


  • Advance Lean knowledge
  • Participate in joint research and publications
  • Develop new courses in Lean manufacturing


  • Incorporate Lean learning into existing applicable curricula
  • Mentor and coach students



  • Gain and share knowledge
  • Collaboration and benchmarking opportunities
  • Communication through workshops, conferences or seminars


  • Leverage cutting-edge knowledge


  • Future employees who better meet industry and business needs
  • Corporate partners who utilize and gain benefits from student/faculty participation in improvement activities



  • Provide interdisciplinary network and curricula that transcends siloed learning
  • Provide integrative systems-based learning


  • Endowed scholarships for study of Lean manufacturing and learning


  • Advisory board participation
  • Increased enrollment
  • Familiarity with needs of industry

Lean Management HRD Minor

Any student can obtain a Lean Minor within the HRD curriculum by successfully completing the following coursework:

HRD Core Courses

  • HRD 3510 - Principles of Leadership
  • HRD 4200 - Change Processes
  • HRD 3210 - Group/Team Development and Leadership

Total Core Credits: 12 credits

Lean Management Minor Courses

  • HRD 3600 - Lean Principles and Practices in Organizations
  • HRD 4600 - Lean Kaizen in Organizations
  • HRD 4610 - Lean Green Belt

Total Lean Management Minor Credits: 22 credits

POM Major – Lean and Quality Specialization

Minimum of 23 Credits

This specialization focuses on the complementary and interdependent subjects of Lean and Quality Management. This specialization examines strategies pursued order to attain objectives including productivity enhancement, waste reduction, and quality improvements. The set of courses comprising this specialization emphasize organizational efforts toward a customer-driven philosophy for organization-wide continuous improvement efforts.

Required for OM Major:

  • POM 3430 - Operations Management (4)
  • POM 3990 - Achieve III - Operations Management (0)

Required for Lean and Quality Specialization:

  • POM 4990 - Operations Analytics (3)
  • POM 4400 - Process Management (3)
  • POM 4430 - Operations Planning and Control (3)
  • POM 4900 - Lean Kaizen in Organizations (4)
  • ACC 3200 - Managerial and Cost Accounting II (3)

Choose one (1) from the list of electives:

  • POM 4350 – Service Operations Management (3)
  • POM 4420 – Supply Chain Management (3)
  • POM 4480 - Project Management (3)
  • POM 4900 – Procurement and Global Sourcing (3)
  • QMM 4400 – Management Science (3)
  • QMM 4520 – Forecasting (3)

The School of Education and Human Services (SEHS) has aligned its Ed.D in Organizational Leadership Program with the Lean Leadership Graduate Certificate. 

What is a cognate?
The Cognate is a minimum of 20 credits that provide an intellectual context for the field placement work of a student enrolled in the Ed.D. Program. The cognate requirement may be met by the successful completion of the Lean Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. Students may enter the Ed.D. Program with the cognate completed, or complete the cognate concomitantly with Ed.D. coursework.

Program Plan of Study

Fall Semester:
Introduction and Theories of Lean Leadership I HRD6801-4 credits
Lean Leadership Internship I HRD6950-2 credits

Winter Semester:
Introduction and Theories of Lean Leadership II HRD6802-4 credits
Lean Leadership Internship II HRD6951-2 credits

Summer I Semester:
Methods of Lean Leadership I HRD6803-4 credits

Summer II Semester:
For the Ed.D. Cognate only: Methods of Lean Leadership II HRD 6804-4 credits

For additional information on the graduate certificate or Ed.D. program, visit the websites below:

Pawley Lean Institute

Pawley Hall, Room 460K
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-4542