The University of St. Thomas

School of Engineering

Mini-Masters in Performance Excellence

Mini-Masters in Performance Excellence

Mini Master in

Strategies for Achieving Performance Excellence

General Information

Everyone wants to make improvements so things work effectively and efficiently. Everyone wants to take the latest tool and make it work for them. Everyone wants to accomplish more with less. Everyone wants their systems and processes to deliver. Improvement opportunities seem endless.


Which are most important? Which projects should get top priority? What’s needed to support our strategy? Do all the projects add up to making our strategy become reality?


Strategies for Achieving Performance Excellence is based on proven methodologies that deliver outstanding results for  organizations.


It is presented as a Driver → System → Results model.


The DSR model provides a framework for better understanding your business -- and when and where to take action to improve results. The Mini Master in Strategies for Achieving Performance Excellence introduces an approach for developing “assertions” to make fuzzy goals or ambitions become objective and real. Further, the program teaches tools and techniques to not only guide the articulation of a desired “Future State” of behavior and performance. It goes further by defining the action steps to make it happen.


The DSR model is a tool that links your organization’s mission, vision, strategic plans, competitive positioning, and customer focus together as the Driver. People and processes form the System that actually designs, produces, and delivers products and services. And Results include not only financial results, but also customer, employee, and process results.


This course also connects the DSR model with the U.S. Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and offers insights to help position Six Sigma and Lean improvement tools, ISO9000, Shingo, quality management systems and other quality & continuous improvement tools such as Statistical Process Control (detailed training in tools such as SPC is not part of the class).


In effect, the DSR model is the brain, to identify which tools should be used to make changes happen.


The use of A3 tool methodology is also covered as a tactic to deploy strategic quality management in an organization. References from the teachings of quality notables such as Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Joseph M. Juran are linked to course material.


In addition to developing an understanding of how to guide and manage quality strategically, the course also helps to identify and prioritize the "right questions to ask" to guide and manage tactically.  Applying the course to real world situations should lead to improved results – financial results, customer results, employee results, and process results.


In the Mini Master curriculum, the two instructors are practitioners with over 70 years of business experience in manufacturing, customer service, banking, academia, medical products, and more. These two professionals explain what works, what doesn't work. This is from the perspectives of having "burnt fingers and scars" that taught them what's puffery and what actually works in the real world. Dr. John Fechter and Mr. Gary Floss have been leading, directing, and evaluating change programs since the early 1980s - working in the processes and working on the processes as U.S. national Baldrige Examiners, VPs at Fortune 500 companies, graduate course instructors, and business consultants.

They have refined the tools in 13+ years of teaching and using them with engineering and manufacturing graduate students pursuing their Masters degrees in several fields of Engineering. They will share these tools and you will practice using them in real world situations during the Mini Master curriculum.

You'll learn to ask the questions that separate wishes from real project charters. You’ll learn how to use the words of your team members and executives to define what is truly needed. You’ll learn how to find where resistance exists and why – and how to remove it. You’ll learn how to make the incremental changes that make the lofty goal become reality.  You'll learn and get to practice developing a start to finish plan that can be carried through to results.

The Mini Master in Leading Strategic Quality Management is designed for senior executives, directors, managers, senior administrators, and others who are responsible for identifying and implementing strategy, and the changes that come with it.

Developed by Graduate Programs in the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas, this program awards Continuing Education Units (CEUs) instead of college credit. A certificate of completion and 4.2 CEUs are awarded to those who attend the three weeks of class sessions and independent/team projects.

In cooperation with Core Value Partners, the University of St. Thomas is planning a special session of the Mini Master in Strategies for Achieving Performance Excellence course for international executives from outside the USA. The course date has not yet been finalized, but is planned for summer 2014 and the 2014/2015 academic year. Registration details will be added to this page when firm dates have been scheduled.

Founded in 1885, the University of St. Thomas has established itself as one of the premier universities in Minnesota and the Midwest. The business-focused continuing education unit, which is now Executive Education and Professional Development, was created in 1957 by Bishop James Shannon and Peter F. Drucker. There are currently more than 7,000 students engaged in the Opus College of Business’s undergraduate, graduate, executive and professional education studies because they value the emphasis on career preparation and engaging in service to others.