Tennessee Tech's Business Dean Reappointed to National Quality Board

Each year, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes two or three U.S. companies for excellence in increasing quality and performance and improving competitiveness. Award winners are nominated by a select group of business and quality experts from around the country who rigorously evaluate the nominees' performance.

For the second consecutive year, that select group includes Tennessee Technological University's Robert Bell, dean of the College of Business Administration. Bell was recently reappointed to the Board of Examiners for the Baldrige Award.

The annual award is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Department of Commerce which aids U.S. industry through research and support services. Past recipients of the Baldrige Award include AT&T Consumer Communications Service, Eastman Chemical Company, Federal Express and Milliken and Company.

As an examiner, Bell evaluates award applications, conducts site visits and prepares feedback reports and recommendations for awards. On the state level, Bell is a charter member of the Board of Directors for Gov. Ned McWherter's Tennessee Quality Award, which was established in 1992 and modeled after the Baldrige Award.

"It's rewarding to help American businesses be more productive and to interact with the people leading the quality efforts across the nation," says Bell.

Bell also says serving on the national board has affected the way he teaches at Tennessee Tech. "I've restructured the graduate business course I teach using the Baldrige criteria for quality," says Bell. "Of course, we try to get all of our M.B.A. students comfortable with helping an organization in quality efforts. And each year when I go through training in Washington, D.C., for the Baldrige Award, I take what I've learned and train my students in the same concepts."

Baldrige Award winners are required to share information on their successful performance and quality strategies with other U.S. organizations, and members of the Board of Examiners contribute significantly to spread this information. The professional, trade, community and state organizations with which board members are associated present an ideal forum for the communication of new, successful management approaches.