Center of excellence

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The Auburn Performing Arts Center, Julie and Hal Moore Center for Excellence at the Auburn High School (Alabama) is focused on performing arts.

A center of excellence (COE) is a team, a shared facility or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training for a focus area. Due to its broad usage and vague legal precedent, a "center of excellence" in one context may have completely different characteristics from another. The focus area might be a technology (e.g. Java), a business concept (e.g. BPM), a skill (e.g. negotiation) or a broad area of study (e.g. women's health). A center of excellence may also be aimed at revitalizing stalled initiatives.[1] The term may also refer to a network of institutions collaborating with each other to pursue excellence in a particular area.[2] (e.g. the Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science).


Within an organization, a center of excellence may refer to a group of people, a department or a shared facility. It may also be known as a competency center or a capability center. Stephen Jenner and Craig Kilford, in Management of Portfolios, mention COE as a coordinating function which ensures that change initiatives are delivered consistently and well, through standard processes and competent staff.[3] In technology companies, the center of excellence concept is often associated with new software tools, technologies or associated business concepts such as Service-oriented architecture or business intelligence.[4][5]


In academic institutions, a center of excellence often refers to a team with a clear focus on a particular area of research; such a center may bring together faculty members from different disciplines and provide shared facilities.[6]


In the healthcare sector, the term often refers to a center that provides sufficient and easily accessible medical services to patients.[7]


  1. ^ Mark O. George (2010). The lean six sigma guide to doing more with less. John Wiley and Sons. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-470-53957-6.
  2. ^ Tarek M. Khalil; L. A. Lefebvre; Robert McSpadden Mason (13 August 2001). Management of technology: the key to prosperity in the third millennium : selected papers from the ninth International Conference on Management of Technology. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-08-043997-6. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. ^ Stephen Jenner; Craig Kilford; Office of Government Commerce (January 2011). Management of Portfolios. The Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-11-331294-8.
  4. ^ Eric A. Marks (2008). Service-oriented architecture governance for the services driven enterprise. John Wiley & Sons. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-470-17125-7.
  5. ^ James A. Obrien. Management Information Systems (Special Indian ed.). McGraw-Hill Education (India). p. 315. ISBN 978-0-07-062003-2.
  6. ^ National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Materials Science and Engineering: Forging Stronger Links to Users (2000). Materials science and engineering: forging stronger links to users. National Academies Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-309-06826-0.
  7. ^ Farmer, Paul. 2001. The Major Infectious Diseases in the World -- To Treat or Not to Treat? N Engl J Med 345 (3): 209

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