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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

Michael Urick

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

Recent Posts

Waiting to Be a Leader

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, May 10, 2021 @ 12:05 PM

There’s a song in “The Lion King” called “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” In the song, Simba, the main protagonist, shares his eagerness to take over the leadership of Pride Rock. But Simba is not quite ready to lead yet. He must first grow and learn more. I believe that Saint Vincent teaches our students how to mature into effective and influential decision-makers.

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Popular Culture and Research

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 @ 08:04 AM

In my very first blog that I wrote here six years ago, I talked about my views on using popular culture in the classroom. Now, many classes later, things have come full circle and I will launch the “Exploring Effective Leadership Practices Through Popular Culture” book series through Emerald Publishing this month. I am excited to serve as the series editor and also author of the first two books in this series (the first will be about leadership in the “Star Wars” franchise and the second in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories). My approach to using popular culture in writing is much the same as it is in the classroom. It follows this general model:

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Why I Love to Teach

Posted by Michael Urick on Tue, Mar 9, 2021 @ 06:03 AM

I’m now in my sixth year of writing this monthly blog and I can’t believe it’s been that long! Time surely has gone by quickly and part of the reason for this might be related to the old expression that “time flies when you are doing something you love.” I love teaching and I have been happy to have been doing it in some capacity for more than 15 years total and at Saint Vincent now for almost nine years. Teaching has truly made time seem to go by quickly.

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Learning and Trumpet Improvisation

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Feb 10, 2021 @ 10:02 AM

My field of study is organizational behavior. Even though my field is not education, researchers in my field still explore concepts related to learning, especially in studies that examine knowledge transfer and knowledge management at work (Nonaka, 2005). People learn differently. How people learn depends in part on the type of knowledge that they receive, but it also depends on personal trends on how individuals experience information.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 @ 10:01 AM

Let’s face it – 2020 has been a tough year for many people. And so, I’m sure that many people are looking forward to 2021 and hoping that this coming year is better.

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick

Ebenezer Scrooge: A Case Study in Immoral Management

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Dec 2, 2020 @ 09:12 AM

In my December 2019 blog, I discussed how Santa Claus uses the management style of operational excellence to travel around the world on Christmas Eve. In keeping with the holiday theme for my December 2020 blog, I will talk about a businessperson who manages an organization and who is often associated with this season: Ebenezer Scrooge.

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, Faculty Blog, mike urick, Dr. Mike Urick

Interactions During COVID-19

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Nov 11, 2020 @ 14:11 PM

It is obvious that there have been a lot of challenges confronting people around the world during the pandemic. One specific challenge of COVID that impacts many people is a decreased ability to communicate.

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Topics: Saint Vincent, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, covid 19

Chilling Stories of Saint Vincent College for Halloween

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Oct 5, 2020 @ 15:10 PM

Since it’s the month of Halloween, I thought I would present some eerie myths of Saint Vincent in this installment of my blog. I recall hearing a lot of legends and ghost stories surrounding Saint Vincent College when I was a student here many years ago. In fact, one rumor that spread around my friends stated that SVC was the third most haunted college campus in America. This seems like a very specific number for an attribute that I don’t think can possibly be measured accurately, but this was a story going around at that time.

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Myths about Operational Excellence

Posted by Michael Urick on Fri, Sep 4, 2020 @ 10:09 AM

Operational Excellence (OE) is a management philosophy that focuses on improvement, problem solving, and waste reduction in organizations. A strong focus on this philosophy is not too common at many academic institutions and so Saint Vincent is lucky to offer this unique perspective at the undergraduate (minor) and graduate (OE emphasis in the MS in Management) levels. Those schools that do focus on OE tend to have programs in the engineering departments. At Saint Vincent, ours resides in the business department. A reason for this difference is that our program is more focused on people and culture as well as implications of OE throughout an organization.

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Topics: Michael Urick, MSMOE, Saint Vincent, Operational Excellence, SVC faculty, blog, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog

Reflections on an Early Start to the Semester

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Aug 3, 2020 @ 10:08 AM

In a blog that I wrote in September 2016, I discussed why fall is my favorite season. Reflecting on my sentiments from four years ago and thinking about this upcoming semester at Saint Vincent, fall still remains my favorite time of the year though this semester will definitely feel different than prior years for a variety of reasons.

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, Saint Vincent, blog, Faculty Blog, svc blog, fall semester

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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