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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

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

Who Do You Trust?

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 @ 11:07 AM

Some people seem to naturally elicit trust in others. If you do a search on the internet for trustworthy famous people, for example, you will find lists that include the likes of Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Betty White and James Earl Jones. Locally in Latrobe, hometown heroes Arnold Palmer and Fred Rogers are viewed as exemplars of trustworthiness. On the other hand, there are also many examples of people that some individuals might consider to be non-trustworthy, but I will not mention them here in order to focus more on the positive.

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

Ready To Rule: What Makes A Good Leader?

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Jun 1, 2020 @ 11:06 AM

While at home during the pandemic, I have been fortunate to be able to work on a few big projects related to the academic study of leadership (I am excited to share details of these projects soon). As I have been digging into the research on leadership, I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good leader.

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Topics: Saint Vincent, leadership, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog

Top Reasons Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Pursue Your Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence at Saint Vincent College

Posted by Michael Urick on Tue, May 5, 2020 @ 09:05 AM

I’ve had the privilege of directing Saint Vincent College’s Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program for nearly seven years. I want to share with you why I think now is a great time to pursue this degree.

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, Education, Michael Urick, Graduate programs, MSMOE, mike urick, Dr. Mike Urick, Master of Science in Management

Lenten Reflections During COVID-19

Posted by Michael Urick on Tue, Apr 7, 2020 @ 10:04 AM

I very rarely talk in my blog about current events but will make an exception this month. The COVID-19 global pandemic impacts each of us. First, I want to share my hope for a quick recovery for those who have contracted the virus. And I would like to express my sincere sympathies to all who are directly impacted by having lost a loved one to this disease. 

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, Michael Urick, blog, saint vincent professor, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog, lenten reflections, covid 19

The Goodness of People

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Mar 9, 2020 @ 12:03 PM

There has been a long tradition in the academic study of management that considers what makes people engage in work. In my sub-field of organizational behavior, this idea of motivation is one of the most important topics of research. The classic Theories X and Y (McGregor & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 1960) consider the nature of people when it comes to engaging in tasks.  

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Topics: Michael Urick, SVC faculty, saint vincent faculty, management, blog, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, theory, organizational behavior, svc blog

Recognizing Performance Helps Keep Gotham City Safe

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Feb 5, 2020 @ 14:02 PM

A person’s task performance is, in essence, how well she or he accomplishes the crucial functions of a role (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). This, of course, can be learning a concept for a student, serving the community in a positive way for a volunteer or doing a major job duty in the workplace for an employee. As someone who studies workplace behaviors, I can attest that it’s crucial for managers to recognize good employee performance.

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Topics: Michael Urick, Saint Vincent, saint vincent faculty, blog, saint vincent professor, Faculty Blog, mike urick, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog, performance

Operational Excellence in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 @ 12:01 PM

Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in the theater and really enjoyed it. I especially liked the scenes where Mr. Rogers (played well by Tom Hanks) referred back to the songs that I remembered on his show from my childhood. I have come to know these songs and other Neighborhood of Make-Believe songs well. My daughter loves the “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” show (produced by Fred Rogers Productions) and I enjoy the music because I like how several of the songs are slight updates of Mr. Rogers’ originals. My family and I listen to Daniel Tiger songs all the time – and in them I hear a lot of Operational Excellence (OE) principles. After listening to these songs, I believe that OE is alive and well in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. In this blog, I will share how some of the lyrics to Mr. Rogers’ and Daniel Tiger’s songs illustrate the OE philosophy.

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Topics: fred rogers, Saint Vincent College, SVC, Michael Urick, Daniel Tiger, Saint Vincent, Operational Excellence, blog, saint vincent professor, st. vincent professor, Faculty Blog, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog, Mr. Rogers

Santa Claus Practices Operational Excellence

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Dec 5, 2019 @ 15:12 PM

I believe in Santa Claus. And I believe that he practices Operational Excellence. After all, embracing Operational Excellence (OE) is the only way that he would be able to fly around the world delivering presents in one night!

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Topics: Saint Vincent College, SVC, Michael Urick, Operational Excellence, SVC faculty, blog, saint vincent professor, Faculty Blog, mike urick, Dr. Mike Urick, svc blog

What Keeps You Here

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Nov 11, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

I frequently hear comments from students that Saint Vincent feels like home to them. They want to stay. Even after graduation, many alumni long to reconnect with their alma mater whether it’s through homecoming events, alumni activities, donating, volunteering at the school or returning as an employee. I personally engaged in several of these including, most notably, the latter. After graduating from SVC, working in industry for a few years, studying for graduate degrees at two other institutions and ultimately moving out of state to begin my academic career, Saint Vincent called to me and I returned as an instructor. I am likely to stay here for a while unless something unexpected happens in life.

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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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