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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog


Posted by Michael Urick on Fri, Sep 3, 2021 @ 13:09 PM

The first day of the Fall Semester is one of my most favorite days of the year. To me, it represents a fresh start. I love welcoming new students into my classes and can feel the excitement and energy in the air as I walk around campus. This year, however, is quite different for me. I am on sabbatical this fall. The first day of the semester came and went for me with little difference than any other day and certainly with less fanfare than usual for the start of the Fall Term.

While on sabbatical, I’ll still be quite busy even though I won’t be teaching. I’m under contract to author two books, and so I’ll be diligently writing them over the next few months. I’m also working on determining the feasibility of putting together a simulation lab for our Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program. And, over the next few weeks, I’ll be guest-editing a special issue of the Measuring Business Excellence journal. And of course, I’ll still be attending meetings for my roles as a graduate director, member of the Faculty Council and within the McKenna school.

Even though I had more than enough to stay busy during my sabbatical, I had planned to do some traveling to present my research and talk about my two books that came out last Spring. My travels almost brought me to England (to present at Oxford, no less, which is one of my life goals) and throughout the US. But unfortunately, due to Covid remaining a threat, those have all been changed to virtual events. So, I’ll be presenting at a half dozen online sessions from the comfort of my couch or office instead.

The best thing about no classes or travel is that my schedule can be a lot more flexible, and I’m so excited to spend some extra time with my daughter and wife. I’ll miss having the opportunity to travel, and I’ll miss teaching, but I know that working on the projects I have lined up over the next few weeks and months will make me a better teacher when I return to classes in January.

Of course, I’ll still be writing my blogs while on sabbatical, too. For now, I wish everyone returning to campus healthiness and a great learning experience, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

In the meantime, make sure to keep in touch with me to let me know how you’re doing! Send me an email at michael.urick@stvincent.edu, or say hi on social media on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Dr. Mike Urick

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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