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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

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

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

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

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

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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