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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

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

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

Teamwork, Collective Memory and Jethro Tull

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 14:01 PM

When do teams begin and end? We see team membership change all the time, whether we’re talking about sports or a workgroup. My favorite baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates.  As anyone that follows the team knows, they have had quite a bit of turnover in players (for example the recent unfortunate trade of Andrew McCutchen, one of my favorites), yet they remain the Pirates. This team did not end when McCutchen left. Nor did it begin when he joined their ranks. In other words, the existence of a team can and likely will continue even when membership changes. I can think of several work teams that I’ve been a part of, including in my role as director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program here at Saint Vincent, where members leave the team and new members come on board, all while the team continues along in its purpose. 

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Topics: Operational Excellence, organizational culture, management, saint vincent professor, st. vincent professor, Dr. Mike Urick, Andrew McCutchen, organizational behavior, Jethro Tull, Master of Science in Management

Three Paradoxes of Organizational Leadership

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 @ 15:02 PM

A paradox is something unexpected – a phenomenon that, at its surface, may seem counterintuitive or even illogical. Many theories within my discipline (organizational behavior) could be considered to be paradoxical in nature, including concepts related to leadership. In this month’s blog, I explore three paradoxes of leadership.

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Topics: Michael Urick, Operational Excellence, leadership, organizational leadership, paradoxes, Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Goals Can Guide Your Career in the Direction You Want

Posted by Michael Urick on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 15:10 PM

In a previous blog, I’ve written about the importance of mentorship and how mentors can help mentees achieve career goals. Since that blog hinted at the importance of goals, I thought that it might be useful to talk about goals more specifically in this blog.

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Topics: Michael Urick, Operational Excellence, goals, achievement

The Key to Workplace Success

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 @ 10:06 AM

How do you define workplace success? For me, success is having a job that is fun, motivating and interesting. It’s also about finding the right “fit” at work so that I feel that I am doing something valuable for others. I am very lucky that I have a job that I enjoy a lot, but I know that there are some individuals who are not in similar situations.

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Topics: career advice, Michael Urick, mentor, mentoring, Operational Excellence, The Intern, mentorship

The Saint Vincent Approach to Graduate Business Education - What is Operational Excellence?

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:04 AM

In my last blog, I discussed some of the recent accomplishments and recognitions of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program. I also set out to explain the difference between this degree and the more traditional MBA. In this post, I’ll be looking at a deeper explanation of Operational Excellence and how it ties in with Saint Vincent and our Benedictine values.

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Topics: Laudato Si', Michael Urick, Graduate programs, MSMOE, OE, Dr. Hisker, business, Operational Excellence, The Benedictine Handbook

The Saint Vincent Approach to Graduate Business Education - Why Do We Offer an MSMOE?

Posted by Michael Urick on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 @ 16:04 PM

I have had the pleasure of directing the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program at Saint Vincent for the past two years. I am very proud of our students, faculty and the program in general. Over the past several months, our students and faculty have published or submitted research for consideration in some of the field’s top journals and conferences, we have had exceptional job placements for our students and graduates and the program was recently named as a “Top 50 Best Value Master’s in Management” program. We’ve grown enrollment in the program and have also provided students with immersive experiences such as overseas opportunities, a partnership with the University of Kentucky’s True Lean Center in its College of Engineering that can lead to certification, independent studies so that students can choose the direction of their learning and flexible hybrid learning options.

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Topics: Michael Urick, Graduate programs, MSMOE, business, MBA, Operational Excellence

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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