Smeal Update: April 2, 2021

April Diversity Taskforce Programs Highlight Food Insecurity and Pride Month

In April, the Smeal Diversity Taskforce will offer learning opportunities on the topics of poverty, food insecurity, and the LGBTQ experience at Penn State.

  • Broke, the Game Learning Lunch, April 15, noon – 1 p.m. Players will navigate life as a farmer, single parent, undocumented immigrant, and others who experience financial inequity and systemic poverty. These issues affect our students, faculty, and staff members, and they intersect in complex ways with class, gender, race, and disability.  By increasing our empathy and understanding of what it is like to be poor, we can be better educators, mentors, researchers, and colleagues. For more information, visit Broke, the game.
  • LGBTQ+ Student Voice Panel, April 8, noon – 1 p.m.: Moderated by Eric Duran, program coordinator for the Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, this panel will feature three Penn State Students who are LGBTQ+ or allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Panelists will share their perspectives and provide education on terminology and identities in the LGBTQ+ community. Smeal faculty and staff will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the panelists. Check your inbox for an Outlook invitation that includes a Zoom link to participate.
  • Learning Sessions: The LGBTQ+ Experience, April 22 at 10 am and April 27 at 2 pm. -- Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues, including history, the American public’s changing attitudes, the importance of pronouns, and more. The session will run twice on Zoom for 60 minutes as a live discussion. Look for an invitation next week.

Smeal post-pandemic return-to-work survey

As the University works to establish thoughtful, comprehensive strategies to return to our workplaces post-pandemic, we are asking for your feedback in a number of areas. This 10-minute survey is intended to assess your preferences as you think about the post-pandemic period when in-person work is deemed to be generally safe for everyone (e.g., what does 2022 onward look like?).  We are primarily interested in understanding desires and concerns of employees who were not in a remote work arrangement prior to the pandemic. All responses are anonymous. Please complete the survey by April 5.

Accomplished female business leaders headline Powerful Women conference 

Registration is under way for the 2021 Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference, scheduled to be held virtually on April 15-16. The event, which is hosted by the Penn State Smeal College of Business and its student-run Women in Business organization, will commemorate its 12th year with five accomplished speakers, valuable networking opportunities and engaging breakout sessions. Read the story. 

Welcomes and farewells

Welcome to Benjamin Milliron, who transferred from undergraduate education to the Smeal RIIT Group as a database specialist.

Farewell and best wishes to Matt Soroka, who transferred from Smeal Professional Graduate Programs to Penn State World Campus.

Ask the Dean open for your questions

Send your questions to We’ll do our best to provide answers in a video to be included in an upcoming Smeal Update.

Do you know someone who rocks? Nominate them!

Each month the Smeal Staff Advisory Committee names a You Rock! Award recipient. You can nominate a co-worker for the You Rock! Award online.

The Smeal Community Weekly Poll

Are you ready to go in the morning or do you work best at night? Complete this week's poll and share! Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Next week at Smeal

Tarriff Center Webinar (6 p.m. Tuesday)

The next Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility webinar is titled “Living Our Values: Global Implications.” Panelists with international experience will examine how shared values are applied in different cultural contexts and offer insights on topics such as minimizing ethical complications due to differing cultural norms. Register at

Jaffe Real Estate Lecture (2 p.m. Tuesday)

Abdullah Yavas, the Robert E. Wangard Real Estate Chair at the University of Wisconsin and a former member of the Penn State Smeal College of Business faculty, will deliver via Zoom the inaugural lecture in the Austin J. Jaffe Real Estate Lecture Series. Online registration is required.

Question from faculty

How can I respond to students who are in need of support while also attending to my own needs?

The Red Folder initiative is a guide to help faculty, staff, and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State. The Red Folder is designed to provide a supportive framework and clear set of steps for referrals. Units within the university can request a training from CAPS on the Red Folder via the CAPS outreach request form.

As a faculty member, advising and supporting students who are overwhelmed with the stress of the pandemic and other stressful situations can be emotionally draining. A document, developed by Health Advocate, provides tips for handling emotional fatigue and practicing good self-care. More information about the services Health Advocate provides is available here.