Smeal Update: August 7, 2020

Smeal Diversity Task Force commits to action items

The Diversity Task Force is working on a Diversity Statement that will be shared with the Smeal community in the fall semester. However, in the short term, it has committed to initiate some or all of the following steps:

  • Hire an outside firm to do an equity audit, which will examine our policies, and conduct listening sessions with students, staff, and faculty who are in the minority, including people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous groups, women, and more. 
  • Work with faculty to incorporate more examples of underrepresented groups in the classroom 
  • Examine our hiring and retention practices; create a recruiting & retention toolkit for leaders to support them in these efforts with a focus on diversity recruitment and retention best practices
  • Increase, reward, and highlight anti-racism and anti-oppression research 
  • Develop training programs for our students, faculty, and staff (and made available to alumni) that teach us how to be better allies to oppressed communities

Annual Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony canceled

Due to the regulations on in-person gatherings, and to further promote the health and safety of our faculty and staff, we have canceled the Annual Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony that was scheduled for Aug. 27.  We look forward to recognizing the 2020 and 2021 award recipients at a later date in 2021.    

Fundraising for Jeff Spearly memorial fund passes halfway point

The Smeal Undergraduate Education office has partnered with the Penn State and Smeal development teams to start a fundraiser to establish a permanent memorial at University Park honoring the legacy of Jeff Spearly. Recent donations have pushed the total raised beyond 60 percent of the goal. Those interested in donating can visit this online site.

Fall enrollment numbers encouraging so far

With nearly two weeks until classes start, Smeal’s fall enrollment numbers are encouraging. Applications for online Professional Graduate Programs are up 38 percent. The Penn State Online MBA Program will likely have a record intake. And, the incoming freshman class may be 10 percent larger than recent classes, which typically included around 800 students.

Some Frequently Asked Questions from PSU Faculty

Do I need to wear a mask when I am outside on campus

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between another person, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees and visitors are required to practice physical distancing and wear face masks/coverings at all times in campus buildings; outdoors when they cannot be physically distant from others; and whenever state or local laws require.

For the full response, please visit the article in Penn State Today.

Am I required to provide my course in an alternate delivery mode for students who cannot participate in the particular delivery mode designated for my course?

No, instructors are not required to provide courses in delivery modes other than the delivery mode designated for their course. Instructors should consider how students may make up missed work if students are out for short or lengthy periods of time.

For student expectations for in-person courses, review the in-person details page. Students are expected to attend all classes in-person. Instructors should follow Faculty Senate policy 42-27—Class Attendance, with some flexibility. If a window of absence is lengthy, instructors may need to consider additional flexibility.

Although instructors are not required to provide courses in delivery modes other than the one designated or prepare their courses in multiple delivery modes, they may be asked to consider alternative ways for students to participate, especially if students who have chosen Learn from Home options have no other course sections to choose from. Not all courses can be offered in a different mode than that originally scheduled.

You can read other FAQs related to Fall 2020 instruction on the Keep Teaching website’s FAQ page.

To obtain comprehensive, updated information at any time, please review: