Smeal Update: February 19, 2021

A message for the Smeal community

A recent spate of Zoom-bombings serves as another stark reminder of the trauma that our students, staff, and faculty of minority communities endure daily. Within the past several weeks, the Black Caucus and the University’s Gender Equity Center were the targets of individuals spewing hate-filled speech and imagery. Read the entire message.

Tips and Tools for Preventing and Managing Zoom-bombing

In a recent Penn State News Story, students, faculty and staff were reminded of several resources available for avoiding and managing Zoom-bombing. Members of the Smeal community are encouraged to review the following tips and tools to safeguard against such situations.

Smeal academic integrity module now available on Canvas

To help with integrating academic integrity in remote and online courses, Director of Honor and Integrity Michelle Darnell has created a new student-oriented module that can be easily imported into Canvas sites via Canvas Commons. This module, tailored specifically for Smeal, enables students to sign our Honor Code and access resources that explain what academic integrity is and why it is important. Assessments to confirm students' basic understanding of academic integrity, and a question you may add to the beginning of any quiz as an integrity pledge, are also included. To access the module, sign into Canvas, click on the Commons link in the left menu and then go to the module titled “Academic Integrity Resources Penn State Smeal.” Click the “import/download” button to integrate it into a course of your choice. Once the module is imported into a Canvas course, the instructor or designer can unpublish any element within the module, or otherwise edit the module to better suit instructor needs.

More options available for flexible spending accounts

Federal legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives employees more flexibility in how they utilize unused 2020 and 2021 Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account monies previously elected for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses. Read the Penn State Today story or visit the human resources website for details and make your desired changes in Workday. 

Annual compliance training to be completed by March 15

All faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and post docs must complete the annual compliance training by March 15. You received an email from the Office of Ethics & Compliance on Feb. 1 with instructions to complete the training through the Learning Resource Network (LRN). It covers several ethics and compliance topics, including misconduct reporting and retaliation, discrimination and sexual misconduct, research-related compliance, and records maintenance, and is a critical component in continuing to promote the University’s and Smeal’s ethical culture and values. You can also read more about it in this Penn State News story. Training has been updated to be more engaging and accessible. It takes approximately one hour and can now be completed over multiple sessions.

Smeal in the News 

Penn State Smeal Resident MBA Program improves rankings

The Smeal College of Business has continued its trend of upward trajectory in both The Economist’s and the Financial Times’ 2021 MBA rankings. Read the story.

Penn State launches online graduate program in taxation

A new graduate program from Penn State can help tax professionals gain the expert knowledge they need to advise corporate and individual clients on their tax obligations. Read the Penn State News story.

Ask the Dean open for your questions

We share information about the college in our weekly Smeal Community Zoom sessions, but sometimes there isn’t time to discuss an issue fully. To address those topics, we’re introducing Ask the Dean. 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

The Staff Advisory Committee, in an effort to engage the Smeal community, is conducting a weekly poll. This week's survey evaluates visual perceptions. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom. 

Next Week at Smeal

Alumni Insights (noon Tuesday)

Join a virtual discussion between Dean Charles H. Whiteman and Sherise Curd, director of human resources at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for PointNext Technology Services Business. Curd focuses on people strategies that engage and retain a high performance workforce, accelerate and sustain a diverse and inclusive culture, and transformations to drive business growth. She will talk about her career experiences, industry trends, and perspectives on leadership. Register at: 

Questions from faculty and staff

What should I do if I’m showing symptoms of COVID-19 or think I’ve been exposed?

Penn State employees who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or think they’ve been exposed should notify their supervisor, leave work immediately or remain at home, and contact their personal health care provider for a phone assessment. Your supervisor will contact Occupational Medicine at or call 814-863-8492 on your behalf. Occupational Medicine will follow up with additional information, based on your situation. Occupational Medicine also will contact your supervisor and the University’s Absence Management unit on your behalf to inform them about when you will be out of the office and when you may be able to return.

Read the full FAQ online.