Smeal Update: February 5, 2021

Accenture’s KC McClure named to Penn State Smeal Board of Visitors

Dean Charles H. Whiteman recently appointed Penn State Smeal College of Business alumna KC McClure, chief financial officer at Accenture, to the Smeal Board of Visitors. Read the story.

Mister Rogers Calls — Won’t you be my neighbor?

In a continued effort to increase a sense of community during these remote times, we are re-inviting you to participate in the February edition of Minster Rogers Calls. We had another great turnout in January. By clicking this link, you will be asked to select your affiliation within Smeal. You will then be randomly matched with another member of the Smeal Community and you both will receive a notification via email. The team members will then schedule a Zoom call for sometime within the following week, based on their availability. The only guideline for the Zoom call is that it should last about 30 minutes, and it is suggested you do not talk about work (other than a brief introduction). After this meeting, you may meet as often as you like, or participate in the next round of calls, in an effort to connect with additional members of our community. Please respond by Tuesday to participate in this round of calls.

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 number of living graduates clarified, updated

The Smeal Development and Alumni Relations Office along with The Office of Prospect Management and Analytics have recently fine-tuned their methodology for accurately counting living graduates of the Smeal College of Business. As of Jan. 1,  there are 86,298 (86K+) living Smeal alumni from all degree areas of the college. A new, updated number will be shared with the Smeal community on an annual basis each July. During the year, please feel free to reach out to Jen Crispell, director of alumni relations, for any specific information regarding alumni numbers.

Smeal in the News

Forrest Briscoe writes op-ed for NBC News THINK

Forrest Briscoe, professor of management and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow, wrote an op-ed that explores the pros and cons of employer-mandated vaccinations. Read the story.

Lisa Bolton featured in Q&A on

Lisa Bolton, professor of marketing and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow, was featured in a question-and-answer story explaining how consumers can take an evidence-based approach to making good financial decisions. Read the story.

Penn State Online MBA ranked No. 7 in U.S. News’ Best Online Programs rankings

The Penn State Online MBA, led by the internationally ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business, is No. 7 overall in U.S. News’ 2021 Best Online Programs rankings — marking the fifth consecutive year the program has ranked in the top 10. Read the 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 explores the sticky issue of peanut butter. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

News of importance for faculty


  • Penn State’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows ongoing results for all COVID-19 tests administered on campus since Dec. 19, 2020, for faculty, staff, and students.
  • All Penn State students at all locations are reminded that they must have a negative COVID-19 test result from a University-provided test on file prior to, and within 72 hours of, their return to their campus community.
  • transition week student communication document has been developed offering guidance and reminders for instructors as you navigate the transition from remote instruction back to the originally scheduled course mode. Faculty and instructors should be mindful of the fact that students may be in the process of traveling during the week of Feb. 8, and should urge students to be proactive in reaching out to them if they anticipate any conflicts such as moving into a residence hall during a scheduled exam time. Instructors should not change syllabi but are encouraged to be aware of extenuating circumstances that may prevent students from participating in class.
  • After considerable debate at its first meeting of the semester, the Penn State Faculty Senate voted to implement an optional, opt-in alternative grading system for the spring 2021 semester.
  • Gathering feedback from students at an early point in the semester helps gauge students’ learning and provides instructors with valuable data for making course adjustments. Students appreciate being asked for feedback, especially when instructors respond with changes to improve learning. Surveying students is one method for gathering feedback. PSU learning surveys specific to the four COVID instructional modes have been created for you to download into your Canvas course to collect student feedback on the learning modes. Click here for instructions on how to download them into your course and review other feedback options here. For information about other options for collecting midsemester feedback, see the Schreyer Institute’s Midsemester Feedback page.