Smeal Update: January 29, 2021

Sharing staff years of service milestones

We have two years of service milestones to share. Paul Kuchinski, network and information systems manager in the RIIT Group, celebrated 25 years on Jan. 9. Pam Royer, administrative support assistant in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, celebrated 5 years on Jan. 7.

Prudential’s Candace Woods named to Penn State Smeal Board of Visitors

Penn State alumna Candace Woods, senior vice president and chief actuary at Prudential Financial, Inc., recently accepted an invitation to join the Smeal Board of Visitors. Read the story.

Executive Insights on tap next Friday

The next edition of Executive Insights, offered in collaboration with the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, is planned for 11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5. Our guest will be Walter C. Rakowich, the former CEO of Prologis. Walt currently serves as chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees Audit and Risk Committee. He is also a member of the executive committee of Smeal’s Real Estate Advisory Board. Executive Insights will provide an opportunity to discuss lessons in Walt’s recently published book “Transfluence: How to Lead with Transformative Influence in Today’s Climates of Change.” The event is open to the public, but online registration is required.

Penn State HR announces 2021 holiday schedule

Penn State announced its 2021 holiday and winter break days Thursday in a Penn State News story. PSU HR is determining how Dec. 30 and 31 should be handled due to the days on which they fall. Since Christmas Day 2021 and New Year’s Day 2022 are on a Saturday, employees will receive holiday earned comp time for a scheduled day off (like we did for July 4, 2020). Because Dec. 30 and 31 fall on a Thursday and Friday, employees will need to use vacation or personal holiday for those days. PSU HR will confirm if you can use the holiday earned comp time from Christmas Day for one of those days later this year after they have a chance to review the policy.  Once PSU HR has made that clarification, we will make sure Smeal employees are aware of the decision.

Two undergraduate research deadlines approaching

We are always looking for ways to promote research among our undergraduate population, and deadlines are approaching for two excellent opportunities. The deadline for the 2021 Erickson Discovery Grant has been extended to Feb. 24. Erickson Grants support undergraduate student engagement in original research, scholarship, and creative work under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Please share this link — — with students. Also, the Undergraduate Exhibition is scheduled to be held virtually from April 14-16. The application deadline is March 21. Let students know that more information can be found at

Smeal in the News

Don Hambrick and Forrest Briscoe quoted in Business Insider

Don Hambrick, Evan Pugh University Professor & Smeal Chaired Professor of Management, and Forrest Briscoe, professor of management and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow, are quoted extensively in a story about senators who voted against certifying Joe Biden as president losing corporate funding. 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 asks about cell phone preference. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.


Do faculty and instructors need to have had a COVID-19 test before teaching in-person beginning Feb. 15?

Faculty and instructors who are teaching in-person beginning Feb. 15 do not have to have a COVID-19 test prior to returning to the classroom. Those who have travelled outside of Pennsylvania must follow Pennsylvania’s guidelines when returning to the Commonwealth; i.e., produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to returning or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or 7 days with a negative test on or after day 5 of quarantine. All employees who are working on campus will be subject to random surveillance testing during the spring semester.