Smeal Update: July 24, 2020

Updates from Smeal

EMBA Program in search of a new temporary home

The Smeal EMBA Program, which has been based in suburban Philadelphia at the Chubb Center in Lafayette Hill, needs to find a new base of operations this fall. The Chubb Center will not accept visitors until January at the earliest. EMBA staff are exploring new locations while the Chubb Center is closed.

Reminder: deadline nears for completing end-of-year reviews

Tamara Giluk, Smeal’s human resources strategic partner, reminds everyone that end-of-year reviews are to be completed by July 31. If you haven’t done so already, access Workday to complete the process.

Updates on Business Building projects

Matt Mooney, assistant dean for teaching, learning and technology, said that the HVAC system in the Business Building has been retrofitted with minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) 13 filters as a way to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Mooney also said that OPP crews will patch two cracks in the atrium floor where height disparities have created tripping hazards.

Saxbys slated to reopen during fall semester

Saxbys officials are working to fulfill Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and guidelines to facilitate a fall semester opening.

One more option for a gathering space

Smeal has arranged for a large tent to be erected in the Business Building meadow. For those who want the occasional option to meet outdoors for small non-instructional gatherings during fall semester, the tent will be available to be scheduled through the usual channels.

Did You Know?

Following the May 2020 commencement ceremony, there are now 95,000 living Smeal College of Business alumni.

Draft of Smeal strategic plan has been submitted

Smeal submitted a draft of its strategic plan to Old Main last Friday, two weeks ahead of schedule. After review by the University, the College will have a chance to revise the plan based on feedback.

Updates from Penn State

Many classes will feature at least partial in-person instruction

Despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, Penn State anticipates that about half of its classes across all campuses will have an in-person component this fall structured in a way that allows for social distancing in classes. Read the story.

Introducing a new webinar series for instructors and staff

The University is launching a webinar series intended to help Penn State instructors and staff prepare to support students returning to campus and learning from home this fall.”The Countdown to Fall: Student Support and Engagement Series” will be delivered from noon to 1 p.m. daily via Zoom, over three weeks beginning Monday. Read the story.

Questions from Faculty

Will the University provide information to faculty if a student in their class has a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Penn State will conduct contact tracing for faculty, staff, and students who test positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19. When a student tests positive for COVID-19, an email notification will be sent to faculty teaching in-person classes that mentions dates when the student cannot attend class due to a medical reason. When the student gives permission to share that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, the University will do so. In addition, the University will notify faculty teaching remote courses to assist with appropriate academic accommodations as needed, and a notification will be sent to confirm when a student can return to class.

When physical distancing is maintained in class, the faculty member and fellow students are not considered to be close contacts of a positive/presumed positive case and will not need to quarantine due to being in class together. An exception to this may be in a lab or other experiential environment where students are working together. In these cases, faculty should have students working in teams/pods that maintain physical distance from the other groups.

What do I do if a student who will be unable to participate for a period of time requests make-up work?

You may provide traditional make-up assignments (e.g., provide slides, offer office hour appointments, extend due dates, etc.) appropriate for the course and its designated delivery mode. Policy 42-27 on Class Attendance states, “Instructors also should provide, within reason, the opportunity to make up work for students who miss classes for other legitimate but unavoidable reasons. … it should be recognized that not all work can be ‘made-up’ and that absences can affect student performance in a class.”

Consider asking if the student is unable to participate in the whole course or in certain elements (e.g., cannot attend in-person sessions but can complete assignments on time). Try to identify simple ways to provide access to the elements that the student will miss, so there will be no need for make-up work. Instructors are not asked to create alternate ways to deliver course material; rather, they are asked to provide flexibility, within reason, on how students might achieve learning outcomes to students who unexpectedly cannot participate in part or all of a course for a period of time.

To read the full FAQ on this topic, please visit