Smeal Update: March 19, 2021

A message of support to our Asian and Asian-American Colleagues

I want to take this opportunity to express my support for our Asian and Asian-American students, faculty members, and staff members amid the recent spate of violence, including the tragic killings in Atlanta on Tuesday evening. As was stated in Penn State Today yesterday, there remain many questions about the circumstances that contributed to the deaths of eight individuals. However, the sense of loss and anxiety that accompanies such situations is unquestionably deep and profound.

Our Asian and Asian-American community members enrich our lives, work, and community in ways too numerous to count. We steadfastly affirm these trusted friends and colleagues and extend our deepest condolences to all who have been impacted by these despicable acts of violence.

About your safety in the Business Building

On Wednesday, we learned through the University Park Timely Warning system that a sexual assault was reported to University Police earlier that day. The report indicated that the incident took place on March 15, at approximately 4:30 p.m. in a restroom in the Business Building.

Since news of this incident broke, several individuals have expressed concern about their safety in the building.

Please know that the safety of our community remains our top priority. University Police is investigating the incident with the information they have been provided by a third-party source, and officers have increased their patrols in and around the building.

If you participate in in-person classes in the Business Building, please consider the following personal safety tips:

  • If possible, travel in groups of people.
  • If you are unable to travel in a group and feel unsafe, arrange for an employee with University Police and Public Safety to accompany you to your on-campus destination through Penn State's Safe Walk service at (814) 865-WALK. This service is available dusk to dawn.
  • Keep your cell phone with you at all times and dial 911 if you feel threatened. If you do not have a mobile phone with you, be aware of the blue light poles, which are located across the campus and can connect you to the University Police, if necessary.
  • Always report any suspicious or unusual activity you may observe in your day to day routine.

At this point, the details of the information are limited, and University Police is hoping that more information will emerge to aid its investigation in the coming days.

Jamie Campbell and Megan Marshall to speak at Voices

Smeal’s Jamie Campbell, assistant dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs, and Megan Marshall, business core administrator in undergraduate education, will each speak at the fifth annual “Voices: The Share Your Story Showcase.” Approximately 20 storytellers will share their experiences in group conversations. Voices is an innovative experience focused on creating dialogue to challenge prejudices and stereotypes. Read the story.

Management faculty seeking participants for research study

Carolyn Dang, assistant professor of organizational behavior and Cook Fellow in Ethics, and Aparna Joshi, Arnold Family Professor of Management, are seeking participants to complete a study on organizational engagement. The study asks participants for input on some important issues facing employees’ engagement in organizations today. Participants will be compensated for their participation. More information can be found online.

Smeal student leaders orchestrate Undergraduate Professional Development Business Conference

Penn State Smeal students recently had the opportunity to discuss professional development with student leaders across the region at the inaugural Undergraduate Professional Development Business Conference led by Smeal Student Council Vice President Michael Errichetti. Read the story.

Consider nominating someone for a Smeal staff award

Our staff members play an integral part in the success that Smeal enjoys and we like to recognize their contributions to the college. Each year the Smeal Staff Award Committee evaluates nominations for awards in five categories:

  • Customer Service Award
  • RISE Above Staff Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Outstanding Staff Award
  • Staff Sustainability Award

Nominate a staff member today, or visit the Smeal Intranet for more information. Email Rebecca Cianci at if you have any questions. 

Smeal in the News

Smeal faculty member's paper mentioned in Bloomberg article

A paper titled “The Rate of Return on Real Estate” co-authored by Eva Steiner, associate professor of real estate, was referenced in a recent op-ed on regarding Keynes’s Theory of Property. 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.

Know someone who rocks? Nominate them!

Each month the Smeal Staff Advisory Committee names a You Rock! Award recipient. The March honoree is Michael Hayward, a programmer/analyst in the RIIT Group. Congratulations, Michael! 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 seasons. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Next week at Smeal

Smeal Diversity Enhancement Programs Speaker Series (6 p.m. Tuesday)

Susan L. Taylor, founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and the former editor of Essence magazine, will speak virtually at 6 p.m. March 23. Taylor’s talk is part of the Smeal Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs Speaker Series. The event is free and open to everyone, but pre-registration is required.

"Gender Equity" Program (2 p.m. Tuesday)

Sponsored by the Smeal Diversity Task Force, the next DEI Learning Group session will take place at 2 p.m. on March 23. The session will focus on the bias and inequality that women face in the workplace.  All gender identities are welcome to this discussion, and men are encouraged to attend. Smeal community members may use this Zoom link to attend (password: 613). Be sure to log in via your PSU Zoom account.

Alumni Career Services Lifelong Learning Webinar (Noon Wednesday)

The next ACS Lifelong Learning Webinar, titled “Food Supply Chain Resilience – Reflections on Availabillity and Access” will be held at noon Wednesday. Due to the pandemic, an extraordinary level of stress has been placed on those that produce, process, and deliver what we eat while reliable access to food is physically and economically disrupted for millions. The fight against food insecurity, during this crisis and beyond, requires identifying and addressing risks that threaten both availability and access to food. Felisa Higgins, associate dean for undergraduate education and clinical professor in supply chain, explores the threats to food supply chain resilience underscored by the current public health crisis and the challenges of matching availability with access. Register online.

Integrity Advocates Spring 2021 Professional Integrity Webinar (5:30 p.m. Wednesday)

The Smeal Integrity Advocates will host a webinar titled “Truthfulness in the Recruiting Process” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. They will be joined by panelists representing some of Smeal's Corporate Partners — EY, Johnson & Johnson, Clark Associates, Dick’s Sporting Goods — and the Business Career Center. Register online.

Questions from faculty

I am in penultimate year of the probationary period. By what date do I need to accept the one-year extension to the probationary period due to COVID-19.

April 1 is the deadline for tenure-line faculty in the penultimate year of their probationary period to accept a one-year extension to their probationary period due to COVID-19. By completing the online form “Confirmation of Extension of the Probationary Period Due to COVID-19, ” the faculty member’s probationary period will be extended by one year. Detailed information is available here

Where is the University conducting its random COVID-19 testing?

As of March 1, the University is conducting random testing of between 1% and 2% of the University’s population of students and employees living, learning or working on campus as well as those who access campus. At University Park, random testing is conducted at the Mount Nittany Club in Beaver Stadium and at 101 North Atherton Street, the former FedEx Office (Kinko’s) building.