Smeal Update: May 1, 2020

Dear Smeal Community,

Welcome to another edition of the Smeal COVID-19 Update, which includes important information regarding the University’s response to the pandemic and the impact on Smeal.

Our Smeal Coronavirus FAQ page contains links to the University’s faculty/staff FAQs and other pertinent information.

I want to share some interesting observations from our Smeal Board of Visitors spring meeting, which we held virtually on Zoom. Please watch this video.

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University-sponsored domestic air travel suspended through June 30

  • All University-sponsored domestic air travel is suspended between now and June 30. Essential travel requests should be submitted by unit executives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones at provost@psu.eduand include a description of how the travel is mission critical. We strongly encourage minimizing campus-to-campus travel. Alternative forms of meeting, such as Zoom, are encouraged. For more up to date information, please visit

Congratulations are in order

  • Saurabh Bansal, associate professor of Supply Chain Management, has been selected as a Poets & Quants Top 40 Under 40 MBA Professor for 2020. Read the story.

Smeal in the news

  • Steve Tracey was quoted in a com story about the scarcity of disinfectant wipes and sprays in stores.

Next Smeal Community Zoom Session planned

  • As a reminder, the next Smeal Community Zoom Session has been planned for 11 a.m. – noon Monday. If you are able to attend, connect via this link:

New Smeal University Faculty Senators have been elected

  • Saurabh Bansal and Ed Babcock were recently elected as Smeal’s newest University Faculty Senators for 2020-24. Peter Iliev was elected an alternate for 2020-21. Current faculty senators and their terms include, John Liechty 2017-21, Lisa Posey 2018-22, and Michael Tyworth 2018-22.

Keep a watchful eye out for students in distress

  • The pandemic has created some acute challenges, especially for students. If you are aware of a student who is experiencing emotional distress, financial hardship, food insecurity, or a similar challenge, please consider the following:
  • Referring them to Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services, which is operational and providing services via telephone at 814-863-0395.
  • Donating to the Student Care and Advocacy Emergency Fund.
  • Donating to the Lion's Pantry, for students residing in the State College area.

If you have information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on Penn State Smeal and would like to share it through this update, please email it to Andy Elder, manager of public relations, at You can also share examples of “We Are” stories involving anyone in our Smeal Community.