Smeal Update: October 30, 2020

Benefits open enrollment period opens on Monday

The University’s 2021 Benefits Open Enrollment will be begin on Monday and run through Nov. 20. Several resources are available to help faculty and staff make informed decisions. Information about those resources are found in this Penn State News story.

Employee review for staff goes live on Monday

The 2020-2021 Employee Review for Staff will go live Monday in Workday. Full-time staff members should work with their supervisors to finalize goals and then enter them into Workday. A Smeal-wide Honor & Integrity goal will be cascaded to full-time staff once the system opens. Employees will receive notification of the cascaded goal in their Workday Inbox, and will need to approve the goal by clicking Approve. Be on the lookout for an email from Michelle Darnell and Tamara Giluk with more information on this unit-wide goal. More information about the Performance Review Cycle can be found here: 2020-2021 Performance Review Cycle.

Consider increasing your donation to United Way

Each year around this time, Penn Staters can anticipate receiving a familiar blue envelope that signifies the start of the next United Way campaign. As the University’s charity of choice, the United Way counts on Penn State for 40 percent of its donations. There won’t be blue envelopes this year because of the pandemic, but the need is greater than ever. If you are a regular contributor, thank you. Please consider increasing your contribution if you are able. If you haven’t contributed, please think about starting this year. No contribution is too small. A $10 gift can purchase 50 books for preschoolers. Look for information about this year’s campaign soon in your inbox. More information about donating to the United Way can be found online.

Smeal in the News

Joshi quoted in MarketWatch story

Aparna Joshi, Arnold Family Professor of Management, was recently quoted in a MarketWatch opinion piece that explores why women fund managers regularly ourperform men. Read the story.

Linderman’s adjustment to Smeal virtually seamless

Kevin Linderman, the new chair of the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems who holds the John J. Coyle Professorship in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, has had to acclimate virtually to his new surroundings. Read the story.

Smeal alumnus shares success stories via podcast

Andrew Moses, a 2007 accounting graduate who is currently the vice president of business development and marketing for MorganFranklin Consulting, recently hosted a podcast with Penn State alumna and World Cup champion soccer player Ali Krieger. You can read the story and access a recording of the podcast online.

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

In an effort to increase a sense of community during these remote times, we are inviting you to participate in Mister Rogers Calls. 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. Team members will then schedule a Zoom call for sometime within the following week. 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 your first meeting, you may meet as often as you like, or participate in then next round of calls, in an effort to connect with additional members of our community. Please respond by Tuesday to participate in our first round of calls. 

Smeal Spirit of Giving enters 19th year

Each year, the Smeal community comes together to make the holidays a little brighter for local boys and girls through the Spirit of Giving. The names and needs of underprivileged children come from a local non-profit and the gifts are turned over to them for distribution. This year, there will be no drop-off location in the Business Building, and the project needs to be finished by Nov. 18. There are three options for donating:

  • Make a cash donation and Melissa Forsha, Professional Graduate Programs budget manager, will purchase needed items.
  • View a list of children with specific needs on this 2020 Spirit of Giving Sign Up Sheet and choose one or more items to purchase. Those gifts would need to be mailed unwrapped to Melissa.
  • Purchase any kind of toy, game, book, or puzzle for a wide range of ages. Mail those unwrapped to Melissa.

Email Melissa at for further information, or if you would like to help.

Centre County Toys for Tots campaign under way

The annual Toys for Tots campaign, run by the local Marine Corps Reserve, has started and will end four weeks early, on Nov. 13, due to the pandemic. The need this year is expected to be greater than ever. Donations of toys, money and food are needed. A list of collection points is available at Donations by check, made payable to Toys for Tots, can be mailed to: Toys for Tots c/o Allstate Insurance, 1380 N. Atherton St., State College, PA 16803.  

Llamas, alpacas and porcupines, oh, yes!

Did you like seeing Pokey the porcupine recently on the Smeal Community Zoom? If you did, please help us select another future visitor by consulting this list.

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 involves your car. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Frequently-asked question from faculty

Will in-person undergraduate student research end after Nov. 20, 2020?

Undergraduate and graduate students are permitted to continue working in labs if they are in town. Students may not request to remain in an on-campus residence hall solely for the purpose of working in a lab. Undergraduate students, graduate students, external visitors, and visiting scholars must receive prior approval from the relevant academic dean for them to continue on-campus research. They must adhere to the standard operating procedures of the lab and be part of the person-count for square footage, scheduling, and any other relevant considerations. Faculty members cannot and should not require undergraduate or graduate students to come to campus, and undergraduate and graduate students who conduct on-campus research must be included in the research reductions and approaches to de-densification.