Smeal Update: September 11, 2020

Karen and Tony Quintos make $1 million commitment to Smeal

Smeal Board of Visitors member Karen Quintos, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Dell, and her husband, Tony, have committed $1 million to Smeal. Part of the gift, $100,000, will create an educational equity scholarship at Smeal and will receive a 1:1 match from the University. The remaining $900,000 will support the Hughes-Quintos Diversity Enhancement Program Fund. The fund will be used to develop programs and curricula that prepare students to be leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Monitoring course attendance especially important this semester

Those who teach in Smeal are asked to pay special attention to course attendance, especially with the different modes of instruction this semester. A student’s failure to attend class in person or on Zoom could signal a potential problem. Noting attendance concerns in Starfish can impact individual students and allow the University to monitor population trends. 

Faculty/staff COVID-19 surveillance testing starts; flu shots available soon

The Smeal human resources team reminds faculty and staff that participation in randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing for faculty and staff is mandatory for individuals who have been approved to return to campus for work. Those selected will be notified with instructions. Also, flu shots will be available free for all Penn State employees, including full-time, part-time, and tech service, and spouses covered by the Penn State health plan, likely in late September.

Supply Chain and Information Systems virtual career fair a success

Organizers, recruiters, and students deemed the Fall 2020 Supply Chain and Information Systems Virtual Career Fair a success. The first virtual career fair at Smeal, and we believe at Penn State, attracted 91 companies. In addition, 1,136 students attended, which resulted in 4,338 student introductions to recruiters and their companies.

Smeal continues to add expertise to the fight against effects of COVID-19

Penn State Smeal experts are partnering with Penn State Health to provide expertise in supply chain support and executive training and leadership as part of the Regional Response Health Collaboration Program. Read the story.

Deadline set for choosing modality of Spring 2021 courses

Faculty are reminded that Sept. 25 is the deadline for choosing modality for spring 2021 courses.

Some frequently-asked questions from faculty

I am an employee. What should I do if I am feeling ill or feel that I may have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you are having COVID-19 symptoms, you should 1) leave work immediately if you are at work and self-isolate; 2) notify your supervisor; and 3) contact Penn State Occupational Medicine at 814-863-8492 or Occupational Medicine will determine whether you need to be tested and whether the test should be ordered through your family physician or through Occupational Medicine. It is important to contact Occupational Medicine because its staff will contact your supervisor and the University’s Absence Management on your behalf to inform them about when you will be out of the office and when you may be able to return. If you are working remotely, Occupational Medicine will still be able to advise you on testing. You also may wish to consult this chart if you have questions about how to proceed if you feel ill or believe that you may have been exposed to the virus.

Will Penn State implement alternative grading for fall 2020?

For fall 2020, faculty have been preparing their courses for many months, around half of all courses are already being delivered remotely, and students, faculty, and staff have all been aware of the need to prepare for a potential pivot to more fully remote instruction if required for health and safety considerations. Therefore, it's very unlikely that alternative grading will be implemented under the current circumstances or in the event that we must pivot to greater use of remote instruction prior to the planned Nov. 20 switch.

Key reminders