Smeal Update: September 25, 2020

Red Folder a key resource for students experiencing difficulty

As the semester continues to unfold amidst the pandemic, faculty and staff are reminded that some individuals are faced with significant stress. Members of the Smeal community are encouraged to be attentive to the needs and stress levels of their colleagues. is a guide to help faculty, staff, and others to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State.

Alert Smeal Human Resources to changes in return-to-work status

Those individuals who have been granted return-to-work status but are no longer working on campus are asked to notify Tamara Giluk, Smeal’s human resources strategic partner. She will make sure those individuals are removed from the University’s asymptomatic surveillance testing list.

Penn State Educational Equity to help Smeal analyze Community Survey results

As part of Smeal’s ongoing efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, the college has asked members of Penn State’s Office of Educational Equity to assist in analyzing Smeal-related data from the Community Survey.

Impact Smeal Day will be virtual this year

Impact Smeal Day has been a longstanding highlight of the Smeal calendar. This year, the event goes virtual. Virtual Impact Smeal Day is scheduled for Oct. 1. A list of events can be found online.

Felisa Higgins named September You Rock! Award recipient

Felisa Higgins, clinical professor of supply chain and information systems and associate dean of undergraduate education, has been named the September You Rock! Award recipient by the Smeal Staff Advisory Committee. 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 is a simple question concerning hot dogs.  Click this link to have some fun. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Smeal in the news

Denny Gioia, the Robert & Judith Auritt Klein Professor of Management, was recently featured on NPR's Hidden Brain to discuss his time with Ford as a recall coordinator. Listen to the segment here.

Some frequently-asked questions from faculty

I have a student in class who told me they went and got tested because they were concerned that they may have been exposed. Will I be notified if this student needs to quarantine?

It is good news that students are getting tested if they feel they may have been exposed. Students who self-identify as contacts are not part of the formal contact tracing process and instructors will not be notified through the normal process. The full response can be found online.

What is Penn State’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program for employees?

As part of Penn State’s multi-pronged COVID-19 testing program, surveillance testing of approximately 1% of the population — including employees — will be conducted each day throughout the semester. The full response can be found online.

Faculty who were employed by Penn State as of Spring 2020 were given a one-year extension to their provisional tenure period. Will this extension apply to faculty hired since Spring 2020?

In March 2020, Penn State extended the provisional tenure period for all faculty in their pre-tenure probationary period as defined in University policy AC23. In recognition of the impact the pandemic has had on faculty members in the probationary period, the extension is now being offered to all tenure-line faculty in their probationary period during the calendar year 2020. The full response can be found online.

As a faculty member, if I have potential symptoms of COVID-19, what should I be telling my students while I am awaiting testing? What should I tell my students if I am diagnosed?

Faculty and staff have the same rights to privacy of their health information as everyone else (see AD22 and AD53). Employees, including faculty, do not have an obligation to share their protected health information or testing status with students. The full response can be found online.