Smeal Updates: Friday, October 2, 2020

Supply Chain career fair goes virtual, doesn’t miss a beat

For the first time in its 19-year history, the Smeal Supply Chain and Information Systems Career Fair was held online instead of in-person. “Over three days, we hosted 94 companies, nearly 1,200 students, and logged more than 4,300 text chats, video chats and audio calls – impressive numbers considering the change in format,” says Tracie Shannon, administrative director of Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research® (CSCR®). Read the story.

Penn State benefits open enrollment period planned for November

The University’s 2021 Benefits Open Enrollment will be begin on Nov. 2 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

Tarriff Center website is now operational

The Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility debuted its new website this week. The center is sponsoring a webinar at 6 p.m. Monday titled “Living Our Values: Ethically Navigating Your Early Career.” Register online for the webinar.

TIAA’s State College office will remain closed for rest of 2020

The State College TIAA office will be working remotely for the remainder of 2020. Virtual or phone meetings are available. TIAA believes that the local office will most likely open in the second quarter (April-June) of 2021 and that it will resume on-campus/on-site meetings at Penn State locations in fall 2021. Employees can schedule TIAA meetings online or by calling 800-732-8353.

Jeff Spearly Memorial Fundraiser nearing goal

As many of you are aware, Jeff Spearly, formerly the senior director of learning and development for Penn State Executive Programs, passed away unexpectedly in early June. We established a fundraising effort for a permanent memorial on the Penn State campus honoring his legacy. We are now nearing the conclusion of the memorial crowdfunding effort. To date, we’ve raised $7,900 toward our $10,000 fundraising goal, which would allow us to honor Jeff with a memorial tree or bench near the Business Building. If you would like to contribute, please visit Jeff’s Memorial Fundraising Page 

COVID Alert PA app another tool for fight against coronavirus

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has introduced another tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The COVID Alert PA app, which can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store, is the official mobile app of the PA DOH and uses the Exposure Notification System provided by Apple and Google. The app protects your privacy and personal information and is completely anonymous. The app detects if users are in close contact with another app user and will notify you if you have had a potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

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

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 requires some introspection about superpowers. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Frequently-asked questions from faculty

What if a student refuses to wear a mask or follow other health and safety guidelines in class?

Classroom Guidance for Instructors is posted on the website for the Office of Student Conduct. This document describes the steps that faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-related concerns in the classroom. The guidance includes a sample statement for faculty to include in their course syllabi as well as a series of steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements. Students who fail to comply with requirements will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and will not be allowed to return until the matter is addressed through Penn State’s conduct process. For more information on how to prepare to manage classrooms this fall, watch this video featuring Danny Shaha, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Can faculty require students to turn on their webcam during remote learning?

No. Faculty should adopt a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. A camera-optional approach respects student issues such as access and equity (some may not have cameras on their devices), safety and security (some may be deployed military or in need of safety or privacy), and religious strictures. Faculty members who previously did not take attendance in their in-person classrooms should continue to respect that their students will attend remotely. Faculty who took attendance previously should explore manual and automatic options for taking attendance through Zoom. For help with these options, visit If a faculty member chooses to record a Zoom session, student participation during the session should not be required. Students should be provided the choice to opt-out from identification in the recording by muting their audio, disabling video, and not typing into the chat window. In these cases, students should still be considered in attendance and should not be penalized in any way.