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myHR: June 21, 2017

Model Supervisor Lilian Wu Transformed Department Operations and Culture


PIK Professor of Math and Electrical and Systems Engineering, Rob Ghrist, says that Lilian has “completely revolutionized both the organization and tenor of the department’s main office…Never have I seen an office manager/administrator with the skills, determination, and drive that Lilian has.”

As the Associate Director of the ESE department, Lilian oversees academic and administrative operations. She supervises a team of six staff members. Together they support 26 faculty members, as well as postdoctoral scholars, part-time lecturers and emeritus faculty, and over 600 students.

Over the past four years, Lilian has led the department’s strategic change – reorganizing the staffing structure, increasing efficiency and collaboration in operations, instituting a data-driven approach, and deepening staff-faculty partnership to tackle larger issues such as building stronger community for all students. Thanks in part to her outstanding leadership, the ESE department has jumped from ranking 27th in the country in 2012 to 16th this past year. “Lilian can see both the forest and the trees. Her vision on the big picture and the details at the same time is a unique quality that enables her to get the job done at the highest quality,” says ESE faculty member Firooz Aflatouni.

Lilian leads by example, and her thoughtful approach earns high praise from her team. “She continues to impress me with her enthusiasm, opennesss, caring disposition, and fearlessness. Lilian always gives 110% in both her own workload and in helping staff, students, and faculty. This dedication is contagious and has clearly influenced the morale and work ethic in our office – we’re a pretty happy place,” says Staci Kaplan, Undergraduate Coordinator.

Colleen Kennedy, Administrative Coordinator, says, “Her mindfulness is the true backbone of our department. Despite our chaotic schedules throughout the year, Lilian’s energy remains sensitive and nurturing above all else.”

“And joy!” adds PIK Professor Rob Ghrist. “Her contagious joy makes her one of the people I most look forward to seeing in my day.”

Lilian’s attitude and drive improves student life as well, making the ESE department office the bustling heart of the scholarly community. ESE student Gerdin Falconi says that Lilian demonstrates “genuine care about the wellbeing of the people around her.… It’s what helps students, like myself, feel that they can push a little harder and make it in a tough place like Penn.”

Lilian attributes her success to her team and her parents. “No one succeeds alone. I benefit from working with the best boss ever – our Department Chair, George Pappas – and with a team of amazing colleagues. I am also the grateful daughter of immigrants, whose quiet dignity, tenacious resolve, joyful ingenuity, and unwavering kindness show me what it means to live a good life.”

Lilian and other 2017 Models of Excellence Award honorees received awards from President Amy Gutmann at a ceremony in Irvine Auditorium on March 28. To learn more about the Model Supervisor award and the other Penn staff recognized, visit the Models of Excellence page.

Penn Integrates with Knowledge Link


Now full-and part-time University faculty and staff can track Penn courses through Knowledge Link. You can record your choice of self-assigned Lynda courses, as well as those assigned to you by your supervisor. As a supervisor, you can use Knowledge Link to assign Lynda courses to people on your team. This new Link integration can support professional development plans for yourself and the people you lead.

New classes are added every week. Discover what practical skills and enlightening insights you can gain—and track—online.

Recording Your Courses
To record your coursework in Knowledge Link, register for Lynda courses at Once you’ve logged in, you can search for Lynda courses in the Find Learning search box, or browse courses using the Catalog Search tool.

If you don’t wish to track a Lynda course in Knowledge Link, simply to take that course though Penn’s website. You can also remove Lynda course from your Knowledge Link record at any time.

Assigning Courses
To assign a course to someone on your team, first make sure your team members have selected you as their supervisor in Knowledge Link Penn Profiler. Complete the Knowledge Link supervisor tutorial for detailed course assignment instructions.

To learn more about the new Link connection, download the Lynda/Knowledge Link FAQ or email your question to

Meet the Latest Be in the Know Prize Winners


Participating in Penn’s Be in the Know wellness campaign is rewarding. Just ask Sherie Brown and Anna Kent, winners of the latest of Be in the Know prize drawing.

Sherie, administrative assistant in the School of Social Policy and Practice, won a YMCA bag stocked with a fleece jacket, blanket, mug, and more. Anna, director of communications at Wharton Computing, won a FitBit. They each qualified for the drawing by completing the HealthTrails wellness challenge earlier this spring.

You can also reap the benefits of better health and qualify for similar prize drawings by participating in Be in the Know. Two more drawings are set for early September, after the 2016-2017 campaign year ends: One drawing is for returning Be in the Know participants, and the other is for those who have earned at least 100 Bonus Action points.

There’s still time to complete Bonus Actions and also earn points toward a total of $200 in cash incentives before the August 31 deadline. To learn more, visit

Healthy Meals: Hawaiian Turkey Sliders


Grilled pineapple tops flavorful turkey burgers to give this easy slider recipe Hawaiian flair.

Click here for the recipe, or send us your healthy recipes and tips

Did You Know? LUCY Shuttle Rides Are Free

Ride the LUCY (Loop through University City) shuttle for free with your valid PennCard. Transit service runs between 30th Street Station and University City Monday through Friday from 6:10am until 7pm. Visit the new Penn Transportation and Parking website for more information about all your transportation options.