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myHR: April 17, 2019

Last Chance to Register for 20th Models of Excellence Ceremony

Models of Excellence 20th LogoThe 20th Anniversary Models of Excellence Ceremony is less than a week away. This exciting event will take place Tuesday, April 23 at 4pm in Irvine Auditorium. You can register at until Friday, April 19. 

Models of Excellence celebrates the exceptional work of staff members throughout our schools and centers. This year we honor 92 of our colleagues for playing key roles in the University’s successes every day. 

President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, Executive Vice President Craig R. Carnaroli, and Vice President for Human Resources Jack Heuer will present the awards to staff members. The awards are in three categories: Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence, and Model Supervisors. Each winner, whether an individual or team member, will receive $500 and a symbolic award. Staff members who have earned Honorable Mentions will receive $250 and a symbolic award. 

The Quaker Notes will perform before the ceremony. Audience members will receive a commemorative 20th Anniversary gift bag with a keepsake gift and items to help cheer on their colleagues. Penn Glee Club will close out the festivities by singing Red and Blue. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony. 

For a preview of this year’s event, check out the 2019 Models of Excellence Ceremony Preview video. You can also read profiles of two of the honorees, Stewardship Communications and Eugene “Gene” Janda. More profiles will appear in upcoming issues of the myHR newsletter.  

For more information about the exciting Models of Excellence ceremony, visit

Making the Most of the College Campus Visit

Exterior of College HallIf you have students in your family who are preparing for college, visiting college campuses are probably among the activities on your checklist. That’s why Penn is offering the Making the Most of the Campus Visit session on April 29 from 12:30pm-1:30pm. 

This free event, designed for Penn faculty and staff with college-age dependents, will provide information about the importance of the campus visit, planning, and making the most of your trip.

There are over 5,000 colleges and universities in the country. Jodi Robinson, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, says that because there are so many choices, the campus visit is vital to helping students make an informed decision about which schools are right for them.

“You can have a concept about what a place is like, but until you are actually walking around and in the environment, making your own observations, seeing what the students and campus are like, and where you might live, it’s difficult to know whether it’s a match for you,” Robinson says. 

Lindsay Dussing, Director of On-Campus Programs for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and Josh Chilcote, Associate Director of Admissions, will facilitate the session, sharing valuable tips and advice. Robinson says one recommendation she has for participants is to first consider touring campuses locally.  

“Since we have so many amazing colleges right here in the Greater Philadelphia area, you can see what a large research university, a state university, or a small liberal arts college is like without investing a large amount of resources,” she says. 

“You can visit several types of universities and colleges locally, and then begin to think a little further afield once you get a sense of the type of school you are really excited about.”

Before you make travel plans, register for Making the Most of the Campus Visit brown bag. 

You may also want to check out a college search workshop on June 20, also offered by undergraduate admissions. 

For more upcoming workshops and other work-life benefits information, visit the Wellness & Work-life pages. Also, visit the tuition benefits webpage for information about Penn’s tuition benefits program. 

Release Your Creativity

Ladder Against a Wall with Sky VisibleWould you like to think outside the box, but you feel trapped inside limited ways of thinking? Sometimes, the answer lies beyond your workplace walls and in a new setting, but you don’t need to travel far. Just attend the on-campus Creative Problem Solving workshop on April 30 from 9am to 12pm at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South.

At this lively event, a Learning and Education consultant will lead you and a group of University colleagues on a journey of discovery. 

Based on proven concepts from Michael Michalko’s Thinkertoys and Michael J. Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, the Creative Problem Solving workshop will get your mind and body moving. Hands-on exercises will stretch your imagination. Group activities will build your collaborative skills. You’ll also learn how to overcome mental obstacles and see problems from new angles. The workshop is a perfect opportunity to practice creative-thinking techniques you can apply to a range of situations and share with your coworkers.

You don’t have to be a genius to think like one. Register for Creative Problem Solving on Knowledge Link today. The innovations you discover may change the world, or at least improve your work. Your department will be charged $75 for this half-day workshop. 

Time to Update Your Supplemental Retirement Annuity Plan

African American couple walking in the parkDo you have a Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) Plan? If so, you will be required to make a change to how you make contributions to this plan. 

Currently the SRA plan allows contribution elections to be made as either a percentage or a flat-dollar amount, but any flat-dollar elections will have to be converted to a percentage by May 31, 2019.

This change comes as result of transition to Workday@Penn, a new human capital management system. With Workday, the University will use a new enrollment platform for its retirement plans. The new system will only accept contribution elections as a percentage of base pay. 

No changes will be made to contribution elections for Penn’s Matching Plan since this plan already accepts contribution elections on a percentage-only basis. 

What do I need to do?

  1. Log in to the retirement enrollment system to confirm what is currently listed for the SRA Plan. Your election will be listed under the “Supplemental Plan” heading.
  2. If you have a flat-dollar contribution, you will need to convert that to a percentage of your base pay. Click the “modify” button. Under the Supplemental Plan, enter the percentage you want to contribute each pay period, then follow the prompts. Be sure to click the “I Agree” button when you have finished.
  3. Enter your SRA percentage choice no later than May 31, 2019.

If you need help with confirming or converting your SRA Plan contribution, please call the Penn Retirement Call Center at 877-736-6738, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST.

What will happen if a flat-dollar contribution to the SRA Plan isn’t converted to a percentage before May 31?

If your SRA Plan contribution is stated as a flat-dollar amount at the close of business at 5pm on May 31, 2019, it will be automatically converted to the equivalent percentage of your base pay (base pay does not include any overtime, shift differential, etc.). You will receive a confirmation notice in the mail 7-10 days after the change is made.

You can change that percentage at any time after the automatic conversion.

How do I calculate a flat-dollar contribution to a percentage? 

Divide the flat-dollar contribution amount by the gross base pay for the pay period (base pay does not include any overtime, shift differential, etc.). This will give you a number that you can convert to a percentage by simply moving the decimal two places to the right.

Example: Ann has a contribution amount of $200 per month, and her gross base pay is $4,000 per month. 

Here is the calculation: $200 ÷ $4,000 = .05 = 5%

Are there any potential differences between a flat-dollar contribution and its equivalent percentage?

Yes. A flat-dollar contribution will be the same every pay period, regardless of any fluctuations in your pay. A percentage contribution will vary along with any fluctuations in your base pay. If you are a part-time or temporary employee currently contributing to the SRA Plan and have hours that vary from week to week, your contributions could be affected.

Are there any benefits to a percentage-based contribution?

Yes. A percentage-based contribution is a good way to automatically increase your contributions along with increases in pay. 

Are there any limits to how much I can contribute to the SRA Plan?

The SRA Plan allows a maximum contribution of 75% of your base pay, per pay period, up to IRS annual limits. 

When will the retirement plans transition to the new enrollment system?

You will need to convert no later than May 31, 2019. The transition to Workday@Penn is scheduled for July 1, 2019.

Where can I go for assistance?

If you would like help with confirming or converting your SRA Plan contribution, please call the Penn Retirement Call Center at 877-736-6738, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST. 

For more information about Penn’s retirement plans, visit  

Healthy Meals: Salmon with Mango Salsa  

Salmon with Mango Salsa dishBoost your immunity, elevate your mood, and get your doses of vitamins A, C, and E with this refreshing combination of salmon and mango salsa. Omega-3s in the salmon provide heart-healthy benefits while the fiber-rich mango provides raw nutrients.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.   

Did You Know: Registration for Take Our Children to Work Day Is Open

Thursday, April 25 is Take Our Children to Work Day at Penn. This event gives young people ages 9-15 an opportunity to explore different career paths on campus. Sessions include limited and unlimited registration activities. Space is limited for some activities, so be sure to sign up at Penn’s Take Our Children to Work Day website.