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myHR: May 29, 2019

June is Penn’s Employee Health and Wellness Month

Wellness Walk on Penn Campus

Each June, Penn celebrates the overall well-being of its faculty and staff during Employee Health and Wellness Month. During Employee Health and Wellness Month, Penn continues its commitment to improving physical activity, nutrition, and overall health and wellness for faculty and staff.

Recently, the University was named one of the 2019 Healthiest Employers in the region and will be honored with an award by the Philadelphia Business Journal at a ceremony in June. This recognition reflects Penn’s dedication to building a culture of health.

The Employee Health and Wellness Month celebration begins with the annual kickoff Wellness Walk on May 31. The two-mile walk starts at 12pm in front of College Hall and ends at Pottruck Fitness Center. If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time to sign up.

After taking steps towards wellness you can take advantage of several other events for your body and mind. Penn offers benefits-eligible faculty and staff classes that promote overall well-being such as BODYPUMP Express, Gentle Yoga, and a seminar that offers strategies for experiencing a more balanced life in the digital age.

You can even share the rewards of wellness with family this month. From June 1 to 30, faculty and staff can try the Y for free at any Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA branch or Regional Y Alliance. Make sure you download your Free Three-Day Family Pass.

While improving your well-being you can also earn money by participating in Be in the Know, which continues through August 31 this campaign year. Getting a biometric screening is one of the two Core Actions you must complete to earn up to $300* in cash incentives. The two last chance on-campus biometric screenings for the 2018 – 2019 campaign year are on June 18 from 9:00am-1:00pm in Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge and July 24  from 9:00am-1:00pm in Irvine Auditorium, Amado Recital Hall. Register today for your screening, and check out the Bonus Actions webpage to learn how you can earn even more Be in the Know points and incentives.

Here’s a list of Employee Health and Wellness month events. Check our Events Registration page for updates.

May 31            Employee Health and Wellness Month Walk; 12-1pm

June 4              Challenging Negative Attitudes; 12:30-1:30pm

June 5              BODYPUMP Express; 8-8:30am

June 6             Digital Distraction – When Technology Takes Over; 12:30-1:30pm

June 12            BODYPUMP Express; 8-8:30am

June 18            Be in the Know Biometric Screenings; 9am-1pm

                        New and Expectant Parent Briefing; 12:30-1:30pm

June 19            BODYPUMP Express; 8-8:30am

June 20            Gentle Yoga; 12-1pm

June 25            Flexible Work Options; 12:30-1:30pm

June 27            Gentle Yoga; 12-1pm

Last On-Campus Biometric Screenings for this Be in the Know campaign year

July 24             Be in the Know Biometric Screenings; 9am-1pm

For more wellness and work-life information visit the Penn Healthy You website.

Admissions Branding Revitalization Team: Leaders of a Rebranding Effort

Admissions Branding Revitalization Team with Amy Gutmann

For many students, the door to any university is the admissions office. That’s where prospective students and parents are first welcomed with information about academic offerings, campus life, financial assistance, and other aspects of the college experience.

Admissions messaging and promotion can determine whether a student applies. So when Models of Excellence Honoree the Admissions Branding Revitalization Team was charged with overhauling Penn’s admissions brand to better serve its prospective undergraduate students, parents, and counselors, they knew they had to get it right - and they did. 

“Penn has a commitment to being accessible to students from all backgrounds and identities, and we needed to put forward a public-facing message that conveyed not only the storied and intellectually-stimulating aspects of a Penn education, but also the fact that we are an approachable place with a deep commitment to using our knowledge to improve the world,” says Kathryn Bezella, Director of Marketing and Communications, Undergraduate Admissions.

“The new brand accomplishes this – it conveys Penn’s rigor and interdisciplinary opportunities, but also throws in some humor along the way and signals that we don’t always take ourselves too seriously,” she says.

Bezella nominated the team for the Models award, which they received at the 20th Models of Excellence Ceremony in April. She was also the leader of the rebranding effort that’s reflected across all admission materials, communications channels, and a new website.

The core members of the team are Michael Guyer, Scott Kuchinski, Jenny Lackey, Justin Mazur, and Louis Metzger. But Lackey is quick to convey that the three-year project was a collaborative effort that also included a steering committee, two project managers, two vendors who assisted with brand creative and website creation, and support of vice deans within the admissions office.

“They were hugely instrumental in all of the work that we did. We could have never accomplished what we did without their input and our partners as well,” says Lackey, Associate Dean of Communications in Undergraduate Admissions.  

Since the first stop for prospective students, parents, and guidance counselors is usually the admissions website, the team invested a lot of time and resources in content that would engage and educate their audiences about individual student experiences. They created a “storytelling” function, where diverse students with various academic interests share their personal journeys of navigating Penn in narrative and video testimonials. The team interviewed more than 30 students to create this new section of the website. The website also includes “Explore Interests”, where prospective students can select their own interests and see how they might connect to Penn’s offerings.

Other products of the new branding include four new print pieces, nine new student videos, a redesigned on-campus information session, and a training process for admissions officers to modernize their presentations of Penn to the public.

Mazur, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Admissions, says one of the biggest challenges for the team was meeting the needs of their audience and University partners, while reflecting Penn’s compact of inclusion, innovation, and impact.

“We had to represent a decentralized university where there are 12 academic schools and hundreds of other research centers, projects, and teams. The challenge was how to get our arms around that to decide what should be a priority and what prospecting families need to know, want to know and should know,” Mazur says.

Throughout the process, Lackey says team members continued to emphasize their role as educators.

“When students come to visit campus we want to offer them educational opportunities and access to information regardless of whether they choose to apply to Penn or not, so it’s built into the ethos of the work that we have done,” she says.

Though the project is complete and their awards sit in their respective offices as an example of a job well done, Mazur says that the teamwork continues.

“Our goal has always been to make sure that people have all the information that they need to make the decision whether to apply to Penn,” Mazur says.

“We’ve done our job if we can give them that information in a fun, creative, useful, and authentic way.”

Upcoming Flexible Spending Account Due Dates

FSA account illustration healthcare and dollars

If you participate in Penn’s Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans, here are some important dates to keep in mind as we move into a new plan year.

June 30, 2019: This is the last day to incur 2018-2019 expenses for Health Care FSA claims.

July 1-12, 2019: Starting in the 2019-2020 plan year, participants can manage Penn Health Care and Dependent Care FSA on the new, enhanced WageWorks platform. This platform upgrade will provide a better mobile experience with access to FSA apps and improved tools.

To help facilitate the upgrade to the WageWorks platform, a blackout period will take place from July 1, 2019 through July 12, 2019 so that any remaining balances left in your FSA accounts can be moved to the proper locations.

September 15, 2019: This is the last day to incur 2018-2019 expenses for Dependent Care FSA claims.

September 30, 2019:  This is the deadline to submit Health Care or Dependent Care FSA claims for reimbursement from fiscal year 2018-2019.

Account Rules Reminders
Penn is updating its FSA and HSA processes, however the rules and regulations for using these accounts remain the same. You may still need to provide receipts to verify that your claims are qualified expenses in accordance with IRS guidelines. The new WageWorks platform makes it easier for you to submit receipts, verify expenses and manage your accounts.

For more information, visit the Penn FSA webpage.

Recognized Holidays for Fiscal Year 2020

FireworksThe following holidays will be observed by the University in the upcoming fiscal year (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020) on the dates listed below:

Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, 2019
Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2019
Thanksgiving, Thursday and Friday, November 28 & 29, 2019
Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, 2019
New Year’s Day, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 20, 2020
Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020

Each year, the President, Provost, and EVP assess the feasibility of observing Penn’s traditional Special Winter Vacation. Thus, the Special Winter Vacation granted to faculty and staff will be December 26, 27, 30, and 31, 2019. If an employee is required to work to continue departmental operations for part or all of this period, the special winter vacation can be rescheduled for some other time.

Staff members who are absent from work either the work day before a holiday, the work day after a holiday, or both days, will receive holiday pay if that absence is charged to pre-approved paid time off or to sick days substantiated by a written note from the staff member’s health care provider.

Vacations and holidays for hospital employees or those staff members in collective bargaining units are governed by the terms of hospital policies or their respective collective bargaining agreements.

  Fiscal Year 2020   Fiscal Year 2021   Fiscal Year 2022 
Independence Day     Thurs., 7/4/19     Fri., 7/3/20   Mon., 7/5/21
 Labor Day   Mon., 9/2/19    Mon., 9/7/20    Mon., 9/6/21
 Thanksgiving  Thurs., & Fri, 
11/28, 11/29/19   
Thurs., & Fri,
11/26, 11/27/20  
 Thurs., & Fri,
11/25, 11/26/21
 Christmas Day        Wed., 12/25/19  Fri., 12/25/20    Fri., 12/24/21
 New Year’s Day    Wed., 1/1/20   Fri., 1/1/21  Fri., 12/31/21
 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day   Mon., 1/20/20  Mon., 1/18/21   Mon., 1/17/22
 Memorial Day  Mon., 5/25/20  Mon., 5/31/21  Mon., 5/30/22


Healthy Meals: Grilled Peach Honey Goat Cheese Spiced Pecan Salad

Grilled Peach Honey Goat Cheese Spiced Pecan Salad

Enjoy the striking flavors and aromas of spiced pecans, honey goat cheese, and sliced grilled peaches. Thinly sliced red onions and a tangy citrusy dressing add the final taste of spring for a truly refreshing salad. 

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? Workday Gives You More Direct Deposit Options

Workday@Penn, the new HR and payroll system, lets you make up to three pay elections, so you can get direct deposit in up to three separate bank or credit union accounts. On July 1, 2019 Workday@Penn will replace  many separate systems and processes, helping to make the future of work at Penn more simpler, efficient, and personalized. And it’s just the start. Find more information at