myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: November 22, 2017

Stay on Top of the College Admissions Process

College Hall on Penn campusGetting ready for college can be a stressful and daunting time for parents and students. There’s the college search, applications, campus visits, and tuition to consider, so finding the right experts to help you navigate the process is critical. Penn has several workshops coming up in the New Year to help benefits-eligible faculty and staff put their teens on a path to post-secondary success.

Led by staff from Undergraduate Admissions, Penn is offering three one-hour Admissions Brown Bag workshops. These workshops will show parents how to build a college-ready curriculum for their children while still in high school, how to make the most of the many college visits surely to top their kids’ “must see” lists, and introduce them to the makeup of a liberal arts education. 

As all parents know, college has increasingly become more and more expensive, so for many families securing financial assistance is important. A workshop in early March will show parents how to navigate Penn’s exceptional tuition benefit and the financial aid process. 

Details about each of the workshops are listed below: 

Navigating the High School Curricular Waters
January 10
Irvine-Café 58, 3401 Spruce Street
Join Penn’s undergraduate admissions office to discuss the role of the high school transcript and course selection in the holistic admission review. This may be particularly timely for parents of high school freshman, sophomores and juniors as course selection will be happening in the New Year. Register now for this important discussion.
Discussion of Liberal Arts Programs
February 14
Learning & Education Training Room, 3624 Market St., Suite 1A South
Join Penn’s undergraduate admissions office to discuss a liberal arts education, which is not uniform from college to college. In most colleges and universities, about one-third of a student’s classes will be in a major and about one-third will be in liberal arts distributional requirements. Discussion will include advising, declaring a major, completing a college’s requirements, and academic choice outside of these guidelines. Parents won’t want to miss this, so register now

Navigating the Tuition Benefit and Financial Aid for Your College Age Dependents
March 5
Learning & Education Training Room, 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South
Join staff from Penn’s Student Financial Services (SFS) and Human Resources Tuition Benefits to learn more about the tuition benefit program for dependents and the financial aid process. The session will provide an overview of Penn’s two dependent child tuition benefit plans and clarify how the tuition benefit interacts with financial aid packages. This session will also offer tips for comparing financial aid packages and communicating with financial aid offices. Get your college finances in order by registering now for this workshop.
How to Make the Most of a College Visit
April 25
FRES, 3101 Walnut Street, Conference Room 1
Faculty and staff with college-age dependents are invited to join Penn’s undergraduate admissions office to discuss the importance of the campus visit. The session will assist you and your child in making the most of campus visits. Before you head out to that college visit, make sure you register for this workshop

Thrive at Penn Team Collaborates to Create Student Orientation Program

Models of Excellence Honorees holding awardWorking in a team has its challenges. There are different personalities to contend with. Different opinions and approaches to tackling a task. Then there’s the sheer size of a team that can make navigating any project much like an Olympic sport. So what do you do when you have 23 visionaries from different schools and centers, and each with their own expertise around a topic? You collaborate around a common goal, constantly share information with each other, and make room for specific skills to help push the project forward. 

Meet the Thrive at Penn team, 2017 Models of Excellence honorees. In July 2015 the Thrive at Penn Team debuted a pre-orientation program called Thrive at Penn (TAP) that consisted of four online video modules aimed at giving incoming freshmen an introduction to Penn before even setting foot on campus. 

Each module covers a specific topic: Thriving at a Research University, Alcohol & Other Drug Awareness, Healthy Relationships & Sexual Violence Prevention, and Health & Wellness. All the modules live within Canvas, the University’s online learning management system. Some of the topics were chosen because they were federally mandated. Team member David Fox, Director of New Student Orientation (NSO) and Academic Initiatives, says that others were selected because the team felt there may be specific areas of concern for students. 

“[We asked ourselves] what are those main areas of concern that we should really lay the foundation for what the students are going to receive during the in person new student orientation,” Fox says.   

The program was an instant hit, with 100 percent of the students who entered Penn in 2015 completing the four modules. By the fall of 2015, the program was expanded as a voluntary offering to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with slightly modified material. Two years later, the Thrive at Penn team was on stage at the Irvine Auditorium accepting their award from President Amy Gutmann for all of the hard work.  

“One of the reasons I think it was given a Models of Excellence award is because so many people in so many different areas worked on this. I think a lot of people do a lot of different kinds of projects and do an excellent job of it, but what distinguished this one I think was the large number of people that it affected – 2,500 students each year – and the number of different offices that came together to work on this,” Fox says. 

Fox and fellow Thrive at Penn Team member Troy Majnerick, Associate Director of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives, guided the NSO and Academic Initiatives components of the project. Together they worked closely with the Provost’s Office, the schools, Vice Provost for University Life, the Office of Student Conduct, the Graduate Student Center, and other partners to develop the program. Other team members coordinated photography and editing, helped recruit casts, shepherded storyboarding, and wrote and edited scripts, among other tasks.  

“The team created every aspect of it from every word to every video to putting it into the platform,” Majnerick says. 

But Fox says what made the team work well together was that “all those people didn’t sit around a table discussing this all the time. We broke it into various component parts,” with subsets of the team taking ownership of certain tasks.  

Majnerick points to the journalistic expertise of team member Monica Yant Kinney, Executive Director, Communications and External Affairs, as something that allowed the modules to feel unified. 

“The last thing we wanted to do is have four different modules that looked very different. So to make it a cohesive message she was involved in the storytelling,” Majnerick says. 

Kinney made decisions, for example, about when and where to use student and administrative perspectives throughout the videos. 

“This is where Monica really showed her expertise in making it user friendly as well as something that conveyed a message that we can keep for more than just a year or two,” Majnerick says. 

Looking back at all the collaborative work to make Thrive at Penn a reality, Majnerick says the team’s success in cross-campus collaboration definitely made a difference. 

“It’s very difficult to have something that has that many hands in the pot and be effective. Ultimately, this kind of shows that when the University and the different departments do come together for a common cause we can be quite effective and really have an impact which I think is ultimately part of the goal of the University,” Majnerick says.  

The 2018 Models of Excellence Honorees will be announced in January at the Irvine Auditorium. Please save the date for this year’s ceremony and celebration on April 4, 2018 at 4 pm. To learn more about the Models of Excellence award and the other Penn staff recognized, visit the Models of Excellence page. 

Stay up to Date with the HCM Initiative

News icon about HCM updateThe Human Capital Management (HCM) Transformation Initiative is in full swing. This University-wide effort will simplify human capital-related processes and implement a modern system powered by Workday. After selecting software and software integration partners in July, HCM has continued to make progress, including:

• Staffing the Functional, Technical, and Service Delivery teams with subject-matter experts, many drawn from across Penn, along with Workday experts from integration partner Deloitte. 
• Partnering with schools and centers to create the Change Agent Network (CAN). CAN members will facilitate two-way communication, act as a resource for information and support, and help their Schools and Centers prepare for change. The kickoff meeting for CAN is November 30. 
• Planning the launch of a central resource for HCM-and Workday-related inquiries. Beginning in early 2018, this resource center will provide assistance on select subjects to a group of early-adopter schools and centers. The lessons learned with these partners will help refine practices and improve service. When fully rolled out in 2019, the resource center will serve as a one-stop shop for faculty, staff, schools, and centers, with trained customer service professionals providing accurate, timely answers to HCM- and Workday-related inquiries.
You can keep up on all the news from HCM with the HCM Update. The monthly e-newsletter brings you team updates, resources to help prepare for change, information about upcoming events, and more. 

Sign up now to receive the HCM Update delivered straight to your email inbox. The first issue is available online now at Login may be required for some content online.
Visit the HCM website for more information, or email

Take the Worry Out of Snow Days

Kids playing in the snow on a sledSoon winter will arrive. That means snow, and potential school closures. But what can parents, who still have to work, do with their children on those snow days?

Thankfully, Penn’s Snow Day Child Care program provides a helping hand. This program offers backup child care for benefits-eligible faculty and staff when inclement weather closes schools in the Philadelphia School District but Penn remains open.

The program is offered in partnership with the Penn Children’s Center, and is available to children ages 12 weeks to 12 years.  The University covers most of the cost, but there is a daily fee based on your Penn salary, the age of your children, and the number of children you place in care. Snow Day Child Care is available between December 4 and March 30, but parents must register before there is a snow day by completing an online application. For more information, call the Penn Children’s Center at 215-898-5268.

For more Work-Life programs and services, visit

Healthy Meals: Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Bowl of turkey soupThis comfort food brings new flavor to post-Thanksgiving leftovers, plus a healthy dose of vitamin A.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips. 

Did You Know: Human Resources is Moving

The Division of Human Resources’ offices located at 3401 Walnut, including: Benefits, Records, Recruitment, Staff and Labor Relations, HR Information Management and the Office of the Vice President, will be moving on December 15 to 600 Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street. Quality of Work-Life will also move, but to 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South. If you have any questions, please call 215-898-3539.



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