myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: July 24, 2019

Penn Extends Tuition Benefits to Dependents with Special Needs

Son with special needs looking lovingly at his mother while holding a tablet.

For decades, Penn’s tuition benefits have helped students reach their higher education goals at a variety of accredited colleges and universities, including Penn. Now, the University is making this benefit even more inclusive.

Effective August 1, 2019, Penn’s new Tuition Benefits for Dependent Children Attending Special Programs policy allows faculty and staff to use their dependent tuition benefits toward post-secondary education programs for adult dependents with cognitive or intellectual limitations.

Many students with learning disabilities and special needs excel in associate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs, especially when they have access to resources such as Penn’s Office of Student Disabilities Services. However, for high school graduates with moderate to severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities, degree-granting programs may not offer the right combination of education, life skills training and support.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of accredited post-secondary programs designed to make the college experience more accessible. Students enrolled in these programs can earn course credits or audit classes in inclusive campus learning environments. Just like their peers, these students will have the opportunity explore their interests, discover new ones, build career skills, further develop their independence, and make new friends.

Penn’s Direct Grants for Special Programs tuition benefit will assist faculty and staff in covering tuition costs for these programs. This benefit can be used at Penn-approved, accredited schools for enrollment in inclusive post-secondary special programs specifically designed for students with intellectual disabilities.

This expansion of our tuition benefits reflects the University’s ongoing commitment to inclusive education and public service, as well as support for Penn faculty, staff, and their families.

For more details, please visit the Tuition Benefits pages.

Constructing Your Professional Skills

Woman standing with two male constructors in hardhats.

With so much renovation and construction happening on campus, Penn Human Resources Learning and Education invites you to join the action by building your professional skills and knowledge. There’s an empowering line up of courses specifically chosen and developed for University staff. Check out the Fall 2019 Course Guide and visit Knowledge Link to register.

When it’s your job to support education and research, finding time and resources for your own professional development isn’t always easy. That’s why Penn provides convenient on-campus training programs for staff and faculty. These programs are available at very little cost to you or your department. In fact, most are free.

Through Human Resources Learning and Education, you and your staff can benefit from practical and effective training programs. Don’t forget Learning and Education’s specialized courses, developed with Penn’s culture in mind to prepare staff members to fulfill the University’s unique mission.

These popular courses fill up fast, so register soon at Knowledge Link. Your department will be charged for the cost listed on the registration page.

For more personal and professional development opportunities, including career coaching, visit the Learn & Grow website.

Chestnut Street Bridge Closure Begins August 5

Map of Chestnut Street Bridge

PennDot will close the Chestnut Street Bridge for renovation on Monday, August 5, 2019. This major connection to University City will be closed to all traffic--including pedestrians, bicycles, and cars--for approximately one year.

The closure will result in many changes to traffic patterns, with increased volume on nearby roads and detours. Commuters should anticipate traffic congestion and travel delays. Please adjust your commute accordingly.

PennDOT’s Chestnut Street Bridge Project website,, offers the latest information on construction and closures and detour routes.

Penn’s Transportation & Parking website provides updates on detoured Penn Transit routes.

We also recommend signing up for the Penn’s Division of Public Safety Traffic Alerts to stay up-to-date on street and transportation system closures in the area.

During the bridge closure, commuters should explore all available transportation options, including SEPTA. Visit or the SEPTA Travel Center @Penn on the first floor of the Penn Bookstore.

Other regional transportation systems may also be affected, including:

If local infrastructure projects will disrupt your travel to and from campus, consider flexible work options. Penn encourages supervisors to consider flexible scheduling or to facilitate remote work--when appropriate--to allow staff members to commute safely while maintaining productivity. Staff members are advised to consider the organizational needs of their department and to communicate with their supervisor before requesting adjustments to their schedule or work location.

Please visit the University’s Flexible Work Options webpages for guidelines and recommendations for staff and supervisors.

Project Management for Success

Aerial view of 6-member team sitting around a square table

Whether you’re working solo or part of a team, project management skills make a difference. Consistent success requires a focus on defining the initiative, planning for the work, getting it done, and monitoring the results. Finding the right methods to stay on task, work effectively, and produce deliverables can be a challenge for new and experienced professionals alike. Fortunately, you can learn the fundamentals of project management without leaving Penn’s campus or breaking your budget.

The Project Management seminar on August 8, 2019 from 9am-12pm presents tools and techniques that can help you oversee initiatives to create success for you and your team.

During the seminar you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify the key activities in the project life cycle.
  • Understand the role of the triple constraint in project management and apply it in determining project scope. Triple constraint is the combination of the three most significant restrictions on any project: cost, scope, and schedule.
  • Create a realistic project timeline.
  • Keep projects on track by managing risks and effectively using a communication plan.
  • Examine helpful tools.
  • Capture valuable project lessons and use them to define and improve project management practices within your organization.

Project Management will also cover the role of the project manager, the dynamics of managing a team, creating a transition plan, and tools for celebrating success.

Register online today and master the steps of successful project management. Your department will be charged a $75 fee for this course.

More professional development resources are available at

Penn's New Retirement Savings Enrollment System is Here

Middle-aged African-American woman smiling while looking at tablet.

Whether you’re already saving for retirement, thinking about getting started, or need to make changes to your current elections, Retirement@Work, Penn’s new retirement savings plans enrollment system, is the place to go. Penn announced the launch of Retirement@ Work on July 8.

If you haven’t explored this new platform, log in with your PennKey and password. The system gives you an overall picture of your contribution elections at TIAA or Vanguard.

With the new system, eligible faculty and staff no longer need to input the Matching and Supplemental Plans contributions separately.  Retirement@Work lets you enter the total percentage of your gross pay per pay period that you want to invest for retirement, then the system will automatically allocate the first 5% to the Matching Plan and the rest to the Supplemental Plan. If you want your total employee contribution allocated differently, you have the option to change that allocation.

If you want to choose your investment funds or designate beneficiaries, simply click on the TIAA or Vanguard links throughout the Retirement@Work site.

For more information about the Retirement@Work enrollment system, check out the Retirement@Work User Guide. Visit the Saving for Retirement webpage for details about Penn’s Retirement Savings Plans.

Healthy Meals: Overnight Oats

Assorted variations of overnight oats.

Leave the stove off and still enjoy the benefits of an oatmeal breakfast with portable overnight oats. It’s an easy way to fuel up with high-fiber oatmeal, fruit, and your favorite healthy toppings.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Did You Know? Penn Has a New International Travel Registry

Be Safe. Be Connected. Be Covered. With MyTrips, Penn’s new international travel registry for faculty, staff and students, it’s now easier than ever to register your Penn-affiliated international travel. Get the support you need in an emergency and pre-authorize your travel medical insurance coverage. Visit to learn more.



Story Tips

Is there a Human Resources benefit, program or service you'd like to hear more about?

Send us your suggestions.