myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: March 9, 2022

Meet the 2022 Models of Excellence Honorees

Models of Excellence logo

The University’s Models of Excellence program continues to recognize the remarkable staff contributions to the University’s mission as a global leader in education, research, and public service. After another challenging year, Penn is proud to honor the professionals who exemplify the dedication, care, innovation, and resilience that allows our community to persevere during these challenging times.

This year, Penn coworkers and colleagues nominated more than 700 members for Models of Excellence Program awards. From this pool, 12 outstanding teams and 10 individuals from schools and centers across the University were chosen to receive 2022 Models of Excellence honors. These staff embody the best in Penn community accomplishment.

This year’s honorees are listed below in four categories: Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence, Model Supervisor, and Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work. Both individuals and teams are recognized in every category except Pillars of Excellence and Model Supervisor.

In April, each Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence, Model Supervisor, and Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work award-winner and winning team member will receive $500 and a symbolic award. Staff members who have earned Honorable Mentions will receive $250 and a symbolic award.

2022 Models of Excellence Honorees

Models of Excellence

The Models of Excellence Award recognizes staff member accomplishments that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service.

Gwendolyn Beetham, Vanna Hing, Emergency and Opportunity Fund Team, Quaker Kitchen Project Team, and Wharton Intergroup Dialogue and Inclusion Team (WIDIT) will be presented with the Models of Excellence award this year.

Gwendolyn Beetham, School of Arts and Sciences

Vanna Hing, Perelman School of Medicine

You can find members of the Emergency and Opportunity Fund Team, Quaker Kitchen Project Team, and Wharton Intergroup Dialogue and Inclusion Team (WIDIT) on the Models of Excellence 2022 Honoree List.

The Libraries’ Canvas Support Team, Redundant Steam Line Project Team, and Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STTOP) Team will receive Models of Excellence Honorable Mentions. See which of your colleagues will receive this acknowledgement by checking out the Models of Excellence 2022 Honoree List.


Pillars of Excellence

The Pillars of Excellence Award recognizes the important support Penn’s weekly-paid staff members provide to promote the University’s mission.

This year’s Pillars of Excellence awards will go to Weldon Blount, Facilities and Real Estate Services and Rosemary Welsh, Perelman School of Medicine.


Model Supervisors

The Model Supervisor Award honors supervisors who are effective and productive leaders for the University.

This year, Model Supervisor awards will be presented to Blair Mannix, Wharton School and Sharon Smith, Student Services.

Model Supervisor Honorable Mentions will go to Joseph Kay, Wharton School and Hien Lu, Perelman School of Medicine.


Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work

This year’s special Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work category showcases those individuals or teams who contributed directly to creating extraordinary outcomes for the Penn community. They may include those who serve in roles maintaining life-sustaining on-campus services and support, delivering mission-critical programs and services from their homes, finding new ways to work safely onsite, and improving the morale and well-being of students, staff, and faculty at a time of need.

Maria Perkins, Bethany Robblee Schell, Penn Zoom Team, Perelman Quadrangle Team: Amplifying Student Life During COVID-19, and Student Campus Compact Review Team will be presented with the Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work award this year.

Maria Perkins, Development and Alumni Relations

Bethany Robblee Schell, Division of Finance

You can find members of the Penn Zoom Team, Perelman Quadrangle Team: Amplifying Student Life During COVID-19, and Student Campus Compact Review Team on the Models of Excellence 2022 Honoree List.

The Career Services: Supporting Students Through COVID Team, College Houses and Academic Services Team, and TEAM Student Health will receive Honorable Mentions in the Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work award category. Team members receiving this honor can be found on the Models of Excellence 2022 Honoree List.

Visit the Models of Excellence website to learn more about this year’s honorees.

Father talking to son

Recent news about the events in Ukraine is very unsettling and many people have questions about what’s happening and why, especially children. It’s never an easy task to explain war to kids, but Dr. Marsha Richardson, senior lecturer and director of the School and Mental Health Counseling Program in the Graduate School of Education, says it’s not impossible.

“When it comes to issues like this, sometimes we can find it hard to connect the dots between a child’s behavior and the events unfolding in the world around them,” says Dr. Richardson.

“This is about being in tune with and understanding, developmentally, the ways in which these stressful situations might manifest for children.”

Dr. Richardson offers the following tips for staff and faculty when talking to their children:

First, do some self-reflection

Before trying to talk a child through this, take the time to self-reflect on your emotional state as well as your political, moral, and religious views. Consider that all of these will influence the way you respond to the situation, the conversation, and any questions a child might have. Doing this ahead of time helps you avoid figuring it out for yourself in front of them, which is of significant importance to younger children. Parents in particular should strive to remember they are the model for their child’s emotional regulation.

Keep the child’s age in mind

When dealing with conversations around such complex situations, it’s easy to forget the age of your audience. As you approach talking about the war with a child, consider their age and developmental stage — and respond to their questions and comments accordingly. For example, an elementary school-age response to the question of why Russia and Ukraine are fighting could be, “They are fighting to figure out who’s in charge of the country.” For an older child, the response to that question could be, “They are fighting to gain power over a country that has a unique position in world politics.”

Keep in mind, too, that the child’s age could determine the nature of their concerns. For example, younger children may be more focused on issues of safety and security primarily for themselves and their loved ones, while middle schoolers may be more focused on factual information and high schoolers will have begun assimilating the values of caregivers, school, peers, and media. With a younger child, you may need to reassure them that you and their country are ensuring their safety. With a middle-schooler, you can provide accurate information and engage in further research alongside them. With a high schooler, you can help them think critically about what they know, how they obtained that information, and how they might consider the broader context of their role in current or future influence on these issues.

Get out in front of misinformation or biases

For children of all ages, be sure to ask them what they know. Correct any misinformation or negative generalizations they may have — for example, “all Russians are bad” — and provide them with the truth and context they need. Convey that those generalizations are particularly hurtful for some of their class- or schoolmates who may be Russian or Ukrainian. Those students, some of whom may still have close family in Russia or Ukraine, may be experiencing heightened anxiety, isolation, or even bullying.

Consider limiting news consumption

Parents of younger children might want to limit their child’s access to news coverage of the war. We might not think twice about leaving CNN or another news channel on all day when such significant world events are occurring, but the constant stream of wartime stories, images, and sounds can be overwhelming for a small child. Traumatic videos and photographs of dead bodies and bombings frequently make it to air in these situations. While older children might be better equipped to deal with the shocking imagery of televised war coverage, you should make sure to sit down with them and help them process the things they’re hearing and seeing.

Look for changes in behavior

Parents should also pay attention to any regressive behaviors that might manifest, as some children won’t be able to articulate their stress over what’s happening. Things to look for would be thumb-sucking, requesting to sleep in your bed, increased tearfulness, a drop in grades, or somatic complaints like headaches, stomachaches, and sleeplessness. Maintain an open line of communication with your child’s school, teachers, and counselors if you suspect behavioral changes are impacting their learning and interpersonal relationships. Teachers should similarly be on the lookout for behavioral changes and keeping parents apprised of any that might come up.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Finally, be sure to seek support — both within your personal spheres and professionally — to help you manage your own distress. If you’re having trouble processing things emotionally, it’s more than likely your children or students are and will be impacted.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Graduate School of Education. It first appeared in the Educator’s Playbook.

You Snooze, You Win

deep sleeper

Sleep, along with nutritious food and exercise, is essential to your well-being. Yet for busy people surrounded by beeping devices and 24/7 streaming news, it’s not always easy to get all the sleep your body and mind need every day. According to Penn Medicine, one third of all U.S. adults experience insomnia. That leads to health and safety issues, such as fatigue, poor concentration, and accidents caused by falling asleep while working or driving.

Perhaps the saying, “you snooze, you lose” needs an update. When you snooze at the right time, you win. Sleep keeps your mind alert, your memory strong, and your emotions in balance. A recent statement by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society advises adults to sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

To support healthy sleep habits, Penn Healthy You invites you to join the Rest and Recharge Penn Challenge on the Virgin Pulse wellness platform. The challenge runs March 14-27.

In this challenge, set a goal for how many hours of sleep you want to get, and track it. You can earn up to 1,000 Be in the Know points based on how well you met your sleep goals. Create a bedtime routine that helps you disconnect and calm your body and mind.

Head to Challenges under the Social tab to join and earn Be in the Know points for your participation. 

  • This challenge lasts two weeks: Monday, March 14, 12:00 a.m. ET through Sunday, March 27, 11:59 p.m .ET.
  • The deadline to upload your sleep is Tuesday, March 29, 11:59 p.m .ET. Sleep uploaded after this date won’t be counted in the final results. Please note: The platform will only allow you to enter sleep for the previous 14 days. For example, sleep for Monday, March 14 must be uploaded by Monday, March 28.

To prepare for the Rest and Recharge Penn Challenge and improve your slumber, review these healthy sleep tips from Health Advocate. If your job involves work outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., check out Tips for Shift Workers from the Sleep Foundation.

Stick to a daytime routine that includes exercise, regular mealtimes, and exposure to sunlight—all help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm or internal clock.

Establish a good sleep/wake cycle. Go to bed around the same time each night, but not until you feel sleepy. Wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends and vacations.

If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. Turn to a quiet activity without a lot of light exposure but be sure to avoid using light-emitting electronic devices, such as smartphones, that can delay sleep onset.

If possible, avoid associating your bedroom with wakefulness. Don’t work, watch TV or use other digital entertainment in bed.

Reserve your bedroom for sleep and physical intimacy only. If this is not feasible because your bedroom has become a multipurpose activity center during these challenging times, aim to leave the room for extended periods when possible.

Keep the bedroom on the cool side, dark and quiet. Use a white noise machine and room-darkening shades or a light-blocking eye mask.

Start a worry journal. If ruminating thoughts keep you up, write them down before bed so they are kept “in their place” and not in your head. If possible, jot down a solution to what’s concerning you.

Sleep with your neck in a neutral position. Bending it in any way, such as from lying on a too soft or too firm pillow, can be uncomfortable, awakening you or producing pain. 

Despite following these suggestions, if sleep problems persist, talk to your healthcare practitioner.

Visit the Penn Healthy You webpages for more wellness program information.

Fiscal Year 2022 Performance and Staff Development Program

performance and growth concept illustration

Open and effective communication is essential for enhancing performance and achieving goals. The Performance and Staff Development Program (the annual performance appraisal program) provides staff and supervisors with a formal process to improve communication and promote a productive work environment.

The performance appraisal process provides benefits for both the staff member and the supervisor, such as:

  • Providing documented feedback on job expectations, performance, and accomplishments from the past year.
  • Offering positive reinforcement as well as developmental feedback.
  • Allowing staff members to participate in goal setting.
  • Setting performance expectations and goals for the upcoming year.
  • Encouraging open communication between staff and supervisors.
  • Promoting discussion of professional development opportunities and the competencies required to be successful in their job.
  • Ensuring that job performance and accomplishment information is recorded in each staff member’s official personnel file.

Beginning March 14, 2022, staff and supervisors for participating schools and centers may use the Online Performance Appraisal System to complete self-appraisals and annual performance appraisals. Performance appraisals for all eligible regular staff should be completed and entered into the Online Performance Appraisal System by June 1. The Online Performance Appraisal System can be accessed at

If you are new to Penn’s Performance and Staff Development Program or would like to refresh your knowledge, select the links below to register for a virtual workshop in March.

Participating in Performance Appraisals for Staff: March 24, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Join this workshop to understand the performance appraisal process and learn how to prepare to have a productive review session.

Conducting Performance Appraisals for Supervisors: March 25, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
If you supervise or manage other employees and feel the need to learn more about preparing for and conducting performance appraisals, this is the course you've been looking for! Join us to find out best practices for this essential annual procedure.

Valuable information on the performance appraisal process can be found on the Human Resources website at These resources will guide you in completing quality appraisals and providing effective performance and professional development feedback.

For more information on the Performance and Staff Development Program, contact your school or center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources at (215) 898-6093.

The Power of Your Perspective

person in business suit framing perspective with fingers

While outside events and coworkers can affect your professional and personal life, there’s one thing you have the power to control: your attitude. Attitude shapes how you interact with our ever-changing world. The Strategies for Fostering Positive Attitudes and Embracing Change workshop on March 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. can give you time and space to reflect on your own perspective and understand it’s influence in the workplace. As part of Human Resources Ideas for Sustainable Life Balance series, this free virtual workshop shows you ways to encourage optimism and overcome the limits of negativity.

Jamie Apgar, the workshop facilitator and Human Resources Training & Development Consultant says, “Taking a step back to understand your own attitude has the potential to create a more positive work environment because you are now more self-aware of the attitude you bring to the table.”

For a quick attitude check, imagine you have an important in-person meeting early in the morning and you miss your train. Which thoughts are more likely to enter your mind?

Perspective A

“Great. I’ve missed the train. Now there’s no way I’ll be on time and my whole day is ruined.”

“This always happens to me when I have an important meeting.”

“That slow driver in front of me made me miss my train.”

Perspective B

“I’m lucky! Looks like there is another train only 10 minutes away.”

“Since I’ve started taking the train, I’ve only been late three times.”

“I’ll be sure to wake up earlier next time I have an important meeting.”

The Perspective A statements reflect a pessimistic mindset, which casts bad situations as permanent, universal, and beyond our control (and someone else’s fault). The Perspective B quotes spring from an optimistic point of view. It frames situations as temporary, focuses on the specifics of each incident, and seeks solutions to improve things now and in the future.

Pessimism may seem like “telling it like it is,” but when it colors every experience, it can make you feel powerless and block you from making effective choices. On the bright side, you can learn to start seeing things from a more optimistic point of view that allows you to take action and gives you a greater sense of well-being.

In Strategies for Fostering Positive Attitudes and Embracing Change, Apgar covers four key topics to help you recognize and practice self-empowerment:

  • Adjusting your own attitude. Attendees will participate in a self-assessment exercise to gauge their own attitude level and explore some ways to improve their attitude.
  • Pessimism vs Optimism. Participants will explore the differences between each perspective and how using distraction and disputation techniques can increase optimism.
  • Reframing negative situations. Learning how to dissect negative situations can help you create a more positive response to them. Participants will use the EXPEL Model (Explain, Pinpoint, Evaluate action, Link to self-esteem) to rethink negative circumstances and play back how they could have handled a negative situation from the past more positively.
  • Coping with negativity that results from change. There are many ways you can navigate and cope with change. Apgar will discuss several, including letting go, gaining balance, and exploring alternatives.

Register today for the Strategies for Fostering Positive Attitudes and Embracing Change workshop and learn how to find positive experiences that benefit you, your colleagues, and your organization.

For more professional development programs, visit the Learn & Grow section of the Human Resources website.

Healthy Meals: Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl  


This Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl is so fun to make. The recipe shows how to give tofu a crispy texture and loads of flavor. This burrito bowl is brimming with delicious, healthy ingredients, and you can add or replace ingredients based on your preferences. It a great dish for vegetarians looking for a little extra protein in their diet.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl (Serves 4)


For the Tofu Crumbles and Veggie Mixture:

16 oz (453g) extra firm tofu (drained, patted dry and crumbled)
1 tablespoon (15mL) olive oil
2 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped

For the Bowl:

2 -15 oz (439g) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (124g) cooked brown rice
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup (4g) fresh cilantro, chopped

For the Smoky Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup (113g) plain low/nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

Optional garnishes: lime wedges, fresh cilantro, lettuce, low fat cheese, salsa, guacamole
2 small avocados
½ cup (56g) low fat cheese, shredded
½ cup (120mL) salsa


For the Tofu/Veggie Mixture:

Drain a block of extra-firm tofu (16 oz) from the liquid and pat dry using paper towels to gently squeeze excess liquid.

Use your hands or potato masher to crumble the tofu into small bite sized bites

Add crumbled tofu into a mixing bowl and toss with chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss until tofu is coated.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on the stove over medium heat

Add peppers, onions and tofu crumble into skillet and cook 8-10 minutes until veggies are soft and tofu is heated throughout.

For the rice:

Add cooked rice, juice of half a lime and cilantro to a bowl and combine. Set aside.

For the cream sauce:

Add yogurt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder to a bowl, mix until combined. Set aside. 

To assemble:

Add ½ cup rice and ½ cup black beans into 4 separate containers and top with ¼ of the tofu and veggies mixture. Scoop 2 tbsp cream sauce on top. Enjoy with your favorite toppings such as 2 tbsp salsa, 2 tbsp low fat cheese, ½ small avocado

PRO TIP: Skip the tofu and add more beans to make this recipe more budget friendly and easier to prep without sacrificing the protein value of the dish!    

    Corporate Wellness Nutrition logo 

    Meet With a Registered Dietitian Today!

    • One-on-one, virtual nutrition counseling
    • 100% covered under many insurance plans and available to spouses and dependents
    • Simple Sign Up Process – Visit Penn’s Corporate Wellness Nutrition’s Sign Up page, provide your information and a customer service team member will reach out in one to two business days to book your appointment.

    Did You Know: It’s National Nutrition Month

    National Nutrition Month is here. Time to dig in to these 5 Tips to Celebrate a World of Flavors from Corporate Wellness Nutrition and sign up for their cooking demo on March 21. Eligible faculty and staff are also invited to join the Veg Out Penn Challenge to earn Be in the Know campaign points March 16-22. Registration opens March 13. To get started log in to Penn’s Virgin Pulse wellness platform.



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