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New Faculty and Staff Member Essentials

Penn is an exciting and dynamic environment. It’s also very large and decentralized, which means it may take some time to learn your way around. Your manager or supervisor will discuss many things you need to know to get started, but here’s a list of some “essentials” to guide you as you learn more about the culture, the terminology, and your new role and workplace.

Attending New Staff Orientation

Human Resources holds a New Staff Orientation program where you can learn about the history of Penn and get a better understanding of our mission and culture. You’ll discover the various programs and resources to help you enjoy a long and productive career at the University. You’ll also learn about the many benefits you have as a Penn faculty or staff member—like health and life insurance, tuition assistance, retirement plans, paid time off, and much more. Human Resources specialists will be available to answer your questions. It’s never too late to attend and learn valuable information. Contact elenamcc@upenn.edu to register.

Completing Your Introductory Period

For all new regular staff members, the Introductory Period consists of the first four months of employment at the University. Your manager or supervisor should discuss this in detail with you.

Acquiring Your Penn Identity

The PennCard is the official University of Pennsylvania identification card for students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Penn community. Your PennCard is also used for many activities including building access, recreation and library services, and PennCash purchases. To get your PennCard, bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to the PennCard Center (located on the second floor of the Penn Bookstore, 3601 Walnut Street) at least one business day after your Hiring Officer or Business Administrator has entered your complete payroll record into the Payroll/Personnel System.

A key element of online security is the need to protect the passwords we use to authenticate, or prove, our identity to online systems. A PennKey and password are required to access many of the University's electronic services. Visit the PennKey website for information on the major functions associated with setting up and managing your PennKey and password.

Signing Up for Benefits

Penn offers a comprehensive total compensation program which includes competitive salaries as well as generous health and welfare, tuition, retirement, career development, overall wellness, family and time off benefits. As a new benefits-eligible faculty or staff member, you have 30 days from the date your benefits become effective to enroll yourself and your eligible dependents in Penn’s healthcare benefits. Contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236) for more information.

When it comes to saving for retirement, you can enroll at any time—it’s never too late or too early to start. Contact Penn’s Retirement Call Center at 1-877-PENN-RET (1-877-736-6738) for more information.

Getting Paid

You have the option of receiving your pay in one of two ways: Direct Deposit or the ADP Aline Card system. Whether you’re weekly or monthly paid, you can find pay dates and pay periods here. Check with your manager or supervisor to see how you need to report your time and/or leave each pay period. To print your paystub, find tax information and reimbursements, view your total compensation summary, enroll or update direct deposit and more, visit the U@Penn portal (My Pay).

Identifying and Taking Training

Find out what training you need for your position by logging on to Penn Profiler—the University’s web-based training assessment tool—as soon as you receive your PennKey and password. This tool will help identify what training you’re required to take based on your job at Penn. You should complete the survey every year, and more often if your job changes. Any required training identified by Penn Profiler can be accessed directly in Knowledge Link. Penn also offers a wealth of training opportunities beyond what may be required for your job. Visit Knowledge Link to browse the available courses.

Your Workspace

If you need technical help for your computer or telephone, your manager or supervisor will give you the contact information for your Local Support Provider (LSP). Your manager or supervisor may have already set up telephone and voicemail services for you. Email accounts are generally provided by the school or center with which you’re affiliated. In some cases, a PennKey and password are required before you can get an account. Check with your manager or supervisor for more information.

The Department of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety offers an ergonomics checklist that provides guidelines to improve your workstation or job and prevent injuries from occurring.

Finding Your Way Around Campus

Navigate Penn’s campus with easy-to-use maps that point you to specific buildings, schools, athletic facilities, libraries, and even artwork on campus. From this site you’ll also find links to Penn Transit Services, SEPTA, Arts@Penn, and places to dine. The maps are available to download and print.

Finding People at Penn

Find a person at Penn or update your directory listing with your PennKey and password.

Planning Your Commute

Learn about Penn Transit Services, including shuttles, buses, and other commuter options. Penn’s compact urban campus is well served by an extensive network of subway, bus, regional rail, national rail, car-sharing, and trolley lines that are located around the campus where public transit stops are never more than a five minute walk from any part of campus. Penn offers discounted options and pretax benefits through these programs: the Commuter Pass Program (COMPASS), TransitChek®, Commuter Check Card Prepaid MasterCard®, PATCO Freedom Pass, and N.J. Transit. If you plan to drive to campus, Penn Parking Services manages 27 lots and garages on Penn’s campus.

Observing University Holidays

The University observes eight holidays per year, in addition to a traditional Special Winter Vacation between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Staying Informed About Suspension of Normal Operations

The University recognizes that there are times, due to emergencies such as severe weather conditions, when classes may be canceled and/or schools and centers may be closed. Your manager or supervisor may have a method in place to contact you about any closings. The University will also announce a closing or other modification of work schedules through the following means:

  • the University's emergency information number: 215-898-6358 (215-898-MELT)
  • communications from the Division of Public Safety
  • KYW News Radio (1060 AM), the City of Philadelphia's official storm emergency center
  • the UPennAlert Emergency Notification System (for University-related incidents and crises)
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