November 18, 2020

Message from Dean Lang

To: Liberal Arts Staff
From: Clarence Lang
Date: November 18, 2020

Dear Staff Colleagues:

I’m writing only to you this time, and I trust this message finds you well. With the end of the semester on the horizon, you should reflect favorably on all that you have helped our college accomplish over the last several months. Despite the sudden changes, multiple challenges, and uncertainties associated with the COVID pandemic, you have served Liberal Arts students, faculty, and other staff in carrying out the mission-critical work of the University. I cannot thank you enough for all you have done under these grueling circumstances. That said, I urge you to do all that you must not to neglect yourselves. Keep taking your vacation time to refresh, refocus, and do things you enjoy.   And if the opportunity presents itself, consider postponing or cancelling standing virtual meetings scheduled for next week to allow you and others to “unplug” from Zoom for a few days.

The upcoming holidays are going to look different than what we have known before, and many of us will have to discover new ways of spending time with friends and family as we postpone or cancel travel plans. As we approach the finish line before the winter break, I also hope you will take time to celebrate the end of the year at our college’s first virtual holiday gathering from 3:30-4:30 pm on Tuesday, December 1. Our dean’s office team is working hard to craft a fun way for us to stay engaged and connected in this remote environment — looking forward to seeing you then.  Please click this Zoom link to register in advance for the holiday gathering.  

If you haven’t done so already, I also encourage you to consider nominating a deserving colleague for one of the 2021 College Staff Awards. The deadline for submitting nominations has been extended until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 30. If you have any questions, please direct them to Kysesen Maravich at or (814) 865-3714. I look forward to recognizing all of our award winners during the 2021 College Staff Awards Reception on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.  An invitation will be forthcoming.

As noted in this Penn State News article this morning, the University is directing employees who are currently working from home to continue doing so throughout the upcoming spring semester unless notified by their supervisors of the need to return to onsite work. If you are like me, I suspect that this news stirs a variety of emotions – from relief that planning for the spring can proceed accordingly, to disappointment that we must wait awhile until we can gather again in person. I am grateful for this decision that prioritizes the health and safety of our employees, and I have no doubt that – thanks to you – the college will continue to weather these turbulent times.

Finally, in case you missed it on Penn State Today, our college is one of several units co-sponsoring a free, live-streamed event at 6 pm tonight featuring historian Ibram X. Kendi, who will discuss his book, How to Be an Antiracist. A Q&A session will follow.