Heard Around Campus — June 2024

Keep track of important deadlines and opportunities to take care of your future, including those related to voluntary retirement, professional development and wellness.
View of Drexel Main Building Main Court

End of spring term, end of fiscal year, beginning of summer — June has it all. And besides all those changes that occurred this month, there are also updates, deadlines and events coming up related to recognizing excellence, voluntary retirement, professional development and wellness.

Here’s what was heard around campus last month:

President’s Awards Nominations Are Now Open

Recognize exceptional full- and part-time faculty and professional staff (individuals and teams) from across Drexel University by submitting nominations for the 2023–2024 President’s Awards. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. on July 8. Direct questions to Kathy Choy, assistant director of Talent Development in Drexel Human Resources.

 President's Awards will be given in three categories: 

  • Award for Excellence for Professional Staff
  • Award for Diversity & Inclusive Community for Faculty and Professional Staff
  • Civic Engagement Award for Faculty and Professional Staff 

Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan: Getting Your Questions Answered

As announced on June 17, Drexel University is offering a voluntary retirement incentive plan (VRIP) for fiscal year 2025 for eligible employees who have met the “rule of 80” — age plus years of service totaling 80 or more. If you qualify, you should have received an email on June 17 from vrip@drexel.edu with the subject line, “2024 Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan Personal Incentive Summary.” That email contained an attachment with detailed information about the program, including your individual eligibility criteria, personalized incentive, instructions on how to apply, and relevant deadlines.

In addition to these personalized packets, detailed information about the plan is available on the VRIP webpage in the Benefits section of the Human Resources website. If after reading the eligibility information and reviewing your Adjusted Service Date in Drexel One, you believe you are eligible but have not received a personalized email, please contact vrip@drexel.edu with your concern immediately.

Virtual information sessions will be held throughout the summer on various related topics. You can sign up for an upcoming information session by logging into Career Pathway (located under the Employee tab in DrexelOne). Sessions are currently scheduled for:

  • 2024 Professional Staff Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan Info Sessions: July 15, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • 2024 Faculty Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan Info Sessions: July 18, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Medicare Basics: What You Need to Know: July 31, noon to 1 p.m.

If you need more personalized assistance, you can schedule an individual consultation with a Human Resources Benefits Team member.

If you are eligible, during the week of Aug. 15, the following forms will arrive in your Drexel email inbox from vrip@drexel.edu: Election, General Release and Revocation form; Final Release of Claims form; and Benefit Enrollment form. Be sure to review these forms carefully to allow yourself ample time to decide if participating in the VRIP is the best choice. The VRIP enrollment windows start to open in September.

Drexel Human Resources is here to support you through the process. Please send any questions to vrip@drexel.edu.

Join Public Safety for National Night Out Aug. 6

Drexel Public Safety will once again be hosting National Night Out (NNO) on August 6, 5–8 p.m. NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. This event also provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

If you’re interested in tabling at NNO, reserve a spot for your department, agency or group by emailing Linda Moran at lmm467@drexel.edu by July 2.

Fun in the Sun at the Gateway Garden

The Drexel community is welcome to enjoy the seasonal weather at the Gateway Garden (32nd and JFK). Summer foliage and programming are in full bloom at the Garden:

  • Meet the Brewers on select Wednesdays from 5–7 p.m.: A series of events hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) that features local brewers. Summer 2024’s brewer lineup includes Bluecoat Distilling on July 10, Otto Distilling on July 24, Dressler Estate on Aug. 7 and Fat Lady Brewing on Aug. 21. 
  • Garden Workshops on select Thursdays from 2–4 p.m.: PHS hosts a series of DIY Workshops. Summer 2024’s workshop lineup includes Herbs and Microgreens on July 18, Flower Pot Painting on Aug. 1, Vintage Teacup Planting on Aug. 15 and Botanical Tonics and Refreshers on Aug. 29.

Join the Gateway Garden community group on Microsoft Teams to learn more about the Gateway Garden and upcoming programs. To learn more about what’s currently growing in the Garden, visit Drexel Business Services website.

Upcoming Offerings from Talent Development

  • Managing Within the Law: July 11, 2–3:30 pm: This workshop focuses on what every manager needs to know about creating a safe and inclusive work environment. Participants will learn where to turn for help in engaging staff, working with Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture to create a welcoming environment, understanding disability and other accommodations, and issue spotting. There is a required pre-work assignment for this workshop, consisting of a 25-minute online course that will provide some foundational information on these important topics. Register on Career Pathway.
  • Leading Across Differences: July 16, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Being able to lead teams in a way that fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment is a vital supervisory skill. Understanding the interactions that can take place on teams because of difference, and choosing leadership strategies appropriately, can be challenging. What happens when aspects of social identity and their perceived value divide team members from each other, or even from the supervisor? This workshop uses Drexel’s values and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as foundations for participants to critically examine their own and others’ viewpoints, and use leadership actions at the personal, interpersonal, community and organizational levels to work through challenging situations. Register on Career Pathway.

Share Your Opinion on Climate Change Learning Opportunities

Please check out this month's Climate Action Plan (CAP) poll question. The CAP committee is sharing these periodic questions as a way for everybody in the Drexel community to provide feedback on the plan process, especially if you have not had the time to participate in a committee. This month’s question is about whether you have opportunities to learn more about climate change in this region.

Wellness Opportunities for Every Season

Even though it’s summer, Drexel’s award-winning wellness program will not be taking time off. Though the summer wellness calendar is generally lighter (to account for vacation time and encourage you to get outdoors), there’s still plenty of programming to enjoy this summer season, from Medicare to Living With Uncertainty to Chair Yoga to Cultivating Self-Esteem. Remember to check the Wellness Incentive Program page to stay up to date on all the latest wellness offerings available to you. 

In addition, check out these summer wellness resources from Health Advocate:

  • Summer is a great time to get outside and stay active. With warmer weather and more daylight, it’s the perfect opportunity to develop healthy exercise habits. The key is to find activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine. Download the flyer on summer exercise tips.
  • As an employee, you play a role in creating a strong sense of community in your workplace. Whether you work onsite or remotely, fostering connections with your colleagues is essential for job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being. Download the flyer on building community at work.

Help SupportLinc Set a Guinness World Record on July 23

On July 23 at 11 a.m., visit mindstreamlive.com for a special event featuring a 10-minute breathing exercise led by Mike Maher, a Mindstream subject matter expert and the host of YouTube’s #1 breathwork, channel, “Take a Deep Breath.” This event is a unique opportunity to highlight the importance of taking proactive steps for your mental health — not to mention, SupportLinc aims to set an official Guinness World Record title for the world’s largest mindfulness livestream!

Explore Leadership at Every Level

The Drexel Talent Development team is committed to the idea that Drexel is stronger when faculty and staff are empowered to learn and grow. Leadership at Every Level, a Talent Development initiative, is based on the premise that everyone can and should be a leader, regardless of their formal title.

The Talent Development team has curated an extensive online course library, developed robust leadership development programs, which include “Drexel Leaders: The Art of Management” and “Drexel Leaders: Advancing Dragon Leadership” and over 125 online certificate programs tailored to empower every member of our community to embrace their innate leadership potential. Learn more about this initiative.

Policy Compliance News & Reminders

Reminder: A periodic review of all Official University Policies is in progress and is tentatively scheduled to be completed by September 2025.

Recent Policy Status Changes

Please visit the Policy Directory for a list of all Official University Policies and information about them, including their current statuses. Email policy@drexel.edu for any Policy Compliance Process questions.

Updates from Office of the Comptroller

  • Fiscal Year 2025 Approved Fringe Rates for Sponsored Projects: Drexel University has finalized the negotiations of the fiscal year 2025 fringe benefit rates for sponsored projects with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The finalized rates remain the same as the proposed rates. Coeus and Banner have been updated to reflect the new proposed rates effective July 1, 2024.
  • Finalized Fiscal Year 2024-2027 Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Rates for Sponsored Projects: Drexel has also finalized its F&A rate negotiation with the DHHS’s Cost Allocation Services. This information has also been posted on the Comptroller's Office website, along with the actual PDF of the rate agreement and the rate componentization. Please note that these rates are strictly applicable to awards made directly to Drexel University. Awards for the Academy of Natural Sciences are subject to their specific rate agreement. The Academy of Natural Sciences' rates for FY25 are being finalized and we will communicate their rates separately when finalized.