From stoic philosophy to daily brainteasers, see how staff are staying positive


Since transitioning to working from home and e-learning, the Division of Undergraduate Education and IUPUI has been actively working on supporting faculty and staff.

To help support other staff, employees of the division have been developing methods that work best for them as they work from home and have come together to share their advice.

Jerry Daday, executive associate dean of the Institute for Engaged Learning, has stressed the importance of keeping a regular work schedule and staying home, even though it can be difficult.

“I'm trying to maintain a regular and consistent schedule each day, just like if I was in the office. It is definitely easier than it sounds....” Daday said. “I usually get on the laptop early in the morning, work for a few hours, then go for a bike ride with my kids and have lunch. Then, I'm back on the laptop for the rest of the afternoon.”

Daday has also found that it is important while working at home to stay active through bike riding and working out for both his physical and mental well-being. By taking small breaks, both Daday and other members of the division have been able to adjust to remote work more easily.

Jay Gladden, associate vice chancellor for Undergraduate Education, has continued to work similar hours to what he did when he was in the office. He has also found that taking breaks helps.

“To take a break, I like to take a short walk with one of my dogs,” Gladden said.

Mental Health Support and Taking a Break

For those who need a break, stress management help, or increased focus on their mental health, they can join Smooth Moves and the Department of Kinesiology’s exercise and stress management mini sessions. You can take ten minutes to relax Monday through Thursday from 11:00 to 11:10 a.m. through Zoom.

For online resources, the Calm app and the Headspace app have some free meditation resources to help practice mindfulness and meditation. Both apps are also available for use through your browser.

Outside of setting strict work hours, creating a home schedule, taking breaks, and staying active, Jo Fox, associate director of administrative affairs, recommends setting up your home office in a positive location. For Fox, this meant she set up her workspace so that it looked out into her backyard.

“... as the flowers start blooming, I can enjoy them and, until we have leaves, the squirrels have been providing some awesome and acrobatic entertainment in the trees,” Fox said.

Creating a dedicated workspace for yourself, especially a positive one, will help you turn “on” at the beginning of the day, to   prepared for work, and make the experience enjoyable.

Once you’ve got your workspace set up, it is vital to ensure you are ready to work from home; whether it be handling technology issues or learning about working and teaching from home, it is important to make sure you access the resources available.

Karley Clayton, a STEM career consultant for Academic and Career Development, said while working from home, she has grown as a professional by becoming better skilled at using online platforms like Zoom and Canvas.

Karley Clayton and her new co-worker hard at work.

“I have found to be a helpful resource! Also, Jeremy's tech team and Kristin's team in communications have also been helpful resources in the transition. I can always count on them for help,” Clayton said.

Online Work and Technology Assistance Resources

For staff looking for resources to develop their teaching and working from home skills, they can be found on the Keep Teaching website and those who need guidance on how to move their course online can get help from the Center for Teaching and Learning from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. More information about Canvas can also be found here.

Other faculty and staff can get help from University Information Technology Services (UITS) in regards to problems about setting up your e-mail, using Zoom, and more.

For those who have been wondering what to fill their time with and how to stay positive, some staff members have shared what they’ve been doing.

Besides spending time with her ‘purrfect’ new co-worker Albert, Jennifer Gleissner, assistant director of the Office of Academic Mentoring in the Bepko Learning Center, has been using her time to read Stoic philosophy, as well as cook new dishes and exercise.

“I am a huge reader of Stoic philosophy, so I felt reasonably prepared, mentally, for this challenge. Life is full of obstacles that make us more resilient,” Gleissner said. “This just happens to be a really big obstacle!”

Jennifer Gleissner’s new co-worker Albert

“I am a huge reader of Stoic philosophy, so I felt reasonably prepared, mentally, for this challenge. Life is full of obstacles that make us more resilient,” Gleissner said. “This just happens to be a really big obstacle!”

For others, they have been finding new and fun ways to keep in contact with family and friends.

While being able to continue to help her students is keeping her positive, Clayton said she has also been using Zoom to host game nights, playing charades, Scattegories, and Jackbox games.

Others, like Chris Maroldo, director of academic success for Academic and Career Development, have been having weekly Zoom check-ins. With a son in Spain, another son in Kansas City, and his brother is in Philadelphia, Maroldo said utilizing Zoom has been a great way to check-in with family.

Chris Maroldo

It’s great to see everyone and to know that my family, friends, co-workers are practicing social distancing, are remaining healthy, and supporting each other with love...

Chris Maroldo, Director of Academic Success

In addition to new activities, many employees have found their colleagues and the division to be beacons of positivity.

“Cathy Buyarski's daily riddles are something I look forward to every day,” Clayton said.

Along with Buyarski’s daily brainteasers, Maroldo said he has found Dean Gladden’s emails of support and persistence and Matt Rust’s leadership with the Academic and Career Development staff fantastic.

Gladden said the biggest thing that has helped him adjust to working remotely has been his amazing colleagues.

“Everyone has just been amazing, pitching in wherever is needed to make the transition to remote operations happen,” Gladden said.

The Indianapolis Skyline

I think DUE has done a really great job in supporting all of us in this transition. Jay has done a really nice job of sharing information, and I've done my best to share what I know with the staff in the Institute for Engaged Learning

Jerry Daday, Executive Associate Dean of the Institute for Engaged Learning

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at