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Newsletter - Fall 2011-12

Reminder: Add Day is Approaching

Just a friendly reminder that the last day for adding courses and removing incompletes is this Friday, October 14th. Please remember to bring your add cards to the Registrar's Office by 5:00pm on Friday.

Annual Notification of FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records and the Institute is required to notify you of this. These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review their education records within 10 days of the day the Institute receives a request for access.
  • The right to request an amendment to their education records that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
  • The right to provide written consent before the Institute discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Institute to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Additional information regarding FERPA including the Public Notification of Directory Information can be found on our FERPA page.

2011 Catalog Now Online

The new 2011-12 catalog is available online at There have been a few course changes that we wanted to bring to your attention.

  • Ch 3b has been split into Ch 8, Experimental Procedures of Synthetic Chemistry and Ch/ChE 9, Chemical Synthesis and Characterization for Chemical Engineering. Both new courses can be used as an Additional Introductory Lab.

  • Also, ChE 064 has been renumbered to ChE 062. And ESE/Ge 148abc is now ESE 101, 102 & 103.

  • MS 130 & 132 have become MS/APh 120 & 122 respectively.

Academic Changes for 2011

New academic policies have been implemented by the Faculty Board for 2011. These policies apply to the Fall 2011-12 incoming students (and those who start after) only:

  • The first two terms of freshmen year students are limited to 45 units of academic courses. Students may take up to 51 units with 6 remaining units to be used for frontier (“pizza”) courses, PE, PA, or research.

  • Students must complete the core requirements listed in the catalog published in the first year of a student’s enrollment.

  • Freshman Seminar program initiated.

  • The two courses used to fulfill the Advanced Humanities requirement must be taken on grades.

  • Foreign languages cannot be used to fulfill the Advanced Humanities requirement.

  • The two courses used to fulfill the Advanced Social Science requirement must be taken on grades.

New! Shadow Grades in First Term!

Newly approved by the Faculty Board, freshmen will receive shadow grades in first term, both at midterm and final grade period. We ask faculty and TAs to please take note and provide letter grade feedback in the fall term.

New Director of Athletics & Associate Director

A new director of athletics, recreation and physical education has joined Caltech. Betsy Mitchell, a former Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, became Caltech’s first full-time female director of athletics and recreation this past summer. Also new to Caltech is John Carter as the Associate Director of Athletics.

New (Additional) Associate Dean of Students

The Undergraduate Dean of Students' Office is adding an additional Associate Dean of Students, Lesley Nye, to their office. While Dr. Nye officially joined Caltech at the start of October, she was able to join the incoming students at this year's Frosh Camp. Dr. Nye's focus will be on the student judicial issues.

College Work Study

This year all students with Federal and Caltech Work-Study must register with TECHERlink to apply for work-study positions. Login to to sign up. Once your account has been created you will start receiving emails for posted work-study jobs.

To apply for positions advertised on TECHERlink please review the attached instructions. More information about the Work-Study program is available at

Should you have any questions about you work-study award, please contact the Financial Aid Office at For questions on how to create an account or apply for a FWS position, please contact Nicole Hicks at

Clarifying the Caltech Grading Scheme

As students begin preparing their graduate school applications, we often get the question of what Grading Scheme Caltech uses. While we do award additional credit for an A+, our grading scheme is still considered a four-point grading scale. UPDATED: The Caltech grading scale is considered a 4.3 grading scale.

The Caltech Y Gets a New Home

The Caltech Y has moved into the Tyson House at 505 S. Wilson. "This will enable us to celebrate our 95th year in a new space," says Athena Castro, executive director of the Caltech Y. "Wherever we go, we will continue to provide the high level of service and the quality of programs that we always have."

Important Dates

October 14 Last day for adding courses and removing incompletes
October 26 - November 1 Midterm examination period
November 7 Midterm Deficiency Notices due - 9:00 a.m.
November 16 Last day to drop classes or to exercise your P/F option
November 17 First day of registration for winter term
November 18 Last day for admission to candidacy for the degrees of Master of Science and Engineer
November 24-25 Thanksgiving (Institute Holiday)
December 2 Last day of classes and last day to register for winter term without a $50 late fee
December 3-6 Study Period
December 7-9 Final examinations
December 9 End of fall term 2011-12
December 10 - January 3 Winter Recess
December 14 Instructors' final grade reports due - 9:00 a.m.
January 4 Beginning of instruction winter term