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Newsletter - Winter 2013-14

 Reminder: Add Day is Approaching

Just a friendly reminder that the last day for adding courses and removing incompletes is this Friday, January 24th.  Please remember to bring your add cards to the Registrar's Office by 5:00pm on Friday.

 

Recent Academic Changes

For the past three years, the Institute has changed some academic rules for students, so it is important that students know which changes affect them. 

 

For students who entered Caltech in fall 2011-12:

  • Advanced Hums must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • Advanced Social Sciences must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • No language classes may be used for Advanced Humanities credit

 For students who entered Caltech in fall 2012-13:

  • Advanced Hums must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • Advanced Social Sciences must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • No language classes may be used for Advanced Humanities credit
  • Students cannot use BEM 102 as additional HSS credit
  • Students must pay 12 terms of tuition
  • Students’ tuition will NOT be adjusted for underloading

 For students who entered in fall 2013-14:

  • Advanced Hums must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • Advanced Social Sciences must be on grades (cannot take as freshmen)
  • No language classes may be used for Advanced Humanities credit
  • Students cannot use BEM 102 as additional HSS credit
  • Included in the 12 HSS courses, students must take 3 writing-intensive courses and these must be taken on grades.  All Adv Hum courses will satisfy the writing-intensive course requirement, as well as those Adv SS courses designated as such in the course schedule each term and listed in the Catalog (see p. 211). 
  • Students must pay 12 terms of tuition
  • Students’ tuition will NOT be adjusted for underloading
  • Students must follow new core requirements
  • Students will NOT qualify to graduate with honor

 For all students enrolled in Fall 2013 regardless of their entering class:

Beginning in the fall 2013 term there is now a limit on how long E and I grades may be extended. Typically, incomplete grades (E) and medical incompletes (I) are extended until Add Day of the next term but if students are granted a further extension of an E or I grade they may not be extended past one year. The catalog now states: “An E will turn into an F one year after the date on which the E was given, and an I grade will turn into a W (standing for “Withdrawn”) one year after the date on which the I grade was given.”

TQFR Prize Winners and Excellent TAs for Fall Term

Many thanks to all of the students who evaluated their courses through the TQFR. Your feedback and comments are very helpful to the faulty and TAs. Here are the lucky prize winners of $20 gift cards to Amazon.com from fall term:

Ayush Gupta, Sophomore

Kyra Lee, G1

Aman Agarwal, Sophomore

Sofia Quinodoz, G1

Sohini Khan, Senior

Cedric W. Flamant, Junior

Jianzhi (Kian) Cheng, Undergraduate Exchange Student

We wanted to also congratulate two outstanding TAs who really made an impact on the undergraduate students.

Xiaoqi Ren, TA for AM 125A/CDS201/ACM104 – Xiaoqi is a G2 in the PhD program in Computer Science.  Students overwhelming indicated she was an excellent TA, knowing the course material and subject extremely well.  A couple remarks were made regarding the great job Xiaoqi did in providing homework assistance 'without just giving away the answers.'  And another remarked that 'she's always being extremely nice, patient and polite with the students, which I personally appreciate' - we all do!

Ana Brown for APh 114a  – Ana is a G3 in the PhD program in Applied Physics. Students described Ana as 'excellent', 'phenomenal' and 'fantastic.'  One student stated, 'She is great at providing contextual information that helps people with weaker backgrounds in physics to understand the concepts underlying whatever problem is at hand.'  Others stated that they were 'inspired to think' as Ana threw out appropriate questions to the students.  Her students clearly could see how much Ana cares about teaching and hope that she continues with the pursuit in the future. 

A Message about the TQFRs from Vice Provost Melany Hunt:

Interim President and Provost Edward Stolper and I would like to continue to see improvements in the Caltech’s classroom and laboratory teaching. As part of this effort, Caltech recently established the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach.  A second aspect of this effort involves the engagement of faculty and teaching assistants in the improvement of teaching quality by providing constructive feedback, suggestions, and when appropriate praise, via the Teaching Quality Feedback Reports (TQFR). Unfortunately the participation rate in TQFR is typically less than 50%, which is markedly lower than what is found at comparable universities. We would like to assure students that their responses are read and valued; the feedback is seen by the faculty member, the teaching assistants, the division chairs (and some executive officers), and the Provost’s office. In some cases, student feedback can result in changes to teaching approaches and in revisions of curriculum. As such, we would like to see responses from all students (and not just a handful). So please, take the time to fill in the TQFR. If you have other suggestions for improvement, please let me know.

Grading Schemes Reminders

Grading schemes are defined on the course schedule per class and cannot be changed after the term start. The Registrar's Office has begun confirming grading schemes with course instructors prior to the term start. Students who are enrolled in classes indicated as 'LETTER' on the course schedule will not be able to exercise their pass-fail option for those courses.  Similarly, the Registrar's Office has begun reminding students enrolled in Letter graded only courses of this policy on the first day of classes.  If you have any questions regarding grading schemes, please feel free to contact the Registrar's Office.

Social Confidence Group at the Counseling Center

Do you have a hard time talking with people you don't know?  Feel anxious in new social situations?  Not sure how to start a conversation and keep it going?  The Counseling Center will be offering a group designed to help build you skills and confidence in social situations.  Group members will be given suggestions, support and an opportunity to practice new skills and increase your social confidence.  The group will run from February 4 to March 11 for six consecutive Tuesdays.  Space is limited so remember to call the Counseling Center at x8331 to set up an appointment before the start date!

REGIS Features

In addition to online registration each term, did you know that within REGIS:

Students can

  • ...view their current class schedule, both in an outline and calendar grid view
  • ...generate unofficial transcripts and request official ones
  • ...view midterm & final grades as soon as they are posted to the system
  • ...generate Enrollment Verification letters
  • ...view current enrollment numbers of limited seating courses
  • ...undergraduates can see their degree audits (Graduate degree progress coming soon!)
  • ...undergraduates can see whether their advising requirement has been met for the year

 Advisers can  

  • ...view and approve advisee schedules
  • ...review the unofficial transcript and degree audit for students
  • ... indicate advising requirement has been met for the year, and/or place an advising hold on the advisees' record

 Instructors and TAs can

  • ...view Class Roll sheets - download lists and broadcast emails from the roll sheet
  • ...enter midterm grades, freshmen progress shadow grades and comments, and final grades

 

Important Dates

January 24 Last day for adding courses and removing incompletes
February 5-11 Midterm examination period
February 17 Presidents' Day (Institute Holiday)
February 18 Midterm Deficiency Notices due - 9:00 a.m.
February 26 Last day to drop classes or to exercise your P/F option
February 27 First day of registration for spring term
March 12 Last day of classes and last day to register for spring term without a $50 late fee
March 13-16 Study Period
March 17-19 Final examinations
March 19 End of winter term 2013-14
March 20-30 Spring Recess
March 26 Instructors' final grade reports due - 9:00 a.m.
March 31 Beginning of instruction spring term