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Faculty Advising

The Office of the Undergraduate Deans manages the freshman faculty advisor program, and also works closely with options advisors. Please click on the title for the Freshman Advising Handbook and other resources.

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Peer Tutoring

The Deans' Office hires and trains peer tutors, who are available for one-on-one tutoring, as well as group tutoring sessions. Faculty may expect to be asked for recommendations for tutors for some classes. You may find out more about Peer Tutoring here.

The associate deans will often work with students who are struggling to complete work in a timely fashion for a number of reasons. Here is what you can expect from us:

Under appropriate circumstances, the undergraduate deans can recommend to course instructors that a student be granted an extension, an excused absence, or other academic adjustment. This may involve particular assignments during a term, or a course grade of "I" (Incomplete) at the end of a term. While the deans can facilitate and support requests for extensions and other academic accommodations, it is important to stress that any final decision rests with the course instructor.

The deans are prepared to recommend academic adjustments where a student has clearly experienced a significant family or personal emergency, or a moderate to severe illness or medical condition that makes it difficult to keep up with coursework. In such circumstances, a student should contact a dean as soon as possible in order to discuss the situation.

Students experiencing illness or other health conditions should seek treatment at Student Wellness Services, where the condition can be assessed and treated, and (if appropriate) recommendations communicated to the deans' office. A student must grant permission for any communication from Student Wellness Services to the Deans' Office. The deans will not recommend extensions or other academic adjustments for medical reasons without supporting documentation from Student Wellness Services, or from other qualified health professionals. See the Student Wellness Services website for relevant policies around academic extensions for medical reasons. The deans will not support extensions or excuses for class absences that result from minor illnesses such as colds or allergies.

As a matter of policy, the deans will not support extensions or excuses from class absences that result from participation in athletics or other campus clubs or activities. The deans will not support extensions or excuses for class absences that result from travel for interviews for graduate or professional school admission or for job applications. These commitments can be anticipated in advance. Student athletes and seniors who expect to travel for interviews should communicate directly with course instructors early in the term, to ensure that they understand relevant course policies around missed classes or late work. Student athletes who are having difficulty balancing academics and athletics, or who feel that course instructors are reluctant to accommodate their athletic commitments, should consult with the deans and with their coaches. As in all cases, academic adjustment is at the discretion of the course instructor.

Students who do not feel comfortable discussing health or other adverse personal circumstances with a course instructor should consult with a dean. Students with chronic health conditions should meet with a dean to discuss how such conditions might affect their current and future coursework, and consider registering with CASS, if it rises to the level of a disability.

Students who feel stressed or overwhelmed by the academic demands of a term should meet with a dean to discuss their situation. While this is not in itself cause to recommend extensions or excused absences, the deans can facilitate other approaches to managing coursework. These might include tutorial support, counseling, occupational therapy, course load adjustments, or a voluntary or medical leave of absence.

For students who have experienced significant adversity over the course of a term, the deans can recommend an "I" grade, if the student has already completed the majority of the work in the class. Per the Caltech catalog, "the grade I is given only in case of sickness or other emergency that justifies noncompletion of the work at the usual time. It is given at the discretion of the instructor, after approval by the dean or associate dean of students."

Students who feel they need a disability accommodation, consistent with Caltech's obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, are encouraged to register with Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS), and to submit the required documentation in order to receive appropriate support and accommodation. Information about the registration process and appropriate forms can be found at the CASS website.

Deans Gilmartin and Nye work with the BOC to manage and adjudicate academic infractions of the Honor Code. The BOC receives and considers all suspected violations, and reports recommendations to Dean Gilmartin, who makes the final decisions.

To make a report to the BOC, email. Please understand that reports must be made in a timely manner, or the case may have to be dismissed. Faculty should not inform the student/s involved that a BOC process has been instigated; work should be graded accordingly, and returned.

For a summary of the process, and what faculty can expect, please see below.

  • Once a faculty or other community member reports a suspected violation, a case is opened by the BOC leadership.
  • The BOC does a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is enough information to proceed to a full hearing. Faculty may be contacted to provide more evidence.
  • If there is not enough evidence, the BOC will dismiss the case. Dean Nye will inform the faculty of that fact.
  • If the result of the full hearing is that an honor code violation is found to have occurred, and removal of credit is recommended, the BOC will make that report to Dean Gilmartin, who will make a decision. Appeals are heard by VPSA Shepherd. Dean Nye will be in contact with faculty after this point to make the nullification request.
  • If the full BOC comes to a finding of no responsibility, Dean Nye will inform the faculty of that fact. If the faculty has concerns, they should be addressed to Dean Gilmartin.

Both Dean Nye and Dean Weyman sit on the CARE team, which is a multidisciplinary group of professional staff from key areas of the Institute. The CARE Team connects students with resources and support. Through early identification of academic difficulties, social concerns, behavioral disruptions, or health issues, the CARE Team can partner with students to create individualized plans to help mitigate crises and promote success.

To refer a student about whom you have concerns to the CARE team, click here. Or you may contact an associate dean directly.

Dean Nye (lnye@caltech.edu) works primarily with juniors and seniors, and Dean Weyman (kweyman@caltech.edu) with first-years and sophomores.