A Message from President Oliver - 06.19.20

Dear Pitzer Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe. Each of us has experienced unprecedented and challenging circumstances brought on by the global pandemic and the uncertainties that it brings to our daily lives. In nearly every corner of the world, everyone has had to learn as we go and reimagine how we co-exist in our communities. Higher education institutions are no exception and I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on Pitzer’s current plans for the fall.

Based on guidance and projections from federal, state and county health officials, and in close consultation with our sister colleges in Claremont, Pitzer is actively planning for our campus to be open for in-person instruction for the fall semester. A final decision on this will be made in the next few weeks.

Our planning for a modified educational and residential life program continues to be an enormous and complex undertaking. I thank everyone for their contributions and support in our planning efforts. You will see new measures and protocols, some that you have become familiar with in the last several months.  These include social or physical distancing, “family unit” style-living in our residence halls, monitoring and tracing, face-covering requirements, hybrid and HyFlex teaching/learning, dining plan and policy changes, disinfection, isolation and quarantine.

Our close-knit residential campus community has always been central to the educational experience at Pitzer. However, during a pandemic, we need to recognize that this fall semester will look different from what we are used to on campus. With that in mind, these are key elements of our plan as Pitzer works toward an in-person fall semester:

  • Academic Calendar:  The five undergraduate Claremont Colleges will start classes on Monday, August 24 and conclude instruction by the start of Thanksgiving break to limit the amount of travel that could contribute to public health risks. The fall break has been eliminated to ensure additional instructional days. Final exams and assessments will be conducted remotely and completed by Friday, December 4.
  • Classes:Pitzer plans to offer a range of classes, including those that are in-person, online and various hybrid modalities. Each classroom on campus has been reviewed and modified to accommodate physical distancing and time will be added in between courses to allow for cleaning and disinfecting. We are also in the process of installing tents in various campus locations to serve as outdoor classrooms and spaces for dining and other activities.
  • Residence Halls:  Following current state and county guidance for residential campuses, we are currently planning for no more than two students to be housed in one room, and a maximum of four students sharing one bathroom. Double rooms in Mead Hall will become single occupancy to limit the number of people using a bathroom and common space.
  • Meal Service:  Pitzer will continue to offer healthy, fresh and delicious food with modified and expanded pick up locations to limit potential health risks and allow for physical distancing.  Dietary needs will continue to be accommodated as requested. Several outdoor seating areas are planned across the campus to allow for physical distancing dining.

We realize that you still have many questions and many details are being finalized as we go forward, including move-in, new student orientation, academic and campus life activities. Please know that we will be sharing additional information as our planning efforts continue.

In the meantime, we hope this information helps our students, families, faculty and staff as they engage in their planning in the weeks ahead.

For the latest information related to Pitzer’s plans for the fall semester, please visit the COVID-19 Information Page. I invite you to participate in one or more of the many virtual programs we are providing this summer, including Pitzer@Home and Juice: a Pitzer Summer Series. All of our online programs are free of charge and a great way to connect with and learn about the Pitzer Community.

I sincerely appreciate your understanding and flexibility. The Pitzer community is looking forward to a fall semester where we are together again. 

Provida Futuri,

Melvin L. OIiver

Fall Academic Calendar Announcement - 06.11.20

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dear Pitzer Community,

Today, I share the decision by the Presidents’ Council of The Claremont Colleges for the 2020 fall semester academic calendar. The Academic Deans Committee and the Registrars are now working on a 5-C course schedule based on this calendar. As we continue to monitor the developing situation relating to COVID-19, Pitzer is working towards bringing back as many students to campus as safely as possible based on guidance and best practices established by our state, county and local health officials.

Approval of Fall Academic Calendar

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Claremont Colleges would like to update our community on the planning efforts for the fall. Although many important decisions have not been finalized, the overall structure for the fall is taking shape, and we would like to share one important element of our plans with you in an effort to provide as much notice as possible.

The Presidents’ Council of The Claremont Colleges has approved a fall academic calendar for the five undergraduate institutions. This schedule attempts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and the flu season on our community during the winter months.

Under the new schedule, the first day of instruction will begin August 24, one week before the traditional start date. Undergraduates will complete all coursework by Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Final exams and assessments will be conducted remotely and completed by Friday, December 4, 2020. This early start and early end by Thanksgiving will allow students to travel home for Thanksgiving and remain there, rather than traveling back and forth for Thanksgiving and increasing the potential for virus spread.

G. Gabrielle Starr
Pomona College
Len Jessup
Claremont Graduate University
Lara Tiedens
Scripps College
Hiram E. Chodosh
Claremont McKenna College
Maria Klawe
Harvey Mudd College
Melvin L. Oliver
Pitzer College
Sheldon Schuster
Keck Graduate Institute
Stig Lanesskog
Chief Executive Officer
The Claremont Colleges, Inc.

In the coming days, I will be sharing additional information about the work of Pitzer’s COVID-19 Task Force and the protocols that have been created to ensure the safe return of our students, faculty and staff to campus. In the meantime, please stay up to date on the news by visiting our webpage: www.pitzer.edu/covid-19

Provida Futuri,
Melvin L. OIiver

Updated Grading Policy & FAQs for Spring 2020 - 05.05.20

(Revised 5-5-2020)

Q1: What is Pitzer’s grading policy for spring semester 2020?

The Pitzer College faculty originally changed the grading policy for this semester on April 9, 2020. However, on April 29, 2020, the Pitzer College faculty amended the previously adopted grading policy for Spring semester 2020. Here is the new policy:

Pitzer College will implement a grading system of Satisfactory Pandemic/No Record Pandemic with a GPA boost for spring 2020. Under this policy, no letter grades will be given. A Satisfactory Pandemic (SP) is defined as a minimum passing grade of D-. For each course that a student passes, an SP will appear on the transcript, but each SP will be recorded in the GPA as equivalent to an A. A grade of No Record Pandemic (NRP) will not appear on a student’s transcript. All courses graded SP this semester will qualify toward completion of requirements for majors, minors, and graduation. Letter grades will not be necessary this semester to qualify for honors.

Q2: Why was the grading policy changed for spring 2020?

Like many colleges and universities, Pitzer College has transitioned all classes to online formats. This change was sudden and accompanied by moving most students out of campus housing and returning students from study abroad sites around the globe. As a consequence, faculty and students are facing numerous challenges to effective teaching and learning, not the least of which are new living situations, uneven or unstable internet connections, caretaking and family support obligations, illness, and hampered access to usual academic support services and resources.

The Pitzer College faculty changed the usual grading policy in recognition of these challenges and to help reduce associated pressure and stress. In changing the grading policy for spring semester 2020 only, the faculty considered a number of different grading systems and tried to be responsive to student preferences expressed in surveys conducted by the Pitzer Student Senate and also by the 5C Students for Grade Equity for a universal grading system and one that offered a “safety net” for student grades. The faculty also considered a proposal from the Pitzer College First Generation Executive Leadership Board for a Universal A policy.

Faculty are aware that students have dramatically different levels of access to resources, and that the transition to remote learning has exacerbated already existing inequalities. Faculty sought to create a grading policy that would respond to these circumstances and be equitable to all students. Faculty also chose to incorporate a GPA boost in order to support students who must maintain a certain GPA for reasons pertaining to scholarships, financial aid, and academic probation. Faculty also considered the potential effects of different grading systems on students applying to graduate school and professional training programs. Finally, the faculty sought to ensure that the grading system clearly designated that academic practices and grades were different this semester from other semesters.

Q3: How will my spring 2020 classes be graded?  What will appear on my transcript?

Pitzer student grades will either be SP (Satisfactory Pandemic) or NRP (No Record Pandemic), although only SP grades will show up on the transcript. If a student receives a grade of NRP, it will not be recorded to the official student transcript. There will be language added to the transcript legend that explains this grading system. The current expectation is that this SP/NRP grading system will be used only in spring semester 2020.

Any courses for which Pitzer students previously elected to receive a P/NC grade this semester will be changed to the SP/NRP grading system.

Q4: How does the SP grade work? Does it affect my GPA?

An SP grade indicates earned credit for the course and will appear on official student transcripts. As indicated in the adopted policy, an SP grade is assigned for any traditional letter grade from A to D-. SP grades will be recorded in the GPA as equivalent to A grades.

Q5: How does the NRP grade work? Does it affect my GPA?

Students will not receive academic credit for any course for which they receive a NRP grade, and the NRP grade will not appear on official student transcripts. Courses for which students receive NRP grades have no impact on the student’s grade point average. However, they do count as courses attempted for purposes of financial aid satisfactory academic progress calculations.

Q6: I understand that I will receive SP/NRP grades for my courses, but what if I want one or more letter grades?  Can I get a letter grade in a course? 

NO. As stated in the policy, all Pitzer students will be graded according to the same SP/NRP system and no letter grades will be given this semester.

Q7: I understand that I will receive SP/NRP grades for my courses. Are there any implications for financial aid, and especially if I receive one or more NRP grades? 

All courses in which students were enrolled after the last day to drop/add for a tuition refund or financial aid adjustment this semester (February 3, 2020) count as attempted courses for purposes of calculating financial aid satisfactory academic progress. This includes any courses subsequently dropped and courses for which a NRP grade is assigned. If you have questions about your satisfactory academic progress and financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at financial_aid@pitzer.edu.

Q8: Will the Pitzer grading policy apply to classes I am taking at other Claremont Colleges? 

YES. The grading policy follows the student, not the professor or the college. This means that the adopted grading policy applies to all Pitzer students — and only Pitzer students — regardless of which college is offering the course. Likewise, students from other Claremont Colleges who are enrolled in Pitzer classes will be graded according to the policies determined by their home institution.

Q9: Are the other colleges using the same grading policy as Pitzer? 

NO. The colleges are using different grading policies this semester. This means that grade options will differ between students in the same classes. Students should not worry about other grading systems. Pitzer student grades will either be SP (Satisfactory Pandemic) or NRP (No Record Pandemic).

Q10: How will faculty know my grading policy? 

Faculty members will receive guidance from their Academic Dean and Registrar about the different grading policies and how to record grades for their students at the end of the semester. The different grading systems will be part of the grade input process, so faculty across all of the colleges will be aware of the system to use for Pitzer students.

Q11: My major or minor requires some or all courses to be taken for a letter grade. Will SP courses still count?

YES, at least for Pitzer majors and minors. For spring 2020 semester, these requirements are waived at Pitzer. Courses for which students receive a SP grades count toward major, minor, or other graduation requirements. Pitzer students pursuing off campus academic programs should consult with their adviser(s) about any implications of the grading policy for their academic program.

Q12: How will SP/NRP grades impact honors?

The Pitzer College honors GPA requirement is unchanged. As noted above, each SP grade received this semester will be calculated in the GPA as equivalent to an A. Courses for which students receive NRP grades will not impact their grade point average. Field Groups have different requirements for honors in a major, but letter grades are not required this semester for any work (i.e., courses, senior project, thesis) to count toward honors requirements. Students are encouraged to contact their field group adviser(s) with specific questions about honors in their major. Pitzer students pursuing off campus academic programs should consult with their adviser(s) about any implications of the grading policy for their academic program.

Q13: I was studying abroad this semester.  How will my courses be graded?

The grading system for all Pitzer courses this semester is SP/NRP. Students will receive either SP or NRP grades for courses in Pitzer direct-run study abroad programs; SP grades will be recorded as equivalent to A grades for purposes of calculating a student’s grade point average. Students who were on exchange or third-party study abroad programs may receive a letter grade or other grade from the partner institution depending on that institution’s grading system. As long as the student earns at least a D- letter grade or other designated passing grade from their exchange or third-party program, Pitzer will record these as SP grades and they will count as equivalent to A grades for purposes of calculating the student’s grade point average.

Questions about specific study abroad programs and grading policies can be directed to studyabroad@pitzer.edu.

Q14: I am an international exchange student and I am concerned that non-letter grades may not be recognized at my home institution. What can I do? 

The grading policy states that no letter grades will be given this semester. The Office of Study Abroad and International Programs (studyabroad@pitzer.edu), the Office of the Registrar (registrar@pitzer.edu), and the Dean of Faculty (dean_faculty@pitzer.edu) will work together to ensure that international exchange students receive credit at their home institutions for the courses they successfully complete this semester. There may be different solutions for different home institutions. More information on how international exchange student grades will be handled will be forthcoming. 

Q15: What happens if I cannot complete the required work for a course?  Can I receive an Incomplete grade?

YES. Course instructors have discretion to record an Incomplete grade for a student provided that several conditions are met (listed on the Explanation of Incomplete Form that must be submitted by the Instructor). Incomplete (I) grades will be resolved as SP or NRP grades. The due date by which instructors must submit the appropriate final grade (SP or NRP) is during the second week of classes in the fall semester.

Q16: Can I still withdraw from a course?  

YES. The last day for withdrawing from a class is May 8, 2020. Completed Withdraw from Course forms should be emailed to registrar@pitzer.edu. The forms are available in the Forms section of the Registrar’s Office website. Students should consult with their adviser and instructor before withdrawing from a class because it may delay progress toward graduation and/or affect financial aid. Withdrawing from a class will result in a “W” grade on the student’s transcript for the withdrawn course.

Q17: Will there be classes over the summer?

YES. Summer school registration is currently open. All summer school classes will be taught online and they are being offered at a discounted rate. For more information, please go to: www.pitzer.edu/summer/. Summer school classes will return to our usual system of letter grades. 

Q18: What are the plans for fall classes? 

The situation is fluid and we do not definitively know one way or the other if we will be back on campus and able to conduct face-to-face classes in the fall. A final decision about fall classes will be made later this summer and in conjunction with the other Claremont Colleges. You will be informed of that decision as soon as it is made.

In the meantime, students are encouraged to engage in usual academic planning for the fall semester. Advising Days were April 20-21, and Pre-registration is scheduled for April 28-May 1.

Q19: What if I still have questions?  Who can I contact for more information?

Students are encouraged to talk to their adviser and course instructors about their courses and grading policies for this semester. Questions also can be sent to the the Registrar (registrar@pitzer.edu), Financial Aid (financial_aid@pitzer.edu), Study Abroad (studyabroad@pitzer.edu), or the Dean of Faculty (dean_faculty@pitzer.edu).  

Important Deadline Updates for Spring 2020 - 03.30.20

March 30, 2020


6 – Last day to drop a class w/o recorded grade & w/o being charged semester overload fee*
6 – Fall 2020 course schedule available on the Portal
13-14 – Advising Days (Classes still in session)
28-30 – Pre-Registration for Fall 2020
30 – Independent Study Forms due for FALL 2020 (full and half credit)
30 – Independent Study Forms due for SUMMER 2020 (full and half credit)


6 – Last day of classes for the Spring semester
7-8 – Reading days for all students
8 – Final day for all students to withdraw from a class (grade recorded as ‘W’)
11-15 – Final examinations
21 – Grades for all students must be submitted by noon
Postponed –TBD – Commencement

*Please consult with your advisor and instructor before dropping a class

Please check the Academic Calendar for more important dates!

You can drop courses online via the Portal until April 6th

Have questions? Contact us!

Pitzer Registrar’s Office

Academic Regulation Updates for Spring 2020 - 03.13.20

March 13, 2020

In light of the unanticipated transition to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, the Academic Deans of the undergraduate colleges have agreed to modify the policies below for the spring 2020 semester. 

Deadline to Drop a Class without a Recorded Grade

The deadline to drop courses without record via the MyCampus portal has been extended until 11:59 pm Pacific on Monday, April 6th. Please note that students must remain enrolled in at least 3 total course credits to maintain full-time status. Students should consult with their academic adviser and course instructor before dropping a course.

Students and advisers should be aware that a decision to drop or withdraw from a course, or to drop below full-time status, may have serious adverse consequences. Dropping courses may delay progress toward graduation and/or affect financial aid. For these reasons, students are encouraged to confer with the appropriate offices and their academic adviser(s) before taking action to drop or withdraw from a course or courses. After a course is dropped, it will not be added back.

Questions regarding financial aid should be directed to financial_aid@pitzer.edu, questions about student accounts should go to student_accounts@pitzer.edu, and questions about degree process can be directed to registrar@pitzer.edu. All of these offices are fully staffed and ready to help answer questions.

There will be bumps as we transition to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. Updates and guidance will be disseminated as decisions are made that impact faculty and student academic work. We hope that this extension of the drop deadline will ease some of the concerns students have about completing coursework this semester, and offer time and space to make important decisions in what is a confusing and stressful set of circumstances. 

Please know our offices are fully staffed and ready to help answer questions. Please continue to monitor your Pitzer email for important communications and updates.

Be well,
Pitzer College Office of the Registrar