Welcome new academic advisors Eric Schmitz and Samuel Banford

January 29 2019

The University of Utah College of Fine Arts is pleased to introduce two new Academic Advisors to our roster of rock star student advocates! Joining Andrew Grace, Jennifer McLaurin, and Mary Ann Dresher are Samuel Banford and Eric Schmitz.

“We are excited to continue our tradition of strong evidence-based advising with our new team members,” said Liz Leckie, the college’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs. “Our advisors provide integral components of our Create Success Initiative, the program dedicated to facilitating student success, to our students.”

Academic advisors are educators and problem solvers who advocate for students as they navigate their personal journeys through higher education and attain their academic goals. Through inclusion and connection, academic advisors open doors to new opportunities for self-awareness and growth, empowering students to define their roles as citizens within local and global communities.

Legend has it that Samuel was born on a college campus deep in the wilds of Texas to two Spanish professors. Perhaps this is why he feels at home in academics. Mythos aside, Samuel has worked in higher education for eight years. Prior to working at the University of Utah, Samuel worked as an academic advisor at Utah Valley University. In his spare time Samuel knits, plays video games, and cuddles his dogs, Ximena and Edward. He only cuddles Betty, his cat, when she deems it necessary.

Eric comes to the University of Utah with over 20 years of experience in education working with K-12 students and adult learners. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Augustana College in Illinois. Eric earned his teaching certification through The University of Phoenix and an M.Ed. from Lesley University with an emphasis in the fine arts. Eric’s main focus throughout his career in education been supporting learners with unique and diverse needs. Eric’s role as an advisor allows him to continue this passion for viewing our skills and experiences as assets to be valued and appreciated. Outside of work Eric enjoys travel, cooking, time with his family including three cats, and being an uncle to 15 nieces and nephews.

 For more information on the role of academic advisors or to book an appointment, visit: finearts.utah.edu/advising, or visit createsuccess.utah.edu to learn more about how the Create Success Initiative, which is students’ comprehensive destination for resources and reminders to help them make their academic dreams into realities. The recommendations are based on data from our alumni about what made them most successful, and includes tips and experiences in a one-stop-shop with links to help students get connected to academic resources, extracurricular activities, financial aid information, academic advisors and more.