Anyone who is heavily involved in a student group has almost surely encountered Melissia Schmidt at some point in their college career. On Monday, Nov. 1, the former Associate Director of Student Life at Wilson Commons made the move over to the Eastman School of Music, becoming their new Assistant Dean for Student Life.

According to Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Eastman Donna Fox, two of the key qualifications sought in possible candidates for the position were extensive experience in student life programming and a deep understanding of UR — and Schmidt fit the bill perfectly.

The vacancy of the position came up this year when Jason Smith left to become the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Schmidt’s new position will come with myriad responsibilities, many of which have to do with direct interaction with students. She will work to organize student groups and their programming, as well as head the Office of Student Life and various committees on the subject.

In addition to these responsibilities, Schmidt will deal with school-wide programs such as Eastman Family Weekend and Freshman Orientation, be the Disability Resources Coordination, serve as the Chief Judicial Officer for non-academic related matters and be the primary liaison between the community and the Eastman School.

Schmidt said that the Wilson Commons Student Activities staff worked closely with Smith to help her fully understand what the job entailed before accepting the position, which she did near the end of September.

According to Associate Dean of Students Anne-Marie Algier, several individuals are covering Schmidt’s responsibilities in the interim of finding a replacement for the position. Some of these responsibilities include supervising the University graphic artist and Transportation and Ticket Operations, managing the Hive game room and being the Special Projects Coordinator. Additionally, graduate student Alyssa Shoup will be serving as the adviser to the Campus Activities Board, UR Concerts and the Cinema Group.

Information about a permanent replacement for the position has not yet been released to the public. Still, Algier made it known that filling the position is a top priority for her and her office.

“Due to the timing of the year and the importance of this particular position to my department I will be filling the position as soon as possible,” Algier said.

For Schmidt, the move to Eastman is a bittersweet one.

“I’ve worked in Wilson Commons Student Activities for a little over nine years now, so I’ll miss collaborating with all the staff and students I know very well,” she said. “[But] I’m really looking forward to developing new relationships and friendships here at Eastman.”

For the most part, however, she views the move as a career choice that will broaden her horizons and present her with new opportunities.

“Learning and navigating a new system with new constructs is a challenge, but with change comes an opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally,” she said. “It’s very exciting to be surrounded by such creativity and talent every day and to walk through a building filled with beautiful music.”

Fleming is a member of the class of 2013.



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