The ASC bids farewell to Assistant Director Eric Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt has served as ASC Assistant Director since the April 2018, and throughout his tenure he worked tirelessly to improve the quality and diversity of our offerings, and further the values of diversity, equity and inclusion at the ASC.
He was instrumental in the ASC’s receipt of the National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Title VI grants in both 2018 and 2022. He was an excellent manager and advocate for the ASC staff and language faculty, and worked to ensure everyone he supervised was well-supported and received the professional-development they needed to grow. Dr. Schmidt worked to improve the center’s management of projects and programs by streamlining processes for appointments, standardizing review of Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship and preparing grant applications and grant reports. This was particularly the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Dr. Schmidt was tasked with transitioning the ASC to remote operation. This included shifting all ASC events, classes and administrative processes to be remote and digital. Dr. Schmidt also oversaw major ASC events including the Walter Rodney Seminar series, and the Bradford Morse Lecture, the FLAS informational sessions, and facilitated the shift to a hybrid model for ASC events post-pandemic.
Dr. Schmidt was also an engaging lecturer, who taught the ASC’s core course, Africa Today: the Beat of Popular Culture, and developed a new course for the BU College of Fine Arts called Music of Africa. He sought to offer enriching classes that included musician-led workshops, and pushed students to think about different mediums and learn new skill sets through his technology-centric assignments.
Outside of the ASC, Dr. Schmidt partnered with the BU Office of DEI to offer new programming, served on the BU Fulbright committee, and served as an inaugural member of the Pardee School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Beyond BU, he served on the African Studies Association Local Arrangements Committee for the 2019 Meeting, helped establish the International Colloquium on African Studies with UMass Boston and UNAM, collaborated with the Africa Bridge Network and held several leadership roles in the Association for African Studies Programs (AASP.) He currently serves as President of AASP.
Dr. Schmidt will be sorely missed by the ASC, and his contributions could not be understated. We wish him luck as he joins the faculty of Musicology at Southern Methodist University this fall.