Eric Kirby profile photo

Eric Kirby

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for Completion & Student Success


Specializing in student success strategies, civil litigation, and student retention and first year experience in higher education


Dr. Eric Kirby serves as assistant vice president for student affairs at Southern Utah University. In this role, he leads campus retention, completion, and student success initiatives, as well as directly overseeing various student success programs.

Dr. Kirby’s oversight of programs includes academic advising, career and professional development, orientation and first-year experience, parent and family services, student support services (TRiO) and the ACES, a peer-mentoring program.

An SUU alumnus, Dr. Kirby earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Southern Utah University. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in administration at University of Denver, a juris doctor degree in law at University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in global leadership and academic administration at Indiana Tech. He is licensed to practice law in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, and has been recognized as a five-time Legal Rising Star by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers.






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Industry Expertise

  • Education/Learning
  • Research
  • Legal Services
  • Management Consulting

Areas of Expertise

Non Traditional Students in Higher EducationSecond Year Retention in HIgher EducationStudent Success StrategiesStudent Retention in Higher EducationStudent RetentionStudent CompletionStudent Athlete Success StrategiesPolitical ScienceFirst Year Experience, Higher EducationEvent Planning & ManagementConstitutional LawCivil LitigationAdministration in Higher Education


Southern Utah University

B.S., Political Science

University of Denver

M.S., Administration

University of Denver

J.D., Law

Indiana Institute of Technology

Ph.D., Global Leadership and Academic Administration


Commitment to Excellence | professional

Southern Utah University Thunderbird Award

Five-time Legal Rising Star

Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers

Board of Trustees Award of Excellence


Advisor of the Year | professional

Southern Utah University

Outstanding Mentor | professional

Southern Utah University

Gerald R. Sherratt Award | professional

Southern Utah University


  • Spanish

Media Appearances

Sophomore Retention Rates Increase Through SOAR Program

SUU News  online


According to Eric Kirby, assistant vice president for student affairs (Completion and Student Success), “Southern Utah University increased retention of first-year students by 9% over the past three years.” Because retention for first-year students has increased by so much, SUU turned their focus to sophomores at SUU.

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Solving the Retention Puzzle

SUU News  online


Colleges and universities around the country are struggling to keep first-year students engaged and enrolled year after year. Only 61% of first-year students who started in 2015 returned to the same institution in 2016, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse.

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Utah Court of Appeals visits SUU

The Spectrum  online


This is the second time the Court of Appeals has come to the university and the sixth time to Cedar City to hear oral arguments. Eric Kirby, executive director of completion and student success at SUU, said the proceedings gave students an in-depth look at Utah’s court system. “This will provide an education opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to give them a unique perspective on our justice system,” Kirby said.

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Utah Intercollegiate Legislature gives students hands-on experience

Higher Ed Utah  online


Twenty-two students from across the state convened in the Senate Building at the Capitol Complex for the inaugural Utah Intercollegiate Legislature (UIL) on Thursday, March 26 & Friday, March 27, 2015. Drawn from the most recent class of legislative interns and student leadership at participating campuses, UIL students participated in a day and a half long legislative simulation of the Utah State Senate. UIL delegates were encouraged to submit bills that were added to a reading calendar, considered in committees, and debated on the floor. Topics of UIL bills ranged from concealed carry provisions to air quality amendments and exploring the expansion of the Frontrunner.

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Stewart, Robles have a lot in common in first congressional debate

Deseret News  online


Eric Kirby, executive director at SUU's Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service, called the debate a success for both Stewart, who is pursuing a second term in Congress, and Robles, who has served in the Utah Legislature since 2008. Both parties "played it safe" as they gave polite, comprehensive answers, he said.

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Alumni Spotlight: Eric Kirby

SUU Alumni Association  online


Eric Kirby (’03, Political Science) is an attorney at Murphy Decker Hensen & Cook-Olson, P.C. in Denver, Colorado. His education at Southern Utah University taught him that with hard work and dedication he could accomplish his goals.

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UNIV 1020 Strategies for Success

This variable topics course explores subjects geared toward student success. Sample topics include career exploration, job search preparation, exploring vocabulary development, and in-depth academic skill development.

UNIV 1020 Peer Leadership Skills

This course was designed for orientation leaders to develop the new orientation system, Thunder Academy, peer-to-peer mentoring skills, and leadership/professional development.

UNIV 1050 College Student Success

This course focuses on student success through systematic exploration of values and skills that will assist student in becoming successful in their academic endeavors. It is designed to help launch students’ university careers successfully and to equip students with tools and abilities to increase their career and academic skills.

UNIV 1057 Student-Athlete College Success

This course provides SUU student-athletes with valuable knowledge and tools that will aid in their transition from high school to college. This course will focus on initiatives of the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Affairs Department, including: Academic Development, Personal Development, Service Development, and Career Development.

UNIV 4920 Leadership & Professional Development

This course introduces students to various leadership philosophies and professional development techniques and strategies to help prepare students to succeed in the professional world as interns, employees, and leaders.

UNIV 4920 State Legislature and Leadership

The purpose of this course was to introduce students to emerging leadership philosophies, trends, and managerial issues that they will confront as future leaders. Also, aspects of professional development techniques and strategies were discussed to help prepare students to succeed in the professional world.