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Faculty Spotlight: Elaine Seat Elaine Seat


Nashville native Dr. Elaine Seat first came to the University of Tennessee when she pursued her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. She continued at UT for her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and, after graduation, she continued in her chosen field. 

Seat worked for 20 years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as a design engineer and engineering manager.  During this time, she earned her professional engineering license and “Q Clearance” from the U.S. Department of Energy. It was also during this time that she became interested in how highly motivated, technical professionals perform.  This unique interest led her to pursue a Ph.D. in education with a specialty in performance/sport psychology and cognates in counseling psychology and industrial/organizational psychology.  She placed a specific emphasis on performance enhancement in the workplace.

Seat later returned to UT in 1998 as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and then a few months later as a visiting professor in the College of Engineering to develop a minor in leadership for engineering students. She joined the College of Business Administration in 2003 as director of the Aerospace and Defense Executive MBA program at its inception and moved to the Department of Management in 2008 because she missed working with undergraduate students. She is passionate about the opportunity to teach young students leadership skills that are vital to professional success. 

In addition to leadership, Seat has a vested interest in entrepreneurship. She currently oversees the development of the core course taught in the Department of Management, Leadership Skills.  She also teaches in the college’s executive-level MBA programs and serves as a project advisor and leadership development plan coach for the programs’ students. 

Seat is an entrepreneur herself with a start-up company, CircleSpring LLC, that provides on-line talent development tools targeted at technical professionals and young professionals. She has developed her own products that directly focus on building leadership skills for these groups.

Outside of her profession, Seat is a well-known musician in the local bluegrass music community. She has played in a local band that performed regularly in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for park service events.  She is also an amateur wildlife photographer and videographer. Her professional and personal passions collide when she uses her video clips and photographs in the classroom to demonstrate animals, most often bears, using the skills she teaches to her students.

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