J. Elaine Seat

Department: Aerospace & Defense, Management

Title: Lecturer


1979-University of Tennessee, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

1983-University of Tennessee, M.S. Mechanical Engineering

1996-University of Tennessee, Ph.D. Education


439 Stokely Management Center

Elaine Seat is on the faculty of the Management Department of the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee. Elaine arrived in the Business School via an unusual path. She began her professional career designing machines as a licensed mechanical engineer and grew into roles as a chief engineer and engineering manager. After learning first-hand about the barriers limiting technical professionals from their best work, she studied Sport Psychology and Counseling Psychology to better understand what it takes for high-performing individuals to reach extraordinary performance.

Seat started her academic career as a National Science Foundation Visiting Professor in the UT College of Engineering where she was part of the team that designed the award-winning freshman engineering program engage®.  The changes brought to engineering education through engage improved the retention of future engineers by over 50% through the first year within three years. Her industrial background and expertise in working with students brought her to the Haslam College of Business as the inaugural Director of the Aerospace and Defense MBA program.

Returning to her passion for teaching people how-to create their own extraordinary performance, Seat currently teaches undergraduate and MBA students leadership and performance skills. She also designs and delivers custom curriculum for adult professionals aimed at providing the tools and thinking that is the basis of excellence in management and Leadership. Elaine’s favorite teaching reviews are those that include the words “practical, applicable, and easy-to-apply.”

Seat is a licensed mechanical engineer in Tennessee. She earned the BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering, and the PhD in Sport Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been featured in industry publications for over 20 years on improving human performance and building professional skills to help people advance in their organization. During her six years in the engineering school, she received nine grants for projects directed at improving the complementary skill sets of engineering students. She has over 30 articles in research journals and trade publications.

Elaine’s first book, Playbook for Your Extraordinary Life, was published in November 2016.