Prof. Warren Seering honored with Frank E. Perkins Award

Warren Seering

By Lois Slavin, Communications Director, MIT Engineering Systems Division
June 1, 2007

On May 10, 2007, Prof. Warren Seering, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems and incoming Co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing and System Design and Management Programs, received the Frank E. Perkins Award. Named in honor of Frank E. Perkins, Dean of the Graduate School from 1983-95, the award is given each year to a professor who has served as an excellent advisor and mentor for graduate students.

The citation for Prof. Seering’s nomination reads "The Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising is presented to a faculty member, who as a graduate student advisor, demonstrates unbounded compassion and dedication towards students. Nominators wrote that our winner this year, Professor Warren P. Seering of the School of Engineering, met individually with each of his students every week in addition to group meetings, gave detailed and thoughtful feedback on student work, guided students to discover answers for themselves with probing questions, helped students establish useful career connections, and helped students from diverse backgrounds, including industry and the military, to succeed at MIT. For being a coach, cheering squad, mentor, and friend, we present you with this year’s Perkins award."

Excerpts from some of the nominations read:

"Warren understands the position of an educator and how the education process (of earning a PhD) can pull a student in multiple directions. He builds educational exercises to align students with their goals and advise about eliminating distractions."

"Warren was my best friend when I took the ESD General Exams in January this year. He worked with me to get a study plan well in advance. Part of the exam includes a research presentation. I must have shown 20 different versions of it to Warren….and always got very detailed, thoughtful and rich feedback on what may help improve it. In the end it was my presentation (Warren never gives out the answers) but the quality of it wouldn’t have been the same without him."

"…another strength is his ability to understand the needs of each student in terms of the research he or she is conducting. He takes the time to truly know what students’ research goals are, and then helps the student meet those goals."

"How many advisers are willing to drive to campus just to have a meeting with their students on a Sunday? Warren is."

"He is a true role model for us his students in the lab."

"I have never met anyone with Warren’s sincere interest and concern for my success, coupled with the competence and ability to turn that interest into results."

"Not only is he a good academic advisor, but he is a gifted life mentor as well. Long after I leave MIT, I will consider him to be among the wisest of men, a dear friend and a wonderful advisor!"

The Perkins Award is selected and administered by MIT’s Graduate Student Council (GSC). "MIT needs the type of quality mentorship exemplified by Professor Seering," said GSC Institute Awards Committee Co-chair Xiao-Ping Liu. "We are pleased to be able to honor him for his dedication to the advising of graduate students."