‘Compassionate’ director earns June Anderson Center CARE Award

For the second consecutive year, Middle Tennessee State University’s Saeed Foroudastan has received the CARE Award from the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students.

Foroudastan, who was excited to learn he received the award again, is associate dean in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and director of the award-winning Experimental Vehicles and Master of Science in Professional Science programs.

The CARE (Concern for Adults Returning to Education) Award recognizes a faculty or staff member who shows sensitivity to the diverse learning styles, experiences and multifaceted lives of nontraditional students.

Faculty or staff members are nominated because they interact positively with nontraditional students and support and enrich the student experience.

A number of students in both the Experimental Vehicles and MSPS programs are nontraditional. MSPS students are involved in industry internships. In the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-driven experimental vehicles, they learn through hands-on training.

“They are all excellent students,” Foroudastan said of the nontraditional students. “All we need to do is be patient with them at the beginning and realize that they haven’t been in college for a while.”

“But once they come, you mentor them, show them the way and show them hands-on learning, so it makes sense to them,” he added. “They grasp why they are taking this course. Once they figure it out, oh my God, they explode. They bloom. They learn and become a mentor themselves.”

An eight-member committee read the letters of recommendation and selected Foroudastan.

“What stood out was the compassion he has for his students,” said Maigan Wipfli, director of the June Anderson Center, who recently presented him with the award.

“It was such a delight to give him his award,” Wipfli added. “He was caring about me and my family. We didn’t know each other all that well, but he wanted to know if COVID-19 was affecting my family.”

One highlight of the student’s nomination said Foroudastan “has made sacrifices to ensure that all of the students he works with can achieve graduation and succeed in life beyond college.”

June Anderson Center CARE Award
Saeed Foroudastan, left, accepts the 2020 CARE Award from Maigan Wipfli, director of the MTSU June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, for the second straight year. The award recognizes an MTSU faculty or staff member who shows sensitivity to the diverse learning styles, experiences and multifaceted lives of nontraditional students. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)
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