Mark W. Seng, Ph.D. died January 21, 2010, of cancer after a long, difficult battle. He was seventy-seven years old.
Dr. Seng received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in January of 1968. The primary focus of his graduate program was on a combination of learning theory, curriculum theory, and practical application of these theories in foreign language teaching and learning materials. Dr. Seng accepted a position at The University of Texas at Austin in September of 1968. He was active on the faculty here for twenty-seven years – retiring in the spring of 1995.
Dr. Seng taught a variety of courses in the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, including Media in the Classroom, Curriculum Theory, and Learning Theory. Mark was particularly dedicated to international students. In his Learning Theory class, he always provided extra attention for foreign students struggling with language barriers. Dr. Seng loved to travel, especially to other countries. He lectured across Japan and Mexico as well as in Cyprus, Scotland, Venezuela, and Panama.
Dr. Seng was highly regarded by his students and his colleagues. Over the course of his career, he guided and mentored over 100 graduate students through their master’s and doctoral programs. One student wrote:
Dr. Seng’s style of teaching is truly inspiring. He builds self-confidence and self-esteem in all his students by establishing an amicable environment . . . . (His) methods of instruction are what teachers in all levels of education are asked to achieve. Dr. Seng truly exemplifies all that makes me proud to be an educator.
A graduate of the doctoral program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction expressed her regard for Dr. Seng in these terms:
Many wonderful professors have contributed to my general knowledge bank, but in the interest of giving credit where it is due, I would like to express my appreciation for the Dr. Mark Seng. Dr. Seng is a superior classroom teacher who presents and reinforces concepts in creative and practical ways. He is also an encourager. I remember his walking through a classroom several years ago as class was dispersing and encouraging the world at large to “Make a difference; write a book.
A faculty colleague wrote: “Dr. Seng touches people’s lives with his equanimity, love of teaching, and love of life in general.”
Those close to Dr. Seng appreciated his intelligence and wit. Dr. Seng was one of the few people who understood and could explain the room numbering system for the education building (now the Sanchez Building) to a new faculty member or to a new student without making that person feel a complete fool. His letter to the department chair “officially” announcing his intention to retire offers a glimpse into his humor: “I’m outa’ here. Mark Seng Ph.D., A Nanosecond Professor Associate Professor Ordinarious.”
Dr. Seng is survived by his wife, Mary A. Seng, and son, Andrew M. Seng, both of Austin; his brother and sister-in-law, Joseph F. and Joyce R. Seng, Mt. Airy, Maryland; and his sister and brother-in-law, Walter J. and Mary Seng Roob, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and many nieces and nephews.