TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama National Alumni Association has announced the 2016 recipients of the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching – the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Awards.
This year’s honorees are Dr. W. Edward Back, professor and chair of the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering; Dr. Cameron H. Lacquement, assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the department of anthropology; Dr. James D. Mixson, associate professor in the department of history; and Dr. Mark T. Richardson, professor in the department of kinesiology.
Mandy Wyatt, district vice president of the National Alumni Association, recognized the 2016 award recipients at the Wednesday, Oct.5, Fall Campus Assembly in the Ferguson Center Ballroom along with UA President Stuart R. Bell.
An awards presentation also occurs at the NorthRiver Yacht Club with Alex Smith, president of the National Alumni Association.
About the honorees:
Dr. W. Edward Back serves as director of the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure. He has taught advanced classes in project execution and delivery, probabilistic project controls, cost and schedule forecasting and predictive modeling, and optimization of construction operations and engineering processes. Black, who has completed approximately $5 million in funded research, has been particularly active with the Construction Industry Institute. As a researcher, he served as the academic member of seven CII research teams and received the CII Outstanding Researcher Award for 1999. He is also the recipient of CII’s 2014 Distinguished Professor Award, and he has chaired the Construction Industry Institute’s national committee of research academics. A frequent instructor of project engineering best practices, Back is very active in helping organizations throughout the world understand and apply improved engineering practices. In addition, he is active with student recruiting and has frequently chaired committees focused on welcoming prospective students to the university.
Dr. Cameron Lacquement is the director of undergraduate studies and the online courses adviser for the department of anthropology. He is working with faculty members from the American studies department at UA on the creation of a cross-disciplinary certificate for Native American research. He is also collaborating with the Moundville Museum in the creation of the new chief’s house atop Mound B. His research lies in the areas of prehistoric architecture and labor expenditure at multi-mound sites. Using archaeological data and ethnographic analogies to address questions of the above ground architectural types in the Southeast, he constructed a full sized replica of a flexed pole Native American house using only locally available materials. Recently, he has also turned his attention to methods for measuring energy for prehistoric mound building and plaza construction and how different amounts of labor invested can be used to answer questions regarding degrees of social complexity in prehistoric societies. Lacquement also helped design and supervises online courses and interactive classroom technology for the department. He has created virtual exercises in human evolution and variation, primatology, archaeology and cultural anthropology. His students characterize him as an energetic teacher with the ability to pique their interests.
Dr. James D. Mixson serves in a wide range of capacities in support of undergraduate education at the Capstone. Mixson was the departmental adviser for Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, for eight years. He has also established, with the support of the dean’s office and the collaboration of his colleagues, a peer mentoring program. Its purpose is to recruit and train outstanding undergraduates in history to serve as mentors for students who struggle in large-enrollment courses. That project has led to participation in Project Rising Tide, a workshop series sponsored by the Office for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. Mixson’s research centers on the intersection of religion and culture in the 14th and 15th centuries, with particular emphasis on the reform of religious life in the century before the Reformation. He is the author of “Poverty’s Proprietors: Religion and Ownership at the Origins of the Observant Movement” (2009); co-editor (with Bert Roest) of “Observant Reform in the Later Middle Ages and Beyond” (2015); and translator of “The World of Medieval Monasticism”, by Gert Melville (2016). He is also part of an international team working toward a major grant for a digital humanities project that will map late-medieval religious institutional and intellectual networks. His next major project will be a book-length study of the travels and afterlives of a 15th-century Franciscan lawyer, preacher and crusader, John of Capistrano.
Dr. Mark T. Richardson has served on 110 graduate theses and dissertation committees. Several of these involve departments other than kinesiology (i.e. anthropology, psychology and mechanical engineering). He has chaired a thesis committee in which the student received an outstanding thesis award from the College of Education and has chaired or co-chaired four dissertation committees in which students received outstanding dissertation awards from the College of Education. Richardson’s research focus is in the area of exercise and its relationship to health and disease, in particular, physical activity assessment methodology in free-living individuals. He was a member of a symposium on advances in the assessment of physical activity presented at the annual meeting (1992) of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He has co-authored 55 peer-reviewed publications (37 with students as first author) and 124 peer-reviewed presentations (100 with students as first author).