Back Receives UA Engineering’s Hackney Leadership Award

  • April 26th, 2017
Dr. W. Edward Back

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Engineering announces Dr. W. Edward Back, professor and chair of the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering, as the 2017 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership award recipient.

The T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award honors a faculty member who exemplifies the constant guidance and leadership necessary to make the College of Engineering exceptional.

Back received his award at a recent ceremony at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Before being named department head in fall 2014, Back was the director of the Construction Engineering Program, and he still serves as director of the UA Center for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Prior to coming to UA, Back was a professor at Clemson University and Texas A&M University and worked in private industry for Simon Associates/Hawthorn Realty Group, Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Laboratory.

Back has extensive research experience in the field of construction engineering with particular emphasis in the areas of project execution planning, construction methods, cost and schedule control as well as materials management.

He has completed approximately $5 million in funded research for a variety of private sector clients as well as state and federal government agencies. His research has generated recommendations for improving the project planning and execution process for large, multi-organizational projects classified as industrial, commercial, infrastructure or institutional.

Particularly active with the Construction Industry Institute, or CII, Back served as the academic member of seven CII research teams and received the CII Outstanding Researcher Award for 1999. He was twice recognized as CII’s Outstanding Instructor, winning the honor in 2001 and 2005.

He is also the recipient of CII’s 2014 Distinguished Professor Award, and he has chaired the CII’s national committee of research academics.

He joined the University in 2007 as an associate professor, teaching 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. He was named a full professor in 2012.

While at UA, he was honored in 2016 with the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award by the UA National Alumni Association, the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.

Back received three university distinguished Excellence in Teaching awards while at Texas A&M, including the Zachry Award and the Birdwell Endowed Teaching Award. He is a three-time recipient of the Award for Faculty Excellence at Clemson University. More recently, Back was named the 2012, 2014 and 2015 recipient of the Donald H. McLean Civil Engineering Professor of the Year award at UA.

The Hackney award was created as a tribute to T. Morris Hackney and was made possible by the contributions from John H. Josey and his son, Howard Josey.


Alana Norris, engineering communications, 205/348-8644,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.