The University of Alabama College of Engineering announced Dr. Kenneth G. Ricks, associate professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, as the 2019 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award recipient.
The award honors a faculty member who exemplifies the constant guidance and leadership necessary to make the College of Engineering exceptional. It was created as a tribute to T. Morris Hackney and was made possible by contributions from John H. Josey and his son, Howard Josey.
Currently, Ricks serves as assistant department head and undergraduate program director for the electrical and computer engineering department. He was hired at UA as an assistant professor in 2002 and was awarded tenure and named an associate professor in 2008.
Since joining UA, Ricks has taught 19 different undergraduate and graduate courses and has directed three graduate student dissertations and 19 theses. He has served in several capacities at the Capstone including on several committees and councils.
He has been the faculty adviser for the UA Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics Team since 2008 and the Alabama Astrobotics NASA Robotic Mining Competition Team since 2009. The five-time national champion Astrobotics team has placed in the top six of the NASA Robotic Mining Competition since the team began competing in 2010. In eight of the last 10 years, the IEEE robotics team has placed in the top six and are current two-time champions of the IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition.
Ricks, who holds engineering degrees from UA and The University of Alabama in Huntsville, is a senior member of IEEE, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, and the International Society of Computers and their Applications. He has won awards from IEEE, ISCA and NASA, and has been recognized several times for his work as an educator including the UA National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award.
He has research contracts and grants totaling more than $2.6 million, in-kind gifts organized from external sources totaling $53,000, and monetary gifts organized from external sources totaling more than $150,000. Ricks has published a book chapter, refereed journal articles, refereed conference proceedings, non-refereed conference proceedings, and a technical presentation.