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The University of Alabama

UA Engineering Appoints Back as Director of Construction Engineering Program

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Engineering recently named Dr. W. Edward Back director of the Construction Engineering Program.

Dr. Ed Back

Dr. Ed Back

Back, an associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, will lead the growing program that encompasses an active research program with national and international sponsors and enrollment of more than 120 undergraduates and more than 20 graduate students.

Since the program’s 2006 establishment, UA’s Construction Engineering Founding Partners was formed through dedicated financial support of nearly $1.5 million by more than 16 individuals and corporations.

Back specializes in project management, project controls, cost and schedule management, and optimization of construction operations and engineering processes. He has been awarded approximately $4 million in externally-funded research, and he has authored or co-authored more than 30 journal articles, technical papers and research reports.

Active with the Construction Industry Institute, Back has served on several research teams investigating the impact of information management applications in the project delivery process, evaluating impacts of on-site design, and improving information flow to support pre-project planning. As a result of this research, he received the CII Outstanding Researcher Award for 1999.

Back has also been actively involved with service to industry through his work as a frequent instructor of project management best practices. He has taught courses in several subjects and has been very active in helping organizations throughout the world understand and apply improved construction engineering practices. He was recognized as CII’s Outstanding Instructor in 2001 and 2005.

Back has developed more than 60 project management short courses and taught thousands of industry practitioners in the last several years. His clients include federal and state agencies, some of the largest corporate organizations in the country, and construction organizations of every size.

Since joining UA in 2008, he has taught project management and construction engineering practices for organizations throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. He frequently serves as an adviser for large engineering projects that are planned or under development throughout the world.

In addition to his teaching and research endeavors, Back serves as the faculty adviser to UA’s student chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Department of Civil Engineering Honor Society.

Previously, Back served as a member of the civil engineering faculty of Texas A&M and Clemson Universities. He has received three university distinguished Excellence in Teaching university awards, including the Zachry Award and the Birdwell Endowed Teaching Award. He received special departmental teaching awards four times in the last seven years and is a three time recipient of the Award for Faculty Excellence. Back is a licensed professional engineer, and he has served in several management positions within the construction engineering industry.

Back received master’s degrees in civil engineering and architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ill. He received his doctorate in civil engineering from Clemson University.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 2,300 students and over 100 faculty. In the last seven years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater scholars, Hollings scholars and Portz scholars.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.