TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama National Alumni Association has announced the 2017 recipients of the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching – the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Awards.
This year’s recipients are: Dr. Daniel G. Bachrach, professor of management, Culverhouse College of Commerce; Dr. James Paul Hubner, associate professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics, College of Engineering; Dr. Kenneth G. Ricks, associate professor of electrical and computing engineering, College of Engineering; and Dr. Heather M. Taylor, associate professor of pediatrics, College of Community Health Sciences.
Mandy Wyatt, district vice president of the National Alumni Association, recognized the 2017 award recipients at today’s 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
About the honorees:
Dr. Daniel G. Bachrach is a Robert C. and Rosa P. Morrow Endowed Faculty Excellence Fellow in the management department. He joined The University of Alabama faculty in 2002. Bachrach also has developed courses including MGT 497, Analysis and Interpretation of Digital Device Use and Data Management Approaches (Fall 2014); and MGT 300, Organizational Theory and Behavior On-Line. Bachrach is the winner of multiple research and teaching awards, including the Dean’s Summer Excellence in Research Award (2012, 2013), the Certificate of Excellence in Research awarded by the Society for Marketing Advances (2014), the Marvin Jolson Award for Best Contribution to Selling and Sales Management Practice by the National Educational Foundation Pi Sigma Epsilon, and the Bronze Medal Axiom Book Award for “More than a Showroom” (2016). Bachrach’s teaching recognition includes the John S. Bickley Culverhouse College Creativity and Innovation award (2016) and Innovation Scholar in Residence by the College of Continuing Studies (2017). Bachrach’s research has focused primarily on organizational citizenship behavior, transactive memory systems, corporate social responsibility and sales team performance. He has published 53 research papers in top-tier journals.
Dr. James Paul Hubner joined the UA faculty in 2005. He has been awarded the AIAA Outstanding Faculty in the aerospace engineering and mechanics department six times. In 2017, he was awarded the department’s Outstanding Student Opinion of Instruction Award. He was also named the College of Engineering Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Faculty Member in 2010. Including current students, he has advised 18 graduate and 31 undergraduate research students, participated on numerous graduate student committees and advised several senior design-team and student group organizations, including the student chapter of AIAA and Barna Ultimate. His lifetime average teaching evaluation is 4.6 out of 5.0, having taught more than 2,400 freshman-to graduate-level students in aerodynamics and mechanics through traditional on-campus and distance-learning courses. His research interests in experimental aerodynamics and solid mechanics include luminescent coatings, low Reynolds number flows, fluid-structure interactions and micro air vehicles. He is an associate fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the American Physical Society and American Society of Engineering Education. He has been the principal investigator or co-Pl on more than 25 research projects funded by government and industry totaling more than $5 million. He is the lead or co-author of more than 100 journal, conference publications and technical reports.
Dr. Kenneth G. Ricks is the assistant department head in the department of electrical and computer engineering. A faculty member since 2002, Ricks serves as the faculty adviser for the Alabama Astrobotics Team and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics Team. Alabama Astrobotics is a multidisciplinary team that participates in NASA-based robotics competitions, including the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition, a national engineering competition held each May at the Kennedy Space Center. He started Alabama Astrobotics on the UA campus in 2009-2010 and led it to become one of the most successful student robotics organizations in the nation. Student participation has grown from five students representing only two engineering disciplines in 2009 to more than 60 students representing seven science, technology, engineering and math disciplines in 2017. While at UA, Ricks has received the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding ECE Instructor Award for the 2009-2010 and 2016- 2017 academic years and was awarded the 2009-2010 Meritorious Teaching Award by the electrical and computer engineering department. He also won the IEEE Education Society Best Transaction Paper of the Year Award in 2009. Under his direction, Alabama Astrobotics has won four national championships at the NASA Robotic Mining Competition (2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and was awarded the 2016 Rising Star Award by the Huntsville chapter of the National Space Club. Ricks has also directed the IEEE Robotics Team to five top-10 finishes in the last seven years.
Dr. Heather M. Taylor is a board-certified general pediatrician with a clinical practice at the University Medical Center. She teaches outpatient and hospital-based clinical pediatrics to medical students and family medicine resident physicians. Having joined the UA faculty in 2007, she serves as the pediatric clerkship director and as the director of undergraduate medical education for the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine. She is a three-time recipient of the Best Attending Award from The Tuscaloosa Family Practice Residency Association and a four-time recipient of the UA School of Medicine Argus Award for the Best Clinical Instructor-Tuscaloosa Campus. Medical students selected her for the Faculty Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Medical Education during the junior year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2012, she was the faculty recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award for the UA School of Medicine. Taylor’s scholarly activity has centered on newborn hearing screening initiatives and medical education. She served as the Alabama Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Champion for the American Academy of Pediatrics for eight years, and, in that role, she worked with a team of state stakeholders to improve Alabama’s rate of compliance with the guidelines for follow-up and intervention for newborns who fail their hearing screen after birth.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.