Picture of Dr. William Edward Back

Senior Associate Dean, Professor

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Dean’s Office

3011 H.M. Comer
 (205) 348-6405
 (205) 348-8573
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  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Clemson University, 1994
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Illinois, 1986
  • M. Arch, Architecture, University of Illinois, 1986
  • B.S., Architecture, University of Illinois, 1978


Dr. Ed 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, and materials management.

Back has conducted research for a wide variety of private sector clients, including some of the nation’s largest engineering construction companies as well as other organizations representing a wide variety of industries, including power generation, light and heavy manufacturing, and pharmaceutical/chemical. He has also completed research projects for state and federal government agencies, including departments of transportation, General Services Administration, Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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.

Honors and Awards

  • Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award, The University of Alabama, 2017
  • Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award, UA National Alumni Association, 2016
  • Distinguished Professor Award, Construction Industry Institute, 2014
  • Professor of the Year, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, UA, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, ASCE Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Latest Publications

  • Grau, D., Back, W.E., and Mejia-Aguilar, G., “Organizational-Behavior Influence on Cost and Schedule Predictability,” ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering, 33(5), (2017)
  • Grau, D., Back, W., Hossain, N., “Influence of Risk and Change Events on Cost, Schedule, and Predictability Performances,” ASCE Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice142, (2016)
  • Vereen, Stephanie, Sinacori, Bryce, Back. W.E., “Crirical Risk Considerations for Cost Estimating on International Construction Projects,” International Journal of Construction Project Management, 8(2), (2016)
  • Grau, D., Back, W., “Predictability Index, Novel Metric to Access Cost and Schedule Performance,” ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management141(12), (2015)